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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

Oligarchic "Quiet Coup" in the USA, "Greed is good" slogan and loss of trust in neoliberal governments

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Quiet coup The Deep State National Security State / Surveillance State In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Two Party System as polyarchy The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Pareto Law Media-Military-Industrial Complex Groupthink Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Corporatism Inverted Totalitarism US and British media are servants of security apparatus Casino Capitalism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corruption of Regulators
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment The importance of controlling the narrative New American Caste System The Essential Rules for Dominating Population What's the Matter with Kansas Big Uncle is Watching You
Nation under attack meme American Exceptionalism Neo-fascism Bureaucracies Military Bureaucracy Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Toxic Managers The psychopath in the corner office Female Sociopaths Office Stockholm Syndrome Quotes about Psychopaths Humor Etc


Introduction


There is an 'audacious oligarchy' of self-defined rulers who move freely between private industry and government, whose primary objective is preserving and furthering their own power and self-interest.

Jesse's Café Américain, Audacious Oligarchy

Audacious behaviour is often connected with the weakened self-preservation instinct, typical for sociopaths. So their audacity take the form of Chutzpah (shameless audacity; impudence, unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall). It's inherently connected with the lack of empathy, which is a defining feature of sociopaths. The key question here is: to what extent the US elite became infected with substantial or even dominant number of sociopaths? Including female sociopaths as we saw recently in the reaction of behaviour of a wife of former president on killing Gaddafy (Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died ) ?

In fact this process of self-selection of sociopaths into neoliberal elite reached dangerous level was noted be many, including famous remark of Robert Johnson at Culture Project's IMPART 2012 Festival that essentially defined the term ("Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."):

Oligarchy now is audacious. They don't really care if they are legitimate.

"Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."

Robert Johnson serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund.

Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin) and of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico). Johnson received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a B.S. in both Electrical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As you can see this idea "Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must." does not differ much with the modus operandi of three-letter agencies, so the terms "audacious oligarchy" and "deep state" are closely related: deep state can be viewed as a social system in this audacious oligarchy rules the population.

We can also think about the term "audacious oligarchy" as the term related to the rise of neo-fascism, (be it neoliberal fascism or Inverted Totalitarism). For some details National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature and a very interesting discussion of Robert Johnson remarks on financial oligarchy at “They’re All Standing on the Deck of the Titanic Looking in Each Other’s Eyes” (naked capitalism, April 21, 2013). That means the key elements of fascist ideology are preserved, with the replacement of Arian Nation for financial oligarchy, but without ruthless physical suppression of opposition which are replaced by financial instruments, blacklisting, economic sanctions and color revolutions in "deviant" countries. Like in Third Reich dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. there is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

One interesting side effect of the dominance of financial oligarchy is loss of trusts in experts, especially economic expects, professors who now are nothing more then a prostitutes at the service of financial capital Ian Klaus in "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance gives the following definition:

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

As Robert Johnson noted:

"People don't trust experts. If you saw 'Inside Job', you know why. People do not trust the private markets, and they don't trust government."

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

In the case of neoliberal transformation of the USA the state to a large extent seized to defend the population. Instead the state became a predictor, defender of international corporations, as hostile to the US people as Bolshevik rule was to Russians and other nationalities of the USSR. In other word the USA population became hostages of the system much like population of the USSR was. In a way nothing is new in human history.

The most important side effect of neoliberal transformation of the US society is the destruction (or more correctly emasculation) of legal system, which effectively lead to the situation when like in monarchy, some people are above the law. And we can suspect, judging from recent the USSR nomenklatura experience that such a caste might quickly degrades. As Long Aston said "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". If you willfully and recklessly tear down the laws in the name of some misbegotten ideology the benefit to "chosen" few, blowback might come sooner or later. even if you successfully hide this in a smokescreen of sophisticated scam ideology (neoliberalism in case of current crony or casino capitalism, which replaced the New Deal "live and giver other chance to live" motto) the blowback eventually might knock the particular country down. In such system nobody trust anybody and the whole society gradually disintegrates becoming just extended version of a mafia clan. With typical for such clans deadly internal fights for power. Mexican drug cartels saying - plomo y plobo ('silver or lead'): either you accept our bribes or accept our bullets is perfectly applicable in this situation. And that's how "audacious oligarchy really operates at least of international scène. But the law of the jungle has one important difference with the regular law system: any more powerful group of states can became both a judge and executioner for less powerful, or competing group of states.

When you take some self-serving fairy tale and take it an extreme by sticking an 'ism' on the end of it, like is the case with neoliberalism, at the beginning everything is fine and population is carries by this lie with ease. But as soon as people discover this despite all the power of propaganda their standard of living is going down, some trouble appear on the horizon and there is no other way then to concert the state into national security state, as proponent of communism have found in the USSR. And under neoliberalism, the essence of which is redistribution of wealth in favor of the top 0.01% of the world population, this disillusionment in inevitable, unless we experience a new technological revolution, similar to computer revolution. it can't be hidden with fairly tales about "undemocratic nature" of poor state or corruption. People can only be suppressed by brute force. and the lead to overextension of the neoliberal empire.

When the financial oligarchy is completely exempt from the law and in this particular area regulation is burned to the ground to serve the interests of financial oligarchy, strange things start to happen. The first glimpse on which we already saw in 2008. There was a demonstration of an immanent feature of neoliberal regimes which might be called financial sector induced systemic instability of economy. The latter which lead to periodic booms and busts with unpredictable timing, severity and consequences for the society at large, but so far all of those crisis work also as mechanism of redistribution of the society wealth toward the top . this time the US oligarchy managed to swipe the dirt under the rug.

This instability happens automatically and does not depend on the presence of "bad apples" in the system, because the financial sector under neoliberalism functions not as the nerve system of the economy of the particular country, but more like an autoimmune disease. In other words financial sector destabilizes the "immune system" of the country by introducing positive feedback look into economic (and not only economic, look at the USA foreign policy since 1991) activities.

What exactly is neoliberal oligarchy ?

When we say audacious oligarchy we essentially mean neoliberal oligarchy, and first of all financial oligarchy. Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by wealth, family ties, commercial, government and/or military positions. The actual literal translation from the Greek is the "rule of the few". The word oligarchy is derived from the Greek words "ὀλίγος" (olígos), "a few"[2] and the verb "ἄρχω" (archo), "to rule, to govern, to command".

Throughout history, most oligarchies have been tyrannical, relying on public servitude to exist, although some have been relatively benign. Plato pioneered the use of the term in Chapter Four, Book Eight of "The Republic" as a society in which wealth is the criterion of merit and the wealthy are in control.

However oligarchy is not always a rule according to the size of the wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be distinguished from plebs by iether personal wealth or bloodlines as in a monarchy. Although often those two types of distinction are present too. For example, in the USSR the oligarchy was represented by special class of government and party servants (nomenklatura). The same is by-and-large true for Communist China. Those types of oligarchy has a lot of features in common with neoliberal oligarchy, although they are national in character. First of all in both system oligarchs are "working oligarchs". They actively participate in the their business or government activities. The second thing is that neoliberal oligarchy has very interesting connection with the idea of Communist International, and can be viewed as an interesting perversion of this concept ("Capitalism International") with some flavor of Trotskyism -- as it strives for and adopts Trotskyism central idea of permanent revolution as the method of reaching of the world dominance (see, neocons and color revolutions)

At the same time starting from 80th in the USA oligarchy by-and-large started to correspond to European aristocracy as vertical mobility became very limited and suppressed in the USA (actually more then in European countries, despite all the hype about the American dream).

The USA oligarchy by-and-large corresponds to European aristocracy, with substantial number of its members being children of oligarchic families. Vertical mobility, despite hype, is very limited and suppressed (actually more then in European countries). In no way the USA con be considered "the county of opportunities" anymore.

Russian oligarchy is very atypical in this sense, and is a pretty interesting case of a very high vertical mobility. As a country Russia is unique that in its history it several times wiped out its entrenched oligarchy. Two last "rotations" happened in 1917 then large part of old oligarchy lost their power and after neoliberal revolution of 1991 which brought into power the corrupt government of Boris Yeltsin. The drunkard, who imitated French proclaiming "enrich yourself" and launches (with gentle support from USA in a form of Harvard mafia) the most corrupt privatization of state wealth in human history.

But most members of the new, Post-Soviet Russian oligarchy did demonstrated tremendous level of upward mobility. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on 31 December 1991, many directors and sometimes middle managers of state owned Russia-based corporations, especially producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metals managed to privatize their holdings and have become oligarchs. Criminal privatization under Yeltsin regime allowed them to amass phenomenal wealth and power almost overnight. In May 2004, the Russian edition of Forbes identified 36 of these oligarchs as being worth at least US$1 billion. And not of all them came from Nomenklatura. Many members of nomenklatura (even on the level of Politburo) did not fit in the new economic system and stopped being oligarchs.

All modern democracies should be viewed as oligarchies

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered to be oligarchies. this is what his "iron law of oligarchy" is about. In other word when we speak the word democracy about such regimes as current exist in the USA or Western Europe, it is most self-deception.

That gives a pretty sinister meaning to the "promotion of democracy" and "support of democracy" activities, as in reality it is installation of more favorable to the promoter oligarchic group in power, often via coup d'état (with a specific neoliberal variant, which use developed by Gene Sharp political technology, called Color revolution), as recently happened in Libya and Ukraine.

In "modern democracies", the actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is always only one political party, the party of oligarchy.

This is especially true for winner takes all election systems, which create two party environment, with both party being a factions of the same elite. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

Quiet coup

The term "Quiet coup" which means the hijacking of the political power in the USA by financial oligarchy was introduced by Simon H. Johnson (born January 16, 1963). Simon Johnson is a British-American economist, who currently is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, he was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund.

The term was introduced in Simon Johnson article in Atlantic magazine, published in May 2009(The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic). Which opens with a revealing paragraph:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

The wealth of financial sector gave it unprecedented opportunities of simply buying the political power:

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight — a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

He further researched this theme in his book 2010 book 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (ISBN 978-0307379054), coauthored with James Kwak. They also founded and regularly contributes to the economics blog The Baseline Scenario.

Financial oligarchy as an key part of modern neoliberal elite

Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the East India Company. In this regime people move freely from government posts to private industry and back.

In the USA the most rapidly rising part of national oligarchy is financial oligarchy. As Senator Dick Durbin noted referring to the US Congress Banks Frankly Own The Place. Moreover in many cases it is unclear who owns whom, for example whether Goldman Sachs owns NY FED or NY FED Goldman Sachs ( The Fed Under Goldman's Thumb - Bloomberg )

Senators questioned Dudley, 61, on issues ranging from whether some banks are too big to regulate to the Fed’s role in overseeing their commodities businesses.

Some of the criticism was pointed. Warren, a frequent critic of financial regulators, asked Dudley if he was “holding a mirror to your own behavior.”

Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, complained that bank employees involved in misdeeds haven’t been prosecuted and are “too big to jail.”

Dudley repeatedly disagreed with assertions that the New York Fed wasn’t doing enough to regulate banks and said lenders have become stronger and safer in the past few years.

... ... ...

Today’s Senate hearing follows reports that Goldman Sachs fired two bankers after one of them allegedly shared confidential documents from the New York Fed within the firm.

A junior banker, who had joined the company in July from the New York Fed, was dismissed a week after the discovery in late September, along with another employee who failed to escalate the issue, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Goldman Sachs confirmed the memo’s contents.

As Adair Turner noted in The Consequences of Money Manager Capitalism

In the wake of World War II, much of the western world, particularly the United States, adopted a new form of capitalism called “managerial welfare-state capitalism.”

The system by design constrained financial institutions with significant social welfare reforms and large oligopolistic corporations that financed investment primarily out of retained earnings. Private sector debt was small, but government debt left over from financing the War was large, providing safe assets for households, firms, and banks. The structure of this system was financially robust and unlikely to generate a deep recession. However, the constraints within the system didn’t hold.

The relative stability of the first few decades after WWII encouraged ever-greater risk-taking, and over time the financial system was transformed into our modern overly financialized economy. Today, the dominant financial players are “managed money” — lightly regulated “shadow banks” like pension funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and university endowments—with huge pools of capital in search of the highest returns. In turn, innovations by financial engineers have encouraged the growth of private debt relative to income and the increased reliance on volatile short-term finance and massive uses of leverage.

What are the implications of this financialization on the modern global economy? According to Adair Lord Turner, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a former head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority, it means that finance has become central to the daily operations of the economic system. More precisely, the private nonfinancial sectors of the economy have become more dependent on the smooth functioning of the financial sector in order to maintain the liquidity and solvency of their balance sheets and to improve and maintain their economic welfare. For example, households have increased their use of debt to fund education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and leisure. And at the same time, they have become more dependent on interest, dividends, and capital gains as a means to maintain and improve their standard of living.

Another major consequence of financialized economies is that they typically generate repeated financial bubbles and major debt overhangs, the aftermath of which tends to exacerbate inequality and retard economic growth. Booms turn to busts, distressed sellers sell their assets to the beneficiaries of the previous bubble, and income inequality expands.

In the view of Lord Turner, currently there is no countervailing power (in John Kenneth Galbraith terms) able to deal with the consequences of neoliberalism, as he calls it "money manager capitalism.” The net result likely will be years more of economic stagnation and deteriorating living standards for many people around the world.

Finance is a form of modern warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and “the miracle of compound interest” that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May’s 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative article, on the collusion between the US’ “financial oligarchy” and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund’s senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs “go off track” (a euphemism) precisely because the government can’t stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program “goes back on track” once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern—and thus win or lose—under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital—a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup’s executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson’s predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists—at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy’s favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks’ hands—indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the “efficiency costs” of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine”.

The predatory nature of financial oligarchy

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government’s capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, corrupt collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in its most modern form -- neoliberalism.

Second probably is that institutions are more powerful them individuals and replacement or even jailing of corrupt current officials while a quite welcome move, can't by itself lead to drastic changes. You need to reinstall the whole system of government controls dismantled by Clinton-Bush regime. Otherwise one set of players will be simply replaced by the other, no less corrupt, hungry and unprincipled. As Daron Acemoglu pointed out recently, we are in a situation that attempt to fix the financial system will have to involve those same bankers (albeit in lower positions at the time of the crisis) that created the mess in the first place. To push the analogy a bit strongly, even in Germany post 1945 and Iraq post 2003 new governments still needed to work with some civil servants in the judicial and educational system from the previous regime as well as with tainted industrialists.

In theory, the best way to diminish the power of financiers is to limit the size (limiting the damage) and let them fail and crash badly. Also introduction of a tax of transactions (Tobin tax) can help to cool the frenzy of derivative trading. But there is nobody in power who can push those changes. That means the "silent coup" in which financial oligarchy got control of the state is complete.

Loss of trust led to conversion of the country into national security state

Paranoya of financial oligarchy after 2008 when most of the country wished them what was reflected in the slogan of the corner of Wallstreet (see the picture), led to speed up of creation of comprehensive network of spying over the citizens.

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Even if we assume that data collection is passive and never used it is like a ticking bomb or "skeleton in the closet" it is a powerful method of control of population, not the different from what was used by KGB in the USSR or STASI in East Germany.

So it does not really matter much what the data are collected for and what if official justification of such a collection. The mere fact of collection changes the situation to the worse, making opposition to the system practically impossible. The net result is what is matter. And the net result definitely resembles a move in the direction of a tyranny. US Senator Frank Church said in 1975:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.".

Today his words sound even more true then in 1975 when computers were still in their infancy and mainframes dominated the computer landscape. With the proliferation of cheap electronic devices such as PCs and laptops, tablets and cell phones this really became "the abyss from which there is no return".

So the real, the key goal is not what is officially declared. Convenience of access to information has a side effect that it makes collection of information about you trivial and at the same time comprehensive. It is to keep the elite safe from common folks, not all those lies about national security. It is all about the security of the elite.

In other words 1984 dystopia materialized in slightly different, slightly more gentle form. The elite as a whole is not interesting in dismantling the tool that serve its interests so well even if it has some side effects on the elite members themselves. This is another confirmation of The Iron Law of Oligarchy

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism in the USA. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of Stasi in all those activities. As countries of the USSR camp got into similar trap before, nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Phone hacking and police corruption represent neoliberalism attempt to cling to life even entering in 2008 a zombie status. And we do not know if the change is possible (The zombie of neoliberalism can be beaten)

Poor growth figures put a "new" financial collapse back on the cards. The response from politicians, bankers and business leaders is more of the same – more of the same neoliberal policies that got us into this situation in the first place.

Neoliberalism no longer "makes sense", but its logic keeps stumbling on, without conscious direction, like a zombie: ugly, persistent and dangerous. Such is the "unlife" of a zombie, a body stripped of its goals, unable to adjust itself to the future, unable to make plans. It can only act habitually as it pursues a monomaniacal hunger. Unless there is a dramatic recomposition of society, we face the prospect of decades of drift as the crises we face – economic, social, environmental – remain unresolved. But where will that recomposition come from when we are living in the world of zombie-liberalism?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, however, requires more than the internal realignment of a national ruling class. Every semi-stable form of capitalism also needs some sort of settlement with the wider population, or at least a decisive section of it. While the postwar Keynesian settlement contained an explicit deal linking rising real wages to rising productivity, neoliberalism contained an implicit deal based on access to cheap credit. While real wages have stagnated since the late 1970s, the mechanisms of debt have maintained most people's living standards. An additional part of neoliberalism's tacit deal was the abandonment of any pretence to democratic, collective control over the conditions of life: politics has been reduced to technocratic rule. Instead, individuals accepted the promise that, through hard work, shrewd educational and other "life" choices, and a little luck, they – or their children – would reap the benefits of economic growth.

The financial crisis shattered the central component of this deal: access to cheap credit. Living standards can no longer be supported and, for the first time in a century, there is widespread fear that children will lead poorer lives than their parents.

Conclusions

After 2008 the irresponsibility of the financial elites, the power and proliferation of special interest groups that defend interests of oligarchy, the paralysis of Congress and executive power to deal with challenges the financial oligarchy created have created atmosphere of public cynicism.

This correlated with withdrawal from public activity and elections. voter participation in the 1996 Presidential election reached similar to 1924 figure of 49%, less then half of eligible population. And with electronic surveillance reaching it zenith after 9/11/2001, the country quietly slid in the darkness of Inverted Totalitarism

Disillusionment with government and large corporation is a noticeable feature of contemporary America. There is a the widespread sense that big companies and those who run them are immune from prosecution and can't be held accountable by government for their crimes as that they are ... Too Big To Jail. Part of this leniency is connected with corruption of regulators. Which is an immanent part of neoliberal social order. There is also the issue off gaming the system. For very large and profitable multinationals paying some law firm or accounting firm a couple of million dollars to game the tax system in some sleazy way to park most of the income in tax havens represents a small fraction of their tax savings. So the big boys get away with this and middle market firms are the only ones who really pay corporate taxes.

The fact that no one has been imprisoned for the crime committed before 2008 is seen as outrageous by most Americans and large part of Main Street. At the same time, the multibillion-dollar fines and enforcement actions against financial institutions are providing large TBTF firms such as Goldman Sachs with wrong incentives. Paying with shareholders’ money as the price of protecting themselves is a very attractive trade-off. Punishment of individual executives who committed crimes or who failed in their managerial duty to monitor the behavior of their subordinates is short-changed because the principle that leaders should take responsibility for failure and resign contradicts neoliberal worldview.


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[Jun 24, 2017] The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency by Todd E. Pierce

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA As Organized Crime ..."
"... The Phoenix Program ..."
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
"... The Phoenix Program ..."
"... Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles. ..."
"... This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency ..."
"... But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong. ..."
"... Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences. ..."
"... Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

Hating the US

There also must be the realization that our "national security" apparatchiks - principally but not solely the CIA - have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the US.

Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda's most important "combat multiplier" since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in US prisons in Iraq.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate "Murder, Inc.," when judged by the CIA's methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA's misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But "morality" seems a lost virtue today in the US, which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as "information warfare," upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as "conditioning the battlefield," which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that "before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police."

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. "Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren't all the way with the government and aren't all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea," according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to "Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police" is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the "enemy." Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German "Security Warfare" as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is "potentially" a threat, deemed either "partizans" or terrorists.

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be "neutralized" by any means necessary. The US military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the US military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the US in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This "imperial policing," i.e., counterinsurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the US drew upon German counterinsurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for "anti-bandit warfare," (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen "concept of anti-partisan warfare," a German predecessor to the "Phoenix Program."

'Anti-Partisan' Lessons

It wasn't a coincidence that this "anti-partisan" warfare concept should be adopted by US forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a "post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as 'men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.'"

Consequently, "The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel," who presumably included members of the newly created US Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day US global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the "attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). 'Action against enemy agitation' was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, 'Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.'"

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the "enemy" is the basis for what the US government charges as "conspiracy" in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine "existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to 'neutralize' the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI)." He explained further that "neutralize" meant "to kill, capture, or make to defect." "Infrastructure" meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

"The Vietnam's War's Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges" is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the "CIA's Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective." The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from "neutralizing" enemy leaders into "a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated." The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in "emergency decrees" and orders for "administrative detention."

Lauding Petraeus

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called "counterinsurgency experts" whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine "counterinsurgency," or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a "liberal author and journalist" at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the US military into that of "imperial policing," or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that "The 'War on Terrorism'" is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, "we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency." His "disaggregation strategy" called for "actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program."

He went on, "Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice."

It is readily apparent that, in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now US global policy and - just like in Vietnam - it is applying "death squad" strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One "sanitized" article - approved for release in 2011 - is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a US Army counterintelligence officer "who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy's soldiers but at its civilian leaders." He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of "eleven bloody ears" as proof of six people killed.

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, "It made me sick. I couldn't go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong 'infrastructure' – the communist's shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn't wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners.

"How many VC they got I don't know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We'd put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes."

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was "taking steps that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus." Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet "security committees" throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 "Class C civilians" to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, "Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced." The latter statement would mean they were just held in "indefinite detention," like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other US detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that "Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government." In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer's opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA's participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the US government today calls "unlawful combatants."

"Unlawful combatants" is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom US officials alleged were "terrorists" from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called "Global War on Terror." Since the US government deems them "unlawful" – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the "privilege" of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a "direct part in hostilities" – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine's book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine's book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. This originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com .

Read more by Todd E. Pierce Inciting Wars the American Way – August 14th, 2016 Chicago Police Adopt Israeli Tactics – December 13th, 2015 US War Theories Target Dissenters – September 13th, 2015 Ron Paul and Lost Lessons of War – September 1st, 2015 Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?– January 4th, 2015

[Jun 24, 2017] Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers – review

Notable quotes:
"... What I Don't Know About Animals ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
Konrad Lorenz and Desmond Morris , or anthropologists such as Lionel Tiger . They linked studies of animal behaviour to the idea of Darwinian evolutionary principles to tell readers just how very like the beasts we were in our sex lives, our workplaces and our recreational behaviours. We were advised to look at chimps and other primates and derive understanding of ourselves from their apparently culture-free activities and traits. Underneath all our fancy culture and language, we were simply naked apes enacting primitive territorial imperatives.

The reading public lapped it up as both a neat, satisfying narrative, and as an excuse for all manner of not-so-civilised behaviours for which we no longer had to take personal and moral blame. We go to war – well, so do baboons; it's in our genes, we can try to overcome it, but in the end as in the beginning we're all just animals. By 1976 we didn't even have to blame the animal in ourselves: Richard Dawkins gave us the selfish gene, whose sole reason for existence was to reproduce itself. And we, that is the body and brain of you and me, were nothing but vehicles for these genes which compelled us to optimise their chances of replicating. Talk to the gene, the conscience isn't listening.

Much of this was based on algebraic theories of altruism developed by WD Hamilton , who shifted the mechanism of evolution from making groups fitter to survive to a new insistence on individual inclusive fitness. This was via kin selection, which drills down deeper than the inter-relatedness of individual organisms, to the separate alleles (of which genes are made) in every organism: these preferentially promote only those vehicles which contain alleles most closely related to themselves. Genes were responsible, somehow, for you fighting the whirlwind to save your sister, but probably not your less related cousin, and certainly not the stranger from down the road.

Some people were not crazy about this view of the human race. Genes doing algebra didn't suit a more macrocosmic idea of a fallible but responsible humanity.

Robert Trivers was the man who produced the unifying theory of kin selection and altruism. Now, decades on, he has arrived at a big, new universal theory, also essentially based on the arithmetic of gene selection. Deceit is useful where telling the (unpleasant) truth would hamper your progress. Progress towards what? Trivers would say your fitness, which is defined as raising the chances of replicating your genes into the next generation.

Your genes, apparently, would agree with him; but they would, wouldn't they? That is if they were capable of agreeing. I want to hang on to the fact that the building blocks of ourselves do not want or intend anything. Chemicals aren't conscious, although by amazing chance they can combine to make a conscious organism.

Once self-conscious humans begin to do science, and with the benefit of language, start to describe the nature of the chemicals that make them what they are, but having to use regular language if they want a large audience (maths is a much better language, but fewer people can read it), they cannot help but slide into the notion of intention. Dawkins's selfish gene gained an absurd life of its own because most people don't speak arithmetic.

The biological mechanism by which we conceal inconvenient truths from ourselves and others is shown, says Trivers, in functional MRI scans of blood flow associated with neural activity in the brain: "It is estimated that fully ten seconds before consciousness of intent, the neural signals begin that will later give rise to the consciousness and then the behaviour itself." Freud, who always believed that neurology would discover a physical basis for the unconscious, would be delighted, though according to Trivers, psychoanalysis is nothing more than a money-grabbing hoax. Yet there remains a void between brain chemicals doing what they do and the emergence of the sense we all have of possessing a mind.

Trivers's theories of deceit and self-deceit are based on multiple gleanings from experimental psychology. A trial with rats shows this, another with students suggests that. The actual experiments are referenced, rather minimally, in page-related endnotes, but Trivers's writing is full of halting phraseology as he slips from findings in the lab or questionnaire to the generality of human social behaviour.

He suggests from relatedness theory that fathers should show a "slight genetic bias towards their daughters", but "no one knows if this is true". General assertions about human behaviour are peppered with such phrases as "One is tempted to imagine ", "in mice at least ", "work still in its infancy ", "first speculations ", "Whether any of my speculations are true I have no idea ". And, really, if he doesn't, I certainly don't.

Once he has laid out his evidence, our biologically determined deceit behaviour is ready to account for just about everything Trivers doesn't like about the world, such as the false justifications for the invasion of Iraq, the self-deceiving use, by the US and UK, of 9/11 to declare war on oil-rich countries and on to torture, religion and stock-market trading. It so happens that Trivers and I dislike much the same things but, though I daresay knowledge is generally better than lack of it, I'm not convinced of the benefits of offering us the excuse of having been manipulated by our genes for our repeatedly scurrilous behaviour.

While the first part of the book explains the theory, and the second part discusses how deceit was responsible for all the political and social injustices both he and I perceive in the world, there is a third element woven through both. An actual individual life, that of Trivers himself, emerges, like a gene in the organism, offered perhaps as a consciously self-deprecating example of what evolutionary pressure to deceive can do to a person. Somehow, though, it comes across as back-handed boasting.

The man whom Trivers calls "I" is a compulsive thief who can't go into a room without coming away with a trophy. He talks of his "'inadvertent' touching of women", which occurs exclusively with his left (unconscious) hand. Apropos chimps turning their backs to hide an erection from a dominant male, he explains that he finds it very hard "in the presence of a woman with whom I am close, to receive a phone call from another woman with whom I may have, or only wish to have, a relationship, without turning my back to pursue the conversation".

He understands the male/female gender split by recollecting "trying to poison the minds of my three daughters against their mother". He nearly killed his girlfriend and nephew by driving the nephew's "cool car" too fast on a precipitous road, when he noticed her interest in the younger man. And after pages and pages on biological selection, evolutionary pressure and the dangerous deception that is religion, it not only turns out that he prays regularly, but he gives a short lecture on the proper way to say the "Lord's Prayer" (emphasise "thy"). I wasn't surprised to discover that he is on prescription antidepressants, as well as using ganja and cocaine.

There will be Iron Johns who read this book and cheer, and although he explains that each sex (abhorring the word "gender", which he calls a euphemism) contains both male and female genes, my male genes are just too wimpy to find any charm in Trivers's display of self-disclosure – machismo and pet peeves – dressed up as an important new evolutionary understanding of humanity.

Jenny Diski's What I Don't Know About Animals is published by Virago.

frustratedartist , 11 Oct 2011 03:20

@greaterzog

Oh dear- could you then...disentangle your own behaviour from your 'human nature".

In general- Yes. Human behaviour changes rapidly and depends on culture and individual choices. Human nature changes very very slowly, in 'evolutionary time'. Too slowly for it to be observed.

On the level of the individual -- No. I can't disentangle my personal choices from my inherited tendencies. To what extent does my behaviour (or my character)reflect my genes or upbringing, to what extent is it my own free will? Nature, Nurture, or Nietzsche?, as Stephen Fry would say. I can't say- except that I believe that we all have free will and are therefore in most cases responsible for our actions.

As for 'my' human nature, that is a meaningless phrase. Human nature I would define as the (evolved) psychological traits humans have in common .

greatherzog , 10 Oct 2011 15:57

In his article Pinker gives (I think) quite a convincing explanation of how human behaviour can be changing for the better, while human nature (perforce) remains the same.

Oh dear- could you then-with the help of Pinker's pseudo-scientific, deterministic, eurocentric tosh and/or Dawkins overly simplistic, to the point of idiocy take on genes and evolution- disentangle your own behaviour from your 'human nature.' I am really curious.

[Jun 22, 2017] Neocons influence on US foreign policy

Equating critique of Israel with anti-Semitism is like equating critique of Nazi Germany with with denigrating everything German.
Jun 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier Website June 21, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

@Sam J. "...In the end, it is the American people who decide whether Israel is to be or not to be a vital American ally and friend..."

To make informed decisions you have to have information. The American people don't have that. So they really haven't made a decision at all. They've been tricked into doing things that are covered up in lies. The American people are responsible even if they are being manipulated by the MSM.

Too many Americans are woefully ignorant about the world, particularly about the extent that Jewish interests have manipulated so many aspects of our government and our culture. If you even bring this issue up you are immediately branded a hater and your arguments dismissed.

In short, many Americans are happy to drink the kool aid.

It is a much deeper problem than simply our American Pravda.

Many of us have chosen to be blind, refusing to even consider the possibility that we are being manipulated, and in the process fail as responsible citizens.

One can choose to be red pilled today. This is ultimately the choice to go through life with an open mind and to have a high regard for reality, however uncomfortable that reality may be.

annamaria June 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm GMT

@Sam J. "...The source of Jewish power in the US is their brokerage of voter bias and federal entitlements between the federal government and the public..."

There may be a little bit of that but it's not the main reason. The main reasons are:
1. They own practically all media in the US.
2. They own the FED providing almost limitless cash to their preferred people.
3. They're blackmailing huge numbers of our Representatives with little Boys and little Girls.
4. They'll kill you if they don't get their way.

So if you run against them in the primary you will have extremely well funded opponents and the press will savage you. If that doesn't work they will try to redistrict you out of a job. If that doesn't work they will frame or kill you like they did to Ohio Congressman James Traficant. "1. They own practically all media in the US.
2. They own the FED providing almost limitless cash to their preferred people.
3. They're blackmailing huge numbers of our Representatives with little Boys and little Girls.
4. They'll kill you if they don't get their way."

And this has been leading the States – and Israel along with the States – to the demise. The US governing institutions have lost their ability to respond to reality and instead they respond to personal desires only. Hence the approaching danger of a hot war.

annamaria June 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm GMT

@Sam Shama

Don't look for the exchange with Colbert on YouTube. CBS deleted it from its broadcast and website, demonstrating once again that the "I" word cannot be disparaged on national television.
Is this the one?

http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/tRfgCC966_LEXj4URvqwisoUugDosea4/oliver-stone-spent-two-years-interviewing-vladimir-putin/

If so, you'll need to issue a retraction of your statement and all the other insinuations you derived from it. If it is not the video, I issue my apologies in advance.

......he was assassinated, which was a lucky break for Israel, particularly as Kennedy was replaced by the passionate Zionist Lyndon Baines Johnson.
With this slander which others commented on earlier, it does deserve repeating emphatically, you've submerged yourself in conspiracies for reasons which appear to be occult Jew hatred impossible to contain just under the surface. It beggars belief that statement was written tongue in cheek; excessive cheek, tongue impossible to pry unstuck. An attempt at humour? Poor taste, really.
The Israelis know what is going on all the time.
Pure nonsense at some level. At another level, it is well-known we know more about our allies than their respective governments do and vice versa.
......but it also included an astonishingly large number of Democrats who describe themselves as progressive, including Corey Booker and Kamila Harris,
So they are progressives, what of it? You fail to understand most Americans view Iranians as a nation of people which took hostage American diplomats. These congressmen are doing no more than what their constituents want.

The readership of UR, a collection of a few excellent thinkers, overwhelmed by a larger group of lunatics, do not reflect the sentiment of the vast majority. They could not care what you or I think of Iranians. They remember Nov 1979.

And there's still more. Bill HR 672 Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017 was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 14th.
Antisemitism is a serious matter and it is well for it to bear scrutiny in some cases where through their actions overzealous elements[some in the judiciary] trivialise its intent. But you seem to favour an environment where mere vigilance through a bill deserves defeat. Unanimously.
President Donald Trump traveled to the Middle East claiming to be desirous of starting serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but it was all a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu took him aside and came out with the usual Israeli bullshit about the Palestinians "inciting" violence and hatred of Jews and Trump bought into it
It's comical to behold the "select" group which voted for Trump now complain on these pages of the UR about what the man said he was going to do from the very beginning on the Israel-Palestine issue. It is not a sham. Trump never believed the "bullshit" coming from the U.N. [a body which has over 40 Muslim and Arab members] on the contrary, attacking the solitary Jewish nation state. He required no "taking aside" by Bibi. One needn't travel to the West Bank to find Jew hatred; a few months' worth of reading your columns being quite sufficient.

I might note in passing that there has been no Senate resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bravery exhibited by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty as they were being slaughtered by the Israelis at the same time as Jerusalem was being "liberated"
Such a Senate resolution requires convincing senators of its necessity. No one is stopping anyone.

I understand you feel Jerusalem is better in the hands of Palestinians and Arabs. We disagree.

A gem of an article all things considered.

"You fail to understand most Americans view Iranians as a nation of people which took hostage American diplomats."

You feign ignorance of the USSLiberty. The American servicemen were not just hostages for Israel – American servicemen were murdered by Israelis: https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/
Most Americans are also aware that the US Congress has become Israel-occupied Congress, with the horrific consequences for the global insecurity.
"Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years:" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-19/israel-has-been-secretly-funding-syrian-rebels-years
"The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow:" https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/15/the-kagans-are-back-wars-to-follow/
There was an enormous sympathy for Jewish victims of the WWII; the sympathy and goodwill for Israel have been completed squandered by the bloody ziocons. Only opportunists stay loyal to Israeli agenda, whereas honest people look with horror on the transformation of a victim into an amoral villain.

[Jun 21, 2017] An Assault on Language Extremism by Gregory Barrett

Notable quotes:
"... The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo. ..."
"... As soon as the term "Fake News" appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that "Fake News" was making it "difficult to govern" (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article "Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome"). ..."
"... This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama's incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West. ..."
"... As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party. ..."
"... Things haven't gone so well for the "Fake News" campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet. ..."
"... More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news. ..."
"... It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the "news" content in mainstream media. ..."
"... Social Democrats ..."
"... Christian Democrats ..."
"... The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth. ..."
"... I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. "Extremism" is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity. ..."
Jun 19, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

We have had a certain amount of success in exposing the amorphous and mendacious term "Fake News" for what it is: a tool in a major campaign of propaganda against dissenting independent journalism and political writing, a campaign perpetrated by governments and corporate media. The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo.

As soon as the term "Fake News" appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that "Fake News" was making it "difficult to govern" (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article "Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome").

This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama's incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West.

As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party.

Things haven't gone so well for the "Fake News" campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet.

More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news.

It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the "news" content in mainstream media.

Which brings us to one of the latest victims in the assault on language by the 1% and their pawns in the presstitute media: the word "extremism".

Here in the European Union where I live, this word is currently heard so often in the traditional media – along with another victimized word being brutalized almost non-stop, "populist" – that even poorly-educated persons who aren't sure exactly what is meant can understand that they must mean something very, very bad.

If any such confused persons should take the time to pay closer attention and attempt to ascertain what it is that makes these "extremists" and "populists" so deplorable and dangerous, they may soon notice that at least one of these words, "extremist", has a pretty nebulous field of application. According to major sources of conventional wisdom in the EU, terrorists are "extremists". But "extremism", more generally, is also applied casually to nearly any political parties and interest groups to the Left and the Right of the large (if shrinking in some countries like France) parties called "people's parties" (Volksparteien) here in Germany: the no-longer-socialist Social Democrats who are allegedly center-left, the pseudo-Christian Christian Democrats who portray themselves as center-right, and even the thoroughly compromised and faded-to-brown Green Party , which has gone to great lengths and engaged in stupendous contortions of deliberate conformism to achieve its modern status as a pillar of the established order, a long journey from its radical roots in the 1980s.

As you may have deduced from my snarky tone, I find myself firmly ensconced among the so-called "extremists" of the Left.

What, one may legitimately ask, are the views which have led to this branding as a dangerous individual? Do I advocate keeping a stock of Molotov Cocktails handy for quick use when the shit starts to fly? I do not.

Okay I guess I'll have to come clean. Here are the radical, dangerous, "extremist" positions I support when I advocate more influence for this political party:

In addition, there is my allegedly "extreme" position on the environment, which is not so much a priority for "Die Linke" but is the most important issue of all for me personally. I am convinced that only a radical transformation of the world economy can save this planet, including most life on Earth. I believe this can only come about through an end to industrial capitalism: a ban on most fossil fuels, an end to the production of most plastics, an end to most beef production and strict organic regulation of all meat production, and worldwide mandatory measures to clean up the poisonous residue of the current system which is killing the planet. This will necessarily involve huge cuts in most military structures and war-making as well. The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth.

For these views, and my concomitant rejection of the large political parties in the EU and the USA which have done almost nothing to save the planet that was not outweighed by massive destruction – parties which thus, in the name of "realism", have sold our future to the rich and may have doomed all life on this planet, as scientific opinion is near unanimous that time is short – for these views I am labeled an "extremist".

I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. "Extremism" is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity.

[Jun 19, 2017] The Politics of Lying by Henry A. Giroux

The author mixed Trump with Clinton political machine and his characterization are applicable first of all to Clinton political machine, and only secondarily to Trump,
Notable quotes:
"... As important as the Trump-Comey affair is, it runs the risk of both exacerbating the transformation of politics into theater ..."
"... You belong by affirming. To win, you don't need reasons anymore, only power." ..."
"... This is especially important at a time when the United States is no longer a functioning democracy and is in the presence of what Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis refer to in their book Liquid Evil as "the emergence of modern barbarity." ..."
"... Note: This is an expanded version of a piece that originally appeared on Ragazine . ..."
Jun 15, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

...Trump cannot be trusted because he not only infects political discourse with a language of hate, bigotry and lies, but also because he has allowed an ideology built on the use of disinformation to take over the White House. Under the Trump administration, the truth is distorted for ideological, political and commercial reasons. Lying has become an industry and tool of power. All administrations and governments lie, but under Trump lying has become normalized. It is a calling card for corruption and lawlessness, one that provides the foundation for authoritarianism.

Trump is a salesman and a bully. He constantly assumes the macho swagger of a used car salesman from a TV commercial while at the same time, as Rebecca Solnit observes, he bullies facts and truths as well as friends and acquaintances. He is obsessed with power and prides himself on the language of command, loyalty and humiliation. He appears fixated on the fear that the United States could still act on the memory, if not the ghosts, of a real democracy.

... ... ...

A democracy cannot exist without informed citizens and public spheres and educational apparatuses that uphold standards of truth, honesty, evidence, facts and justice. Under Trump, disinformation masquerading as news -- often via his Twitter account -- has become a weapon for legitimating ignorance and civic illiteracy. Not only has Trump lied repeatedly, he has also attacked the critical media, claimed journalists are enemies of the American people and argued that the media is the opposition party. There is more at stake here than the threat of censorship or the normalization of lying; there is also an attack on long-valued sources of information and the public spheres that produce them. Trump's government has become a powerful disimagination machine in which the distinction between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy are erased.

... ... ...

Berkowitz's piece is worth citing at length. He writes :

The reason fact-checking is ineffective today -- at least in convincing those who are members of movements -- is that the mobilized members of a movement are confounded by a world resistant to their wishes and prefer the promise of a consistent alternate world to reality. When Donald Trump says he's going to build a wall to protect our borders, he is not making a factual statement that an actual wall will actually protect our borders; he is signaling a politically incorrect willingness to put America first. When he says that there was massive voter fraud or boasts about the size of his inauguration crowd, he is not speaking about actual facts, but is insisting that his election was legitimate. 'What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part.' Leaders of these mass totalitarian movements do not need to believe in the truth of their lies and ideological clichés. The point of their fabrications is not to establish facts, but to create a coherent fictional reality. What a movement demands of its leaders is the articulation of a consistent narrative combined with the ability to abolish the capacity for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, between reality and fiction.

As important as the Trump-Comey affair is, it runs the risk of both exacerbating the transformation of politics into theater and reinforcing what Todd Gitlin refers to as Trump's support for an "apocalyptic nationalism, the point of which is to belong, not to believe. You belong by affirming. To win, you don't need reasons anymore, only power." Trump values loyalty over integrity. He lies, in part, to test the loyalty of those who both follow him and align themselves with his power. The Trump-Comey affair must be understood within a broader attack on the fundamentals of education, critical modes of agency and democracy itself.

This is especially important at a time when the United States is no longer a functioning democracy and is in the presence of what Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis refer to in their book Liquid Evil as "the emergence of modern barbarity." Trump's discourse of lies, misrepresentations and fakery makes it all the more urgent for us to acknowledge that education is at the center of politics because it is crucial in the struggle over consciousness, values, identity and agency. Ignorance in the service of education targets the darkness and reinforces and thrives on civic illiteracy. Trump's disinformation machine is about more than lying. It is about using all of the tools and resources for education to create a dystopia in which authoritarianism exercises the raw power of ignorance and control.

Artists, educators, young people, journalists and others need to make the virtue of truth-telling visible again. We need to connect democracy with a notion of truth-telling and consciousness that is on the side of economic and political justice, and democracy itself. If we are all going to fight for and with the most marginalized people, there must be a broader understanding of their needs. We need to create narratives and platforms in which those who have been deemed disposable can identify themselves and the conditions through which power and oppression bear down on their lives.

This is not an easy task, but nothing less than justice, democracy and the planet itself are at risk.

Note: This is an expanded version of a piece that originally appeared on Ragazine . Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission of the author.

Henry A. Giroux Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books are America's Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016) and America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017). He is also a contributing editor to a number of journals, including Tikkun, the Journal of Wild Culture and Ragazine. Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is www.henryagiroux.com .

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 15, 2017] Liars Lying About Nearly Everything by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington. ..."
"... More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium. ..."
"... So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington's admittedly low standards of rectitude. ..."
"... The Saudis also have considerable blood on their hands by way of their genocidal assault on neighboring Yemen. In addition, the Saudi Royal House has served as the principal propagator of Wahhabism, the virulently fundamentalist version of Islam that provides a form of religious legitimacy to terror while also motivating many young Muslims to join radical groups. ..."
"... The falling out of two Gulf Arab regimes might be a matter of relatively little importance but for the unnecessary intervention of President Donald Trump in the quarrel. ..."
"... Trump's tweets might well be regarded as simply maladroit, driven by ignorance, but they could also provide a glimpse of a broader agenda. While in the Middle East, Trump was bombarded with anti-Iranian propaganda coming from both Israel and the Saudis. An escalation of hostilities with the intention of starting an actual war involving the United States to take down Iran is not unimaginable, particularly as the Israelis, who have already endorsed the Saudi moves, have been arguing that option and lying about the threat posed by Tehran for a number of years. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com
Terrorism supporters in Washington and Riyadh close ranks against Qatar

The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington.

More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium.

So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington's admittedly low standards of rectitude. On the 5th of June, Saudi Arabia led a gaggle of Arab and Muslim nations that included the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut off all diplomatic, commercial and transport links with Qatar, effectively blockading it. Qatar is currently isolated from its neighbors, subject to sanctions, and there have even been Saudi threats of going to war against its tiny neighbor. Salman al-Ansari, the president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, even tweeted: "To the emir of Qatar, regarding your alignment with the extremist government of Iran and your abuse of the Custodian of the two sacred mosques, I would like to remind you that Mohammed Morsi [of Egypt] did exactly the same and was then toppled and imprisoned."

It is the second time the Saudis have moved against Qatar. Two years ago, there was a break in diplomatic relations, but they were eventually restored. This time, the principal allegation being directed against Qatar by Riyadh is that it supports terrorism. The terrorist groups that it allegedly embraces are Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's affiliation. Hezbollah and Hamas are close to Iran which is perhaps the real reason for their being singled out as many would call them resistance movements or even legitimate political parties rather than terrorists. And the Iran connection is critical as Qatar has been under fire for allegedly saying nice things about trying to respect and get along with Tehran, undoubtedly somewhat motivated by its joint exploitation with Iran of a vast gas field in the Persian Gulf.

Qatar's ownership of al-Jazeera also has been a sore point with the Saudis and other Gulf states as its reporting has often been critical of developments in the region, criticisms that have often rankled the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptians. It has been accused of spreading propaganda for "militant groups." One of the Saudi demands to permit Qatar to again become a "normal" Arab Gulf state would be to close down the network.

The terrorism claims by the Saudis are, of course, hypocritical. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are well known as sponsors of Salafist terrorism, including the funding and arming of groups like ISIS and the various al-Qaeda franchises, to include al-Nusra. Much of the money admittedly comes from private individuals and is often channeled through Islamic charities, but both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been extremely lax in their enforcement of anti-terror and money laundering regulations. In a 2009 State Department memo signed off on by Hillary Clinton it was stated that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide." Qatar, meanwhile, has been described as a "permissive environment for terrorist financing."

The Saudis also have considerable blood on their hands by way of their genocidal assault on neighboring Yemen. In addition, the Saudi Royal House has served as the principal propagator of Wahhabism, the virulently fundamentalist version of Islam that provides a form of religious legitimacy to terror while also motivating many young Muslims to join radical groups.

The falling out of two Gulf Arab regimes might be a matter of relatively little importance but for the unnecessary intervention of President Donald Trump in the quarrel. He has taken credit for the burgeoning conflict, implying that his recent visit to the region set the stage for the ostracizing of Qatar. His twitter on the affair, posted on June 6 th , read ""So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" And he again came down on Qatar on June 9 th during a press conference.

Trump's tweets might well be regarded as simply maladroit, driven by ignorance, but they could also provide a glimpse of a broader agenda. While in the Middle East, Trump was bombarded with anti-Iranian propaganda coming from both Israel and the Saudis. An escalation of hostilities with the intention of starting an actual war involving the United States to take down Iran is not unimaginable, particularly as the Israelis, who have already endorsed the Saudi moves, have been arguing that option and lying about the threat posed by Tehran for a number of years.

[Jun 14, 2017] Secret societies, Emperor's New Clothes, obvious lies, crimes

Notable quotes:
"... The US is a literal rogue state empire led by neocolonial looting liars. ..."
"... Rogue state empire ..."
Jun 14, 2017 | www.washingtonsblog.com

The societies try to be "secret," but their lies and crimes are Emperor's New Clothes obvious for anyone caring to apply a high school level of education to look:

[Jun 14, 2017] In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc, June 14, 2017 at 08:59 AM

Timely Thought of the Day:

"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

George Orwell

anne , June 14, 2017 at 11:49 AM
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

There is no reason to think that this passage, however interesting, was written or spoken by George Orwell.

Fred C. Dobbs - , June 14, 2017 at 12:21 PM
More on this:

In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling
the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/02/24/truth-revolutionary/

im1dc - , June 14, 2017 at 02:27 PM
Hey, "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" remains a great thought for today, whoever said it.
ilsm - , June 14, 2017 at 02:59 PM
orwell also did not actually say 'we should love those rough men in the night who slaughter for us so we can sleep in 68 degree air conditioning bc the Saudi remain in power........'

And GC Scott's Patton's speech was a compilation.......

im1dc - , June 14, 2017 at 02:26 PM
My copy of Barlett's does not list this Orwell quote and Fred's link pretty well dispells it from being definitively an Orwell quote, although not absolutely.

It is possible that he did SAY IT to some group or other in England, rather than write it in one of his books, essays, or articles and that is how it survives today with his attribution.

Such attribution is not unheard of for older English authors. Apparently they drank a lot in pubs and clubs.

Keep in mind that even today the English don't 100% agree that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's plays or poems, at least not without help from another.

libezkova - , June 14, 2017 at 03:21 PM
A similar saying was used by Ron Paul in 2008-"Truth is treason in the empire of lies."

http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/in_a_time_of_universal_deceit_telling_the_truth_is_a_revolutionary_act/

== quote==
Entry from August 15, 2011

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"


"In a time/state of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" is a statement often attributed to author George Orwell (1903-1950). The saying doesn't appear in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948), his essay "Politics and the English Language" (1946), or any other of Orwell's writings. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1984 (when it was attributed to George Orwell).

A similar saying was used by author and presidential candidate Ron Paul in 2008-"Truth is treason in the empire of lies."

[Jun 13, 2017] Donald has morphed. He is now part neocon and part Wall St. errand-boy.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump has been captured by the Deep State and the mainstream Zio-media. First, the implacable Left-Hollywood-Zionist axis unnerved, abused, and punked Trump out. Then they and their minions harassed and spooked him. Insurrection was in the air–ever as the President was being sworn into office! ..."
"... Has any newly-elected president has ever been treated so disdainfully and with such widespread contempt? It was very unsettling. Then Trump blinked. After that he caved. Now he is moving rapidly 'towards the center'. Unfortunately, this 'centrism' will require a Mideast war. The Donald has morphed. He is now part neocon and part Wall St. errand-boy. ..."
"... The hysteria over 'Russian interference' is a complete fabrication. This very accusation turns reality upside down. But it persists. What's going on? These illusions are pure Zionist subterfuge. Trump's now their boy. ..."
"... First up: Israel's foes. (Syria, Iran and Russia.) But who cares? Why should this matter? As Bibi Netanyahu observed: "America can be moved". And Bibi's quite right. Therefore, Trump's pro-Zionist militancy is being sold as something else ('war on terror') even though it is being championed by the usual Zionist cheerleaders in media and in government. Pro-Zionist alliances however radiate in odd directions. This explains Washington's (and our news media's) rising love affair with the House of Saud. Note that the Saudi Royals 1) have totally accepted Israel, 2) have absolutely nothing negative to say (or do) regarding Israel's subjugation of Palestine, 3) are hostile to Iran (like Israel), and 4) are willing also to accept the Kingdoms's second-tier military status vis-a-vis Israel. ..."
"... For these reasons, the authoritarian, undemocratic, and terror-funding Royal Saudi family is totally 'in sync' with Zio-Washington. The Saudis are even safe from any potential US-Israeli destabilization campaign. (At least for now.) ..."
"... In any case, US aid will flow immensely, unconditionally and without interruption to glorious 'democratic' Israel. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Mark Green, June 13, 2017 at 9:49 am GMT

Trump has been captured by the Deep State and the mainstream Zio-media. First, the implacable Left-Hollywood-Zionist axis unnerved, abused, and punked Trump out. Then they and their minions harassed and spooked him. Insurrection was in the air–ever as the President was being sworn into office!

Has any newly-elected president has ever been treated so disdainfully and with such widespread contempt? It was very unsettling. Then Trump blinked. After that he caved. Now he is moving rapidly 'towards the center'. Unfortunately, this 'centrism' will require a Mideast war. The Donald has morphed. He is now part neocon and part Wall St. errand-boy.

Trump–who campaigned on a populist, pro-American, non-interventionist platform–has his new, improved sights set on toppling/destabilizing Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Haven't we seen this song and dance before?

Yes we have, despite the fact that these distant, non-nuclear states do not threaten US interests and do not threaten US security in any way, shape, or form.

Huge lies have become 'facts'.

Russia's alleged influence in our presidential election, for instance, is not even a fraction of what Israel can impose almost effortlessly.

The hysteria over 'Russian interference' is a complete fabrication. This very accusation turns reality upside down. But it persists. What's going on? These illusions are pure Zionist subterfuge. Trump's now their boy.

The wall with Mexico will just have to wait; as will Trump's infrastructure build. Gotta take out Assad first! After all, Syria shares a disputed border with Israel. That's important!

First up: Israel's foes. (Syria, Iran and Russia.) But who cares? Why should this matter? As Bibi Netanyahu observed: "America can be moved". And Bibi's quite right. Therefore, Trump's pro-Zionist militancy is being sold as something else ('war on terror') even though it is being championed by the usual Zionist cheerleaders in media and in government. Pro-Zionist alliances however radiate in odd directions. This explains Washington's (and our news media's) rising love affair with the House of Saud. Note that the Saudi Royals 1) have totally accepted Israel, 2) have absolutely nothing negative to say (or do) regarding Israel's subjugation of Palestine, 3) are hostile to Iran (like Israel), and 4) are willing also to accept the Kingdoms's second-tier military status vis-a-vis Israel.

For these reasons, the authoritarian, undemocratic, and terror-funding Royal Saudi family is totally 'in sync' with Zio-Washington. The Saudis are even safe from any potential US-Israeli destabilization campaign. (At least for now.)

But alliances can change rapidly, especially when anti-Zionist regimes rise and persist. Then they get targeted. (See: 'Saddam's Iraq'. See: 'Gadaffi's Libya'.) Up next: Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

In any case, US aid will flow immensely, unconditionally and without interruption to glorious 'democratic' Israel.

BTW- while it's widely known (and continuously recalled) that Hearst and his newspapers promoted the Spanish-American war (as Mr. Giraldi notes above) what's been mostly forgotten is that Hearst and his newspapers largely opposed Washington's entry into both WWI and WWII. 'Citizen Kane' and the endless array of Hearst-bashing references ignore this neglected yet significant fact. In fact, it was none other than Joseph Pulitzer (for whom the pretentious and politicized journalistic prizes are named) whose newspapers helped spearhead the international campaign for America's unnecessary and tragic entry into WWI.

Pulitzer was as influential as Hearst – and every bit as sensational. But Pulitzer was both anti-German and very pro-US-intervention in Europe. Unlike Hearst, Pulitzer demonized Imperial Germany long before the Great War began and it was Pulitzer – not Hearst–who helped sanitize America's pre-war efforts (before WWII) to aid the British and violate laws that sought to preserve US neutrality.

Like Hearst, Pulitzer was an artful media demagogue; but it was Pulitzer – not Hearst – who used his skills and power to steer America into the two greatest political conflicts ever seen. Joseph Pulitzer was also Jewish.

[Jun 13, 2017] June 13, 2017 at 4:32 am GMT

Notable quotes:
"... So watch the lies if you want to know when the next war is coming. If the House of Saud, the Israelis and Donald Trump are talking trash and seem to agree about something then it is time to head for the bomb shelter. Will it be Iran or an escalating catastrophe in Syria? Anything is possible. ..."
"... Looks like the Saudis have pretty much bought us off with their ridiculously large arms purchases and other ways of sending their billions our way. Money talks. The other stuff is just window dressing. We're their hired help and security guard. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com
truthtellerAryan Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:07 am GMT

Hi PG, could our commander-in-chief have had ulterior reasons to cook up the ostracizing of Qatar?

https://www.google.com/amp/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_593d6691e4b0c5a35ca06118/amp

Mind you, we have these obese brainless stooges who would dance to any tune as long as they're assured they'll still be in power comes tomorrow. Now the assurance has also been approved by the masters, DJT is in deeply with the Ziocons . When our masters accomplish this mission, than we'll again be led to the next one. The Ayrabs don't seem to get it yet. They'll all end up in the Zionists slaughterhouse
It seems Gen. Clark was right, just a little diversion here.
What will become of the average Goy?

exiled off mainstreet Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:08 am GMT

Let me commend Mr. Giraldi for another excellent contribution. The Saudi regime is the chief enemy of civilization and those backing it are tarred with the same brush. It is disappointing to see Trump taken in by the deep state love of the Saudi barbarians.

Miro23 Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT

So watch the lies if you want to know when the next war is coming. If the House of Saud, the Israelis and Donald Trump are talking trash and seem to agree about something then it is time to head for the bomb shelter. Will it be Iran or an escalating catastrophe in Syria? Anything is possible.

A fine article, and the answer to all this surely lies with the US. If Trump had pulled out of Middle East conflicts (as he was elected to do), all this talk would be much less dangerous. Israel and Saudi Arabia aren't going to attack Iran on their own.

Fran Macadam Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 8:29 am GMT

It's The Art of the War Deal.

LondonBob Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:44 am GMT

The Israeli and Saudi lobbies, and associated actors, seem to have had some success. I still don't see it going much further, Trump instinctively doesn't want another Iraq on his watch whatever the likes of Mattis etc. wish to engineer.

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:51 am GMT

@Mark Green

what's been mostly forgotten is that Hearst and his newspapers largely opposed Washington's entry into both WWI and WWII. ' Citizen Kane' and the endless array of Hearst-bashing references ignore this neglected yet significant fact.

Very, very true, and funny how that works. In the same way Charles Lindbergh, because of his opposition to entering WW2, has been egregiously smeared as an "anti-Semite" and the charge still sticks to this day.

Thanks for pointing that out, and informing us about Poo-litzer.

RealAmerican Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:51 am GMT

@anon An anonymous dim-witted nincompoop attacking the honorable and brave Mr. Giraldi for speaking the truth. The definition of cowardice, I bet.

AmericaFirstNow Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:11 am GMT

All in accord with the rest of the Israeli Likudnik Oded Yinon neocon plan vs Iran which Netanyahu's Israel AIPAC agent Kushner has duped the Saudis into supporting as well because of their Sunni vs Shia hatred of Iran:

http://america-hijacked.com/2014/07/13/the-unfolding-of-yinons-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east-the-crisis-in-iraq-and-the-centrality-of-the-national-interest-of-israel/

Netanyahu's Israel 1st AIPAC agent Kushner has Trump pushing Israel Lobby agenda vs Syria as well:

http://america-hijacked.com/2012/02/12/israel-lobby-pushes-for-us-action-against-the-syrian-government/

No surprise when pandering Hillary Clinton pushed Syrian regime change for Israel's sake as well:

http://america-hijacked.com/2016/03/22/clinton-email-shows-us-sought-syria-regime-change-for-israels-sake/

So ISIS attacks Europe and US because of Israel:

So no surprise when Netanyahu said US is easily manipulated at following URL:

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2010/07/18/netanyahu-us-easily-manipulated

George Washington must be rolling in his grave for pandering US politicians who ignore his Farewell Address warning at following URL:

http://astandforjustice.org/#washington

Anonymous Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:20 am GMT

@exiled off mainstreet

Let me commend Mr. Giraldi for another excellent contribution. The Saudi regime is the chief enemy of civilization and those backing it are tarred with the same brush. It is disappointing to see Trump taken in by the deep state love of the Saudi barbarians. "The Saudi regime is the chief enemy of civilization "

Looks like you have a problem with reading comprehension. Read the first two paragraphs again, and then review who is indeed the Chief enemy of civilisation.

AmericaFirstNow Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:21 am GMT

@AmericaFirstNow All in accord with the rest of the Israeli Likudnik Oded Yinon neocon plan vs Iran which Netanyahu's Israel AIPAC agent Kushner has duped the Saudis into supporting as well because of their Sunni vs Shia hatred of Iran:

http://america-hijacked.com/2014/07/13/the-unfolding-of-yinons-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east-the-crisis-in-iraq-and-the-centrality-of-the-national-interest-of-israel/

Netanyahu's Israel 1st AIPAC agent Kushner has Trump pushing Israel Lobby agenda vs Syria as well:

http://america-hijacked.com/2012/02/12/israel-lobby-pushes-for-us-action-against-the-syrian-government/

No surprise when pandering Hillary Clinton pushed Syrian regime change for Israel's sake as well:

http://america-hijacked.com/2016/03/22/clinton-email-shows-us-sought-syria-regime-change-for-israels-sake/

So ISIS attacks Europe and US because of Israel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48_ZeiK5gqU

CIA's Mike Scheuer on ISIS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHwp7uwK6bc

CIA's Mike Scheuer on terrorism motivation ignored by US media:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ncn5Q16N4&list=PL3C32560738EF3C30&feature=plpp

Petraeus & CENTCOM warned of Israel threat as well:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/07/general-petraeus-israel-emails


Israel as terrorism motivation for San Bernardino ignored by US media as well:

http://mondoweiss.net/2015/12/reported-politely-ignores/

Paul Findley: The High Cost of Subservience to Israel:

http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0064805.html

See Dutch AIPAC documentary via following Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N294FMDok98

So no surprise when Netanyahu said US is easily manipulated at following URL:

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2010/07/18/netanyahu-us-easily-manipulated

George Washington must be rolling in his grave for pandering US politicians who ignore his Farewell Address warning at following URL:

http://astandforjustice.org/#washington

Just noticed that the youtube for Michael Scheuer's CNN interview with Smerconish about ISIS didn't go through in prior post! Following one should:
War for Blair Mountain Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:21 am GMT

@anon

Iran poses no threat to the Native Born White American Working Class.

Your allegiance is to Greater Israel

Phil and I have 0 allegiance to Israel Donald Trump's allegiance is to Greater Israel and this makes Donald Trump a GOD DAM TRAITOR!!! ...

dearieme Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

"The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846″: 1812.

ANON Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:30 am GMT

@Mark Green Well I have to thank you for prompting me to read up on Joseph Pulitzer"s remarkable career but I can't commend your attention to detail or recommend you as a source of accurate information to others.

There is a slight problem about your blaming him for being (before WW1) "pro US intervention in Europe" having "demonized Imperial Germany" and then that he "helped sanitize American efforts (pre WW2) to help the British". *He died in 1911* .

Interesting to compare Pulitzer's great career with that of another Central European Jew who immigrated with no English but built a popular newspaper empire. Both served in the armed forces of their adopted country. The other is that appalling rogue Robert Maxwell.

AmericaFirstNow Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT

See following article from Jewish Forward publication on how Netanyahu's Israel 1st AIPAC agent Kushner (who arranged Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel) has brought other Jewish AIPAC Israel 1sters into the White House:

http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/359120/jared-kushners-friend-picked-by-donald-trump-as-assistant/

NoseytheDuke Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:34 am GMT

@Wizard of Oz Idiot! The lie that OBL was involved in any way in 9/11 for just one. The lie that he was killed in the Delta 6 raid in Pakistan is another.

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 11:38 am GMT

Speaking of lies, war and the media, let us not forget the blatant lying about Stalin's crimes by Walter Duranty published in the New York Times for which the scumbag was awarded a prize by Pulitzer, another Red Millionaire.

It took the Times around half a century to begin to publicly admit to its callous malfeasance, yet apparently..

The Pulitzer board has twice declined to withdraw the award, most recently in November 2003, finding "no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception" in the 1931 reporting that won the prize (see Pulitzer Board statement), and The Times does not have the award in its possession.

- New York Times Statement About 1932 Pulitzer Prize Awarded to Walter Duranty

http://www.nytco.com/new-york-times-statement-about-1932-pulitzer-prize-awarded-to-walter-duranty/

Also note that in the statement, they deceitfully attempt to shift the responsibility for dirtball reporting on the effects of Soviet censorship, which though real, is no excuse for their mendacity.

anonymous Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 12:28 pm GMT

Looks like the Saudis have pretty much bought us off with their ridiculously large arms purchases and other ways of sending their billions our way. Money talks. The other stuff is just window dressing. We're their hired help and security guard.

War for Blair Mountain Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm GMT

Phil

Seriously 1846 is not relevant .and anyone who thinks it is in the context of opposing the ongoing war against Christian Russia and Shia Muslim Iran is not really a serious anti-war critic ..You need to deal with the fact that many of us here on Unz Review do not suffer from even a speck of White Guilt .even Old Noam Chomsky likes his precious Israel Jew only .which is the reason why Noam and Norman Finklestien are opposed to the right of return for Palestinians

So be a good phenomenologist and remember that context is everything

Philip Giraldi Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm GMT

@MSB Done! Thanks for catching it!

Agent76 Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm GMT

Jun 6, 2017 America's Reign of Terror: A Nation Reaps What It Sows

The U.S. government is creating the terror. It is, in fact, the source of the terror. Just think about it for a minute: almost every tyranny being perpetrated against the citizenry-purportedly to keep us safe and the nation secure-has come about as a result of some threat manufactured in one way or another by the U.S. government.

War for Blair Mountain Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm GMT

Phil

I can tell you from first hand personal family reasons that the filthy cockroach Donald Trump has very big plans to slaughter the Working Class Native Born White Christian American Male Teenager Population by using them as canon fodder for Greater Israel in a war with Shia Muslim Iran. This is Donald Trump's MAGA JOBS PROGRAM .post-Gruman Corp MAGA rally a year ago

Trump is as much of a filthy repellent cockroach as Hillary and Bill Clinton.

It looks like Trump's red hat MAGA HAT WEARING CHICKENHAWK WARHAWK JOCKSNIFFING White Male Voting Bloc Cucks and they are most definitely CUCKS who deserve to have the shit beat out of them .have given Trump a blank check to 1)bomb Hezzbollah in Syria and 2)bomb Shia Muslim Iran for Greater Israel

Donald Trump+Hillary Clinton=a "cute" post-nuclear WW3 cockroach breeding pair .a 13 billion year COCKROACH RIECH!!!

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm GMT

@NoseytheDuke I never doubted that you think that but PG is a comparatively serious person and I wondered what he would say, choosing his words as carefully as he quite often seems to. Come to think of it I think he's been caught out being a bit careless on some of his other details this time.

And what's your version of sbat happened at Abbotabad and why?

nsa Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT

The jooies and their kept eunuchs in wash dc are complaining their precious US (((holocaust))) museum is only being funded with 54 million in American taxpayer funds. This underfunding is very serious as they will have to close the lampshade wing and the soap bar exhibition. Contact your congressional whore immediately and complain ..

anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Hey Happy Guy ,
Whats the problem. Giraldi is always whining about America and praising Iran. Why should he stay here . If he likes Iran so much he should move there . Do you think Giraldi should disclose if he has received money from any Iranian entity ??

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

@NoseytheDuke Presumably you think ObL died much earlier than the Navy Seals raid. But why would Obama go along with the charade? No doubt you would say he was looking for political advantage domestically – to which of course I answer that he wouldn't be so dumb as to believe that no one would blow the whistle.

Let's move on to whete you say the extremely long and detailed account of ObL's death in Wikipedia is wrong and say why. In particular, how come Al Qaeda and other Muslim organisations announced his death and threatened revenge?

War for Blair Mountain Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm GMT

@anon Well now first of all, .I want to greet you with a great big FUCK OFF!!! .Dearest Ivanka

The target of Phil's venom are the Jewish Neocons .and non-Jewish Neocons:The homo- cannibal General Mattis .Hannibal Lectre look-a-like General McMaster in-a-flava-bean-salad with the homo General Mattis .and the filthy cockroach breeding pair Donald Trump and his cockroach husband Hillary Clinton .and the SATANIST!!! that own and run the Military Industrial Complex ..the treasonous SATANIC NON-AMERICAN-ANTI-AMERICAN CABAL spawned in Satan's personal toilet bowl in rancid rotting corpse strewn HELL!!

Z-man Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm GMT

@Mark Green True, thank you and depressing, but hope springs eternal and I'm hoping Trump still has some independent thought and some patriotism and patriots behind him!

Chris Mallory Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

Mexico had more right to Tejas than the Zionist gangsters have to Palestine.

Neither group has any claim to the land. Mexico invited the Americans into Texas, primarily because Mexico could not deal with the Comanche who lived in Texas and raided both Texas and Mexico. Mexico then lost the war against the Texans and lost all claim to Texas.

Much of the SW, though claimed by Mexico was controlled by either the Comanche or the Apache.

Those tribes might have a claim, but Mexico has none.

David Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm GMT

@Lot You're displaying poor moral character to call the author America-hating.

Z-man Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

@AmericaFirstNow Unfortunately Mr. Scheuer hasn't been on TV much lately.

Z-man Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:42 pm GMT

@AmericaFirstNow See following article from Jewish Forward publication on how Netanyahu's Israel 1st AIPAC agent Kushner (who arranged Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel) has brought other Jewish AIPAC Israel 1sters into the White House:

http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/359120/jared-kushners-friend-picked-by-donald-trump-as-assistant/ The infestations continue.

Z-man Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT

@anonymous

Looks like the Saudis have pretty much bought us off with their ridiculously large arms purchases and other ways of sending their billions our way. Money talks. The other stuff is just window dressing. We're their hired help and security guard.

Ah but there's the rub, and a good one, as the die hard Zionists in the US Congress, isn't that redundant, are already complaining about the deal. http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-senate-democrats-rallying-votes-against-saudi-arms-sale
Hopefully the rats will kill themselves!

Theres also this from 'Up Chuck' Schumer;

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/schumer-to-oppose-smart-bomb-sale-to-saudi-arabia

Mark Green Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

@ANON Joseph Pulitzer II ran the St. Louis Post Dispatch and NY World after his father's death. He was a staunch supporter of FDR.

MarkinLA Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Mexico lost Texas because Santa Anna made himself a dictator and caused revolts all around Mexico. The Texans just happened to win. Mexico was trying to raise an army to retake it when the US annexed Texas.

Mexico made the stupid mistakes. Mexico knew the US wanted Texas and California. Mexico had rejected offers to buy them. Mexico should have done everything it could to avoid giving the US a chance to grab them.

Dutch Boy Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm GMT

@Lot Quite correct. Polk wanted to buy the eventual Mexican Cession, not conquer it.

Santoculto Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT

@anon Jewnonymous

Realist Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm GMT

"In a 2009 State Department memo signed off on by Hillary Clinton it was stated that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.""

Why the hell would use anything Clinton said or did to advocate a position?

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 4:47 pm GMT

@Chris Mallory You are correct that the Mexicans invited Americans into Texas, (talk about the negative effects of encouraging immigration), and Mexico may never have had much claim to the land, but they still have a more legitimate claim than the Zionist gangsters have on Palestine.

In fact, if there were no oil in the region, I suspect the Zionists would all move to NYC!

Rurik Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm GMT

@Mark Green

Note that the Saudi Royals 1) have totally accepted Israel, 2) have absolutely nothing negative to say (or do) regarding Israel's subjugation of Palestine, 3) are hostile to Iran (like Israel), and 4) are willing also to accept the Kingdoms's second-tier military status vis-a-vis Israel.

For these reasons, the authoritarian, undemocratic, and terror-funding Royal Saudi family is totally 'in sync' with Zio-Washington. The Saudis are even safe from any potential US-Israeli destabilization campaign. (At least for now.)

to understand the Saudi leadership, you need only see how they got along with Iran during the reign of the Shah; a Zio/Anglo quisling installed after the CIA putsch that removed the legitimate, democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27état

Under the quisling puppet Shah, Iran was terrorized by a CIA/Mossad run organization notorious for its torture methods.

Time magazine described SAVAK as having "long been Iran's most hated and feared institution" which had "tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah's opponents."[24] The Federation of American Scientists also found it guilty of "the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners" and symbolizing "the Shah's rule from 1963–79." The FAS list of SAVAK torture methods included "electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails."[25]

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

it was during this reign of Zionist and Anglo terror that the corrupt House of Saud got along wonderfully with the Shah's Zio-Iran. Here you see the king of Saudi Arabia dancing for the amusement of the treacherous little Shah:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYIft-_FcYQ

- who exhorted the rulers of Saudi Arabia to embrace the cultural and spiritual sewage of the Zio-West thus:

"Please, my brother, modernize. Open up your country. Make the schools mixed women and men. Let women wear miniskirts. Have discos. Be modern. Otherwise I cannot guarantee you will stay on your throne."[15]

as long as Iran was under the thrall of the Fiend, the Saudi were their bestest buddies ever. They were also bestest buddies with Israel and England and the ZUSA.

so much treachery and evil and oppression and murder and torture.. it makes the head spin.

anyways, what do you expect from a fiend, I guess

so today the Saudis are still under the thrall of the same Fiend, but Iran is not. Hence Saudi Arabia assassinates Shia clerics it doesn't like, and Iran gets blamed for human rights violations.

The lies and mendacity and treachery are nearly beyond comprehension. The Saudis toss their fellow Arabs in Palestine under the Zionist bus, and fund and foment ISIS to crucify Christians and burn men alive. The stark divisions between good and evil (if there are such concepts) could hardly be more glaring.

and yet the Zio-fiend has Trump making nice with the murderous, terrorist-funding Saudis, while saber rattling at the peaceful and civilized Iran.

great article yet again Mr. Giraldi !

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT

@MarkinLA Yeah, I know all about it. At one time I was a great admirer of the Texians, and the constitution of the Texas Republic, and used to love to visit the Alamo before it was done over. Anyway my main point was not about Mexico or Texas.

BTW, as you probably know, Davey Crockett was one of the original "Love it or Leave It" dudes and left the US in disgust (in 1836) with craven, dishonest, politicians after his stints in government including Congress and headed for Texas telling the story that if not re-elected, his constituents could go to Hell, and [he] would go to Texas.

Rotten politicians are an original and permanent feature of American political life, it seems.

Z-man Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 5:41 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain

The homo- cannibal General Mattis .

LOL!!!

Sam McGowan Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm GMT

I've been to Iran and anyone who thinks a war there would be easy has rocks in their head.

Jake Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm GMT

I believe Qatar has the highest per capita income (for its citizens) in the world. That can never sit well with the House of Saud.

The British Empire made the House of Saud what it is, and the American successors of the Brits intend to keep the con game going. Wise and decent US leadership would recognize the Saudis as the worst of the Middle East and act accordingly. But the English all but created them, and we follow the English lead. And ow that the Israelis dearly love the Saudis, we can expect to see US-Israeli-Saudi mischief all over the region.

iveritas Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT

PG is a true and a great patriot. those who have the chutzpa to tell PG, "move to Iran", my message to you is, move to Saudi Arabia or to Israel. But then again, most likely you're already there.

On the plus side, the personal attacks on PG are great. It means he must be doing something right.

Not to mention, when comments take the form of personal attacks instead of arguing the principle tenants of the article, it means the other side doesn't have a defensible point of view. Which only means PG's assertions are correct and indisputable.

I see some red-blooded Americans arguing about Texas, not being in Mexico. These people are forgetting the best form of patriotism is true understanding of our history as a nation. Ignorance and waiving a flag alone is not patriotism. Patriotism is defending the foundation and principles of our nation. Mainly, our constitution. Texas or the number of stars on our flag, etc. does not make America. America for me is the principles our founding father put forth. Which was formulated in a document far advanced for its time (even for today) in the form of our constitution.

Anything outside of the framework of our nation, I consider false or anger-patriotism. There is a reason why media has played a role in shaping the wars of choice mentioned in this article. Because faced with true facts against the framework of our constitution, those wars are not in the best interests of the public or the country.

Thank you, PG!

Moi Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT

It would be great to have Mr. Giraldi write an article about the Mother of all Terrorism.

edNels Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Now that's something. 13 billion years of COCKROACH REICK PESTILENCE!

Who or what is underlying the common denominator that makes it compelling to work so hard to bring about the ideal conditions for the Cockroach infestation that will grow after the Nuclear conflagration that is the fruit of Heimy science? (Poison/long half-lives.)

Or, what is the correlation in DNA of the Cockroach and some humanoids? Ever think of that?

God (as he may be understood,) or not, has infinity to work it out, and one lead that should be gone into could be where (from a concept called "Morphic Resonance" which posits that within DNA code there is much dormant potentiality, that also can be shown to tie together various diverse life forms.

INO's, some of the humans are in effect analogous to David Icke's ideas about lizards, or like the Bodysnatchers concept of long ago SF movies, (the one with Kevin McCarthy in BW was good).

The proclivities of, or the fruits of, the Drift The point aimed at by some people!

They seem to want to reset Earth to another beginning. A CockRoach Reich!

Thanks for the idea!

Quartermaster Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm GMT

The Orange Revolution was the work of Soros. Maidan, however, belongs to the Ukrainians themselves. They had no desire to be sold out to Putin by Yanukovich.

Mark Green Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm GMT

@iveritas Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Here is an outstanding essay that distinguishes between patriotism and nationalism. The author is none other than Joe Sobran.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/06/joseph-sobran/patriotism-or-nationalism/

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT

@Sam McGowan I don't think a shooting war on Iran is imminent; it's enough to yap about imagined threats to keep people glued to the media and thinking we need the protection of crazies. No threat, less "need" for politicians and the military.

The more threats, the more dollars for the nut jobs amongst us.

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken, In Defense of Women (1918)

Scott Peterson at the Christian Science Monitor produced a timeline for dire Israeli and US predictions of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon, beginning ~38 years ago.

A timeline of warnings since 1979. Breathless warnings that the Islamic Republic will soon be at the brink of nuclear capability have been made for decades. Here is a chronicle of predictions.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1108/Imminent-Iran-nuclear-threat-A-timeline-of-warnings-since-1979/Israel-s-one-year-timeframe-disproved-2010-11

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT

@iveritas PG is a true and a great patriot. those who have the chutzpa to tell PG, "move to Iran", my message to you is, move to Saudi Arabia or to Israel. But then again, most likely you're already there.

On the plus side, the personal attacks on PG are great. It means he must be doing something right.

Not to mention, when comments take the form of personal attacks instead of arguing the principle tenants of the article, it means the other side doesn't have a defensible point of view. Which only means PG's assertions are correct and indisputable.

I see some red-blooded Americans arguing about Texas, not being in Mexico. These people are forgetting the best form of patriotism is true understanding of our history as a nation. Ignorance and waiving a flag alone is not patriotism. Patriotism is defending the foundation and principles of our nation. Mainly, our constitution. Texas or the number of stars on our flag, etc. does not make America. America for me is the principles our founding father put forth. Which was formulated in a document far advanced for its time (even for today) in the form of our constitution.

Anything outside of the framework of our nation, I consider false or anger-patriotism. There is a reason why media has played a role in shaping the wars of choice mentioned in this article. Because faced with true facts against the framework of our constitution, those wars are not in the best interests of the public or the country.

Thank you, PG!

Patriotism is defending the foundation and principles of our nation. Mainly, our constitution.

You sound like a highly respectable sort, and I agree with a lot of your comment, but you may want to reconsider your ideas about that document. I consider it a huge link in the chain around our necks. As for the "founding fathers," they were of opposing minds and the anti-federalists had good reasons for arguing against the imposition of the constitution. They were mostly correct.

In fact, Patrick Henry refused to attend the Constitutional Convention saying, "I smell a rat." He could have been totally anosmic and still would have been able to smell one, or more likely, quite a few.

The document stinks, and here's why*.:

The Constitution looked fairly good on paper, but it was not a popular document; people were suspicious of it, and suspicious of the enabling legislation that was being erected upon it. There was some ground for this. The Constitution had been laid down under unacceptable auspices; its history had been that of a coup d'état.

It had been drafted, in the first place, by men representing special economic interests. Four-fifths of them were public creditors, one-third were land speculators, and one-fifth represented interests in shipping, manufacturing, and merchandising. Most of them were lawyers. Not one of them represented the interest of production - Vilescit origine tali. (the dice were loaded from the start)

Albert Jay Nock, Liberty vs. the Constitution: The Early Struggle
[Excerpted from chapter 5 of Albert Jay Nock's Jefferson]

https://mises.org/library/liberty-vs-constitution-early-struggle

*My apologies to those who've seen this numerous times before, but it's a critical message and obviously must be presented to each individual as (s)he steps forward. Thanks in advance for your patience as well as your indulgence!

truthtellerAryan Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT

@anon Why doesn't Giraldi move to Iran ?
Thats where his concerns and allegiance are. And maybe the source of his finances also ?

I bet they would love a chubby bear like him. Why don't you crawl back to the ghetto that you belong?
Why, after over two millennia of living in peace and prosperity in the land of Iran, the loudest voices for going to destroy Iran is coming from Joooies Iranians who have left Iran after the revolution? If they can't pinch a penny from you, you become their enemy. Has their lived such a treacherous bunch?
It's greedy Zionists like you that end up putting the whole tribe in trouble

chris Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm GMT

@Lot

There is nothing "genocidal" about the Saudis supporting the elected government of Yemen against Iran-funded rebels

The "elected government of Yemen," of course, featured exactly ONE candidate who won with a 100% of the vote, supported by Hillary Clinton, in 2012!

And if the elected "leader" of Yemen fled to the KSA why is he any more legitimate than the president of Ukraine who was overthrown by a US-funded revolution and fled to Russia?

chris Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain

You can always pack up and go live in Mexico.

Why bother, if they're all coming here anyway?

JoaoAlfaiate Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 7:48 pm GMT

@jacques sheete One of the few good reasons to support Israel.

anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/did-george-w-bush-do-all-he-could-to-prevent-911/411175/-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz obj ected that "I just don't understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man, bin Laden." Clarke responded that, "We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al-Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States." To which Wolfowitz replied, "Well, there are others that do as well, at least as much. Iraqi terrorism for example."

and more "cording to Eichenwald's sources, "the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat."

--

That was the lie about Laden That was the lie

RobinG Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 8:20 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Question: How does Mr. Nock define production?

He wrote, "Not one of them represented the interest of production- " but he had just listed manufacturing as one of the represented interests. Also, in those days, did shipping include ship-building? If not, it was certainly a closely related enterprise. Anyway, you see my point. Nock made an absolute statement, but he himself contradicted it.

Certainly the scales were weighted, but so much of the argument here is just railing against human nature. Are some people more ambitious or enterprising than others? (Let alone those who are more evil and unscrupulous.)
Some people are very intelligently curious, but it seems rare that the scientist who makes [often labors over for years] a discovery is the one who profits from it. Not fair perhaps, but the way of business, the way of the world.

You don't like the Constitution or the Founders? They were the ones who stepped up to take responsibility (and to press their own interests, if you will). It's hard to please everybody. So much harder now that there are so many of us. Just look at how much disagreement there is here in these comments. Can you imagine if there were another revolution, and afterwards a new convention. Do you think they'd crowdsource the new Constitution on the web? Let the computer decide? Who would program the machines?

Terrorism Supporters in Washington and Riyadh Close Ranks Against Qatar-Times of News Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm GMT

[ ] Source: The Unz Review [ ]

truthtellerAryan Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 9:06 pm GMT

@Mark Green Hi Mark Green, well observed. The Arabs are so blinded by money, so lost in Zionist tricks, are tripping in their own stupidity. One of the largest ethnic-religious groups in the world, wealthy, but as dumb as a door nail, as Edward Said once said "they are a sorry lot ", haven't yet grasped how they're accommodating their own demise. Ironically, they're are paying for all expenses that will finish them, at least send them to dark ages.
They don't see how they're being played by their half-brothers . I guess treachery is in the blood ..

Agent76 Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT

Mar 25, 2016 WAR IS A LIE – David Swanson in Asheville March 25, 2016

https://youtu.be/5GVjKUXcHIc

Sam Shama Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 9:17 pm GMT

@RobinG Question: How does Mr. Nock define production?

He wrote, "Not one of them represented the interest of production- " but he had just listed manufacturing as one of the represented interests. Also, in those days, did shipping include ship-building? If not, it was certainly a closely related enterprise. Anyway, you see my point. Nock made an absolute statement, but he himself contradicted it.

Certainly the scales were weighted, but so much of the argument here is just railing against human nature. Are some people more ambitious or enterprising than others? (Let alone those who are more evil and unscrupulous.)
Some people are very intelligently curious, but it seems rare that the scientist who makes [often labors over for years] a discovery is the one who profits from it. Not fair perhaps, but the way of business, the way of the world.

You don't like the Constitution or the Founders? They were the ones who stepped up to take responsibility (and to press their own interests, if you will). It's hard to please everybody. So much harder now that there are so many of us. Just look at how much disagreement there is here in these comments. Can you imagine if there were another revolution, and afterwards a new convention. Do you think they'd crowdsource the new Constitution on the web? Let the computer decide? Who would program the machines? Very good comment, Robin.

Best,
- One of the Unscrupulous

anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 9:26 pm GMT

@Rurik


Note that the Saudi Royals 1) have totally accepted Israel, 2) have absolutely nothing negative to say (or do) regarding Israel's subjugation of Palestine, 3) are hostile to Iran (like Israel), and 4) are willing also to accept the Kingdoms's second-tier military status vis-a-vis Israel.

For these reasons, the authoritarian, undemocratic, and terror-funding Royal Saudi family is totally 'in sync' with Zio-Washington. The Saudis are even safe from any potential US-Israeli destabilization campaign. (At least for now.)

to understand the Saudi leadership, you need only see how they got along with Iran during the reign of the Shah; a Zio/Anglo quisling installed after the CIA putsch that removed the legitimate, democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27état

Under the quisling puppet Shah, Iran was terrorized by a CIA/Mossad run organization notorious for its torture methods.

Time magazine described SAVAK as having "long been Iran's most hated and feared institution" which had "tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah's opponents."[24] The Federation of American Scientists also found it guilty of "the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners" and symbolizing "the Shah's rule from 1963–79." The FAS list of SAVAK torture methods included "electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails."[25]

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

it was during this reign of Zionist and Anglo terror that the corrupt House of Saud got along wonderfully with the Shah's Zio-Iran. Here you see the king of Saudi Arabia dancing for the amusement of the treacherous little Shah:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYIft-_FcYQ

- who exhorted the rulers of Saudi Arabia to embrace the cultural and spiritual sewage of the Zio-West thus:

"Please, my brother, modernize. Open up your country. Make the schools mixed women and men. Let women wear miniskirts. Have discos. Be modern. Otherwise I cannot guarantee you will stay on your throne."[15]

as long as Iran was under the thrall of the Fiend, the Saudi were their bestest buddies ever. They were also bestest buddies with Israel and England and the ZUSA.

so much treachery and evil and oppression and murder and torture.. it makes the head spin.

anyways, what do you expect from a fiend, I guess

so today the Saudis are still under the thrall of the same Fiend, but Iran is not. Hence Saudi Arabia assassinates Shia clerics it doesn't like, and Iran gets blamed for human rights violations.

The lies and mendacity and treachery are nearly beyond comprehension. The Saudis toss their fellow Arabs in Palestine under the Zionist bus, and fund and foment ISIS to crucify Christians and burn men alive. The stark divisions between good and evil (if there are such concepts) could hardly be more glaring.

and yet the Zio-fiend has Trump making nice with the murderous, terrorist-funding Saudis, while saber rattling at the peaceful and civilized Iran.


great article yet again Mr. Giraldi !

Under the quisling puppet Shah, Iran was terrorized by a CIA/Mossad run organization notorious for its torture methods.

Lets compare to the current regime that executes Bahai school teachers. Mona Mahmoudenezhad , Bahai school teacher aged 17 years was executed along with 9 other female Bahai school teachers by the Iranian regime you are so fond of . Execution method : Public hanging from crane .
Also denial of basic human rights : Homosexuality illegal and punishable by death penalty . 150 homosexuals executed each year in Iran .
Prosletizing Christianity is illegal and punishable by the death penalty .
Converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by the death penalty.
In court a mans testimony is given twice the weight of a womans.

fund and foment ISIS to crucify Christians and burn men alive

Muslims funding Muslims to kill Christians ? Nothing new . Has been going on for 1400 years.

anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm GMT

@truthtellerAryan They are selling their oil for the price of bottled water !!!!!!!!
And then using the money to buy gold toilets !!!!!!!!

truthtellerAryan Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 9:53 pm GMT

@anon It is official that loving America more than Zionists and Israel is anti-America. How embarrassing, that you see some of our cuck politicians wear flag lapels on their suits with both the Zionist and American flags as one. Treason or patriotism? We've already seen symbolically, the swearing of allegiance to this treacherous "shitty" nation by these so called " patriots "

Rurik Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:12 pm GMT

the only people I'm aware of that were hanged by a crane were some homosexual rapists that raped a young boy

something the rapists would probably get a medal for doing here in the Zio-West

so it sounds to me like you're lying or pathetically misinformed

"Today, there are at least 600 churches and 300,000–370,000 Christians in Iran.[1]"

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

and I understand that there is also a thriving and ancient Jewish community in Iran.

OK, I checked and the women were hanged back in the early eighties, just following the revolution that freed Iran from decades of Zionist atrocities and rapine, and apparently they were suspected of collaborating with the Zionists somehow. But that was a long time ago, and I don't hold today's Iranian government guilty for what was done decades ago.

the fact is that Iran has been wronged, (savaged even) by the ZUSA and Israel for a long, long time. Following their revolution that freed them from the Zio-stooge Shah, the ZUSA used their good buddy Saddam to wage a catastrophic war on Iran, and even handed Saddam some nice chemical weapons and gas to use on Iranian troops. Charming huh?

They've been menaced by Israel for so long that it's part of the fabric of their national narrative, because it seems that the Jewish supremacists can not stand to see others thrive. It drives them whacky- it does. They must have their boot on all throats, Palestinian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and everybody else. Iran tells them to fuck off, and the Jewish supremacists go bonkers.

If there's another world war, it will be forced upon the planet by Jewish, Zionist supremacists and their bought politician whores in London, Paris and DC.

I pray God speed to Trump in ferreting these Satanic scum out of the government and halls of power here in the former (and soon to be great again) good ol' US of A.

Rurik Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:18 pm GMT

@Rurik more:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/liberate-idleb-after-east-aleppo-shifting-military-alliances-moscows-role/5565126

anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT

@truthtellerAryan

this treacherous "shitty" nation

Must be strange to totallyl obsessed and consumed with something so trivial as " a shitty nation ".
But you being an Aryan I would think you would be more concerned with Germany and the fact that you will lose the Aryan homeland within a couple of generations due to almost zero native birth rate ,a soaring Muslim birhrate from your pet " refugees" and turkish laboreres, and millions more military age Muslim men ( refugees ) pouring over your borders . But don't worry , keep obsessing over Jews. By the way who perpetrated the sexual assault festival at Germanys expense on New Years Eve , Jews or Muslims ,?? Who kidnapped/groomed and pimped out 1400 native British girls in Rotherham , Muslims or Jews ??

lavoisier Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:47 pm GMT

@anon The current Iranian regime is at least as ruthless and oppressive as was the regime led by the Shah. However, that regime poses no threat to the United States of America and should not be our problem. Trump is picking a fight with Iran because they threatened Israel. Again, Israel's fights should be their own fights. Leave us out.

That being said, it is naive to dismiss how much damage we have done to countries like Iran by meddling in their internal affairs and putting in power ruthless puppets like the shah. His cruelty to his own people is what eventually led to his regime being destroyed. If you cause enough harm to people, they will seek revenge.

If he had been more benevelont and avoided murder and mayhem, he may have been able to turn his country around. But he would also have had to work for the interests of his own people.

ANON Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:48 pm GMT

@Mark Green I would say "nice try" but that would be an exaggeration. The NY World closed in 1931 after being sold by the Pulitzers (plural). You would of course know that they were not Jewish but I suppose you could try making something of the fact that their mother was from a formerly slave owning Southern family..

Rurik Show Comment Next New Comment June 13, 2017 at 10:49 pm GMT

@anon


this treacherous "shitty" nation
Must be strange to totallyl obsessed and consumed with something so trivial as " a shitty nation ".
But you being an Aryan I would think you would be more concerned with Germany and the fact that you will lose the Aryan homeland within a couple of generations due to almost zero native birth rate ,a soaring Muslim birhrate from your pet " refugees" and turkish laboreres, and millions more military age Muslim men ( refugees ) pouring over your borders . But don't worry , keep obsessing over Jews. By the way who perpetrated the sexual assault festival at Germanys expense on New Years Eve , Jews or Muslims ,?? Who kidnapped/groomed and pimped out 1400 native British girls in Rotherham , Muslims or Jews ??

Muslim men ( refugees ) pouring over your borders . But don't worry , keep obsessing over Jews.

your butt-boy George Soros just got his arse handed to him

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-13/soros-s-native-hungary-approves-crackdown-on-foreign-funded-ngos

no more kosher Muslims in Hungary

[Jun 12, 2017] He who says organization, says oligarchy. Organizations and oligarchies are self-reinforcing psychopath magnets

Notable quotes:
"... Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy ..."
Jun 12, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
PavewayIV | Jun 11, 2017 1:10:50 PM | 42

Robert Michels and the Iron Law of Oligarchy (1911)

"He who says organization, says oligarchy."

Paraphrasing Lobaczewski c. 1959:

"Organizations and oligarchies are self-reinforcing psychopath magnets."

PavewayIV's Magic Box of Death:

Put a few oligarchs in a box and set on floor. Soon, hundreds of 'little people' will be attracted inside. Close box and shake vigorously. Torrents of dead 'little people' will pour out, but never any oligarchs. Repeat as often as desired. It's magic!
jfl | Jun 11, 2017 4:58:36 PM | 50

thanks for the link. reading what amounts to a short introduction, i discovered that Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy itself is available, as so many good books are available, from our friends and benefactors at library genesis.

Archive.org has one: Political parties; a sociological study of the oligarchical tendencies of modern democracy Michels, Robert, 1876-1936 Free

[Jun 12, 2017] How useful is the word inequality ? not much as it is use as a typical sponge word like poor incread of low waged or underpaid

Mar 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Paine, March 29, 2017 at 02:43 PM
How useful is the word inequality ? typical sponge word like " poor " when u mean low waged

Or "middle class " when you mean high waged

The shares in GDP are zero sum at any one point in time


If the bottom wage rises fastest with some arrangement of wages
That ought to look preferred to anyone without any sense of where they'd land

Paine -> Paine ... , March 29, 2017 at 02:49 PM
Of course this is if your frame is the individual
and here's only a wage earning class
No exploiters allowed M

But if the exploiters arrive with their rag tag of proprietary types trailing them ?

Turn to a Class frame ?


Maximize the share of your class

Maximally unequal
Ie class dictatorship


Equality before the law

Equality in the voting booth
These are very different dimensions of social being
From equality of income

Income ...another sponge word M

libezkova -> Paine ... , March 29, 2017 at 07:06 PM
"like " poor "
when u mean low waged"

Distortion of the language is the main tool of neoliberalism.

the key to neoliberal propaganda.

Very similar to Bolshevism in this respect.

[Jun 12, 2017] You can't fix the media because its very raison d'etre is to subvert, mislead and corrupt, to put the viewer and the nation inside a mental labyrinth.

Jun 12, 2017 | www.unz.com

LetItRest Show Comment Next New Comment June 12, 2017 at 5:07 am GMT

You can't fix the media because its very raison d'etre is to subvert, mislead and corrupt, to put the viewer and the nation inside a mental labyrinth.

You see, in the US and the Western World, the Media is owned by a cartel of Jewish people with a common agenda – they only talk about the same events, with the same perspective. They change gears and news cycles in unison, they command the discourse window.

Of course, Fox News is the opposite of CNN to the masses of disinformed, but this is just a cordial accord between Owners to not eat each other's audiences. Mainly a market strategy to not create cannibalization.

If the Media was supposed to be serious, "but currently is not and in need of saving", instead of the truth of it never being anything close to that, just a propaganda machine, then, in all those decades, and specially now in the age of the internet, they should have been speaking about the system of Debt Currency that ruins all nations, or how today in America we have the biggest monopolies in the history of mankind, or how Immigration from countries with non-European populations destroys social trust, neighborhoods, cities, lower wages, overbudens public services, reintroduces extinct diseases and many many more.

But they don't talk about any of that, and never will.

Forget about the media altogether, let it die and rot.

[Jun 12, 2017] In Praise of Hypocrisy by Masha Gessen

Empire of Lies is a 2008 thriller novel written by Andrew Klavan. The book takes its title from a quote by George Orwell often used by Ron Paul, "Truth is treason in an empire of lies." Masha Gessen is a part of US propaganda empire, and now trying to defend it by all means. Demonstrating the level of sophisticaion I never suspected of her. I like the term "aspirational hypocrisy", because now the USA neocon foreign policy and neocon's wars can be defined as the "Wars of aspirational hypocrisy". But this is all I like in the article. It is useful as as sample of sophisticated propaganda. That's it.
In any case this article is nice example of "deception as an art form" and this neoliberal Masha proved to be a real artist in this art.
Notable quotes:
"... Everybody lies. But American politics has long rested on a shared understanding of what it is acceptable to lie about, how and to whom. ..."
"... One of the many norms that Donald J. Trump has assaulted since taking office is this tradition of aspirational hypocrisy, of striving, at least rhetorically, to act in accordance with moral values - to be better. ..."
"... Fascists the world over have gained popularity by calling forth the idea that the world is rotten to the core. In "The Origins of Totalitarianism," Hannah Arendt described how fascism invites people to "throw off the mask of hypocrisy" and adopt the worldview that there is no right and wrong, only winners and losers. ..."
"... Hypocrisy can be aspirational: Political actors claim that they are motivated by ideals perhaps to a greater extent than they really are; shedding the mask of hypocrisy asserts that greed, vengeance and gratuitous cruelty aren't wrong, but are legitimate motivations for political behavior. ..."
"... In the last decade and a half, post-Communist autocrats like Vladimir V. Putin and Viktor Orban have adopted this cynical posture. They seem convinced that the entire world is driven solely by greed and hunger for power, and only the Western democracies continue to insist, hypocritically, that their politics are based on values and principles. ..."
"... when he was asked about his admiration for Mr. Putin, whom the host Bill O'Reilly called "a killer." "You got a lot of killers," responded Mr. Trump. "What, you think our country's so innocent?" ..."
"... To an American ear, Mr. Trump's statement was jarring - not because Americans believe their country to be "innocent" but because they have always relied on a sort of aspirational hypocrisy ..."
"... No American politician in living memory has advanced the idea that the entire world, including the United States, was rotten to the core. ... ..."
"... How do you like the NKVD libruls afraid of Trump bringing fascism who were running a gestapo (the FBI wiring tapping other country's Ministers) on US citizens of the opposing party? ..."
Feb 18, 2017 | nyt.com

Everybody lies. But American politics has long rested on a shared understanding of what it is acceptable to lie about, how and to whom.

One of the many norms that Donald J. Trump has assaulted since taking office is this tradition of aspirational hypocrisy, of striving, at least rhetorically, to act in accordance with moral values - to be better. This tradition has set the standard of behavior for government officials and has shaped Americans' understanding of what their government and their country represent. Over the last four weeks, Mr. Trump has lashed out against any criticism of his behavior, because, as he never tires of pointing out, "We won."

In requesting the resignation of his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, however, Mr. Trump made his first public concession to political expectations. Hypocrisy has scored a minor victory in America. This is a good thing.

The word "hypocrisy" was thrown around a lot during the 2016 presidential campaign. Both Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders accused their respective parties and the country's elites of hypocrisy. As the election neared, some journalists tried to turn the accusation around on Mr. Trump, taking him to task, for example, for his stand on immigration. If Mr. Trump favored such a hard line on immigration, the logic went, should he not then favor the deportation of his own wife, Melania, who was alleged to have worked while in the United States on a visitor's visa?

The charge of hypocrisy didn't stick, not so much because it placed its proponents, unwittingly, in the distasteful position of advocating the deportation of someone for a long-ago and common transgression, but because Mr. Trump wasn't just breaking the rules of political conduct: He was destroying them. He was openly claiming that he abused the system to benefit himself. If he didn't pay his taxes and got away with it, this made him a good businessman. If he could force himself on women, that made him more of a man. He acted as though this primitive logic were obvious and shared by all.

Fascists the world over have gained popularity by calling forth the idea that the world is rotten to the core. In "The Origins of Totalitarianism," Hannah Arendt described how fascism invites people to "throw off the mask of hypocrisy" and adopt the worldview that there is no right and wrong, only winners and losers.

Hypocrisy can be aspirational: Political actors claim that they are motivated by ideals perhaps to a greater extent than they really are; shedding the mask of hypocrisy asserts that greed, vengeance and gratuitous cruelty aren't wrong, but are legitimate motivations for political behavior.

In the last decade and a half, post-Communist autocrats like Vladimir V. Putin and Viktor Orban have adopted this cynical posture. They seem convinced that the entire world is driven solely by greed and hunger for power, and only the Western democracies continue to insist, hypocritically, that their politics are based on values and principles.

This stance has breathed new life into the old Soviet propaganda tool of "whataboutism," the trick of turning any argument against the opponent. When accused of falsifying elections, Russians retort that American elections are not unproblematic; when faced with accusations of corruption, they claim that the entire world is corrupt.

This month, Mr. Trump employed the technique of whataboutism when he was asked about his admiration for Mr. Putin, whom the host Bill O'Reilly called "a killer." "You got a lot of killers," responded Mr. Trump. "What, you think our country's so innocent?"

To an American ear, Mr. Trump's statement was jarring - not because Americans believe their country to be "innocent" but because they have always relied on a sort of aspirational hypocrisy to understand the country. No American politician in living memory has advanced the idea that the entire world, including the United States, was rotten to the core. ...

Hungary's PM Viktor Orban praises Trump for saying countries should put their own interests first
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/donald-trump-nationalist-hungary-pm-viktor-orban-praise-america-first-a7542361.html

===

ilsm, February 18, 2017 at 12:27 PM

I am less worried now we got Trump and not apparatchik (experienced in deep state and catering to Jihadis) Clinton.
ilsm, February 18, 2017 at 12:25 PM
The faux librul side is all Joe McCarthy phony red scaring and surveillance of the opposition activists sort of like what Army Intell did to hippies protesting the liberals' debacle in Southeast Asia.

Deep state surveillance and trashing the Bill of Rights is a legacy of the past 8 years.

yuan, February 18, 2017 at 09:36 PM
it's telling that you believe genuine liberalism is positive...
ilsm , February 18, 2017 at 04:45 AM
Vox, what about reporting from a crystal ball requires truth?
Peter K. - , February 18, 2017 at 07:37 AM
The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! Hide under your bed.
ilsm, February 18, 2017 at 12:42 PM
Flynn could have said something "inappropriate" by a Clintonista definition of "inappropriate", and he "could" be prosecuted under a law designed to muzzle US citizens, that has never been tried bc a Bill of rights argument would win!

How do you like the NKVD libruls afraid of Trump bringing fascism who were running a gestapo (the FBI wiring tapping other country's Ministers) on US citizens of the opposing party?

If the fascists are coming they would keep Obama's FBI!

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... February 18, 2017 at 05:35 PM

the dems' deep state have already trodden the Bill of Rights how worse can it get......

fascism is in the US for 8 years or so.

[Jun 11, 2017] Neo-Gramscianism - Wikipedia

Jun 11, 2017 | en.wikipedia.org
Neo-Gramscianism applies a critical theory approach to the study of International Relations (IR) and the Global Political Economy (GPE) that explores the interface of ideas, institutions and material capabilities as they shape the specific contours of the state formation. The theory is heavily influenced by the writings of Antonio Gramsci . [1]

Neo-Gramscianism analyzes how the particular constellation of social forces, the state and the dominant ideational configuration define and sustain world orders. In this sense, the Neo-Gramscian approach breaks the decades-old stalemate between the realist schools of thought, and the liberal theories by historicizing the very theoretical foundations of the two streams as part of a particular world order, and finding the interlocking relationship between agency and structure . Furthermore, Karl Polanyi , Karl Marx , Max Weber , Niccolò Machiavelli , Max Horkheimer , Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault are cited as major sources within the Critical theory of International Relations. [1] York University professor emeritus, Robert W. Cox 's article "Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory", in Millennium 10 (1981) 2, and "Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations: An Essay in Method", published in Millennium 12 (1983) 2. In his 1981 article, Cox demands a critical study of IR, as opposed to the usual "problem-solving" theories, which do not interrogate the origin, nature and development of historical structures, but accept for example that states and the (supposedly) "anarchic" relationships between them as Kantian Dinge an sich .

However, Cox disavows the label Neo-Gramscian despite the fact that in a follow-up article, he showed how Gramsci's thought can be used to analyze power structures within the GPE. Particularly Gramsci's concept of hegemony , vastly different from the realists' conception of hegemony, appears fruitful. Gramsci's state theory, his conception of " historic blocs " – dominant configurations of material capabilities, ideologies and institutions as determining frames for individual and collective action – and of élites acting as "organic intellectuals" forging historic blocs , is also deemed useful.

The Neo-Gramscian approach has also been developed along somewhat different lines by Cox's colleague, Stephen Gill , distinguished research professor of political science at York University in Toronto . Gill contributed to showing how the elite Trilateral Commission acted as an "organic intellectual", forging the (currently hegemonic) ideology of neoliberalism and the so-called " Washington Consensus " and later in relation to the globalization of power and resistance in his book "Power and Resistance in the New World Order" (Palgrave 2003). Gill also partnered with fellow Canadian academic A. Claire Cutler to release a Neo-Gramscian inspired volume entitled "New Constitutionalism and World Order" (Cambridge 2014). The book brings together a selection of critical theorists and Neo-Gramscians to analyze the disciplinary power of legal and constitutional innovations in the global political economy. Co-editor A. Claire Cutler has been a pioneer scholar detailing a Neo-Gramscian theory of international law . [2] Outside of North America, the so-called "Amsterdam School" around Kees Van Der Pijl and Henk Overbeek (at VU University Amsterdam ) and individual researchers in Germany , notably in Düsseldorf , Kassel and Marburg as well as at the Centre for Global Political Economy at the University of Sussex in the UK, and other parts of the world, have adopted the neo-Gramscian critical method.

Basics of the neo-Gramscian perspective [ edit ]

In the mainstream approaches to international or global political economy the ontological centrality of the state is not in question. In contrast, Neo-Gramscianism, using an approach which Henk Overbeek, Professor of International Relations at the VU University , calls transnational historical materialism , "identifies state formation and interstate politics as moments of the transnational dynamics of capital accumulation and class formation". [3]

Neo-Gramscianism perceives state sovereignty as subjugated to a global economic system marked by the emergence of a transnational financial system and a corresponding transnational system of production. The major players in these systems, multinational corporations and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF , have evolved into a "transnational historic bloc" that exercises global hegemony (in contrast to the realist view of hegemony as the "predominant power of a state or a group of states"). [4] The historic bloc acquires its authority through the tacit consent of the governed population gained through coercive techniques of intellectual and cultural persuasion, largely absent violence. It links itself to other social groups that have been involved in political struggles [5] to expand its influence and seeks to solidify its power through the standardization and liberalization of national economies, creating a single regulatory regime (e.g. World Trade Organization ).

There are powerful forces opposing the progress of this historic bloc who may form counterhegemonies to challenge it as part of an open-ended class struggle. These might include neo-mercantilists who depend on the protection of tariffs and state subsidies, or alliances of lesser developed countries , or feminist and environmentalist movements in the industrialized west. [6] If a counterhegemony grows large enough it is able to subsume and replace the historic bloc it was born in. Neo-Gramscians use the Machiavellian terms war of position and war of movement to explain how this is possible. In a war of position a counterhegemonic movement attempts, through persuasion or propaganda, to increase the number of people who share its view on the hegemonic order; in a war of movement the counterhegemonic tendencies which have grown large enough overthrow, violently or democratically, the current hegemony and establish themselves as a new historic bloc. [7] [8]

[Jun 08, 2017] Washington's Empire Is Not Unraveling - The Unz Review

Jun 08, 2017 | www.unz.com
Paul Craig Roberts June 5, 2017 700 Words RSS Jump To... Content Top Bottom Section Current Next Bookmark Toggle All ToC Remove from Library Add to Library Search Text Case Sensitive Exact Words Include Comments List of Bookmarks

The military/security complex spent seven decades building its empire. The complex assassinated one American president (JFK) who threatened the empire and drove another (Richard Nixon) out of office. The complex does not tolerate the election of politicians in Europe who might not follow Washington's line on foreign and economic policy.

Suddenly, according to the Western and even Russian media, the complex is going to let one man, Trump, who does not rule America, and one woman, Merkel, who does not rule Germany, destroy its empire.

According to the presstitutes, by pulling out of the Paris Accord (the global climate pact) and stating that NATO members should contribute more to the alliance's budget for which the US taxpayer has an overweighted share, Trump has caused Merkel to conclude that Europe can no longer rely on Washington. The discord between Trump and Merkel and Washington's resignation of its leadership position has destroyed the Western alliance and left the EU itself on the verge of being torn apart.

All of this is nonsensical sillyness. What has happened is this:

Just as men in dark suits and dark ties carrying briefcases explained to Trump that it was not Washington's policy to normalize relations with Russia, they explained to him that it was not Washington's policy to exit the Paris Accord. Trump said something like this: Look, you guys, you have already required me to abandon my peace initiative with Russia and my intent to pull out of Syria. Now you are forcing me off my "America First" pledge. If people realize that I am not really the president, who are you going to rule through? What about a compromise?

Here is the deal, as Trump made perfectly clear in his speech. He is temporarily pulling the US out of the Paris Accord while he immediately opens negotiations to rejoin the Paris Accord on terms less burdensome to Americans. In other words, the "pull out" is a face-saving gesture that will result in a small reduction in America's share of the cost. We will have a "Trump victory" and no damage to the Paris Accord.

Merkel facing reelection needs a boost that will refocus German attention from the one million Muslim refugees, bringing crime, rape, and terrorism in their train, that Merkel brought into Germany. Her dramatic statement that Europe can no longer rely on America was a perfect way to refocus attention. I wouldn't be surprised if Trump and Merkel got together and agreed on how they would play this.

Yet neither reporters nor commentators could report the obvious truth. Why? The Western media could not let pass the opportunity to denounce Trump for destroying American leadership and the climate, and environmental organizations seized the fundraising opportunity to oppose Trump's climate destruction. Russian commentators saw hope for Russia in NATO and the EU breaking up as consequences of America going its own way.

There are two serious implications of this media deception. One is that Americans and the world are blinded to the fact that there are power centers that constrain a president and are capable of substituting their agendas for the agendas on which the president campaigned. We saw this with Obama, but were given the explanation that Obama never meant it in the first place. Now we will get the same explanation of Trump. The fact that the president is constrained by the military/security complex and the financial sector will not come through. Thus, The Matrix's myth of democracy bringing change via elections will continue to blind people to reality.

A second consequence is that the Russians, ever hopeful to be part of the West while retaining national sovereignty, which no member of the EU or NATO is permitted to do, will see in the reported withdrawal of American leadership renewed hopes of joining Europe. If the Russians take seriously the New York Times anointment of Germany's Merkel as "the liberal West's last defender" ( https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/world/europe/germany-merkel-trump-election.html?mcubz=0&_r=1 ), Russia might leave herself militarily and economically exposed by slowing military preparations and the development of economic relations with Asia.

People can have little idea of actual events as long as news reporting and commentary reflect political agendas and hopeful aspirations.

[May 31, 2017] THE PRESIDENTS INFERIORITY COMPLEX , HIS ADVISORS RUSSIA-HATING OBSESSION, AND THE PUTSCH PLOTTER WITH THE ITCHY TRIGGER FING by John Helmer,

Notable quotes:
"... Brzezinski flattered and fawned over Carter; relentlessly conspired to undermine Vance and other rivals for Carter's attention; postured, manipulated, lied to the press, and faked to the president. ..."
"... "it is important to recognize that Jimmy Carter was ultimately responsible for the nature of his policymaking system and for the decisions made about who would frame and articulate U.S. foreign policies." ..."
"... "Sure, Brzezinski was a strategic thinker," one of Sexton's sources told her. "But he was frequently wrong! Vance's strategies have withstood the test of time." According to Sexton, her source was a "public official [with] in-depth familiarity with Vance's and Brzezinski's work. He agreed to be interviewed on the condition he would not be quoted on this subject." ..."
"... Paul Henze came to Brzezinski's staff after serving as the CIA's station chief in Ethiopia in 1969 to 1972, and then in Turkey between 1974 and 1977. Henze had been one of the plotters of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, which continues to this day. ..."
"... The Somali invasion of Ethiopia which began in July 1977, and was known as the Ogaden war until the Somalis were defeated by the Russian and Cuban-backed Ethiopian military in March 1978, was one of the schemes Henze managed, and Brzezinski persuaded Carter to approve. By the time Henze's war was defeated, he rationalized the war-fighting strategy's continuing purpose in a memorandum since declassified and quoted by Sexton ..."
"... Another of the Henze plots – the military putsch in Turkey in September 1980 – was Carter's and Brzezinski's scheme too. ..."
"... Henze had started in the CIA as a specialist managing assassination gangs with pretensions to anti-communist ideology. He began with the Iron Guard of Romania, and was still running the Grey Wolves of Turkey when he moved on to the Brzezinski staff. ..."
"... The KGB assessment was that Henze, Brzezinski and Carter had all been in on the plot, just as they had been in on the scheme to elect Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, Archbishop of Cracow, as the Pope in October 1978. ..."
"... Henze was joined by other CIA men on Brzezinski's staff including Donald Gregg, Fritz Ermarth, Robert Gates and Samuel Hoskinson. They were all plotters of the putsch which overthrew the President of Pakistan, Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, in July 1977. Bhutto was replaced by Army General Zia ul-Haq, and subsequently hanged. Zia was killed in August 1988, along with the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Raphel, and General Herbert Wassom, the head of US military aid mission to Pakistan. ..."
"... How many of the putsches which CIA operation histories log in as successful, and how many of the unsuccessful attempts – Ghana and El Salvador (1979), Bolivia, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Suriname, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Iran (1980) – were engagements in acting tough and doing new big things which Brzezinski got the president to approve are questions Carter is shy to answer. ..."
May 31, 2017 | johnhelmer.net

The widow of Cyrus Vance, the only US Secretary of State to resign in protest against his president's actions in a hundred years, called Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor and Vance's rival, "that awful man". Not a single official of the State Department under Vance during the Carter Administration of 1977 to 1981, thought differently. Most of them had monosyllabic terms for Brzezinski. Since Brzezinski died last Friday, not a single member of his own White House staff has made a public statement in his honour, memory or defence. The mute ones include Madeleine Albright, who owed to Brzezinski her career promotion as an academic, then White House staffer, then Secretary of State herself.

Despite the disloyalty of those closest to him, and the detestation for Bzezinski of those further away, he was, and remained, Carter's favourite. Between 1977 and 1981, Brzezinski's time with Carter, according to the White House logs, amounted to more than 20% of the president's working time. That's 12 minutes of every hour - no other official came close. On Friday, shortly after Brzezinski's death was announced by his family, Carter issued a statement extolling him as "a superb public servant inquisitive, innovative, and a natural choice as my national security advisor brilliant, dedicated, and loyal. I will miss him."

What was this bond between them, and why does it matter now? One reason is that what they did together were the freshest American operations studied at KGB schools in Moscow by a recruit in training at the time named Vladimir Putin.

This was the National Security Advisor's staff during the four years of Carter's term, 1977-1981.

PRESIDENT CARTER'S RUSSIA-HATING TEAM

A 451-page doctoral dissertation by Mary Sexton examining the relationship between Carter and Brzezinski identifies the evidence, including documents, witnesses, and independent reports which should have driven them apart. She fails to answer why that didn't happen. She concludes Brzezinski flattered and fawned over Carter; relentlessly conspired to undermine Vance and other rivals for Carter's attention; postured, manipulated, lied to the press, and faked to the president. Sexton concluded in 2009: "it is important to recognize that Jimmy Carter was ultimately responsible for the nature of his policymaking system and for the decisions made about who would frame and articulate U.S. foreign policies."

She quoted Lloyd Butler, Carter's appointee as the White House lawyer so no Brzezinski underling, as saying he was baffled by Carter's refusal to address the troubles Brzezinski caused. "I will never understand it", Butler said in 2002. He died in 2005.

Neither Vance in his memoirs (he died in 2002), nor his wife Grace, nor any of Vance's deputies at State, nor Carter's staff at the White House, provide an answer. In research by Betty Glad, published in November 2009, she reported "a few close aides met the emotional needs of the president", but the aides didn't tell Glad what they thought Carter's emotional needs were. Glad acknowledged that in preparing her book she was "above all indebted to Zbigniew Brzezinski who expeditiously answered my emails and was very open about his interactions with Carter."

Glad concluded that Carter gave Brzezinski "his complete and absolute support Brzezinski was one of the few people Carter never reprimanded And Carter dismissed all criticisms of Brzezinski that might come his way." Why?

"Carter needed and admired the strategic skills and the toughness in dealing with others that Brzezinski offered," Glad summed up, with the latter's help. The need to be tough was a recurrent theme in Brzezinski's briefings and memoranda to Carter, she added. Brzezinski made Carter feel he was "doing big things." Fighting the Russians (Soviets then) was, in the advice Brzezinski presented to Carter and repeated to Glad, was the biggest of the big things. "Brzezinski", concluded Glad, "appealed to Carter's desire to do new big things and act quickly".

The bafflement reported by Carter subordinates and State Department officials under Vance is part truth; part cover-up by the officials; part deceit by Carter. For the answer of what bound Carter and Brzezinski together Glad doesn't uncover, nor even hint at. This is because it was a conspiracy of proxy wars, terrorism, assassinations, coups d'etat, and other black operations, still classified top secret, rationalized by Brzezinski to Carter and approved by the president, as part of a grand strategy to defeat the Kremlin. These were the acting-tough tactics which convinced Carter in secret, but which the president never admitted to in public. Not then, because the actions made Carter feel he was doing "new big things". Not since, because all of them have failed, with bloodshed and monumental losses for those whom the president and his strategist targeted, and collateral damage for the rest of the world, not least the US.

"Sure, Brzezinski was a strategic thinker," one of Sexton's sources told her. "But he was frequently wrong! Vance's strategies have withstood the test of time." According to Sexton, her source was a "public official [with] in-depth familiarity with Vance's and Brzezinski's work. He agreed to be interviewed on the condition he would not be quoted on this subject."

Paul Henze came to Brzezinski's staff after serving as the CIA's station chief in Ethiopia in 1969 to 1972, and then in Turkey between 1974 and 1977. Henze had been one of the plotters of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, which continues to this day.

The Somali invasion of Ethiopia which began in July 1977, and was known as the Ogaden war until the Somalis were defeated by the Russian and Cuban-backed Ethiopian military in March 1978, was one of the schemes Henze managed, and Brzezinski persuaded Carter to approve. By the time Henze's war was defeated, he rationalized the war-fighting strategy's continuing purpose in a memorandum since declassified and quoted by Sexton. "Much as we want the Soviets out", Henze briefed Brzezinski and Carter, "we are not going to get them out soon We should make their stay as costly as possible and the source of fundamental strain for them. We can do this in many ways, both overtly [and] covertly The Soviets are the culprits in the Horn and we should never let them or the world forget it."

Another of the Henze plots – the military putsch in Turkey in September 1980 – was Carter's and Brzezinski's scheme too.

Henze had started in the CIA as a specialist managing assassination gangs with pretensions to anti-communist ideology. He began with the Iron Guard of Romania, and was still running the Grey Wolves of Turkey when he moved on to the Brzezinski staff. After Carter's downfall, Henze spent years trying to cover up the role the Grey Wolves had played in the attempted assassination of Pope John-Paul II in May 1981. Henze's version of the plot was that the Kremlin and KGB had masterminded the scheme through the Bulgarian secret service. The KGB assessment was that Henze, Brzezinski and Carter had all been in on the plot, just as they had been in on the scheme to elect Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, Archbishop of Cracow, as the Pope in October 1978.

Brzezsinski's euology at Henze's funeral in Virginia in 2011 provided the cover story that he had engaged Henze in 1977 "to assume responsibility for oversight of the radios and to coordinate more generally our efforts to prevail in the Cold War without an actual war. Paul was in his element. He mobilized his enthusiasm, his commitment, and his boundless energy not only to protect RFE [Radio Free Europe], but to develop also a broader effort to nourish the hopes of those living in the Soviet bloc, including even the Soviet Union itself, that someday they, too, would be free."

For their combined record of violent failure, Brzezinski had this to say: "Paul proved himself to be a ferocious bureaucratic infighter and eventually the winner – though at times he was even impatient with my efforts to pursue – on the President's behalf - also some accommodation with the Soviet Union in the area of mutual arms control. But that was Paul, my fellow Cold warrior: enthusiastic, fearless, committed, principled, and relentless. A great American, an Eastern European by association, and one of the anonymous architects of the peaceful and victorious end to the Cold War."

Henze was joined by other CIA men on Brzezinski's staff including Donald Gregg, Fritz Ermarth, Robert Gates and Samuel Hoskinson. They were all plotters of the putsch which overthrew the President of Pakistan, Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, in July 1977. Bhutto was replaced by Army General Zia ul-Haq, and subsequently hanged. Zia was killed in August 1988, along with the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Raphel, and General Herbert Wassom, the head of US military aid mission to Pakistan.

Gregg was one of the plotters of the December 12, 1979, military putsch in South Korea.

Hoskinson was engaged in Middle Eastern attack and overthrow plots, some he endorsed and assisted, and some he would have done if he judged they had a chance of success.

How many of the putsches which CIA operation histories log in as successful, and how many of the unsuccessful attempts – Ghana and El Salvador (1979), Bolivia, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Suriname, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Iran (1980) – were engagements in acting tough and doing new big things which Brzezinski got the president to approve are questions Carter is shy to answer.

For them, the war in Afghanistan, which they plotted with alacrity from the start of the Carter Administration, was the culminating case of what Brzezinski described in his address over Henze's corpse as the "peaceful and victorious end to the Cold War."

These games of liquidating others in the cause of defeating the Kremlin has invigorated Carter, even today when Carter himself is on his last legs. Drawing the Russians on to the field of battle was his and Brzezinski's aim; Afghanistan, after the Soviet military intervention began in December 1979, was their main chance. Their successors in the White House have the same chance against Russian forces on the battlefields of Syria and Ukraine. Though he has tried, Brzezinski is no longer in a position to advise them that if they don't dare, they can't win. Carter is still alive to demonstrate that if they dare, they are likely to lose.

It isn't sure that's what KGB trainee Putin scribbled down during his lectures at the Andropov Red Banner Institute in 1984. It's certain he has noted it down now.

[May 31, 2017] In a federal government run like a business ordinary american is a LOSER. They cut you off and leave you behind.

Notable quotes:
"... The biggest winner last year was Thomas M. Rutledge of Charter Communications, who pulled down a $98 million pay package, according to the Equilar 200 highest-paid chief executive rankings, conducted for The New York Times. ..."
"... Mr. Rutledge, 63, stormed to the front of the pack after closing his company's mega-merger, a $65 billion takeover of Time Warner and a smaller competitor. For that, he got a big bump in pay. The year before, his compensation totaled $16.4 million. ..."
May 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , May 26, 2017 at 07:21 AM

As C.E.O. Pay Packages Grow, Top Executives
Have the President's Ear https://nyti.ms/2r4t6mY
NYT - MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN - MAY 26, 2017

Pay packages for America's top executives once again climbed in 2016 after slipping the year before.

Perhaps the pay surge reflects the times: Stocks are coming off a strong run. Unemployment is low. The economy is percolating.

And President Trump is not only promising to roll back what he calls excessive business regulations but also listening keenly to what corporate America has to say. Since taking office on Jan. 20, the businessman-turned-politician has met with hundreds of executives, including at least 41 of last year's 200 best-paid C.E.O.s, a New York Times analysis shows.

The biggest winner last year was Thomas M. Rutledge of Charter Communications, who pulled down a $98 million pay package, according to the Equilar 200 highest-paid chief executive rankings, conducted for The New York Times.

Mr. Rutledge, 63, stormed to the front of the pack after closing his company's mega-merger, a $65 billion takeover of Time Warner and a smaller competitor.

For that, he got a big bump in pay. The year before, his compensation totaled $16.4 million.

This past March, Mr. Rutledge met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office. The president lavished him with praise for a plan to add 20,000 jobs, although the broad outlines of that initiative had been laid out nearly two years earlier, when the merger was first announced.

This combination - the gains in pay for chief executives, the president's pledge to deregulate and cut corporate tax rates - sets the stage for perhaps the most consequential moment for corporate governance since the financial crisis of 2008. Rising executive compensation only widens the gap between top executives and most American workers. Mr. Rutledge, for instance, made 2,617 times the average American worker's salary of $37,632, according to figures maintained by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. ...


(graphic, at the link))

President Trump Greets the C.E.O.s

Since Inauguration Day, President Donald J. Trump has met with at least 307 chief executives of American companies, 41 of whom were among the 200 highest-paid C.E.O.s in 2016, as calculated by Equilar, a compensation analysis company.

anne - , May 26, 2017 at 07:37 AM
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/would-shareholders-in-charter-communications-have-less-money-if-they-paid-their-ceo-10-million-instead-of-98-million

May 26, 2017

Would Shareholders in Charter Communications Have Less Money If They Paid Their CEO $10 Million Instead of $98 Million?

That's the question the board of directors of Charter should be asking, but I suspect they never do. The company scored first in the New York Times's annual compilation * of CEO pay packages, coming in almost $30 million ahead of CBS, which is number 2. Of course if the CEOs earned less than the other top people in the corporate hierarchy would likely get smaller paychecks as well. And, it might be harder for the presidents of universities, foundations, and non-profits to explain the need for seven figure salaries for their work.

It seems unlikely that directors ever push in a big way for lower pay for CEOs because they have almost no incentive to do so. More than 99 percent of the directors put up for re-election are approved by shareholders. This is because it is very difficult to organize among shareholders to unseat a director. (Think of the difficulty of unseating an incumbent member of Congress and multiple by about 100.)

As a result, there is no reason to raise unpleasant questions at board meetings. Even though they are supposed to serve shareholders, which means not paying one penny more than necessary to CEOs and top management for their performance (just as CEOs try to pay workers as little as possible), their incentive is to get along with top management. The result is the upward spiral in CEO pay that we have seen in the last four decades.

A big part of the problem is that asset managers (think Vanguard and Blackrock) routinely support management slates as they vote trillions (literally) of dollars worth of stock held by people in their 401(k)s and IRAs. These asset managers care more about staying on good terms with top management than making sure they aren't overpaid. This creates a structure where ridiculously rich CEOs, who are usually big celebrants of the market, are effectively shielded themselves from market discipline. Isn't that the way markets are supposed to work?

* https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/26/business/highest-paid-ceos.html

-- Dean Baker

Fred C. Dobbs - , May 26, 2017 at 07:49 AM
The Highest-Paid C.E.O.s in 2016

https://nyti.ms/2r4cpYS

NYT - JON HUANG and KARL RUSSELL - MAY 26

Here are 200 of the highest-paid chief executives in American business. The data comes from the Equilar 200 Highest-Paid CEO Rankings, which lists the compensation of the chief executives of 200 public companies with annual revenue of at least $1 billion, that filed proxies by May 1st.

(graphic at the link)

pgl - , May 26, 2017 at 08:52 AM
This list is often seen posted on the bedroom wall of certain young ladies living in Manhattan. And the poor young dudes at the gym cannot figure out why they can't get a date.
Fred C. Dobbs , May 26, 2017 at 11:20 AM
The Question Isn't Why Wage Growth Is So Low. It's Why
It's So High. https://nyti.ms/2r5tRMx via @UpshotNYT
NYT - NEIL IRWIN - MAY 26, 2017

One of the economy's biggest mysteries is this: The labor market is the strongest it has been in a decade, yet wages are rising barely faster than inflation.

For some reason, the booming job market and ultralow unemployment rate, which fell to 4.4 percent in April, haven't led employers to raise pay in a meaningful way. That flies in the face of a basic assumption of how the economy works: A tight labor market is expected to lead to pay increases that in turn fuel broader inflation.

But the mystery of the missing pay raises may have a surprisingly simple solution, and one that sheds light on the larger economic challenges of our age.

Consider a simple model for how much the average worker's pay ought to be rising: You could simply add together the productivity growth rate - how rapidly the output generated by each hour of labor is increasing - and the inflation rate, which tells us how quickly prices are rising.

Over the last 24 months through March, inflation has come in at 1.4 percent a year, and productivity growth at 0.6 percent. Those are very low numbers. And in our supersimple model, you may expect average worker wages to have risen only 2 percent.

In fact, the average hourly earnings for nonmanagerial private sector workers rose 2.4 percent a year in that period. You may not feel like cheering about that, but it's more than we might have expected, with inflation and productivity so weak. The real mystery, then, isn't why wages are rising so slowly, but why they're rising so fast.

If anything, the numbers show that workers are capturing more than their share of the spoils from a growing economy. And that, as it happens, is the reverse of a decades-long trend. For most of the last half-century - 84 percent of the time since 1966 - average wages have grown more slowly than would be predicted based on productivity and inflation growth. The rise in the share of employee compensation that takes the form of health benefits instead of wages is a factor, but doesn't explain the whole gap; for long stretches, that gap exceeded 2 percentage points a year.

That means the labor share of national income was shrinking, or, more plainly, that workers' slice of the economic pie got smaller while the part taken by shareholders and other owners of capital grew. ...

Paine - , May 26, 2017 at 02:08 PM
Shoddy
cm - , May 26, 2017 at 08:43 PM
If there is an argument being made, I'm not getting it. It's all just wall of text.
Christopher H. , May 26, 2017 at 01:00 PM
https://www.wsj.com/articles/rural-america-is-the-new-inner-city-1495817008

RURAL AMERICA IS THE NEW 'INNER CITY'

A Wall Street Journal analysis shows that since the 1990s, sparsely populated counties have replaced large cities as America's most troubled areas by key measures of socioeconomic well-being-a decline that's accelerating

By Janet Adamy and Paul Overberg

Atthe corner where East North Street meets North Cherry Street in the small Ohio town of Kenton, the Immaculate Conception Church keeps a handwritten record of major ceremonies. Over the last decade, according to these sacramental registries, the church has held twice as many funerals as baptisms.

In tiny communities like Kenton, an unprecedented shift is under way. Federal and other data show that in 2013, in the majority of sparsely populated U.S. counties, more people died than were born-the first time that's happened since the dawn of universal birth registration in the 1930s.

...

In many cities, falling crime has attracted more middle- and upper-class families while an influx of millennials delaying marriage has helped keep divorce rates low.

Maria Nelson, a 45-year-old media company manager who came to Washington, D.C., to work after college, had always assumed she would someday move to the suburbs, where she had grown up. A generation of heavy federal spending helped make the nation's capital one of the country's highest-earning urban centers. Its median household income rose to $71,000 a year in 2015, a 51% increase since 1980, adjusted for inflation.

While Ms. Nelson was able to buy a brick row house in 2002, she said she worries about younger colleagues-let alone anyone moving in from a small town-who face soaring real-estate prices. "The whole area just seems to be out of range for most people now," she said

In Kenton, Father Young said that despite their mounting troubles, he is optimistic about his parishioners. Some of them tell him they worry about what will happen when they die because they still provide for their adult children.

He likes to say there is always hope. "They can find a job," he said. "Columbus is close enough."

updated May 26, 2017

DeDude , May 26, 2017 at 01:36 PM
Sorry Kentucky; in a federal government run like a business - you are a LOSER. Time to cut you off and leave you behind. If we are going to WIN so much that we get tired of it, we just cannot carry to load of someone like you.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/25/donald-trump-should-close-sell-states-like-kentucky-column/101989780/

[May 30, 2017] The Deep State is the State by Ron Jacobs

Notable quotes:
"... For those who don't know what the NSC-68 actually was, it is essentially a directive that militarized the conflict between US capitalism and Soviet communism. ..."
"... It was based on the correct understanding that US capitalism required open access to the resources and markets of the entire planet and that the Soviet Union represented the greatest threat to that access. ..."
"... When one recalls that this period in US history was also a period when the FBI and the US Congress were going after leftists and progressives in the name of a certain right-wing ideological purity, the power of the US secret police becomes quite apparent. ..."
"... At times, the seemingly absolute power of the CIA and FBI have caused the US Executive Branch to try and set up other means and methods in order to circumvent that power. Two examples of this that come quickly to mind are the establishment of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) by the Kennedy administration in 1961-1962 and the failed attempt (known as the Huston plan after its creator Tom Huston) by the Nixon White House to centralize the direction of all US government intelligence operations in the White House. ..."
"... There is no soft coup taking place in DC. The entire government has been owned by big business and the banking industry for more than a century, if not since its inception. That ownership has been dominated by the military-industrial complex since about the same time as when the aforementioned agencies were created. That is no coincidence. However, their role in the current uproar over Russia and Michael Flynn is not because they are taking over the government. It is because their current leadership represents the factions of the US establishment that were removed from power in November 2016. ..."
"... Donald Trump is not against the so-called deep state. He is against it being used against himself and his cohorts. In the world of capitalist power, the factions Trump represents are not the same factions represented by the presidents former FBI director Comey served-the factions represented by Bush and Obama. He understands that if he can install individuals in key positions at the FBI, CIA, DHS and other security and military agencies, he and his allies will be more than happy to use the power of these agencies against their opponents. ..."
"... When the ruling class is in crisis, as it is now, the job of the left is not to choose one side or the other. Nor is it to accept the narrative provided by one or other faction of the rulers, especially when that narrative supports the police state. Instead, it is the Left's job to go to the root of the crisis and organize resistance to the ruling class itself. ..."
"... Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com . ..."
May 26, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The deep state is not some enigmatic entity that operates outside the US government. It is the US state itself. Like all elements of that state, the so-called deep state exists to enforce the economic supremacy of US capitalism. It does so primarily via the secret domestic and international police forces like the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies. The operations of these agencies run the gamut from surveillance to propaganda to covert and overt military actions. Naturally, this so-called deep state operates according to their own rules; rules which ultimately insure its continued existence and relevance. Although it can be argued that it was the 1950 National Security Directive known as NSC-68 along with the Congressional Bill creating the Central Intelligence Agency that launched the "deep state" as we understand it, a broader understanding of the "deep state" places its genesis perhaps a century prior to that date. In other words, a structure designed to maintain the economic and political domination of certain powerful US capitalists existed well back into the nineteenth century. However, the centralization of that power began in earnest in the years following World War Two.

For those who don't know what the NSC-68 actually was, it is essentially a directive that militarized the conflict between US capitalism and Soviet communism.

It was based on the correct understanding that US capitalism required open access to the resources and markets of the entire planet and that the Soviet Union represented the greatest threat to that access. Not only did this mean the US military would grow in size, it also ensured that the power of the intelligence sector would expand both in terms of its reach and its budget. When one recalls that this period in US history was also a period when the FBI and the US Congress were going after leftists and progressives in the name of a certain right-wing ideological purity, the power of the US secret police becomes quite apparent.

As the 1950s turned into the 1960s, the so-called deep state's power continued to grow. Some of its better known manifestations include the failed attempt to invade revolutionary Cuba that became known as the Bay of Pigs, the use of psychoactive drugs on unsuspecting individuals as part of a mind control study, and numerous attempts to subvert governments considered anti-American. Among the latter actions one can include covert operations against the Vietnamese independence forces and the murder of the Congolese president Patrice Lumumba. In terms of the "deep state's" domestic operations, this period saw the intensification of spying on and disrupting various groups involved in the civil rights and antiwar organizing. Many elements of the domestic operation would become known as COINTELPRO and were directed by the FBI.

Although the agencies of the so-called deep state operate as part of the US state, this does not mean that those agencies are of one mind. Indeed, like any power structure, there are various factions represented. This means that there are disagreements over policies, priorities, direction, and personnel. The only certainty is that all of its members agree on the need to maintain the supremacy of US capital in the world. At times, the seemingly absolute power of the CIA and FBI have caused the US Executive Branch to try and set up other means and methods in order to circumvent that power. Two examples of this that come quickly to mind are the establishment of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) by the Kennedy administration in 1961-1962 and the failed attempt (known as the Huston plan after its creator Tom Huston) by the Nixon White House to centralize the direction of all US government intelligence operations in the White House.

There is no soft coup taking place in DC. The entire government has been owned by big business and the banking industry for more than a century, if not since its inception. That ownership has been dominated by the military-industrial complex since about the same time as when the aforementioned agencies were created. That is no coincidence. However, their role in the current uproar over Russia and Michael Flynn is not because they are taking over the government. It is because their current leadership represents the factions of the US establishment that were removed from power in November 2016.

Donald Trump is not against the so-called deep state. He is against it being used against himself and his cohorts. In the world of capitalist power, the factions Trump represents are not the same factions represented by the presidents former FBI director Comey served-the factions represented by Bush and Obama. He understands that if he can install individuals in key positions at the FBI, CIA, DHS and other security and military agencies, he and his allies will be more than happy to use the power of these agencies against their opponents. Indeed, he would most likely greatly enhance those agencies' power, making a further mockery of the US Constitution. If Trump is able to get the agencies of the deep state to work for the factions he represents-either by replacing those loyal to others not named Trump or by cajoling and coercing them to change their loyalty-he will think the deep state is a great thing. In this way he is no different than every other US president. He understands that whoever controls the deep state controls the US. The struggle we are witnessing between the FBI and the Trump White House is part of a power struggle between US power elites.

When the ruling class is in crisis, as it is now, the job of the left is not to choose one side or the other. Nor is it to accept the narrative provided by one or other faction of the rulers, especially when that narrative supports the police state. Instead, it is the Left's job to go to the root of the crisis and organize resistance to the ruling class itself.

Join the debate on Facebook

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com .

[May 30, 2017] John Helmer Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Svengali of Jimmy Carters Presidency, Is Dead, But the Evil Lives On naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Brzezinski was an obsessive Russia-hater from the beginning to the end. That led to the monumental failures of Carter's term in office; the hatreds Brzezinski released had an impact which continues to be catastrophic for the rest of the world. ..."
"... Carter and Brzezinski in Carter's study, six weeks into the presidential term - April 19, 1977. ..."
"... To Brzezinski also goes the credit for projecting Iran on to its nuclear-armed path against the Great Satan and US allies in the Middle East, making the sunni-shia sectarian division into a cause of international war which it was not, before Brzezinski began ..."
"... Left: Sadat standing up, with Begin and Carter at the signing of the Camp David accords, September 17, 1978. Right, Sadat's downfall in Cairo at the Egyptian Army's annual victory parade, October 6, 1981. ..."
"... Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter, February 1979. ..."
"... If not for Carter, Brzezinski would have remained the marginal voice he was before and after the four-year Carter term. From the start of that term, in the first six months of 1977, Carter was also warned explicitly by his own staff, inside the White House and working on his confidential instruction, not to allow Brzezinski to dominate his policy-making to the exclusion of all other advice, and the erasure of the evidence on which the advice was based. ..."
"... When Vernamonti and I had written up our two reports, we concluded that Brzezinski had been deliberately and systematically misinforming and misleading Carter in his policy memoranda. He withheld evidence; mistook or misrepresented what other officials and their agencies were saying; and manipulated the decision and action tails of his memoranda, so that Carter would think he had little option but to do what Brzezinski told him to choose. Our job, Carter had told us when we commenced work, was to spot the fox in the hen house, and warn him before there were fatal consequences. ..."
"... But dedicated and loyal Brzezinski was solely to himself – not to Carter nor the presidency he had been elected to run. Brzezinski's choices were among the reasons Carter was defeated in the landslide election of November 1980. ..."
"... Brzezinski is not the only Russia-hater of extraction from the minor Polish nobility to make a career of his monomania. For more of what he and Carter failed to achieve in Syria, read this ; and in Ukraine, this . For the other Polish monomaniac of recent times, Radoslaw Sikorski, read more . ..."
"... Brzezinski is the only national security advisor in American history to succeed at mesmerizing his president into singing his songs, as the character of Svengali did to Trilby O'Ferrall, an Irish working girl, in the best-selling novel of 1894 by George du Maurier. ..."
"... Carter gave the power of the White House stage to Brzezinski's voice. The ruin which has followed is Brzezinski's evil, but the evil-doing, that's Carter's fault. ..."
"... Remember, please, the Blackstone Group was founded by Rockefeller protégé, Peter G. Peterson, with Rockefeller seed money. ..."
"... The Carlyle Group was started by David Rubenstein (nephew of a dude named Jacob Rubenstein, before he changed his name to Jack Ruby) and Frank Carlucci, former CIA dude, with seed money from the Mellon family. ..."
"... The Deep State is that part of the organized crime syndicate, that is not only beyond morality, but beyond its own faux law (that it enforces against the uppity ones). ..."
"... Nowhere does Kennan encourage serious consideration of the possibility that the Soviets might have reason to feel threatened, "existentially," when they looked to the west .. ..."
"... The blaming of colonial powers is true in Africa where ocean going vessels altered what the colonial powers could achieve versus local powers, ..."
"... Again, most of this is increasingly well-known, but conventional wisdom seems to think that Saudi extremism and terror ties are contradictory to the United States' interests in supporting the regime. But it's contradictory only if terrorism poses a strategic threat to the West-it does not. ..."
"... Quite simply, terrorism in Europe or the US simply doesn't bother the Blob – its not a strategic issue, and they love to think of themselves as big strategic thinkers, too important to worry about mundane issues like civilian deaths. Terrorism works well for them – its not a real threat and every bomb blowing up tweens going to a concert just results in more money going to the securicracy. ..."
"... "The Simpsons" famously called Carter "History's greatest monster. " The two guys who crafted that scene and joke knew what a crummy President he was. I doubt it's been lost on Carter. ..."
"... That's a tall order for Brzezinski which I'm sure he played a significant role. Stephen Gowans has an interesting new book out 'Washington's Long War on Syria' which is recommended by Eva Bartlett. ..."
"... ""The thesis of this book is that Wall Street's war on Syria was motivated by the same aim: the de-Ba'athification of Syria and the elimination of secular Arab nationalist influence from the Syrian state, as a means of expunging the Arab nationalist threat to U.S. hegemony."" ..."
"... The blackest of humour contest to find Harvard's most evil. (Long intro about Hitler etc, skip to 18:30.) "Brzezinski is the Hydrox to Kissinger's Oreo" https://thetrap.fm/show/episode-100-chapo-goes-to-college-41717/ ..."
"... In Carter's defense, he has gone on the record and stated that the US today is now an oligarchy. Not exactly a "pass the buck" statement by a former president ..."
May 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil on his mind, it was Zbigniew Brzezinski, (lead image, right) who died last week at a hospital near Washington.

Former President Jimmy Carter, who employed Brzezinski as his National Security Advisor between 1977 and 1981, the only high official post Brzezinski reached, said he "helped me set vital foreign policy goals, was a source of stimulation for the departments of defense and state, and everyone valued his opinion." Of Carter's three claims, only the first is true; the second is ironic hyperbole; the third is completely false. If Carter cannot tell the truth now about Brzezinski, after having 36 years to reflect on it, Carter reveals the principal source of Brzezisnki's power, when he exercised it. For Carter was no innocent ventriloquized by the evil Svengali (lead image, left), as in the original Svengali tale. Carter was simply more mendacious than Brzezinski, and is entirely to blame for doing what Brzezinski told him to do.

Brzezinski was an obsessive Russia-hater from the beginning to the end. That led to the monumental failures of Carter's term in office; the hatreds Brzezinski released had an impact which continues to be catastrophic for the rest of the world.

Carter and Brzezinski in Carter's study, six weeks into the presidential term - April 19, 1977.

To Brzezinski goes the credit for starting the organization, financing and armament of the mujahideen, the Islamic fundamentalists who have metastasized - with US money and arms still - into Islamic terrorist armies operating far from Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Brzezinski started them off. Only today, Russia – the target of Brzezinski's scheming - is relatively better prepared and safer from the terrorists than the countries of western Europe and the US itself.

To Brzezinski also goes the credit for projecting Iran on to its nuclear-armed path against the Great Satan and US allies in the Middle East, making the sunni-shia sectarian division into a cause of international war which it was not, before Brzezinski began. That it was not is due to the power of the secular Arab leaders to sustain an alternative to religion for governance. Brzezinski's idea was to target them as Kremlin stooges and overthrow them. To Brzezinski also goes the credit for releasing Israeli ambition under Menachem Begin and his successors on the Israeli right; the promotion of Egyptian corruption and weakness under Anwar Sadat and his successors; and the destruction of the Palestinians.

Left: Sadat standing up, with Begin and Carter at the signing of the Camp David accords, September 17, 1978. Right, Sadat's downfall in Cairo at the Egyptian Army's annual victory parade, October 6, 1981.

In Carter's obituary, he also gives Brzezinski the credit for "an essential role" in two other achievements Carter still claims for himself: "normalization of relations with China [and the] signing of the SALT II treaty." Carter is exaggerating the little he did, after his predecessors Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford had initiated and negotiated the terms for both. Carter says nothing about his failure to influence the course of US nuclear weapon designs that continue to evolve unhindered, and the schemes of first-strike war-fighting against both Russia and China which are virtual, if not quite stated US policy today.

Apart from the reference Carter makes first to his wife Rosalynn's views, there is no illumination. In 1977 Rosalynn Carter had different views from her husband's, but regarding Brzezinski and others in the Carter White House, she never dared to express them in public. On pain of instant dismissal nor did anyone else in the White House then. And there were no leaks.

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter, February 1979.

If not for Carter, Brzezinski would have remained the marginal voice he was before and after the four-year Carter term. From the start of that term, in the first six months of 1977, Carter was also warned explicitly by his own staff, inside the White House and working on his confidential instruction, not to allow Brzezinski to dominate his policy-making to the exclusion of all other advice, and the erasure of the evidence on which the advice was based.

I know this because I was a member of the staff in those days. I know because I drafted the terms of a series of staff investigations which Carter requested and then authorized of how the advice he was receiving at his desk was influencing the choices and policy options he had to decide – memoranda from the cabinet departments, briefs from the intelligence agencies, and commentaries from different elements of the White House organization itself.

The investigation of two of Brzezinski's policy recommendations to Carter was assigned to a US Airforce officer on secondment to the White House staff at the time, Len Vernamonti ;and to me. We were part of a group of 25 titled the President's Reorganization Project (PRP). Our offices were in the New Executive Office Building, the red-brick structure across the street from the State, War and Navy Building, aka the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB); in Mark Twain's epithet, the ugliest building in America. Twain was referring to what the inhabitants of the building did, not to the exterior or interior decoration, which was grand. Brzezinski's staff operated in the OEOB. He himself, like his predecessors, kept his own office in the West Wing of the White House, diagonally across the lobby from the Oval Office and Carter's personal study.

The PRP, a Carter election campaign invention unprecedented in White House history, had the job of preparing a study for the president on how his White House operations might be organized to expand his policy choices, enlarge the evidence available for him to read – Carter was very keen on reading - anticipate consequences, and curb bureaucratic empire building outside the Oval Office. The staff had mostly come, as had I, from Carter's campaign advisors. Major Vernamonti, as he was then, had come to the PRP by secondment and by chance.

The idea of reorganization at the top of the US government bureaucracy wasn't novel; it most often accompanied incoming presidents whose party had been out of office for a long time and who wanted to purge non-loyalists and find jobs for their own people. But the idea of opening up the president's files and reassessing the decisions he had made in his first six months had never been attempted before.

Military, intelligence and foreign policy topics were off-limits because of the classification and security clearances required, so the PRP focused on domestic policymaking. In organizational management terms, they amounted to the same thing. We compiled a list of topics for investigation from among the public and private priorities of the new administration; Carter was asked to select which he wanted us to study. About 30 topics were selected; two were assigned to each of a dozen two-man teams. By Carter's order, we had authority to open all files, including those of the National Security Council (NSC). Bzezinski didn't like that; he resisted; he lost the first round

The subjects of the Brzezinski investigation remain classified. It's exactly 40 years since I last saw the papers. They were secret at the time, but there was a deeper, darker secret.

When Vernamonti and I had written up our two reports, we concluded that Brzezinski had been deliberately and systematically misinforming and misleading Carter in his policy memoranda. He withheld evidence; mistook or misrepresented what other officials and their agencies were saying; and manipulated the decision and action tails of his memoranda, so that Carter would think he had little option but to do what Brzezinski told him to choose. Our job, Carter had told us when we commenced work, was to spot the fox in the hen house, and warn him before there were fatal consequences. He had been a Navy officer and a submariner; also the Georgia State governor. So he knew about the pathologies of command and control; he also knew about fatal consequences. But neither he nor we anticipated that the fox would turn out to be Brzezinski, nor the chicken turn out to be Carter himself.

No president had ever been presented with such a stark analysis of his own reading of papers and his own decision-making. I knew that because I had consulted with senior White House staff directors going back to Franklin Roosevelt's time.

The recommendations Vernamonti and I drew from the decision-making research were revolutionary. We proposed that Carter retain a personal national security advisor with a staff restricted to sub-advisors amounting to less than a score. The large NSC bureaucracy, growing across the driveway in the OEOB, was to be broken up and returned to the mainline departments. Our idea was that the National Security Advisor would be restricted to being just that – an advisor in a staff function. Line command and control, which McGeorge Bundy started with President John Kennedy in 1961, and Henry Kissinger perfected under Richard Nixon between 1969 and 1975, was to be halted because it encouraged a government-wide war for the president's mind, which usually ended badly – not for the advisor but for the president.

There were more than 300 pages in the final PRP report, including the executive summary and the recommendations, plus the case studies. Brzezinski got early warning of the studies, and then received the drafts, plus a copy of the cover memorandum with recommendations. He saw at once the danger, and went to work on our superiors. The upshot was that on the weekend before our staff was due to present the report to Carter at a White House meeting, and answer his questions, Vernamonti and I were called in to an urgent meeting with the PRP leader, and his superior, Harrison Wellford.

Like several of us on the staff, Wellford was a Harvard graduate, with an equable, jocular Massachusetts manner of dealing in tight spots. He describes his background on the Carter campaign and then on the presidential transition team of 1976 here . But on the day Wellford called Vernamonti and me into his office, Wellford was not his usual self. He made clear that Brzezinski was furious, and would not allow our conclusions to go to Carter. Wellford himself didn't disagree with the evidence or the findings. He didn't disagree with the recommendations either, he said. But he lacked the power to fight Brzezinski with Carter, he conceded.

In his encomium on Brzezinski's death, Carter said last Friday: "Having studied Zbig's impressive background and his scholarly and political writings, I called on him to advise me on foreign policy issues during my first presidential campaign. I liked him immediately, and we developed an excellent personal relationship." That much is true. Carter also remembers: "He was brilliant, dedicated, and loyal." From the Harvard point of view, the first adjective was unexceptional – there are hundreds and thousands of "brilliant" Harvard graduates; about a dozen of them in the Carter White House. But dedicated and loyal Brzezinski was solely to himself – not to Carter nor the presidency he had been elected to run. Brzezinski's choices were among the reasons Carter was defeated in the landslide election of November 1980.

But that's getting ahead of our little tale. Wellford told Vernamonti and me he had no choice but to give us strict orders for the meeting scheduled the following week with Carter. Our case studies might, he said, be included in the tabs to the PRP briefing book we would present to the president. But the conclusions, and the recommendations for reform of the National Security Council, would be eliminated. Then Wellford added an ultimatum: Vernamonti and I would be allowed to sit at the meeting with Carter. But we were to say nothing unless Carter spoke to us. If that happened, we were not to mention our recommendations on Brzezinski. If we did that, we would both be fired instantly. That would have meant the end of Vernamonti's airforce career.

Wellford added this was a secret we were not to tell to anyone.

The upshot was this. Wellford, plus the PRP team leader (a Georgian like Carter whose name I've forgotten), the others on our staff; Vernamonti and I met with Carter to present our report. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room. Vernamonti and I sat to the right of our superiors; Carter was across the table, his back to the windows. Brzezinski was present, along with other senior White House staff advisors of the day. The big briefing book lay in front of the president. He spoke of congratulations for the originality and painstaking work we had done, and promised to read every word. He asked questions, but not of Vernamonti or me. We stayed shtum. We walked out keeping our jobs, as did everyone else, especially Brzezinski.

Our defeat stayed secret for years. Ours was not the nail for want of which the shoe was lost, the horse, the knight, the battle, etc. There were many other nails, shoes, horses and knights lost, starting with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, but he died in 2002 without telling as much as he could and should have done. Carter, however, did lose his kingdom, ignominiously. That still stings with him. Vernamonti (pictured recently, below left) went on to a brilliant USAF career, managing the purse which paid for US ballistic missile programs. Wellford (right) has managed the legal side of some of the largest energy businesses in the US.

Many years later, after the New York Times reported how thorough and effective Carter's reorganization of the White House had been, I responded with a letter detailing part of the Brzezinski record of 1977. I omitted Vernamonti's name, in case he was still in the Air Force; I included Wellford's. The letter was cued to be published, according to a Times editor who telephoned to check a couple of name-spellings and dates. But the letter never appeared. I was told by the Times that in advance of publication, Brzezinski was shown the text, and he commanded that it not appear. The newspaper did what it was told.

Brzezinski is not the only Russia-hater of extraction from the minor Polish nobility to make a career of his monomania. For more of what he and Carter failed to achieve in Syria, read this ; and in Ukraine, this . For the other Polish monomaniac of recent times, Radoslaw Sikorski, read more .

Brzezinski is the only national security advisor in American history to succeed at mesmerizing his president into singing his songs, as the character of Svengali did to Trilby O'Ferrall, an Irish working girl, in the best-selling novel of 1894 by George du Maurier.

Carter is mesmerized still. Without Carter, Brzezinski would have remained an inconsequential academic among many contending to be heard. Carter gave the power of the White House stage to Brzezinski's voice. The ruin which has followed is Brzezinski's evil, but the evil-doing, that's Carter's fault.

Disturbed Voter , May 30, 2017 at 5:32 am

Mika, his daughter, continues the Deep State work, in the MSM. And advisor Brzezinski wasn't the only cold warrior around in those days. Senator McCain carries that torch still, from the Hanoi Hilton.

esb , May 30, 2017 at 11:23 am

Right you are. This woman is truly dangerous, sporting her famous name and spewing her hateful, disruptive prattle, esp. due to her pairing with the faux-Republican Scarborough, who himself is a bizarre combination of neocon and progressive.

optimader , May 30, 2017 at 11:34 am

Who is the Deep State? Does it/they file Income tax?

sgt_doom , May 30, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Well, around 1963, the Deep State would be the super-rich families who called the shots, notably through such minions as Allen Dulles, (his cousin) Tracy Barnes, McGeorge Bundy, and a slew of others. Those richest families at that time were the Rockefeller, DuPont, Morgan, Harriman (Poindexter), Cabot (and Lodge), Forbes, Mellon and a few others.

Remember, please, the Blackstone Group was founded by Rockefeller protégé, Peter G. Peterson, with Rockefeller seed money.

The Carlyle Group was started by David Rubenstein (nephew of a dude named Jacob Rubenstein, before he changed his name to Jack Ruby) and Frank Carlucci, former CIA dude, with seed money from the Mellon family.

Presently, one of the largest or more powerful of the private intel contractors, Booz Allen Hamilton is owned by the Carlyle Group, last time I checked. Carlyle also owned ARINC for quite a few years, yielding incredible corporate intel from such as they!

So Robert Scheer, who wrote this book ("They Know Everything About You") where he remarked a bit on Palantir (started by Peter Thiel, primarily with CIA contracts, now a private intel company), and pondered in his book how Thiel came to know Richard Perle, who steered Thiel into Adm. Poindexter for those CIA (Total Infomration Awareness-like) CIA contracts?

Of course, Scheer is used to robotically repeating CIA disinformation stuff so is unable to pursue simple investigative reporting techniques which would have yielded that Peter Thiel sat on the board of "American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc." (according to their 990 tax forms) along with Richard Perle (from whence he knew him, 'natch!) and David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger, etc.

I trust I have added to your worldly sophistication?

Disturbed Voter , May 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

You know you are in, when you are in the Carlyle Group. Not just the founders like the Bush family, but neo-libs like the Clintons. I am sure the Obama crime family will be invited into that exclusive private country club, if they continue to play ball the CIA way.

financial matters , May 30, 2017 at 10:55 pm

JFK and RFK took on US Steel as well as wanting to not escalate in Vietnam. This essentially probably got both of them killed.

Trump seems to be more circumspect in taking on the deep state.

Disturbed Voter , May 30, 2017 at 7:02 pm

When you are the law, like the Nixon presidency, there is no need to file, your taxable income is whatever you say it is. The Deep State is that part of the organized crime syndicate, that is not only beyond morality, but beyond its own faux law (that it enforces against the uppity ones).

Ignacio , May 30, 2017 at 6:30 am

I woludn't blame Brzezinski for the sunni-shia divide in countries like Irak. For this I would blame the british.

PlutoniumKun , May 30, 2017 at 7:00 am

Yes, I think thats overstating it. But it was certainly during the Carter era that the notion of setting the secular (Iraq) and Sunni States against Iran became policy – albeit after the Iranian Revolution. And of course it was during this period that it became someones bright idea that providing arms to extreme islamacists was a good strategy. I doubt they consciously decided to set sunni against shia, but that was one result.

But ultimately of course much of the problems in the middle east can be traced to the failure of the West to support secular States for Cold War reasons. Brutal and all as Assad (Sr) and Hussein were, they kept the lid on religious tension and were a vital counterbalance to the Gulf theocracies. And of course the CIA removed a genuinely popular reformist President in Iran in favour of a dictator. Helmer is right that the monomaniacal obsession with blocking the USSR caused all sorts of unnecessary bloodshed and chaos in the Middle East and Asia, although its overstretching it I think to blame so much on Brzezinski.

And its not all hindsight. I keep going back to Graham Greene's novel 'The Quiet American' from 1955 as an explanation for why so many supposedly smart foreign policy wonks could cause such havoc. Read that one book and so much becomes clear.

Ignacio , May 30, 2017 at 7:28 am

Totally agreed

johnnygl , May 30, 2017 at 10:47 am

Yes, ideological hatred of the soviets was clearly present at least as far back as the truman admin when nsc-68 was published. That was a break from the original, limited idea of george kennan's' containment' policy.

hemeantwell , May 30, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Surprising stuff from Helmer .

A 1976 Slavic Review article by Wright, "Mr. X and containment" is useful for pointing out that Kennan's recommendations were contradictory. While he was nominally arguing for a less alarmed (aka victimized anticommunist) position, the strategy of containment was still pitched at confrontation, and was very cut off from the possibilities of cooperation that were in the Yalta air. Kennan's idea that Russia would, like a wind-up toy, pursue an expansionist policy based on "military industrialization" was, in my view, an ideological spew by someone already submerged in it. Nowhere does Kennan encourage serious consideration of the possibility that the Soviets might have reason to feel threatened, "existentially," when they looked to the west, and for reasons having nothing to do with their by then desiccated Bolshevism.

Mark P. , May 30, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Nowhere does Kennan encourage serious consideration of the possibility that the Soviets might have reason to feel threatened, "existentially," when they looked to the west ..

Everybody has reasons.

Given Allied intervention in Russia during and immediately after WWI against the Soviets, the Soviets absolutely had reason to feel threatened existentially.

But also given the many millions of deaths under Stalin's regime, the West had reason to feel threatened existentially after WWII.

And also given the centuries-long histories of Polish-Russian wars, with Poland once occupying Moscow and later Russia controlling much of Poland in the 19th as well as in the 20th century - and factoring in Lenin's plan to expand the Soviet regime westwards by occupying Poland which led to the Polish-Soviet War of 1918-19 and the agreement between Stalin and Hitler that let the USSR occupy Poland in 1939 (which included the Katyn massacre) - the Poles have reasons to feel threatened by the Russians.

Brzezinski's strange, maniacal hatred of Russians isn't strange and maniacal given that history. For that matter, given the Soviet occupation of Hungary, during the Cold War Hungarians like John von Neumann and Edward Teller had reason for their strange, maniacal hatred of the Russians.

So while it's tiresome for the rest of us to deal with the attitudes of the Poles - including Brzezinski - and the other peoples who live in the territories adjoining Russia, the historical truth is that Russia - whether as Muscovy, the Russian empire, or the Soviet Union - has a many centuries-long history of being heavy-handed with its neighbors.

The hideousness of U.S. behavior in Latin America - and we can all agree it is hideous - is comparable, but arguably not even in the same league as the way the Russians have historically - and in the memory of some still living - treated their neighbors.

So everybody has reasons. Everybody has reasons.

Plenue , May 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

But did Brzezinski hate Russia because of the history of what it's done to Poland, or because the Soviets deprived his family of their cushy aristocratic existence? At this point I'm not particularly inclined to think that toffs as a general rule view their lower-class countrymen as anything other than tools to serve and enrich themselves.

sgt_doom , May 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Excellent points, reminded me of a blog posting I'd read years ago at Economic Populist (not recommended, but occasionally one or two things would pop through):

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/exploitation-inc-david-rockefeller-and-adventures-global-finance

NotTimothyGeithner , May 30, 2017 at 9:16 am

Except for Israel (that area was always weird due to distance from major powers*), the maps of the modern Middle East are strangely reminiscent of the old Ottoman provinces. The blaming of colonial powers is true in Africa where ocean going vessels altered what the colonial powers could achieve versus local powers, but the problem in the Middle East is the ability of foreign powers to influence and prop up poor governments who wouldn't otherwise be able to survive and weaken more stable governments. The Saudis and Israelis act boorish because they can go hide behind the U.S. whenever things get too hot.

*Jerusalem is the last place a major player could fortify before being forced to invade another major player in pre-modern days due to water concerns. This is why Jews exist. Jerusalem is too important to not fortify but is too distant and rural to bother with too, giving the locals a culture that appropriated everything but could never truly be overwhelmed. A Jerusalem sized city closer to the Nile would become Egyptian, and a city closer to Persepolis would become Persian through natural trade and extension of power. If Jerusalem wasn't a dependable city, no one would care.

Mark P. , May 30, 2017 at 2:32 pm

The blaming of colonial powers is true in Africa where ocean going vessels altered what the colonial powers could achieve versus local powers,

Ocean-going vessels but also the machine gun. As Hilaire Belloc wrote: Whatever happens, we have got. The Maxim gun, and they have not

When the first machine guns appeared circa 1860 much of Africa's interior remained unmapped and terra incognito to the Europeans. By 1915, conversely, every territory in Africa - except for Ethiopia - was not only mapped but a colonial possession of one or another of the European powers.

olga , May 30, 2017 at 9:20 am

Yes, and if one thinks long enough – it seems that many problems we are dealing with today can be traced directly to the so called British empire (including the divide and conquer strategy the Brits so skillfully employed). The empire only lasted 200+ yrs, but we'll be cleaning up its messes for the next 500.
And a bit of mittel Europa humour on ZB's escapades: when you let a goat go free, she'll go ice skating

PlutoniumKun , May 30, 2017 at 10:15 am

Incidentally, this article by Andrew Hobbs in Warisboring gives on explanation for why the blob doesn't actually care if its cultivation of Sunni extremists causes terrorism blowback:

Again, most of this is increasingly well-known, but conventional wisdom seems to think that Saudi extremism and terror ties are contradictory to the United States' interests in supporting the regime. But it's contradictory only if terrorism poses a strategic threat to the West-it does not.

Quite simply, terrorism in Europe or the US simply doesn't bother the Blob – its not a strategic issue, and they love to think of themselves as big strategic thinkers, too important to worry about mundane issues like civilian deaths. Terrorism works well for them – its not a real threat and every bomb blowing up tweens going to a concert just results in more money going to the securicracy.

River , May 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Sunni-Shia divide happened when Mohammed died. As for countries like Iraq, that would be the Ottomans who exacerbated that particular rift, themselves being Sunni.

TheCatSaid , May 30, 2017 at 6:59 am

What an important piece of history this is. Thank you John Helmer and NC for the post. It's of critical importance for understanding why the geopolitical chessboard looks the way it does today, including US-created "Islamic extremism" tool that has since grown and morphed and escaped into the "wild".

I wonder if Carter will ever learn how the crucial report contents were hijacked by Zbig at the last moment.

Interesting to learn of Rosalyn Carter's concerns. Is more info available about this?

Colonel Smithers , May 30, 2017 at 6:59 am

Thank you to JH for this fascinating insight.

With regard to Radek Sikorski, there is some dispute as to whether he really is (minor) nobility. At Oxford, where he became friends with Alex (aka Boris) Johnson and David Cameron, including being initiated into the Bullingdon Club (or the Buller as members call it), one British journalist, author (of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People) and free / charter school "entrepreneur" said there was something improbable and even impostor-ish about Sikorski, including claims of nobility and being related to the Polish WW2 general of the same name. The hack said that Sikorski would probably be unmasked as an encyclopaedia salesman from a hick town in the US.

A few years ago, at a City reception, I met a UBS banker who is in the well known picture of the Bullingdon Club with Johnson and Cameron. Sikorski and his wife, the so-called journalist Anne Applebaum, were riding high in the UK media /establishment at the time, and still do to a lesser extent, and have made enough money bashing Russia to be able to send their two sons to Eton. The banker expressed unease then about Sikorski and his Russia bashing, as if Sikorski and Applebaum were not quite kosher and trying to ingratiate themselves with the rich and powerful.

Apparently, General Wojciech Jaruzelski was also minor nobility. There's a lot of this pretence about, including the pair in London and NYC who milk having the same surname as the Rothschilds. The UK's current Home Secretary (minister for law and order) once ran a firm that supplied upper class extras to film productions (e.g. Four Weddings And A Funeral) and anyone who wanted to pretend having upper class connections.

PlutoniumKun , May 30, 2017 at 10:17 am

Thanks for that insight, Col. You mention Anne Applebaum – I used to marvel a few years ago at her writings in Slate magazine and wonder how someone who knew so little about the topics she wrote about could get such good writing gigs.

Indrid Cold , May 30, 2017 at 11:53 am

Yeah. That's the Deep State in action there. The one that guy was asking snarkily if it paid taxes. Its members do. But not like me or you.

witters , May 30, 2017 at 6:24 pm

She singlehandedly turned me off the NYRB, which has since continued its slide, culminating in the hysterics of Snyder.

Roger Smith , May 30, 2017 at 7:43 am

I want Carter to read this and issue a response.

oho , May 30, 2017 at 8:09 am

Jimmy Carter's mainstream hagiography has been pretty much set in positive stone -- the 'aw shucks' president who meant well and did what he could, not the naive outsider who let other forces co-opt his foreign policy.

Indrid Cold , May 30, 2017 at 11:55 am

Carter is a personification of America. "He meant well but made some errors along the way and regrettably, civilians were injured."

sgt_doom , May 30, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Like that presidential directive utilizing Saudi "help" in shipping Wahabist Islamic extremists to the northern border of Afghanistan and the old Soviet Union to raise hell and incite rebellion? Eventual outcome: 9/11/01!

Or Carter's abolishing federal anti-usury regulations?

Or his deregulation of the natural gas industry (involving firing the head of the National Geological Survey, if I recall the proper career scientist he fired, because the fellow admitted to the press when asked that there wasn't any natural gas shortage), airlines industry and trucking?

Or . . .

(In all honesty, though, I did respect his daughter Amy Carter - I thought she was the Real Deal!)

ger , May 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Alas, we have seen other hen house foxes besides Bzig . Kissinger, Albright, even the adorable HRC, in administrations wherein the Rooster turned out to be the Hen.

Darn , May 30, 2017 at 8:21 am

+100

nycTerrierist , May 30, 2017 at 8:43 am

Ditto.

NotTimothyGeithner , May 30, 2017 at 8:50 am

I believe Carter knows. It's part of his post-Presidency motivation. "The Simpsons" famously called Carter "History's greatest monster. " The two guys who crafted that scene and joke knew what a crummy President he was. I doubt it's been lost on Carter.

financial matters , May 30, 2017 at 7:45 am

That's a tall order for Brzezinski which I'm sure he played a significant role. Stephen Gowans has an interesting new book out 'Washington's Long War on Syria' which is recommended by Eva Bartlett.

""If there were any references in Western media to the Assad government's commitment to the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party's values of freedom from foreign domination, state direction, planning and control of the economy, and working toward the unity of the Arab nation, I'm not aware of them.""

""The thesis of this book is that Wall Street's war on Syria was motivated by the same aim: the de-Ba'athification of Syria and the elimination of secular Arab nationalist influence from the Syrian state, as a means of expunging the Arab nationalist threat to U.S. hegemony.""

---–

We support corrupt states like Saudi Arabia that buy our arms and let us exploit their natural resources and are favorable to our banks and oil companies but don't tolerate states that are more interested in being free of American imperialism such as Libya, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

This could be said to have been set in motion after World War I when the Arab nation was carved up into individual countries separated by borders drawn in imperial map rooms.

LT , May 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

Military strategy (no matter what country): divide and conquer. Intelligence agencies help to pave that way.

They Sykes-Picot Treaty was the source of the "creative" map drawing post-WWI. A couple of the highlights being the creation of "Syria" (resources for France) and "Iraq" (resources for Britain). After WWI, it's been written that the "Arabs" really felt the USA would help them get the fairest deal. They should have taken a real hard look at the Philipines and Cuba, countries the USA helped against Spain.

Colonel Smithers , May 30, 2017 at 10:03 am

Thank you, LT.

France's former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing is related to Picot. One of his grandmothers, Genevieve, was Picot's sister.

The Giscard family, who adopted the aristocratic d'Estaing name to the disgust of the descendants of the d'Estaing family, had business interests in Syria. The family had interests in former colonies by way of their (former) ownership of Club Med. Some of them came to Mauritius when Club Med opened in Albion, near where I spend the festive season.

Another family that had colonial business interests are the Levy, including Bernard-Henri and Justine. BHL cashed out to Vincent Bollore before he destroyed the company and used the EUR 200m pay off to fund his political playboy lifestyle that included, briefly, plans for a philosophy magazine in Afghanistan.

Chauncey Gardiner , May 30, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Re: "a philosophy magazine in Afghanistan"? Seriously? How quintessentially French, and absolutely the best idea evah. Thanks so much for making my day!

witters , May 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm

What is perhaps even more French is the fact that BHL claims to BE a philosopher.

Darn , May 30, 2017 at 8:23 am

Posted this on another thread but I'll do it again.

The blackest of humour contest to find Harvard's most evil. (Long intro about Hitler etc, skip to 18:30.) "Brzezinski is the Hydrox to Kissinger's Oreo" https://thetrap.fm/show/episode-100-chapo-goes-to-college-41717/

Damson , May 30, 2017 at 10:08 am

An excellent precis from Helmer as always.

He is one of the very few writing today that can be trusted to give a truthful and thorough analysis of geopolitical events, and to stick to the known facts.

TheCatSaid

For those not yet following George Webb's YouTube, he's unraveling and exposing a number of interwoven illegal enterprises ("rat lines"). He's today revealed he's had assistance from insiders in French, Dutch and Serbian intelligence among others, and insiders in US agencies as well. Names have been named, lots of specifics coming out each day. What's the connection to Helmer's post here? Webb today described the foulness of the intelligence agency activities in recent years as having originated with Brzezinsky, with things becoming steadily more foul since then, but in a direction, mindset and way of operating that Brzezinsky had created.

Webb also makes a side comment about Brzezinsky's cause of death not being disclosed. He mentions it was a murder, and wonders aloud if it was because he'd had a recent change of heart and was about to tell prior secrets.

wellstone's ghost , May 30, 2017 at 11:40 am

I've never read the book The Grand Chessboard by Brzezinski, but my understanding is that it outlines the policy of containment of the Eurasian landmass which seems to be the US position at this time. Quite foolhardy in my opinion.

In Carter's defense, he has gone on the record and stated that the US today is now an oligarchy. Not exactly a "pass the buck" statement by a former president. He knows he got played by the Iranian hostage crisis and the dirty tricks of the Reagan campaign/CIA head William Casey. I think he believes he took one for the team(America), hence his dedication to charitable causes all these years as atonement for his mistakes.

StephenVerchinski , May 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Political Ponerology by Lobachewski. Zbig did stymie its publication according to the author. Zbig, was like many of our powerful, also a war criminal.

footnote4 , May 30, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Great to have Helmer's insight into the history. Carter needs to address it, and Brzezinski's recent change of heart as well:

The main architect of Washington's plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski's article in The American Interest titled "Towards a Global Realignment" has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.

footnote4 , May 30, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Link for the above Broken Chessboard article

footnote4 , May 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Ok, that wasn't right either.

Here's the Counterpunch Broken Chessboard article on Brzezinski's recent change of heart re the strategy he pushed in the 1970s.

ChrisAtRU , May 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Thanks for this. Love the personal anecdotes.

horostam , May 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

contrary to what is taught by the traditional left in America, Iranians widely believe that it was Carter's decision to get rid of the Shah and install the islamic regime which would fit with the general pattern in the middle east. they also believe that it was british agents who spurred the unrest. All this "backlash from Mossadeg in the 50's" narrative is not held by actual iranians at all

McWatt , May 30, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Not only should everyone read "The Quiet American" but the movie is also a must see.

This one book and movie show the world the evil of imperial desire.

robnume , May 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm

I agree, McWatt. I am a huge Graham Greene fan; I have almost all of his books.

  • "The Quiet American" is a real lesson in what would become our foreign policy in Southeast Asia.
  • Besides Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," it is one of five or six books which I re-read on a regular basis; every five to ten years or so.

I can only assume that you've seen both versions of the movie. Which do you prefer and why?

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , May 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm

I agree, the book's a must-read. And prescient, too– published in 1955.

[May 28, 2017] Al-Qaedas Godfather Is Dead - Good Riddance

Notable quotes:
"... Brzezinski was the godfather of al-Qaeda and similar groups. ..."
"... As National Security Advisor of U.S. President Jimmy Carter Brzezinski devised the strategy of using religiously motivated radical militants against secular governments and their people. He sent Saudi financed Wahhabi nuts to fight the government of Afghanistan before the USSR intended to send its military in support that government. His policy of rallying Jihadis (vid) caused millions of death. ..."
"... I long recall the Soviet embassy sending an official letter across town - Washington - to point out that one day the U S would bitterly regret having instigated religious fundamentalism as a weapon against Soviet secularism in central asia . Reading of this all those years ago I had a feeling of great foreboding . ..."
"... He just expanded its use outside of the Middle East and made it far more visible and militant. It had already been used against the secular states in the Middle East such as Egypt under Nasser with the assistance of Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... As to Zbigboy, the chessboard was his manifesto on divide-and-conquer and playing groups of peoples against each other. It is also a mate of Kissinger (PNAC, etc) that no state or group should be allowed to rise to dominate or influence a region. ..."
"... The USG has been backing gibbering Wahabi lunatics, easily the source of 90% of "Muslim" terrorism, against secular Arab governments since the Eisenhower Administration. ..."
"... Burying Brzezinski and Kissinger does not end ANYTHING. They (and their ilk) leave behind a thoroughly and profoundly sick U.S. and western states loaded with new generations of psychopaths. In fact, getting rid of every last psychopath in ANY western government (parliament) fixes nothing because the organizations themselves ensure that new psychopaths will quickly bubble to the top. ..."
"... Indeed, beginning in the second half of America's 20th century up until now, one can see Nietzsche's maxim about fighting monsters being played out and revealing the greatness of his thought. This has culminated in such a way that Lavrov even said that America media has become remniscent of the Soviet Pravda. No argument here. ..."
"... He was definitely not an architect of American deep state. That was not his job. He was an architect of American Empire's foreign policy of global hegemony. Like Kissinger and Wolfowitz. ..."
"... Perhaps it worth noting that in Brzez's last year he basically retracted the thesis that he presented in The Great Chessboard . See this counterpunch article by Mike Whitney. Brzez was realistic enough to see that breaking up the China-Russia-Iran alliance was not going to work and maybe we should do deals with them ..."
"... Brzezinski was a diseased, psychopathic human being that - through the mechanisms of the state - caused unimaginable pain and suffering throughout the world (directly or indirectly) because of his psychopathy. Not by himself, of course. The guy should have been contained and treated like the diseased person he was, not elevated to positions as a diplomat or counselor to national leaders. A healthy society should shun psychopaths, not bumble along oblivious to the harm they cause. ..."
"... 'In fact, getting rid of every last psychopath in ANY western government (parliament) fixes nothing because the organizations themselves ensure that new psychopaths will quickly bubble to the top.' ..."
"... There's people with weird, dangerous or maybe 'psychopathic' leanings in every country and every society, they're part of humanity. But when they 'systematically' get to positions of influence and power, there's something wrong with said system: It seems to reward individual psychopathology, rather than humanism and cooperation. ..."
"... Zbig was an intelligent guy for sure, and it's not easy to replace someone like him. But his teachings will cause trouble for another while - afaik, there is no effective counter-strategy yet, or is there? Can a government win against fundamentalist militants with limited violence, e.g. by isolating them and exposing their inhumane regime? ..."
"... His worst crime, with Carter, IMO, was trying successfully to manipulate the U.S.S.R. to invade Afghanistan. All of Carter's outrage over the invasion was a lot of baloney. They were not exactly being the friends of Afghanistan they pretended to be. This was worse then later arming the jihadists. ..."
"... The funny/ interesting thing is how this US/ western control over the rest of the world is habitually described by code expressions such as 'maintaining the international order' or 'stabilize global order'. ..."
"... It's all about bullshit + bullying. Luxuriously-funded think/spin tanks make up the bullshit and feed it to people in the MSM capable of bullying (and diminishing the reputation of) persuasive critics of the bullshit. ..."
"... While I agree with you that he should "burn in hell" he hardly devised anything. With his background and cold war at the time, he was useful idiot for Americans and his masters. And there is plenty of them in each administration. Trump has one, some idiot from Hungary. Brzezinski's "strategy" was simply copied from the others mainly from Nazis, just as was pretty much everything else. If you read a book from Ian Johnson https://www.amazon.com/Mosque-Munich-Nazis-Muslim-Brotherhood/dp/0547423179 that should be clear. ..."
"... Ian Johnson mentioned in one of its clip a guy from Eisenhower's administration, "devoted catholics" (per IJ) who devised this strategy, and yet again that strategy simply was inherited from the Nazi who used it to fight Soviets. ..."
"... On deep state - it first manifested itself in the open when JFK was assassinated - preceding ZB. But he became a visible part of it, no question. There is something wrong with the way humans manage power. ..."
May 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
The ruthless U.S. imperialist Zbigniew Brzezinski died last night. Good riddance. Brzezinski was the godfather of al-Qaeda and similar groups.

As National Security Advisor of U.S. President Jimmy Carter Brzezinski devised the strategy of using religiously motivated radical militants against secular governments and their people. He sent Saudi financed Wahhabi nuts to fight the government of Afghanistan before the USSR intended to send its military in support that government. His policy of rallying Jihadis (vid) caused millions of death. Brzezinski did not regret that:

What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Brzezinski hailed from a Polish nobility family in Galicia, now west Ukraine. (Galicia is, not by chance, also the place of origin of today's Ukrainian neo-nazis.) The family fled Poland after its German/Soviet partition and and the socialization of the vast nobility properties during and after the second world war. Zbigniew Brzezinski hate of anything socialist and Russian derived from that.

The 9/11 attacks, the war on Syria, the recent massacre in Manchester and the murder of 28 Copts yesterday in Egypt are direct consequences of Brzezinski's "some stirred-up Moslems" strategy of exporting revolutions . The growth of the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabi creed, a danger to all mankind , was prepared and propagated by him.

May he burn in hell - soon to be joined by the other "total whore" and fellow war criminal Henry Kissinger,

Lea | May 27, 2017 7:24:44 AM | 5
Trouble is, it's not about an individual, it's about a system that relies on weapon sales and fleecing the populations to survive, i.e, the global swamp. For instance, how on earth can anybody with half a brain not know that Saudi Arabia is the matrix of Wahhabi-Salafi terror? When you see Trump ignoring such common knowledge to push his weapons sales (and surrealistically faulting Iran), you know that Wahhabi cutthroats will carry on being used by the CIA, you know that money dictates how these swamp creatures see the world, and you know that one Brzezinski less will not do anything to solve the problem.

It is a sick, psychopathic system. It's full of loonies like Brzezinski and unfit for humans. BTW, that individual was a really nasty piece of work, but what about those who listened to him when obviously, he belonged in a straitjacket?

So, beyond complaining, what do we do?

ashley albanese | May 27, 2017 7:32:35 AM | 6
I long recall the Soviet embassy sending an official letter across town - Washington - to point out that one day the U S would bitterly regret having instigated religious fundamentalism as a weapon against Soviet secularism in central asia . Reading of this all those years ago I had a feeling of great foreboding .
Ghostship | May 27, 2017 7:44:03 AM | 7
As National Security Advisor of U.S. President Jimmy Carter Brzezinski devised the strategy of using religiously motivated radical militants against secular governments and their people.
He just expanded its use outside of the Middle East and made it far more visible and militant. It had already been used against the secular states in the Middle East such as Egypt under Nasser with the assistance of Saudi Arabia.
JK | May 27, 2017 8:03:15 AM | 8
Well said , concise and to the point. I bought his book The Grand Chessboard just before the Ukraine coup and it as radical as his musings were, they did make much of the foreign policy of Clinton & Obama. A prime point in the book other than establishing control of Central Asia was to also prevent Russia, China and Iran from forming an anti American axis. Also mention of an EU without Germany or France being obsolete.

Piotr Berman | May 27, 2017 8:57:20 AM | 13
Just a bit of biographical correction. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth did not have formally hereditary aristocracy, so while Brzezinskis are a "noble family" with a Horns , this coat of arms is shared by 332 families, some very powerful, and some, like Brzezinski's family, without any estates. Grandfather of Brzezinski was a judge in Austrian empire and lived pretty much in the center of Galicia, now in Poland very close to the boundary with Ukraine. Father of Brzezinski was an officer during the wars with Galician Ukrainians (Western Ukrainian Republic) and Soviet Union in 1918-1922, and later had a successful bureaucratic carrier, becoming Polish consul in Montreal in 1937. There Zbigniew finish high school and studied at McGill University.

The link with pro-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists of western Ukraine is rather ambiguous. He surely knew about them, why, his father was an officer fighting with these guys, and later they formed a terrorist movement within Poland (that won the western Ukraine in 1918-22). Bandera made his name by organizing a slaying of a Polish interior minister. And later "all of them" were anti-Communist exiles in Canada.

One could credit Brzezinski in creating the policy of "humanitarian intervention". It de-emphasized and reduced the support for the retrograde dictators in Latin America and focused on the nipping of the "totalitarian menace" of the Soviet zone of influence. Supporting Islamic radicals in Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan etc. was the best tool at hand (South African regime slugging it out with Marxist movements in Portuguese Angola and Mozambique were not as good, plus, purely local in its capabilities). Back in 1970-ties it did not look bad, in the retrospect, it was the most successful lipstick brand launched in XX century (I live it as an open question who needs lipsticks in this context).

Curtis | May 27, 2017 9:34:13 AM | 15
Trond 11

That was funny. I would like to see Team Bush buried under shithouses in Iraq too. At least one Iraqi got to throw a shoe.

As to Zbigboy, the chessboard was his manifesto on divide-and-conquer and playing groups of peoples against each other. It is also a mate of Kissinger (PNAC, etc) that no state or group should be allowed to rise to dominate or influence a region.

rkka | May 27, 2017 10:01:36 AM | 16
@Ghostship 7

Correct. The USG has been backing gibbering Wahabi lunatics, easily the source of 90% of "Muslim" terrorism, against secular Arab governments since the Eisenhower Administration. This is a big reason those secular Arab governments became dictatorships, what with the local US Embassy constantly fomenting & instigating coups by GWL.

ZBiggy just turned it up to 11.

PavewayIV | May 27, 2017 11:47:37 AM | 20
I wonder if Brzezinski or Kissinger ever read Lobaczewski et. al regarding psychopathy.

One of Lobaczewski's long-gone collaborators postulated that any organization opposing a large, organizational pathocracy ('the west' vs. the Soviet state at the time) was itself subject to becoming a pathocracy.

The idea wasn't one of infection, but more of the almost automatic tendency of an organization to enable and empower its own psychopaths in an attempt to counter those of the other organization. Initially, it's fighting fire with fire. But when the 'enemy' ceases to exist or be a threat, you can't simply turn off your own state's psychopaths because they are most likely running the place.

Burying Brzezinski and Kissinger does not end ANYTHING. They (and their ilk) leave behind a thoroughly and profoundly sick U.S. and western states loaded with new generations of psychopaths. In fact, getting rid of every last psychopath in ANY western government (parliament) fixes nothing because the organizations themselves ensure that new psychopaths will quickly bubble to the top.

Lobaczewski's group was not JUST trying to explain why otherwise normal 'little people' turned into psychopaths so readily in the (then) Soviet East. They were trying to understand why otherwise good nations turned into something sick and evil themselves in the process of 'saving' another nation from evil. Their magic cure was nothing more than awareness of the risk and basic prevention - wash your damn hands after leaving the bathroom.

We have rid ourselves of Brzezinski but have done nothing to recognize the disease, much less attempt any sort of remedy. We go back to our food preparation jobs after leaving the bathroom hoping evil spirits will not randomly make our customers sick.

Brzezinski's passing has all the significance of driving by a random light post on a cross-country trip.

c1ue | May 27, 2017 12:18:41 PM | 22
I have no love for ZBig, but it is far from clear he is an "architect" of the American Deep State. ZBig is exactly like the Libyan, Syrian, Afghan expats sheltered and fed by the US; they are just the latest of a rogue's gallery of foreigners who are useful to American foreign policy.
  • Need a critical assessment of a government? Here's a "senior former official"
  • Need contacts into opposition parties? Here's an "oppressed minority".
  • Communists, Nazis, Jews, Muslims, Caucasian, Asian, African - all are available.

Not to say ZBig had no influence, but there's a big difference between running in front of the pack and leading it. Freeland and cohorts in Canada are clearly leading. ZBig? Much less clear.

NemesisCalling | May 27, 2017 12:28:32 PM | 24
@20 paveway

Indeed, beginning in the second half of America's 20th century up until now, one can see Nietzsche's maxim about fighting monsters being played out and revealing the greatness of his thought. This has culminated in such a way that Lavrov even said that America media has become remniscent of the Soviet Pravda. No argument here.

hopehely | May 27, 2017 12:37:18 PM | 27
Posted by: c1ue | May 27, 2017 12:18:41 PM | 22
I have no love for ZBig, but it is far from clear he is an "architect" of the American Deep State.
He was definitely not an architect of American deep state. That was not his job. He was an architect of American Empire's foreign policy of global hegemony. Like Kissinger and Wolfowitz.

ToivoS | May 27, 2017 1:54:35 PM | 33
Perhaps it worth noting that in Brzez's last year he basically retracted the thesis that he presented in The Great Chessboard . See this counterpunch article by Mike Whitney. Brzez was realistic enough to see that breaking up the China-Russia-Iran alliance was not going to work and maybe we should do deals with them.

He seemed to realize that US policy to capture the central Asian republics in order to drive a wedge between those those three civilizations was hopeless. This does not atone for his crimes but does indicate that he had some grasp of reality. This last article was barely noted our MSM which seems to be still clamoring for the Great Chessboard strategy.

PavewayIV | May 27, 2017 2:17:47 PM | 34
hopehely@28 - No. Read my post again. His passing is INSIGNIFICANT in the larger scheme of things. Nothing changes, nothing ends - the U.S. and the west haven't learned a thing. We remain in the diseased, psychopathic state that he (as well as many others) ushered in. Many more like him will follow. As always (at least in the U.S.) we will continue - with utter futility - to try to fix everything with our horribly debased voting process and the thoroughly-rigged, useless 'laws'. And we will continue to fail.

Brzezinski was a diseased, psychopathic human being that - through the mechanisms of the state - caused unimaginable pain and suffering throughout the world (directly or indirectly) because of his psychopathy. Not by himself, of course. The guy should have been contained and treated like the diseased person he was, not elevated to positions as a diplomat or counselor to national leaders. A healthy society should shun psychopaths, not bumble along oblivious to the harm they cause.

The organization of the state should be somewhat self-aware of the effects of diseased people like Brzezinski and protect and hopefully rid itself from that kind of influence. It can't (in the U.S., anyway) because 'the state' is diseased itself and that disease is perpetuated through psychopathic individuals inside that benefit from a diseased state. It's a self-reinforcing, symbiotic relationship. Brzezinski's disease was a part of that. Once again, his death changed nothing.

"...you are just trying to suppress your schadenfreude..."

As far as his death on a personal level - I simply didn't know the guy. I assume he had family and friends that will mourn his passing. Their pain makes me neither jolly nor happy. There is no schadenfreude - I feel sad for them regardless of my thoughts about Brzezinski.

"...because gosh it is so totally inappropriate for a sophisticated and rational intellectual to fell like that..."

Now you're accusing me of being 'a sophisticated and rational intellectual' ? Well... there's certainly no reason to get nasty about it and call me names like that, you bastard!

jfl | May 27, 2017 4:10:18 PM | 37
@pw. 'In fact, getting rid of every last psychopath in ANY western government (parliament) fixes nothing because the organizations themselves ensure that new psychopaths will quickly bubble to the top.'

now you're talking. my only real quarrel with your 'psychopathic' analysis was its seeming identification of a cabal of evil, demented individuals as the seat of the problem. i think this is too 'interior' an analysis. we all have the potential to see ourselves as the driven agents we are most of the time, but its a full-time job, and by definition 'success' is a statistical measurement.

there is such a thing as society, regardless maggie thatcher's dictum, and individual humans are suspended within it ... and often as oblivious to that fact as the proverbial fish are to the water they swim and breathe in.

to master our societies requires our collective effort. unless and until we organize to do so we'll continue spinning in our psychopathic gyre(s). what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one? but in union we might be strong.

i think it's the simple refusal to accept that our 'outside' contingencies are more than a match for our 'inside' ones that's holding us back. we're all stuck in an imaginary world that began with our individual births and will expire with our individual deaths. so the race is continually reborn in 'magnificent' isolation, now fractured into 7 and a half billion pieces.

something has to be done about this for us to continue and collectively, we're the only ones here to do it.

smuks | May 27, 2017 5:28:21 PM | 39
@Paveway

I think I agree with you, though I find the use of psychological & medicinal terminology in political contexts rather problematic - it usually doesn't enhance comprehension imo.

There's people with weird, dangerous or maybe 'psychopathic' leanings in every country and every society, they're part of humanity. But when they 'systematically' get to positions of influence and power, there's something wrong with said system: It seems to reward individual psychopathology, rather than humanism and cooperation.

Zbig was an intelligent guy for sure, and it's not easy to replace someone like him. But his teachings will cause trouble for another while - afaik, there is no effective counter-strategy yet, or is there? Can a government win against fundamentalist militants with limited violence, e.g. by isolating them and exposing their inhumane regime?

@jfl

I think you misunderstand something here. It's (afaics) absolutely not about a 'cabal of evil, demented individuals', almost on the contrary. But I like the picture of society as water surrounding a fish - or the air around us, which we don't see nor think about and take for granted.

kooshy | May 27, 2017 5:54:10 PM | 41
"He was definitely not an architect of American deep state. "
Posted by: hopehely | May 27, 2017 12:37:18 PM | 27

The SOB bastard was the co-founder of trilateral commission, with David Rockefeller.

Edward | May 27, 2017 5:55:01 PM | 42
His worst crime, with Carter, IMO, was trying successfully to manipulate the U.S.S.R. to invade Afghanistan. All of Carter's outrage over the invasion was a lot of baloney. They were not exactly being the friends of Afghanistan they pretended to be. This was worse then later arming the jihadists.

smuks | May 27, 2017 8:21:46 PM | 47
@Paveway

The funny/ interesting thing is how this US/ western control over the rest of the world is habitually described by code expressions such as 'maintaining the international order' or 'stabilize global order'.

The US has been an expansionist country long before Zbig, cf. the Monroe Doctrine. Just as Britain and other European colonial powers before...

But more specifically, I really found myself wondering if any effective strategy exists to counter the deployment of jihadist militias against 'uncooperative' states. Other than overwhelming military force. China has been fairly successful, but at the price of a very virulent anti-Uyghur racism.

Hoarsewhisperer | May 27, 2017 11:43:53 PM | 48
@Paveway
The funny/ interesting thing is how this US/ western control over the rest of the world is habitually described by code expressions such as 'maintaining the international order' or 'stabilize global order'.
...
Posted by: smuks | May 27, 2017 8:21:46 PM | 47

It's less complex/mysterious than it seems at first glance.

It's all about bullshit + bullying. Luxuriously-funded think/spin tanks make up the bullshit and feed it to people in the MSM capable of bullying (and diminishing the reputation of) persuasive critics of the bullshit.

My preferred classic example was the role of Thomas L Friedman in silencing critics of Bush II's Iraq War. TLF accused them of Moral Equivalence and the Jew-controlled media made sure that his bullying received superior publicity throughout the West.

It's easy to dismissively overlook the Jew-controlled media factor but the Jews, more than any other interest group, needed control over Western Media to suppress the criminality of the Israel Project and to whitewash it by flogging the Holocaust to death if anyone dared to mention Jews and Genocide in the same sentence. And the Media Acquisition program was well underway before WWII broke out.

psychohistorian | May 28, 2017 2:27:55 AM | 51
@ Bob in Portland who suggested Trump release the still classified JFK files to protect himself against the CIA. Have you been smoking some of that early Obama Hopium again?

Trump is a wannnabe to the upper crust of elite in the middle of a dust up between them and the newbies wanting to act like emperors.....and all is cover for more human suffering and repression except for the core acolytes of the God of Mammon

And the CIA is a tool of the God of Mammon religion that does what it is told.

Neretva_43 | May 28, 2017 6:43:22 AM | 54
"As National Security Advisor of U.S. President Jimmy Carter Brzezinski devised the strategy of using religiously motivated radical militants against secular governments and their people."

While I agree with you that he should "burn in hell" he hardly devised anything. With his background and cold war at the time, he was useful idiot for Americans and his masters. And there is plenty of them in each administration. Trump has one, some idiot from Hungary. Brzezinski's "strategy" was simply copied from the others mainly from Nazis, just as was pretty much everything else. If you read a book from Ian Johnson https://www.amazon.com/Mosque-Munich-Nazis-Muslim-Brotherhood/dp/0547423179 that should be clear.

Ian Johnson mentioned in one of its clip a guy from Eisenhower's administration, "devoted catholics" (per IJ) who devised this strategy, and yet again that strategy simply was inherited from the Nazi who used it to fight Soviets.

By the way a society (if the US is such thing), or the US Gov. generate these murderers and apparently the new ones are in ample supply. That's the nature of system.

Casowary Gentry | May 28, 2017 10:38:09 AM | 58
The Poles are real soreheads about Russia and to let one of them be an architect of American foreign policy was a boneheaded move, the man operated according to a deeply held personal animus towards Russia and letting him serve in such a pivotal capacity was a big mistake. In general, letting foreigners fill important policy making roles should be prohibited; they carry too much baggage.

GoraDiva | May 28, 2017 5:04:11 PM | 60
For the record, good riddance to ZB, who was no more than a dark stain on most of the humanity. Maybe he'll come back as a poisonous snake...
@7
You're right in some ways. Zia-ul-Haq originated the idea of drawing Russians in. Also, the Brits used Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt's Nasser (except, they then killed the US-preferred Sadat). So much for blowback...
@12
I'd be curious about Carter, too. Never heard him address it. He signed the directive to entice Russians into Afg. in July '79 - and then feigned HUGE surprise on TV when they marched in (and BTW, they were invited by the then-Afg. govt.; it was not really an invasion). (It was stupid of them, of course.)

On deep state - it first manifested itself in the open when JFK was assassinated - preceding ZB. But he became a visible part of it, no question.
There is something wrong with the way humans manage power.

[May 28, 2017] Deep State could be narrowly defined as Israel itself, its fifth column, and those elements in gov and the media who succeeded in pulling off and covering up 911

May 28, 2017 | www.unz.com

DanCT , May 28, 2017 at 11:00 am GMT

Trump may be influenced by the MIC and major industry groups, but they are not the deep state, which should be narrowly defined as Israel itself, its fifth column, and those elements in gov and the media who succeeded in pulling off and covering up 911, without which we wouldn't be dealing with any of this.

What I find alarming is Conservativism Inc's willingness to accept the preposterous official narrative about 911 while "bravely" challenging gov data and narratives in all other respects. Conservatives such as Pat Buchanan on down are willing to throw out over one thousand years of Western development regarding the rational relationship between evidence and conclusion, and not least the scientific method, to support what amounts to fantastical storytelling.

I find it helpful to pull up Google images of these conservative opposition voices, almost invariably cowardly looking little nerds, to understand why we are being neutralized instead of organized to fight the deep state and in our efforts to restore order.

[May 23, 2017] CIA, the counerstone of the deep state, might have agenda that is readically differrent from the US national interest and reflect agenda of the special interest groups

CIA is actually a state within the state as Church commission revealed and it has an immanent tendency to seek control over "surface state" and media. In other words large intelligence apparatus might well be incompatible with the democratic governance.

"In the long run, the CIA can't deceive the Chinese government without also deceiving, in some way, the American public. This leaves us with an obvious problem: Should we believe anything the CIA says?" [RealClearWorld]. "It's a tough question for a democracy to answer. Trust is built on the tacit agreement that the "bad things" an agency does are good for the country. If the public believes that that is no longer the case – if it believes the agency is acting out of self-interest and not national interest – then the agreement is broken. The intelligence agency is seen as an impediment of the right to national self-determination, a means for the ends of the few."

  1. Huey Long

    RE: Hall of Mirrors/Believing the CIA

    The CIA has a track record of acting out of self interest since its inception and should not be believed.

    That being said, the public is almost completely unaware of the agency's misdeeds. I think the reason folks like Manning, Snowden and Assange are so reviled by the agency is because they are a threat to the CIA's reputation more than anything else.

[May 23, 2017] CIA, the counerstone of the deep state, might have agenda that is readically differrent from the US national interest and reflect agenda of the special interest groups

CIA is actually a state within the state as Church commission revealed and it has an immanent tendency to seek control over "surface state" and media. In other words large intelligence apparatus might well be incompatible with the democratic governance.
www.aim.org

"In the long run, the CIA can't deceive the Chinese government without also deceiving, in some way, the American public. This leaves us with an obvious problem: Should we believe anything the CIA says?" [RealClearWorld]. "It's a tough question for a democracy to answer. Trust is built on the tacit agreement that the "bad things" an agency does are good for the country. If the public believes that that is no longer the case – if it believes the agency is acting out of self-interest and not national interest – then the agreement is broken. The intelligence agency is seen as an impediment of the right to national self-determination, a means for the ends of the few."

[May 22, 2017] Key points of TIME magazine cover story on the Russian takeover of America

Notable quotes:
"... TIME magazine has just published a cover story on the Russian takeover of America: Inside Russia's Social Media War on America . The cover image shows the White House turned into the Kremlin. I will list some of the key points below with quotes from the article: ..."
May 22, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Petri Krohn | May 18, 2017 8:57:21 PM | 71

TIME magazine has just published a cover story on the Russian takeover of America: Inside Russia's Social Media War on America . The cover image shows the White House turned into the Kremlin. I will list some of the key points below with quotes from the article:

1) Social media has become a danger to democracy.

The vast openness and anonymity of social media has cleared a dangerous new route for antidemocratic forces. "Using these technologies, it is possible to undermine democratic government."

2) Democratic society must isolate itself from public opinion.

Russia may finally have gained the ability it long sought but never fully achieved in the Cold War: to alter the course of events in the U.S. by manipulating public opinion.

3) Russia spies on you.

The Russians "target you and see what you like, what you click on, and see if you're sympathetic or not sympathetic."

4) America is losing the cyberwar.

As Russia expands its cyberpropaganda efforts, the U.S. and its allies are only just beginning to figure out how to fight back.

5) Russia has clever algorithms that America lacks.

American researchers have found they can use mathematical formulas to segment huge populations into thousands of subgroups... Propagandists can then manually craft messages to influence them, deploying covert provocateurs, either humans or automated computer programs known as bots, in hopes of altering their behavior.

6) Russia has huge troll farms.

Putin dispatched his newly installed head of military intelligence, Igor Sergun, to begin repurposing cyberweapons previously used for psychological operations in war zones for use in electioneering. Russian intelligence agencies funded "troll farms," botnet spamming operations and fake news outlets as part of an expanding focus on psychological operations in cyberspace.

7) You must trust mainstream media.

Eager to appear more powerful than they are, the Russians would consider it a success if you questioned the truth of your news sources, knowing that Moscow might be lurking in your Facebook or Twitter feed.

8) Russia invaded Ukraine in April 2014 .

Putin was aiming his new weapons at the U.S. Following Moscow's April 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

9) Hillary Clinton did not murder Seth Rich.

That story went viral in late August, then took on a life of its own after Clinton fainted from pneumonia and dehydration at a Sept. 11 event in New York City. Elsewhere people invented stories saying Pope Francis had endorsed Trump and Clinton had murdered a DNC staffer.

10) The evidence:

Russia plays in every social media space. The intelligence officials have found that Moscow's agents bought ads on Facebook to target specific populations with propaganda. "They buy the ads, where it says sponsored by–they do that just as much as anybody else does," says the senior intelligence official. (A Facebook official says the company has no evidence of that occurring.) The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, has said he is looking into why, for example, four of the top five Google search results the day the U.S. released a report on the 2016 operation were links to Russia's TV propaganda arm, RT. (Google says it saw no meddling in this case.) Researchers at the University of Southern California, meanwhile, found that nearly 20% of political tweets in 2016 between Sept. 16 and Oct. 21 were generated by bots of unknown origin; investigators are trying to figure out how many were Russian.

[May 22, 2017] The current divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They dont align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, are calling the shots and operate outside election cycle.

Notable quotes:
"... The real relations and divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They don't align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections anymore. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence & surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, they're all playing power-circle games. ..."
"... The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region. ..."
"... These are the functionaries and apparatchiks of a stagnating system, which is what's been going on in the U.S. for awhile now. Trump was just too much of an outsider to be accepted by the insiders, and his threats to change the status quo led to the current situation. ..."
"... This is exactly how leadership selection in the old Soviet Union went on, too. And Trump is no master of bureaucratic infighting, unlike say, Putin. He's just flailing at this point. ..."
www.moonofalabama.org

nonsense factory | May 18, 2017 4:58:30 PM | 56

Anon

The real relations and divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They don't align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections anymore. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence & surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, they're all playing power-circle games. This is how the system has operated - Cheney ran it under Bush, Clinton ran it under Obama, it's all bureaucractic infighting. If you read about Soviet history you see the same thing:

The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region.

These are the functionaries and apparatchiks of a stagnating system, which is what's been going on in the U.S. for awhile now. Trump was just too much of an outsider to be accepted by the insiders, and his threats to change the status quo led to the current situation. Pence, they figure, will be far more amenable to control. Even though Trump has been going along with the standard Republican domestic agenda, he's just viewed as too unpredictable for their tastes. This is exactly how leadership selection in the old Soviet Union went on, too. And Trump is no master of bureaucratic infighting, unlike say, Putin. He's just flailing at this point.

I'm not concerned about it though, if the grossly corrupt federal government is locked up with this nonsense for the next four years, that's fine. Perhaps state governments can step up and work together to solve problems while Washington gnaws its own belly, that's about the best we can hope for.

[May 20, 2017] Rosenstein Joins the Posse by Patrick J. Buchanan

After just 100 days in the office Trump already has a special prosecutor.
Notable quotes:
"... Without consulting the White House, he sandbagged President Trump, naming a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Russia connection that could prove ruinous to this presidency. ..."
"... Rod has reinvigorated a tired 10-month investigation that failed to find any collusion between Trump and Russian hacking of the DNC. Not a single indictment had come out of the FBI investigation. ..."
"... Yet, now a new special counsel, Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, will slow-walk his way through this same terrain again, searching for clues leading to potentially impeachable offenses. What seemed to be winding down for Trump is now only just beginning to gear up. ..."
"... Why did Rosenstein capitulate to a Democrat-media clamor for a special counsel that could prove disastrous for the president who elevated and honored him? Surely in part, as Milbank writes, to salvage his damaged reputation. ..."
"... Rosenstein had gone over to the dark side. He had, it was said, on Trump's orders, put the hit on Comey. Now, by siccing a special counsel on the president himself, Rosenstein is restored to the good graces of this city. Rosenstein just turned in his black hat for a white hat. ..."
"... Democrats are hailing both his decision to name a special counsel and the man he chose. Yet it is difficult to exaggerate the damage he has done. As did almost all of its predecessors, including those which led to the resignation of President Nixon and impeachment of Bill Clinton, Mueller's investigation seems certain to drag on for years. ..."
"... Recall the famous adage that a competent district attorney could successfully indict a ham sandwich. ..."
"... Political trials are infamously witch hunts, and there isn't a witch hunt that couldn't miraculously find any number of witches to burn. ..."
"... One has to hand it to the Democrats. This strategy to get the ruling elite class back in both houses of congress and bring forth a shining night in armour for their next candidate is well crafted. The Clintons messed up the Obama Hope and Change Rhetoric. ..."
"... From the very outset of his presidency, U.S. President D.J. Trump either hired people who were against his presidential campaign all the time of last year or cozied up to perpetual political opponents while distancing himself from the very patriotic people who gave him the electoral college victory last November. ..."
"... Like Pres. Dick Nixon did, U.S. President D.J. Trump will also politically kill himself with one political misstep after another by giving his political opponents whatever they demand until it will be too late to reverse the course. ..."
"... "The real power in this country doesn't reside within the ballot box After months of leaks coming from the intelligence agencies, who bitterly oppose the new policy, and a barrage of innuendo, smears, and character assassination in the media, the will of the people has been abrogated: the Deep State has the last word. The denizens of Langley, and the career spooks within our seventeen intelligence agencies, have exercised their veto power – a power that is not written into the Constitution, but is nevertheless very real. Their goal is to not only make détente with Russia impossible but also to overthrow a democratically elected chief executive No matter what you think of Trump, this is an ominous development for all those who care about the future of our republic What we are witnessing is a "regime-change" operation, such as our intelligence agencies have routinely carried out abroad, right here in the United States This pernicious campaign is an attempt to criminalize dissent from the foreign policy "consensus." It is an effort by powerful groups within the national security bureaucracy, the media, and the military-industrial complex to stamp out any opposition to their program of perpetual war The reign of terror is about to begin: anyone who opposes our interventionist foreign policy is liable to be labeled a "Kremlin tool" – and could face legal sanctions. ..."
"... If Trump wasn't a narcissistic idiot, he could be well on the way to leading a takedown of establishment politics. Should have left Comey in to go nowhere, but Trump is a narcissistic idiot who does not read and his presidency is and will continue to be a miserable failure. Donald J. Trump is a Loser and a Laughingstock, plain and simple. There's nothing to see here. Does he have the ability to do better? Yes. Will he? Doubtful. Firing Comey is not impeachable or even wrong, it's just a blunder of monumental proportions. Trump's continued incompetent "explanations" of the decision raised red flags. This is not Trump Steaks Inc. This is the Presidency of the United States of America. ..."
May 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

"With the stroke of a pen, Rod Rosenstein redeemed his reputation," writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post .

What had Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein done to be welcomed home by the Post like the prodigal son?

Without consulting the White House, he sandbagged President Trump, naming a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Russia connection that could prove ruinous to this presidency.

Rod has reinvigorated a tired 10-month investigation that failed to find any collusion between Trump and Russian hacking of the DNC. Not a single indictment had come out of the FBI investigation.

Yet, now a new special counsel, Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, will slow-walk his way through this same terrain again, searching for clues leading to potentially impeachable offenses. What seemed to be winding down for Trump is now only just beginning to gear up.

Also to be investigated is whether the president tried to curtail the FBI investigation with his phone calls and Oval Office meetings with FBI Director James Comey, before abruptly firing Comey last week.

Regarded as able and honest, Mueller will be under media pressure to come up with charges. Great and famous prosecutors are measured by whom they convict and how many scalps they take. Moreover, a burgeoning special counsel's office dredging up dirt on Trump and associates will find itself the beneficiary of an indulgent press.

Why did Rosenstein capitulate to a Democrat-media clamor for a special counsel that could prove disastrous for the president who elevated and honored him? Surely in part, as Milbank writes, to salvage his damaged reputation.

After being approved 94-6 by a Senate that hailed him as a principled and independent U.S. attorney for both George Bush and Barack Obama, Rosenstein found himself being pilloried for preparing the document White House aides called crucial to Trump's decision to fire Comey.

Rosenstein had gone over to the dark side. He had, it was said, on Trump's orders, put the hit on Comey. Now, by siccing a special counsel on the president himself, Rosenstein is restored to the good graces of this city. Rosenstein just turned in his black hat for a white hat.

Democrats are hailing both his decision to name a special counsel and the man he chose. Yet it is difficult to exaggerate the damage he has done. As did almost all of its predecessors, including those which led to the resignation of President Nixon and impeachment of Bill Clinton, Mueller's investigation seems certain to drag on for years.

... ... ...

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Wilfred , says: May 18, 2017 at 9:58 pm
Any way we can get a Special Counsel to investigate Hillary?
Fran Macadam , says: May 18, 2017 at 11:56 pm
Recall the famous adage that a competent district attorney could successfully indict a ham sandwich.

Political trials are infamously witch hunts, and there isn't a witch hunt that couldn't miraculously find any number of witches to burn.

Cal , says: May 18, 2017 at 11:58 pm
Trump set up his own demise -- all the Jews like Rosenstein that he has appointed would really rather have the rabid evangelical Israel supporter Pence as president.
William Dalton , says: May 19, 2017 at 12:23 am
The appointment of former director Mueller to take charge of an investigation too hot for Rosenstein or anyone in his department to file a report on, particularly if no prosecution will be recommended, does not presage this affair will continue interminably. Months of work have already been put into the matter by the FBI. Mueller may arrive, ask those agents for a summary of what they have unearthed, say, "I don't see anything here. Do you think further work by you will uncover more?", and if they respond, "No", Mueller might very well take what he is given, file a report saying no prosecution is warranted, just as Jim Comey did in the Clinton matter, and go home.

The man is retired with honor. He doesn't need to make a name for himself with this or any other case. The last thing he wants to find out is that there is evidence that might result in the impeachment and criminal prosecution of the President of the United States.

StrategyK , says: May 19, 2017 at 2:59 am
Wasnt pat a happy supporter of the special counsel investigating Clinton? Now suddenly he is against such counsels? How about some priciples Mr buchanan?
StrategyK , says: May 19, 2017 at 3:13 am
And here is a hat tip for you aggrieved folks here. Trump brought this on himself. He could have avoided it all by simply letting Comey do his job. If there really is nothing in the Russia story, then Comey would have come up with nothing.

Trump has been used to running a family business all his life and a fake TV show as well where his and only his word runs. That is not how the government functions and nor should it be. What happened to the famous negotiator? The one who could make great deals? Who would learn quickly how to navigate the waters and make things happen. This person seems non existent. Lets see some of that please.

John Gruskos , says: May 19, 2017 at 8:57 am
Justin Raimondo correctly explains the significance of this development:

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/05/18/the-special-counsel-comes-to-town-its-the-moscow-trials-revisited/

Liam , says: May 19, 2017 at 9:16 am
Wall Street swooned *not* because Trump's "populist" agenda is endangered but rather because Alt-Trump's bait-and-switch pro-Wall Street agenda is endangered. That Pat Buchanan cannot distinguish these is stunning to behold.
elizabeth , says: May 19, 2017 at 10:22 am
And if Hillary Clinton had been inaugurated in January, there wouldn't be a dozen Congressional committees pursuing specious investigations, egged on by right wing media? (Even this comment thread carries one such demand, and she is not in office.)

This is one outcome of a poisoned body politic. Roger Ailes was there at the beginning, and we are all sickened by his legacy.

Jack , says: May 19, 2017 at 10:40 am
Unfortunately, Buchanan seems to have ignored the fact that Rosenstein's decision to appoint a special prosecutor was sparked by Trump's precipitous and unnecessary decision to dismiss Comey. It was a foolish decision and now he's paying a price for it.
Dan Green , says: May 19, 2017 at 10:53 am
One has to hand it to the Democrats. This strategy to get the ruling elite class back in both houses of congress and bring forth a shining night in armour for their next candidate is well crafted. The Clintons messed up the Obama Hope and Change Rhetoric.
ukm1 , says: May 19, 2017 at 10:55 am
U.S. President D.J. Trump is himself 100% responsible for the political and legal debacles where he is in now and will be in for any foreseeable future!

From the very outset of his presidency, U.S. President D.J. Trump either hired people who were against his presidential campaign all the time of last year or cozied up to perpetual political opponents while distancing himself from the very patriotic people who gave him the electoral college victory last November.

Like Pres. Dick Nixon did, U.S. President D.J. Trump will also politically kill himself with one political misstep after another by giving his political opponents whatever they demand until it will be too late to reverse the course.

Kurt Gayle , says: May 19, 2017 at 10:57 am
John Gruskos (8:57 a.m.) is right. Justin Raimondo's column today is a "must read":

"The real power in this country doesn't reside within the ballot box After months of leaks coming from the intelligence agencies, who bitterly oppose the new policy, and a barrage of innuendo, smears, and character assassination in the media, the will of the people has been abrogated: the Deep State has the last word. The denizens of Langley, and the career spooks within our seventeen intelligence agencies, have exercised their veto power – a power that is not written into the Constitution, but is nevertheless very real. Their goal is to not only make détente with Russia impossible but also to overthrow a democratically elected chief executive No matter what you think of Trump, this is an ominous development for all those who care about the future of our republic What we are witnessing is a "regime-change" operation, such as our intelligence agencies have routinely carried out abroad, right here in the United States This pernicious campaign is an attempt to criminalize dissent from the foreign policy "consensus." It is an effort by powerful groups within the national security bureaucracy, the media, and the military-industrial complex to stamp out any opposition to their program of perpetual war The reign of terror is about to begin: anyone who opposes our interventionist foreign policy is liable to be labeled a "Kremlin tool" – and could face legal sanctions.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/05/18/the-special-counsel-comes-to-town-its-the-moscow-trials-revisited/

Bob K. , says: May 19, 2017 at 11:05 am
You tell it like it is, Pat! Once someone has sold his soul to the "dark side" his own reputation with it comes before the welfare of the Nation!
David Smith , says: May 19, 2017 at 11:37 am
What goes around, comes around. The Republicans did the same thing to Bill Clinton. Remember, if you can do it to them, they can do it to you. Be careful about the precedents you set.
Adriana I Pena , says: May 19, 2017 at 11:57 am
Has anyone considered that the opposition from career bureaucrats is due to their past experience as to what works and what doesn't? They can recognize a half-baked plan, concocted by someone who has only a hazy idea of what goes on (the guy who managed to admit that health care was "complicated" after touting on the campaign trail that it was easy). Add to it stubborness and unwillingness to learn, and those bureaucrats may think that they are staring at an accident waiting to happen.

What would you do in their place?

Mac61 , says: May 19, 2017 at 12:18 pm
If Trump wasn't a narcissistic idiot, he could be well on the way to leading a takedown of establishment politics. Should have left Comey in to go nowhere, but Trump is a narcissistic idiot who does not read and his presidency is and will continue to be a miserable failure. Donald J. Trump is a Loser and a Laughingstock, plain and simple. There's nothing to see here.

Does he have the ability to do better? Yes. Will he? Doubtful. Firing Comey is not impeachable or even wrong, it's just a blunder of monumental proportions. Trump's continued incompetent "explanations" of the decision raised red flags.

This is not Trump Steaks Inc. This is the Presidency of the United States of America. He will be held to a higher standard until such time as he realizes he cannot run this world's most powerful country like some sham casino operation he let fall into bankruptcy. And @Cal, this is not a Jewish conspiracy. If you can't see that Trump is an incompetent idiot narcissist, you can't see anything.

[May 19, 2017] What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game; only at the beginning anything is possible

Notable quotes:
"... What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game; It has a beginning when anything is possible. A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities. Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll. ..."
"... Tell me, when where these good old days, of "true" capitalism? Back when we were enslaving Africans? ..."
"... workers fail to ..."
"... Yeah, it's really a pity that author of such a well-written piece confuses GDP with living standards. If that was the case people wouldn't vote for nationalist and populists. ..."
"... serving their own interests; ..."
"... In our imperial system, it does not matter to the people whether they vote, or how; it matters, occasionally, to the contestants' position in the power structure, but nothing more than that. ..."
"... there are rumors that the Federal Liberal Party in Canada is exploring this. ..."
"... 8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose a duty upon: (a) A provider of an electronic store, gateway, marketplace or other means of purchasing or downloading software or applications to review or enforce compliance with this section by those applications or software; or (b) A provider of an interactive computer service to review or enforce compliance with this section by third-party content providers. As used in this paragraph, "interactive computer service" means any information service, system or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such services or systems operated or offered by libraries or educational institutions. (9) This section does not apply to general audience Internet websites, general audience online services, general audience online applications or general audience mobile applications, even if login credentials created for an operator's site, service or application may be used to access those general audience sites, services or applications. ..."
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

Definitely worth reading and reading again. What popped on first reading is the description of the rise of income in Poland and the stagnation of income in the U S of A. What pops for me on seccond reading is these paragraphs about tax evasion and income inequality: >>

One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California. But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

[Tax evasion isn't just a folk belief: It is taught in U.S. law schools and in business schools, along with union busting.]

Jef , May 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game; It has a beginning when anything is possible. A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities. Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll.

diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 11:49 am

Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

The author does not understand that capitalism creates vast wealth inequality: that's the whole point. Inequality is a feature, not a bug, and so trying to save capitalism while eliminating vast wealth inequalities is working at cross-purposes, and only one of those aims can be successful and guess which one it always is?

justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 11:56 am

+100

Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 12:39 pm

"capitalism creates vast wealth inequality: that's the whole point."

Not in Adam Smith's world, nor Henry Ford's. True capitalists prosper by creating wealth which improves the lives of everyone around them. Crony capitalists, the ones we have now, strip wealth from others. Witness today's bubble-and-bust cycles rather than the prior widespread economic growth.

The capitalism you see today is an abomination of the original concept, just as Mnuchin's claim to support "Glass Steagall" is an abomination. And don't get me started on the "Affordable" Care Act, or the "Patriot" act which gutted the Constitution

P.S. The original author's article is riddled with glaring factual errors, but he has the big picture right: it's time to restore Antitrust Law and apply it to the internet monopolists. And restore privacy rights and and it's a long list. Start fighting now, if you want anything to happen in your lifetime!

Carla , May 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

The author's central thesis strikes me as correct: that Europe provides the only hope for applying any brakes whatsoever to the American tech sector. I hope someone over there is listening, as prospects here seem utterly hopeless.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Freedom means people should have reasonable alternatives, choices on any product, service or ideology. Today's internet experience lacks that freedom aspect quite a bit.

diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Hokum. The "theory" is that it benefits everyone, but the reality is quite different. Tell me, when where these good old days, of "true" capitalism? Back when we were enslaving Africans? Back when we were hanging Wobblies? Back when we had to put nets around our factories to keep the workers from committing suicide? Please the dictatorship of the proletariat worked out just fine in Marx's theory, too.

clinical wasteman , May 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Another one for the gallery of glaring factual errors: "capitalists prosper by creating wealth". Unless that was an epic typo for something like: " workers fail to prosper while creating wealth".

As for "the original concept" of "capitalism", in which district of the astral plane did you find that? Apart from his anthropological sci-fi about the origins of money in "barter", Adam Smith generally tried to write about the real world. Just like Marx, except that Smith was speaking for a different class interest, whose "moral philosopher" imagined himself to be. For that reason, "capital" and "capitalist"(n.) were important concepts for Smith and Marx alike, but "capitalism" - a sort of hybrid implying the social reality and the ideology cheerleading for it at once without ever really distinguishing between the two - is an abstraction that neither had much time for, and one that only really caught on once both were dead.

Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Wasteman – for a start, unlike todays Cronyists, Adam Smith understood that capitalism would not function for the benefit of all unless monopolies were restrained by government:

"The interest of the dealers [referring to stock owners, manufacturers, and merchants], however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacture, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, and absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1991), pages 219-220)"

See here for more details:
https://machineryofpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/adam-smith-on-the-crisis-of-capitalism-2/

Another interesting perspective is from J. K. Galbraith (sorry I lost the source) who pointed out that in an economy with healthy competition, profit margins are lower, but employment and wage income are necessarily higher.

diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 5:14 pm

And pray tell, who is it who will restrain the monopolists? Our elected officials, who just so happen to be under the control of those same capitalists? Which is possible due to the vast wealth inequalities that capitalism generates .

Capitalists, almost without exception, do everything in their power to avoid competition. The idea is to make a profit and competition is antithetical to that.

Lots of things are good in theory, like three-way relationships. Reality, on the other hand, feels no obligation to correspond with theory.

Vatch , May 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm

capitalism creates vast wealth inequality

Not exactly. Capitalism extends or expands existing inequality. It was the development of agriculture several thousand years ago that broke the approximate egalitarianism of the hunter gatherer lifestyle. Even that had some inequality, but not much. For more information, see the early chapters of The Great Leveler , by Walter Scheidel.

diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Hence the "vast" part. I'm not so silly as to think that before capitalism there was not wealth inequality. But not the type where a few hundred people control more wealth than a few billion. It would seem to me, on just a gut level based on a little reading, that whereas systems like feudalism were unequal but relatively stable*, i.e. the level of inequality stayed the same generation to generation, capitalism's dynamics have caused inequality to skyrocket, both nationally and globally.

*Or at least cyclically stable, as with regular debt jubilees in Sumer.

HBE , May 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm

"Living standards in Poland in 2010 had more than doubled from 1990." This sentence annoyed me to no end. Yes, the reason that is true is because every capitalist country in the world worked to smash and destroy communism without pause for its entire life and then internal and external oligarchs snatched up everything.

Living standards increased over that period in Poland but so did inequality and poverty. So the country got some shiny new consumer goods (which the author seems enamored by) while the populations poverty rate continues to climb. Thank god for privatization ("Suddenly people had cars, phones, appliances" and suddenly poverty surged as well), and the end of those no good dirty commies, right?

vlado , May 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Yeah, it's really a pity that author of such a well-written piece confuses GDP with living standards. If that was the case people wouldn't vote for nationalist and populists.

In any case, despite very good performance of Polish economy, its convergence to West Europe at least in terms of GDP (PPP) is questionable as the cases of Czech Republic and Slovenia show. See the article The convergence dream 25 years on in Bruegel

visitor , May 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

There is a reason why people voted for the populist PiS and ousted the liberals who had made such a great job at bringing Poland into the EU and its "market society".

justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

A long but brilliant article that everyone should take the time to read! I want all the techies in my family to read it because it points out some of the uneasiness even techies feel about the their industry.

My favorite paragraph (although there were many close seconds):

"But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives."
Yep .

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

That popular vote comment is misleading as well.

A previous example was given about a hypothetical House vote, where, in yes-districts, voters are split 51-49 yes (assuming that is so lots of times, congress persons vote 'their conscience') and voters in no-districts are 90-10 for no. Yes votes win by one.

In that case, the popular vote actually is for No.

And that has nothing to do with slavery.

It's how the math works in a representative voting system.

PhilM , May 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Before responding to MLTPB, I'd like to voice my opinion that the OP article is thoughtful and reflects a decent level of awareness of the reality of the world, along with positive solutions that would be achievable in a polity that had the public good as its aim.

As for MLTPB's opinion on the vote, I beg to differ: it has everything to do with slavery. That's how the numbers work in our system, which is imperial, not representative. It's a bitch when instead of Augustus you get Caligula, but it doesn't change the basic reality of how the system works, and has worked since Ike. In our imperial system, it does not matter to the people whether they vote, or how; it matters, occasionally, to the contestants' position in the power structure, but nothing more than that.

Here is the reality: the people in any office in our federal government-basically everyone who lives in or around Washington DC-have the same relationship to American people as they have to Russian, Chinese, or Indian people: that of serving their own interests; predation, if you will; animal husbandry, if you prefer. They will act so as to extract the maximum value consistent with not-killing-the-goose-that-lays-the-golden-eggs from every person, wherever they are located, whatever their religion, whatever their nationality, as long as they are powerless, which means everyone who is a private citizen, however rich, or a small business; everyone who is not a Forbes 500 corporation.

The notion that the federal government is somehow tied to "Americans," or even to the geographical entity now known as the USA, much less to the values expressed in the so-called "founding documents," is a child's bedtime story.

It's amusing that it took the election of Trump to bring this realization about; but really, that is why some of us actually voted for Trump: to rub the idiots' noses in the reality of their political environment. (Not me, mind you; because I do not bother to vote: when I want something done, I write a check, like any experienced consumer of government services.)

There is a cure, but it is not changing the election mechanism so the choice of president results from the popular vote totals in a population of 300 million. No, it means changing it so there are 1000 presidents and 100,000 representatives and 1000 supreme courts, and 1000 republics. Those are the numbers that would achieve representative government the way it was designed to function by people who knew. Alternatively, you could reduce federal taxation to 1/10th of its current level, and assign all other taxation to the township, with a population limit of 20,000. Now you would have something that is no longer imperial.

But since most people since the dawn of history have lived under organizations that are imperial with perfect happiness, the appropriate course of action is not to struggle in futility for change, which would almost certainly do more harm than good, and result in an outcome that would just use up the world's resources more swiftly in the chaos of consumption and war. The optimum course is to watch reruns of amusing sitcoms and eat good food; to gratify the animal pleasures and such pleasures of the mind as remain to aging bodies mistreated by pharmaceuticals; and to die as quickly and painlessly as the authorities permit.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm

In our imperial system, it does not matter to the people whether they vote, or how; it matters, occasionally, to the contestants' position in the power structure, but nothing more than that.

In that case, the popular vote question is not a question anymore (with the current 1 president, instead of 1,000 setup), as you point out here:

There is a cure, but it is not changing the election mechanism so the choice of president results from the popular vote totals in a population of 300 million.

I have mentioned before that Rome had, at one time, 2 or 4 co-emperors. You suggest 1,000 presidents, as a solution. That's nothing to do with slavery, except in the sense that we're all serfs or slaves. It about making one's voice heard within a smaller group, having someone representing you along with fewer constituents.

The inherent problem of having representatives vote, versus direct voting, is still here, as in the example given above. The math scales up and down.

Thomas Williams , May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

Nice piece: Two things to note
– The Clintons, Bush & Obama presided over this mess and aided in it's creation but the albatross of abuse is being hung on Trump.
– He shares an enormous egotistical blind spot common to tech workers. He wants unionization and strength for tech workers but seems to advocate for a globalized work force. More than anything else, foreign workers are responsible for wage suppression in the US. Is he saying 'Tech workers are special and should be pampered but others should work for $1.85 per day"?
– The above points are not germaine to his central theme, which is important and well written. But it does raise questions about his values.

Knot Galt , May 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Agreed. Trump = Chucklehead and the shadow in T.S. Eliot's poem

Jacobite_In_Training , May 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

" Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life ."

Good .Opt out of modern life. Now. Get as far away from it as you possibly can. You'll be the better person for it. There was a time I felt 'modern life' was the place to be .Now the older me realizes 'modern life' is a sham, an illusion, and a trap.

A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse.

Amusingly, although my younger naive and idealistic self had a significant part to play in the great tech revolutions and evolutions through the 90's and early 2000's (for which I will be eternally regretful and ashamed, given how the creations we labored on have been whored out by the pimps in the oligarchy and government) I was also incredibly lucky to have grown up on a farm and learned how to use a hoe, a hand powered washing machine, how to gather eggs and grow things.

Real things, things that can feed people. But more importantly .how to grow things like spirit and independence that do not rely on any flow of electrons to come to glorious fruition.

I also so much better understand what that prophet Edward Abbey was trying to warn us about all those decades ago .

" Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell "

Tom , May 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

Indeed. The promise of technology has devolved into Clickbait Nation - where millions mindlessly click on endless deceptive headlines like rats pushing levers in a giant Skinner box.

justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

Is "opting out" really an option? Are we willing to opt out out of modern medicine too?
Whether we like it or not, we aren't opting out of using the internet, so we aren't opting out of anything this author talked about .

Sooooo ..wouldn't a better idea be to learn as much as we can about this technology and get involved in its decision making, so that we can control it and make it work for rather than against us?

Jacobite_In_Training , May 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm

I've had that debate before, people typically starting with the 'well, you are posting using the Internet so you aren't really opting out of anything', but thats a simplistic approach, and the process of opting out is a matter of degrees – it is never a binary on/off.

One can continue 'opting out' of aspects of society, and technology, to as extreme a position as you wish .even back to the stone age, should you choose. (sort of the ultimate boycott)

Tradeoffs are inherent to the process, no argument there .just be aware that the experience of opting out is itself liberating. You realize all these shiny objects, and expensive things, and
complicated processes that you have been raised to think of as critical necessities that cannot ever EVER be parted with .may not be so critical as you think.

Sometimes the tradeoffs will be negative, more often – in my experience – (once you have solved the problems presented by improvising/adapting/overcoming) you will find the 'tradeoffs' are a net positive.

You are, of course, a creature with free will and free to do what you choose . opt in, opt out .as you will. :)

Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Agreed, there are several gradations to this whole opting out thing. I for one am completely absent from any social media platform and feel no loss whatsoever because of this. It takes a committed group of independent thinkers to deconstruct and debunk this whole narrative that you're either "all-in" with these internet platforms or you opt out and life passes you by as you're consigned to an existence of irrelevance and ignorance about the world around you.

MoiAussie , May 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that you are very selective about the social media in which you participate.

Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm

If by social media we are talking facebook, instagram et al, then I have never participated in any of those. To be sure, this is not meant to sound like I take a dim view on those who do, the point is the narrative is typically framed, at least in my part of the world, as an all-in/opt-out binary in which participation in social media platforms is a prime determinant in who "remains relevant" and who doesn't

Vatch , May 19, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I don't have a MyFace account.

I love saying that!

justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I'm not sure what you think you are opting out of. If you are on the internet, then you have to have a carrier – Verizon, Comcast, etc. Do you think their data collection systems are different than what Google, Facebook, or any other social media does?

jrs , May 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

and least they aren't funding trips to mars? :)

jrs , May 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Yea I think the truly open minded probably try many of the internet platforms just to see what they are like and then delete their accounts (this does not need to entail posting one's entire private life there needless to say). Not a lot of open mindedness out there really though, it's all extremes: rigid abstinence from it all, or hopeless addiction to it.

I mean I understand a priori rejection of the majority of what capitalism produces (except if it's necessary to life then well), but it is a pretty uninformed position from which to criticize (as is being addicted to it really).

PKMKII , May 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Even if you opt out personally, you're still going to be interacting with a lot of people, businesses, governments, etc., that are dependent on the Five Horsemen. Pay cash at the local business, but travel down the supply chain that brought the goods there and you'll run into someone using cloud storage, social media, consumer surveillance data, etc.

Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Regarding "get involved in its decision making" –

Ordinary folks have really only two ways to do this. One is in their consumer choices. Avoid or boycott companies that abuse their customers – hit them in their wallets. The other is in their voting and political participation push privacy rights, antitrust enforcement, etc. higher on the political agenda.

It's entirely possible to be comfortably social without "social media". Personally, I boycott Facebook, Twitter, and (as much as possible) Google and Ebay. Google is tough because they have infiltrated the schools with Google Classroom (which has value, but do we really want an internet advertising company to be gathering data on our children?). Microsoft is tough because of the Office monopoly, but just because I have to use it at work doesn't mean I need to pay them any money anywhere else in my life There are also ways to buy online without using Amazon.

lyman alpha blob , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

There are other search engines, browsers, email services, etc. besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me.

The problem is, if these other services ever do get popular enough, the tech giants will either block them by getting their stooges appointed to Federal agencies and regulating them out of existence, or buy them.

I've been running from ISP acquisitions for years, as the little guys get bought out I have to find an even littler one. Luckily I've found a local ISP, GWI, that I've used for years now. They actually came out against the new regulations that would allow them to gather and sell their customers' data. Such anathema will probably wind up with their CEO publicly flayed for going against all that is good and holy according to the Five Horsemen.

Mel , May 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm

There are two sides to opting out.
When net neutrality is gone, then capital and market concentration will transform the internet into what cable TV is now, and nobody will need it much.
Contrariwise the big tech companies are taking over the implementation of major social functions:
– if you can't vote without the internet
– if you can't spend your money without the internet
– if you can't contact your friends without the internet
– if you can't get news without the internet - this has already happened - just look at us all here.
– if you can't join a political party without liking it on your Facebook page and following it on Twitter - there are rumors that the Federal Liberal Party in Canada is exploring this.
As I said somewhere else, all this would amount to an uncontracted and unspecified public/private partnership (various ones, actually) and all entered into unexamined. Time to examine them while they're still easy to change.

HotFlash , May 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm

there are rumors that the Federal Liberal Party in Canada is exploring this.

Interesting. Are they going to get us all free internet? If not, I think they will find a big surprise.

jrs , May 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm

To assume that workers in ANY Industry (including tech where we know the big players have rigged the labor market against tech workers) have more power than consumers seems pretty unrealistic to me. Of course consumer power is one dollar one vote and hardly democratic but at least consumers do have options and some power. The employee role is a powerless one in the U.S..

Kris Alman , May 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

We can either continue on the knowledge economy road, where our personal data is commodified. Or we could fight for a knowledge society, where we collectively access knowledge while protecting our identity and privacy. I vote for the latter.

Google would plant a chip in every child if they could. Short of that, they have insinuated themselves in public schools, hoping that every kid in America will consummate their relationship with this giant after they graduate from k-12. See this NY Times article from last weekend: How Google Took Over the Classroom

It's hard to mitigate their reach. In a landmark student privacy law passed in California (with an even weaker version passed in my state of Oregon), they built in what I call a Google exemption clause.

( 8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose a duty upon:
(a) A provider of an electronic store, gateway, marketplace or other means of purchasing or downloading software or applications to review or enforce compliance with this section by those applications or software; or
(b) A provider of an interactive computer service to review or enforce compliance with this section by third-party content providers. As used in this paragraph, "interactive computer service" means any information service, system or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such services or systems operated or offered by libraries or educational institutions.
(9) This section does not apply to general audience Internet websites, general audience online services, general audience online applications or general audience mobile applications, even if login credentials created for an operator's site, service or application may be used to access those general audience sites, services or applications.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Child and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (a group with which I have worked) just put out a Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy .

Patient Privacy Rights has an upcoming international summit that is free. Stream it! See: https://patientprivacyrights.org/health-privacy-summit/

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

We can either continue on the knowledge economy road, where our personal data is commodified. Or we could fight for a knowledge society, where we collectively access knowledge while protecting our identity and privacy. I vote for the latter.

When I am not accessing knowledge, I would still prefer to remain private.

For example, what videos I access for entertainment should private. It's not knowledge I access, just something to pass time.

That those activities should b protected as well.

Privacy-protected-society is probably a broader term than knowledge society.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

And the Google exemption clause reads like a Facebook exemption clause as well (or Amazon or Warner Cable exemption clause).

[May 16, 2017] Mark Ames: The FBI Has No Legal Charter But Lots of Kompromat

Notable quotes:
"... Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico). ..."
"... The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005. ..."
"... Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself. ..."
"... Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either. ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled

I made the mistake of listening to NPR last week to find out what Conventional Wisdom had to say about Trump firing Comey, on the assumption that their standardized Mister-Rogers-on-Nyquil voice tones would rein in the hysteria pitch a little. And on the surface, it did-the NPR host and guests weren't directly shrieking "the world is ending! We're all gonna die SHEEPLE!" the way they were on CNN. But in a sense they were screaming "fire!", if you know how to distinguish the very minute pitch level differences in the standard NPR Nyquil voice.

The host of the daytime NPR program asked his guests how serious, and how "unprecedented" Trump's decision to fire his FBI chief was. The guests answers were strange: they spoke about "rule of law" and "violating the Constitution" but then switched to Trump "violating norms"-and back again, interchanging "norms" and "laws" as if they're synonyms. One of the guests admitted that Trump firing Comey was 100% legal, but that didn't seem to matter in this talk about Trump having abandoned rule-of-law for a Putinist dictatorship. These guys wouldn't pass a high school civics class, but there they were, garbling it all up. What mattered was the proper sense of panic and outrage-I'm not sure anyone really cared about the actual legality of the thing, or the legal, political or "normative" history of the FBI.

For starters, the FBI hardly belongs in the same set with concepts like "constitutional" or " rule of law." That's because the FBI was never established by a law. US Lawmakers refused to approve an FBI bureau over a century ago when it was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt. So he ignored Congress, and went ahead and set it up by presidential fiat. That's one thing the civil liberties crowd hates discussing - how centralized US political power is in the executive branch, a feature in the constitutional system put there by the holy Founders.

In the late 1970s, at the tail end of our brief Glasnost, there was a lot of talk in Washington about finally creating a legal charter for the FBI -70 years after its founding. A lot of serious ink was spilled trying to transform the FBI from an extralegal secret police agency to something legal and defined. If you want to play archeologist to America's recent history, you can find this in the New York Times' archives, articles with headlines like "Draft of Charter for F.B.I. Limits Inquiry Methods" :

The Carter Administration will soon send to Congress the first governing charter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The proposed charter imposes extensive but not absolute restrictions on the bureau's employment of controversial investigative techniques, .including the use of informers, undercover agents and covert criminal activity.

The charter also specifies the duties and powers of the bureau, setting precise standards and procedures for the initiation ,and conduct of investigations. It specifically requires the F.B.I. to observe constitutional rights and establishes safeguards against unchecked harassment, break‐ins and other abuses.

followed by the inevitable lament, like this editorial from the Christian Science Monitor a year later, "Don't Forget the FBI Charter". Which of course we did forget-that was Reagan's purpose and value for the post-Glasnost reaction: forgetting. As historian Athan Theoharis wrote , "After 1981, Congress never seriously considered again any of the FBI charter proposals."

The origins of the FBI have been obscured both because of its dubious legality and because of its original political purpose-to help the president battle the all-powerful American capitalists. It wasn't that Teddy Roosevelt was a radical leftist-he was a Progressive Republican, which sounds like an oxymoron today but which was mainstream and ascendant politics in his time. Roosevelt was probably the first president since Andrew Jackson to try to smash concentrated wealth-power, or at least some of it. He could be brutally anti-labor, but so were the powerful capitalists he fought, and all the structures of government power. He met little opposition pursuing his imperial Social Darwinist ambitions outside America's borders-but he had a much harder time fighting the powerful capitalists at home against Roosevelt's most honorable political obsession: preserving forests, parks and public lands from greedy capitalists. An early FBI memo to Hoover about the FBI's origins explains,

"Roosevelt, in his characteristic dynamic fashion, asserted that the plunderers of the public domain would be prosecuted and brought to justice."

According to New York Times reporter Tim Wiener's Enemies: A History of the FBI , it was the Oregon land fraud scandal of 1905-6 that put the idea of an FBI in TR's hyperactive mind. The scandal involved leading Oregon politicians helping railroad tycoon Edward Harriman illegally sell off pristine Oregon forest lands to timber interests, and it ended with an Oregon senator and the state's only two House representatives criminally charged and put on trial-along with dozens of other Oregonians. Basically, they were raping the state's public lands and forests like colonists stripping a foreign country-and that stuck in TR's craw.

TR wanted his attorney general-Charles Bonaparte (yes, he really was a descendant of that Bonaparte)-to make a full report to on the rampant land fraud scams that the robber barons were running to despoil the American West, and which threatened TR's vision of land and forest conservation and parks. Bonaparte created an investigative team from the US Secret Service, but TR thought their report was a "whitewash" and proposed a new separate federal investigative service within Bonaparte's Department of Justice that would report only to the Attorney General.

Until then, the US government had to rely on private contractors like the notorious, dreaded Pinkerton Agency, who were great at strikebreaking, clubbing workers and shooting organizers, but not so good at taking down down robber barons, who happened to also be important clients for the private detective agencies.

In early 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte wrote to Congress asking for the legal authority (and budget funds) to create a "permanent detective force" under the DOJ. Congress rebelled, denouncing it as a plan to create an American okhrana . Democrat Joseph Sherley wrote that "spying on men and prying into what would ordinarily be considered their private affairs" went against "American ideas of government"; Rep. George Waldo, a New York Republican, said the proposed FBI was a "great blow to freedom and to free institutions if there should arise in this country any such great central secret-service bureau as there is in Russia."

So Congress's response was the opposite, banning Bonaparte's DOJ from spending any funds at all on a proposed FBI. Another Congressman wrote another provision into the budget bill banning the DOJ from hiring Secret Service employees for any sort of FBI type agency. So Bonaparte waited until Congress took its summer recess, set aside some DOJ funds, recruited some Secret Service agents, and created a new federal detective bureau with 34 agents. This was how the FBI was born. Congress wasn't notified until the end of 1908, in a few lines in a standard report - "oh yeah, forgot to tell you-the executive branch went ahead and created an American okhrana because, well, the ol' joke about dogs licking their balls. Happy New Year!"

The sordid history of America's extralegal secret police-initially named the Bureau of Investigation, changed to the FBI ("Federal") in the 30's, is mostly a history of xenophobic panic-mongering, illegal domestic spying, mass roundups and plans for mass-roundups, false entrapment schemes, and planting what Russians call "kompromat"- compromising information about a target's sex life-to blackmail or destroy American political figures that the FBI didn't like.

The first political victim of J Edgar Hoover's kompromat was Louis Post, the assistant secretary of labor under Woodrow Wilson. Post's crime was releasing over 1,000 alleged Reds from detention facilities near the end of the FBI's Red Scare crackdown, when they jailed and deported untold thousands on suspicion of being Communists. The FBI's mass purge began with popular media support in 1919, but by the middle of 1920, some (not the FBI) were starting to get a little queasy. A legal challenge to the FBI's mass purges and exiles in Boston ended with a federal judge denouncing the FBI. After that ruling, assistant secretary Louis Post, a 71-year-old well-meaning progressive, reviewed the cases against the last 1500 detainees that the FBI wanted to deport, and found that there was absolutely nothing on at least 75 percent of the cases. Post's review threatened to undo thousands more FBI persecutions of alleged Moscow-controlled radicals.

So one of the FBI's most ambitious young agents, J Edgar Hoover, collected kompromat on Post and his alleged associations with other alleged Moscow-controlled leftists, and gave the file to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives-which promptly announced it would hold hearings to investigate Post as a left subversive. The House tried to impeach Post, but ultimately he defended himself. Post's lawyer compared his political persecutors to the okhrana (Russia, again!): "We in America have sunk to the level of the government of Russia under the Czarist regime," describing the FBI's smear campaign as "even lower in some of their methods than the old Russian officials."

Under Harding, the FBI had a new chief, William Burns, who made headlines blaming the terror bombing attack on Wall Street of 1920 that killed 34 people on a Kremlin-run conspiracy. The FBI claimed it had a highly reliable inside source who told them that Lenin sent $30,000 to the Soviets' diplomatic mission in New York, which was distributed to four local Communist agents who arranged the Wall Street bombing. The source claimed to have personally spoken with Lenin, who boasted that the bombing was so successful he'd ordered up more.

The only problem was that the FBI's reliable source, a Jewish-Polish petty criminal named Wolf Lindenfeld, turned out to be a bullshitter-nicknamed "Windy Linde"-who thought his fake confession about Lenin funding the bombing campaign would get him out of Poland's jails and set up in a comfortable new life in New York.

By 1923, the FBI had thoroughly destroyed America's communist and radical labor movements-allowing it to focus on its other favorite pastime: spying on and destroying political opponents. The FBI spied on US Senators who supported opening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union: Idaho's William Borah, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Thomas Walsh of the Judiciary Committee, and Burton K Wheeler, the prairie Populist senator from Montana, who visited the Soviet Union and pushed for diplomatic relations. Harding's corrupt Attorney General Dougherty denounced Sen. Wheeler as "the Communist leader in the Senate" and "no more a Democrat than Stalin, his comrade in Moscow." Dougherty accused Sen. Wheeler of being part of a conspiracy "to capture, by deceit and design, as many members of the Senate as possible and to spread through Washington and the cloakrooms of Congress a poison gas as deadly as that which sapped and destroyed brave soldiers in the last war."

Hoover, now a top FBI official, quietly fed kompromat to journalists he cultivated, particularly an AP reporter named Richard Whitney, who published a popular book in 1924, "Reds In America" alleging Kremlin agents "had an all-pervasive influence over American institutions; they had infiltrated every corner of American life." Whitney named Charlie Chaplin as a Kremlin agent, along with Felix Frankfurter and members of the Senate pushing for recognition of the Soviet Union. That killed any hope for diplomatic recognition for the next decade.

Then the first Harding scandals broke-Teapot Dome, Veterans Affairs, bribery at the highest rungs. When Senators Wheeler and Walsh opened bribery investigations, the FBI sent agents to the senators' home state to drum up false bribery charges against Sen. Wheeler. The charges were clearly fake, and a jury dismissed the charges. But Attorney General Dougherty was indicted for fraud and forced to resign, as was his FBI chief Burns-but not Burns' underling Hoover, who stayed in the shadows.

"We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail This must stop."

With the Cold War, the FBI became obsessed with homosexuals as America's Fifth Column under Moscow's control. Homosexuals, the FBI believed, were susceptible to Kremlin kompromat-so the FBI collected and disseminated its own kompromat on alleged American homosexuals, supposedly to protect America from the Kremlin. In the early 1950s, Hoover launched the Sex Deviates Program to spy on American homosexuals and purge them from public life. The FBI built up 300,000 pages of files on suspected homosexuals and contacted their employers, local law enforcement and universities to "to drive homosexuals from every institution of government, higher learning, and law enforcement in the nation," according to Tim Weiner's book Enemies. No one but the FBI knows exactly how many Americans' lives and careers were destroyed by the FBI's Sex Deviants Program but Hoover-who never married, lived with his mother until he was 40, and traveled everywhere with his "friend" Clyde Tolson .

In the 1952 election, Hoover was so committed to helping the Republicans and Eisenhower win that he compiled and disseminated a 19-page kompromat file alleging that his Democratic Party rival Adlai Stevenson was gay. The FBI's file on Stevenson was kept in the Sex Deviants Program section-it included libelous gossip, claiming that Stevenson was one of Illinois' "best known homosexuals" who went by the name "Adeline" in gay cruising circles.

In the 1960s, Hoover and his FBI chiefs collected kompromat on the sex lives of JFK and Martin Luther King. Hoover presented some of his kompromat on JFK to Bobby Kennedy, in a concern-trollish way claiming to "warn" him that the president was opening himself up to blackmail. It was really a way for Hoover to let the despised Kennedy brothers know he could destroy them, should they try to Comey him out of his FBI office. Hoover's kompromat on MLK's sex life was a particular obsession of his-he now believed that African-Americans, not homosexuals, posed the greatest threat to become a Kremlin Fifth Column. The FBI wiretapped MLK's private life, collecting tapes of his affairs with other women, which a top FBI official then mailed to Martin Luther King's wife, along with a note urging King to commit suicide.

FBI letter anonymously mailed to Martin Luther King Jr's wife, along with kompromat sex tapes

After JFK was murdered, when Bobby Kennedy ran for the Senate in 1964, he recounted another disturbing FBI/kompromat story that President Johnson shared with him on the campaign trail. LBJ told Bobby about a stack of kompromat files - FBI reports "detailing the sexual debauchery of members of the Senate and House who consorted with prostitutes." LBJ asked RFK if the kompromat should be leaked selectively to destroy Republicans before the 1964 elections. Kennedy recalled,

"He told me he had spent all night sitting up and reading the files of the FBI on all these people. And Lyndon talks about that information and material so freely. Lyndon talks about everybody, you see, with everybody. And of course that's dangerous."

Kennedy had seen some of the same FBI kompromat files as attorney general, but he was totally opposed to releasing such unsubstantiated kompromat-such as, say, the Trump piss files-because doing so would "destroy the confidence that people in the United States had in their government and really make us a laughingstock around the world."

Imagine that.

Which brings me to the big analogy every hack threw around last week, calling Trump firing Comey "Nixonian." Actually, what Trump did was more like the very opposite of Nixon, who badly wanted to fire Hoover in 1971-2, but was too afraid of the kompromat Hoover might've had on him to make the move. Nixon fell out with his old friend and onetime mentor J Edgar Hoover in 1971, when the ailing old FBI chief refused to get sucked in to the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers investigation, especially after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times. Part of the reason Nixon created his Plumbers team of black bag burglars was because Hoover had become a bit skittish in his last year on this planet-and that drove Nixon crazy.

Nixon called his chief of staff Haldeman:

Nixon: I talked to Hoover last night and Hoover is not going after this case [Ellsberg] as strong as I would like. There's something dragging him.

Haldeman: You don't have the feeling the FBI is really pursuing this?

Nixon: Yeah, particularly the conspiracy side. I want to go after everyone. I'm not so interested in Ellsberg, but we have to go after everybody who's a member of this conspiracy.

Hoover's ambitious deputies in the FBI were smelling blood, angling to replace him. His number 3, Bill Sullivan (who sent MLK the sex tapes and suicide note) was especially keen to get rid of Hoover and take his place. So as J Edgar was stonewalling the Daniel Ellsberg investigation, Sullivan showed up in a Department of Justice office with two suitcases packed full of transcripts and summaries of illegal wiretaps that Kissinger and Nixon had ordered on their own staff and on American journalists. The taps were ordered in Nixon's first months in the White House in 1969, to plug up the barrage of leaks, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. Sullivan took the leaks from J Edgar's possession and told the DOJ official that they needed to be hidden from Hoover, who planned to use them as kompromat to blackmail Nixon.

Nixon decided he was going to fire J Edgar the next day. This was in September, 1971. But the next day came, and Nixon got scared. So he tried to convince his attorney general John Mitchell to fire Hoover for him, but Mitchell said only the President could fire J Edgar Hoover. So Nixon met him for breakfast, and, well, he just didn't have the guts. Over breakfast, Hoover flattered Nixon and told him there was nothing more in the world he wanted than to see Nixon re-elected. Nixon caved; the next day, J Edgar Hoover unceremoniously fired his number 3 Bill Sullivan, locking him out of the building and out of his office so that he couldn't take anything with him. Sullivan was done.

The lesson here, I suppose, is that if an FBI director doesn't want to be fired, it's best to keep your kompromat a little closer to your chest, as a gun to hold to your boss's head. Comey's crew already released the piss tapes kompromat on Trump-the damage was done. What was left to hold back Trump from firing Comey? "Laws"? The FBI isn't even legal. "Norms" would be the real reason. Which pretty much sums up everything Trump has been doing so far. We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"-and while those norms may mean everything to the ruling class, it's an open question how much these norms mean to a lot of Americans outside that club.

Huey Long , May 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Wow, and this whole time I thought the NSA had a kompromat monopoly as they have everybody's porn site search terms and viewing habits on file.

I had no idea the FBI practically invented it!

3.14e-9 , May 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

The Native tribes don't have a great history with the FBI, either.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/thing-about-skins/comey-fbi-destructive-history-native-people/

voteforno6 , May 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

Has anyone ever used the FBI's lack of a charter as a defense in court?

Disturbed Voter , May 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

The USA doesn't have a legal basis either, it is a revolting crown colony of the British Empire. Treason and heresy all the way down. Maybe the British need to burn Washington DC again?

Synoia , May 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Britain burning DC, and the so call ed "war" of 1812, got no mention in my History Books. Napoleon on the other hand, featured greatly

In 1812 Napoleon was busy going to Russia. That went well.

Ignim Brites , May 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

Wondered how Comey thought he could get away with his conviction and pardon of Sec Clinton. Seems like part of the culture of FBI is a "above and beyond" the law mentality.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

Back in the early 1970s a high school friend moved to Alabama because his father was transferred by his employer.

My friend sent a post card describing among other things the fact that Alabama had done away with the requirement of a math class to graduate high school, and substituted a required class called "The Evils of Communism" complete with a text-book written by J. Edgar Hoover; Masters of Deceit.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

In Dallas,Texas my 1959 Civics class had to read the same book. We all were given paperback copies of it to take home and read. It was required reading enacted by Texas legislature.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

So I'd guess you weren't fooled by any of those commie plots of the sixties, like the campaigns for civil rights or against the Vietnamese war.

I can't really brag, I didn't stop worrying about the Red Menace until 1970 or so, that's when I started running into returning vets who mostly had no patience for that stuff.

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 8:35 am

We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"

Or as David Broder put it (re Bill Clinton): he came in and trashed the place and it wasn't his place.

It was David Broder's place. Of course the media play a key role with all that kompromat since they are the ones needed to convey it to the public. The tragedy is that even many of the sensible in their ranks such as Bill Moyers have been sucked into the kompromat due to their hysteria over Trump. Ames is surely on point in this great article. The mistake was allowing secret police agencies like the FBI and CIA to be created in the first place.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 8:37 am

Sorry, my initial reaction was that people who don't know the difference between "rein" and "reign" are not to be trusted to provide reliable information. Recognizing that as petty, I kept reading, and presently found the statement that Congress was not informed of the founding of the FBI until a century after the fact, which seems implausible. If in fact the author meant the end of 1908 it was quite an achievement to write 2008.

Interesting to the extent it may be true, but with few sources, no footnotes, and little evidence of critical editing who knows what that may be?

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

Do you even know who Mark Ames is?

Petty .yes.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

Who he is is irrelevant. I don't take things on faith because "the Pope said" or because Mark Ames said. People who expect their information to be taken seriously should substantiate it.

Bill Smith , May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Yeah, in the first sentence

Interesting article though.

Fiery Hunt , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Yeah, Kathatine, you're right .very petty.

And completely missed the point.

Or worse, you got the point and your best rejection of that point was pointing out a typo.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

I neither missed the point nor rejected it. I reserved judgment, as I thought was apparent from my comment.

sid_finster , May 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

But Trump is bad. Very Bad.

So anything the FBI does to get rid of him must by definition be ok! Besides, surely our civic-minded IC would never use their power on the Good Guys™!

Right?

JTMcPhee , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Ah yes, the voice of "caution." And such attention to the lack of footnotes, in this day when the curious can so easily cut and paste a bit of salient text into a search engine and pull up a feast of parse-able writings and video, from which they can "judiciously assess" claims and statements. If they care to spend the time, which is in such short supply among those who are struggling to keep up with the horrors and revelations people of good will confront every blinking day

Classic impeachment indeed. All from the height of "academic rigor" and "caution." Especially the "apologetic" bit about "reign" vs "rein." Typos destroy credibility, don't they? And the coup de grass (sic), the unrebuttable "plausibility" claim.

One wonders at the nature of the author's curriculum vitae. One also marvels at the yawning gulf between the Very Serious Stuff I was taught in grade and high school civics and history, back in the late '50s and the '60s, about the Fundamental Nature Of Our Great Nation and its founding fathers and the Beautiful Documents they wrote, on the one hand, and what we mopes learn, through a drip-drip-drip process punctuated occasionally by Major Revelations, about the real nature of the Empire and our fellow creatures

PS: My earliest memory of television viewing was a day at a friend's house - his middle-class parents had the first "set" in the neighborhood, I think an RCA, in a massive sideboard cabinet where the picture tube pointed up and you viewed the "content" in a mirror mounted to the underside of the lid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5onSwx7_Cn0 The family was watching a hearing of Joe McCarthy's kangaroo court, complete with announcements of the latest number in the "list of known Communists in the State Department" and how Commyanism was spreading like an unstoppable epidemic mortal disease through the Great US Body Politic and its Heroic Institutions of Democracy. I was maybe 6 years old, but that grainy black and white "reality TV" content had me asking "WTF?" at a very early age. And I'd say it's on the commentor to show that the "2008" claim is wrong, by something other than "implausible" as drive-by impeachment. Given the content of the original post, and what people paying attention to all this stuff have a pretty good idea is the general contours of a vast corruption and manipulation.

"Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no."

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

It is the author's job to substantiate information, not the reader's. If he thinks his work is so important, why does he not make a better job of it?

Edward , May 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

I think the MLK blackmail scheme is well-established. Much of the article seems to be based on Tim Wiener's "Enemies: A History of the FBI".

nonsense factory , May 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

Interesting article on the history of the FBI, although the post-Hoover era doesn't get any treatment. The Church Committee hearings on the CIA and FBI, after the exposure of notably Operation CHAOS (early 60s to early 70s) by the CIA and COINTELPRO(late 1950s to early 1970s) by the FBI, didn't really get to the bottom of the issue although some reforms were initiated.

Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico).

The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005.

Maybe this is legitimate, but this only applies to their protection of the interests of large corporations – as the 2008 economic collapse and aftermath showed, they don't prosecute corporate executives who rip off poor people and middle-class homeowners. Banks who rob people, they aren't investigated or prosecuted; that's just for people who rob banks.

When it comes to political issues and national security, however, the FBI has such a terrible record on so many issues over the years that anything they claim has to be taken with a grain or two of salt. Consider domestic political activity: from the McCarthyite 'Red Scare' of the 1950s to COINTELPRO in the 1960s and 1970s to targeting of environmental groups in the 1980s and 1990s to targeting anti-war protesters under GW Bush to their obsession with domestic mass surveillance under Obama, it's not a record that should inspire any confidence.

Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself.

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences. The Saudi intelligence agency role in 9/11 was buried for over a decade, as well. Since 9/11, most of the FBI investigations seem to have involved recruiting mentally disabled young Islamic men in sting operations in which the FBI provides everything needed. You could probably get any number of mentally ill homeless people across the U.S., regardless of race or religion, to play this role.

Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either.

Ultimately, this is because FBI executives are paid off not to investigate Wall Street criminality, nor shady U.S. government activity, with lucrative positions as corporate board members and so on after their 'retirements'. I don't doubt that many of their junior members mean well and are dedicated to their jobs – but the fish rots from the head down.

Andrew Watts , May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences.

The Clinton Administration had other priorities. You know, I think I'll let ex-FBI Director Freeh explain what happened when the FBI tried to get the Saudis to cooperate with their investigation into the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

"That September, Crown Prince Abdullah and his entourage took over the entire 143-room Hay-Adams Hotel, just across from Lafayette Park from the White House, for six days. The visit, I figured, was pretty much our last chance. Again, we prepared talking points for the president. Again, I contacted Prince Bandar and asked him to soften up the crown prince for the moment when Clinton, -- or Al Gore I didn't care who -- would raise the matter and start to exert the necessary pressure."

"The story that came back to me, from "usually reliable sources," as they say in Washington, was that Bill Clinton briefly raised the subject only to tell the Crown Prince that he certainly understood the Saudis; reluctance to cooperate. Then, according to my sources, he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential library. Gore, who was supposed to press hardest of all in his meeting with the crown Prince, barely mentioned the matter, I was told." -Louis J. Freeh, My FBI (2005)

In my defense I picked the book up to see if there was any dirt on the DNC's electoral funding scandal in 1996. I'm actually glad I did. The best part of the book is when Freeh recounts running into a veteran of the Lincoln Brigade and listens to how Hoover's FBI ruined his life despite having broken no laws. As if a little thing like laws mattered to Hoover. The commies were after our precious bodily fluids!

verifyfirst , May 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I'm not sure there are many functioning norms left within the national political leadership. Seemed to me Gingrich started blowing those up and it just got worse from there. McConnell not allowing Garland to be considered comes to mind

lyman alpha blob , May 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Great article – thanks for this. I had no idea the FBI never had a legal charter – very enlightening.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Thanks to Mark Ames now we know what Pres. Trump meant when he tweeted about his tapes with AG Comey. Not some taped conversation between Pres. Trump & AG Comey but bunch of kompromat tapes that AG Comey has provided Pres. Trump that might not make departing AG Comey looked so clean.

[May 16, 2017] Mohamed El-Erian: We get signals that the system is under enormous stress

Notable quotes:
"... "The minute you to start talking about the inequality of opportunity, you fuel the politics of anger. The politics of anger have a tendency to produce improbable results. The major risk is that we don't know how much we've strained the underlying system. But what we do know is we are getting signals that suggest it's under enormous stress, which means the probability of either a policy mistake or market accident goes up." ..."
"... Third, pockets of extreme indebtedness must be addressed, a lesson he learned working with the IMF in Latin America in the 1980s. "When you have a debt overhang, it's like a black cloud," he argues. "It sucks oxygen out of the system. You cannot grow of it: whether it's Greece or student loans in the US, you need to deal with debt overhangs." The process of debt forgiveness is hard, he concedes, because some people are unfairly rewarded – "but the alternatives are worse." ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Leading economist and investor believes world leaders, and global capitalism, have reached fork in road between equality and chaos

This is the nub of El-Erian's analysis of why the developed world is approaching a fork in the road. The inequality generated by the current low-growth climate has three elements: inequality of wealth, income and opportunity. The last of the three – manifested in high youth unemployment in many eurozone countries, for example – is the most explosive element.

"The minute you to start talking about the inequality of opportunity, you fuel the politics of anger. The politics of anger have a tendency to produce improbable results. The major risk is that we don't know how much we've strained the underlying system. But what we do know is we are getting signals that suggest it's under enormous stress, which means the probability of either a policy mistake or market accident goes up."

... ... ...

How do we take the high, benign road? El-Erian has a four-point plan.

First, "we need to get back to investing in things that promote economic growth, infrastructure, a more pro-growth tax system for the US, serious labour retooling ... If you're in Europe, youth employment is an issue you've really got to think about very seriously."

Second, countries that can afford to do so must "exploit the fiscal space," meaning borrowing to invest or cutting taxes. He puts the US and Germany unambiguously in that category "and to a certain extent the UK".

Third, pockets of extreme indebtedness must be addressed, a lesson he learned working with the IMF in Latin America in the 1980s. "When you have a debt overhang, it's like a black cloud," he argues. "It sucks oxygen out of the system. You cannot grow of it: whether it's Greece or student loans in the US, you need to deal with debt overhangs." The process of debt forgiveness is hard, he concedes, because some people are unfairly rewarded – "but the alternatives are worse."

Fourth, regional and global governance needs repair. He compares the eurozone to a stool with one-and-a-half legs instead of four. The complete leg is monetary union, the half is banking union. The missing legs are fiscal integration, meaning a common budget, and political harmonisation. No wonder the eurozone is unstable, he says: "You can do three legs, you can't do one and half."

To return to El-Erian's core T-junction analogy, none of the required manoeuvres sound easy. "You don't need a big bang," he replies. "If you want to take the good turn you have to see some progress on some of these elements. If you don't, then we take the other turn." He ascribes equal probabilities – "it's a political judgment."

What's an investor to do? El-Erian says his own approach, which he admits is hard for the average person to copy, is framed like a bar-bell. At one end, he's invested in high-risk startups where you don't need all to succeed. At the other, he's in cash and cash-like investments. In the middle, he'll invest in public markets only tactically.

The bottom line: "I'm risk off."

[May 16, 2017] The Real Meaning of Sensitive Intelligence by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... what astonished me was how quickly the media interpreted its use in the hearings to mean that the conversations and emails that apparently were recorded or intercepted involving Trump associates and assorted Russians as "sensitive contacts" meant that they were necessarily inappropriate, dangerous, or even illegal. ..."
"... The Post is unfortunately also providing ISIS with more information than it "needs to know" to make its story more dramatic, further compromising the source. ..."
"... McMaster described the report as "false" and informed the Post that "The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly." Tillerson commented that "the nature of specific threats were (sic) discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations." ..."
"... The media will no doubt be seeking to magnify the potential damage done while the White House goes into damage control mode. ..."
"... In this case, the intelligence shared with Lavrov appears to be related to specific ISIS threats, which may include planned operations against civilian aircraft, judging from Trump's characteristically after-hours tweets defending his behavior, as well as other reporting. ..."
"... The New York Times , in its own reporting of the story, initially stated that the information on ISIS did not come from an NSA or CIA operation, and later reported that the source was Israel. ..."
"... And President Trump has one more thing to think about. No matter what damage comes out of the Lavrov discussion, he has a bigger problem. There are apparently multiple leakers on his National Security Council. ..."
"... You have McMaster himself who categorically denies any exposure of sources and methods – he was there in person and witness to the talks – and a cloud of unknown witnesses not present speculating, without reference to McMaster or Tillerson's testimony, about what might have happened. This is the American Media in a nutshell, the Infinite Circle Jerk. ..."
"... I am more disturbed how this story got into the press. While, not an ally, I think we should in cooperation with other states. Because the Pres is not familiar with the protocols and language and I doubt any executive has been upon entering office, I have no doubt he may be reacting or overreacting to the overreaction of others. ..."
"... Here's a word. We have no business engaging n the overthrow of another government that is no threat to the US or her allies, and that includes Israel. Syria is not. And we should cease and desist getting further entangled in the messes of the previous executive, his Sec of State and those organizations who seem to e playing with the life blood of the US by engaging if unnecessary risks. ..."
"... And if I understand the crumbs given the data provided by the Post, the Times and this article, if one had ill will for the source of said information, they have pretty good idea where to start. ..."
"... In general I agree with you, but the media was NEVER concerned about the treatment of sensitive material from HRC! ..."
"... I think he needs to cut back on intelligence sharing with Israel. They do just what the hell they want to do with anything. ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Intelligence agencies and senior government officials tend to use a lot of jargon. Laced with acronyms, this language sometimes does not translate very well into journalese when it hits the media.

For example, I experienced a sense of disorientation two weeks ago over the word "sensitive" as used by several senators, Sally Yates, and James Clapper during committee testimony into Russiagate. "Sensitive" has, of course, a number of meanings. But what astonished me was how quickly the media interpreted its use in the hearings to mean that the conversations and emails that apparently were recorded or intercepted involving Trump associates and assorted Russians as "sensitive contacts" meant that they were necessarily inappropriate, dangerous, or even illegal.

When Yates and Clapper were using "sensitive" thirteen times in the 86 page transcript of the Senate hearings, they were referring to the medium rather than the message. They were both acknowledging that the sources of the information were intelligence related, sometimes referred to as "sensitive" by intelligence professionals and government insiders as a shorthand way to describe that they are "need to know" material derived from either classified "methods" or foreign-liaison partners. That does not mean that the information contained is either good or bad or even true or false, but merely a way of expressing that the information must be protected because of where it came from or how it was developed, hence the "sensitivity."

The word also popped up this week in a Washington Post exclusive report alleging that the president had, in his recent meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, gone too far while also suggesting that the source of a highly classified government program might be inferred from the context of what was actually revealed. The Post describes how

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump's decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

The Post is unfortunately also providing ISIS with more information than it "needs to know" to make its story more dramatic, further compromising the source. Furthermore, it should be understood that the paper is extremely hostile to Trump, the story is as always based on anonymous sources, and the revelation comes on top of another unverifiable Post article claiming that the Russians might have sought to sneak a recording device into the White House during the visit.

No one is denying that the president discussed ISIS in some detail with Lavrov, but National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, both of whom were present at the meeting, have denied that any sources or methods were revealed while reviewing with the Russians available intelligence. McMaster described the report as "false" and informed the Post that "The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly." Tillerson commented that "the nature of specific threats were (sic) discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations."

So the question becomes to what extent can an intelligence mechanism be identified from the information that it produces. That is, to a certain extent, a judgment call. The president is able on his own authority to declassify anything, so the legality of his sharing information with Russia cannot be challenged. What is at question is the decision-making by an inexperienced president who may have been showing off to an important foreign visitor by revealing details of intelligence that should have remained secret. The media will no doubt be seeking to magnify the potential damage done while the White House goes into damage control mode.

The media is claiming that the specific discussion with Lavrov that is causing particular concern is related to a so-called Special Access Program , or SAP, sometimes referred to as "code word information." An SAP is an operation that generates intelligence that requires special protection because of where or how it is produced. In this case, the intelligence shared with Lavrov appears to be related to specific ISIS threats, which may include planned operations against civilian aircraft, judging from Trump's characteristically after-hours tweets defending his behavior, as well as other reporting.

There have also been reports that the White House followed up on its Lavrov meeting with a routine review of what had taken place. Several National Security Council members observed that some of the information shared with the Russians was far too sensitive to disseminate within the U.S. intelligence community. This led to the placing of urgent calls to NSA and CIA to brief them on what had been said.

Based on the recipients of the calls alone, one might surmise that the source of the information would appear to be either a foreign-intelligence service or a technical collection operation, or even both combined. The Post claims that the originator of the intelligence did not clear its sharing with the Russians and raises the possibility that no more information of that type will be provided at all in light of the White House's apparent carelessness in its use. The New York Times , in its own reporting of the story, initially stated that the information on ISIS did not come from an NSA or CIA operation, and later reported that the source was Israel.

The Times is also reporting that Trump provided to Lavrov "granular" information on the city in Syria where the information was collected that will possibly enable the Russians or ISIS to identify the actual source, with devastating consequences. That projection may be overreach, but the fact is that the latest gaffe from the White House could well damage an important intelligence liaison relationship in the Middle East while reinforcing the widely held impression that Washington does not know how to keep a secret. It will also create the impression that Donald Trump, out of ignorance or hubris, exhibits a certain recklessness in his dealing with classified information, a failing that he once attributed to his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton.

And President Trump has one more thing to think about. No matter what damage comes out of the Lavrov discussion, he has a bigger problem. There are apparently multiple leakers on his National Security Council.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

This article has been updated to reflect news developments.

Thymoleontas, says: May 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

" The latest gaffe from the White House could well damage an important intelligence liaison relationship in the Middle East "

On the other hand, it also represents closer collaboration with Russia–even if unintended–which is an improvement on the status quo ante and, not to mention, key to ending the conflict in Syria.

Dies Irae , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm
You have McMaster himself who categorically denies any exposure of sources and methods – he was there in person and witness to the talks – and a cloud of unknown witnesses not present speculating, without reference to McMaster or Tillerson's testimony, about what might have happened. This is the American Media in a nutshell, the Infinite Circle Jerk.
MM , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:44 pm
Out of my depth, but was Trump working within the framework, maybe a bit outside if the story is true, of the Joint Implementation Group the Obama administration created last year with Russia?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/r/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2016/07/13/Editorial-Opinion/Graphics/terms_of_reference_for_the_Joint_Implementation_Group.pdf?tid=a_inl

Also, I recall reading that the prior administration promised Russia ISIS intel. Not sure if that ever happened, but I doubt they'd have made it public or leak anything to the press.

Brian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:57 pm
Apr 21, 2017 Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy

Author David A. Nichols reveals how President Dwight D. Eisenhower masterminded the downfall of the anti-Communist demagogue Senator Joseph McCarthy.

https://youtu.be/FAY_9aQMVbQ

EliteCommInc , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:57 pm
Avoiding the minutia.

I think it should go without saying that intelligence is a sensitive business and protecting those who operate in its murky waters is important to having an effective agency.

Of course the Pres of the US has a duty to do so.

I have not yet read the post article. But I am doubtful that the executive had any intention of putting anyone in harms way. I am equally doubtful that this incident will. If the executive made an error in judgement, I am sure it will be dealt wit in an appropriate manner.

I do wish he'd stop tweeting, though I get why its useful to him.

I am more disturbed how this story got into the press. While, not an ally, I think we should in cooperation with other states. Because the Pres is not familiar with the protocols and language and I doubt any executive has been upon entering office, I have no doubt he may be reacting or overreacting to the overreaction of others.

Here's a word. We have no business engaging n the overthrow of another government that is no threat to the US or her allies, and that includes Israel. Syria is not. And we should cease and desist getting further entangled in the messes of the previous executive, his Sec of State and those organizations who seem to e playing with the life blood of the US by engaging if unnecessary risks.

Just another brier brushfire of a single tumble weed to add to the others in the hope that setting fires in trashcans will make the current exec go away or at least engage in a mea culpa and sign more checks in the mess that is the middle east policy objective that remains a dead end.

__________

And if I understand the crumbs given the data provided by the Post, the Times and this article, if one had ill will for the source of said information, they have pretty good idea where to start.

Cachip , says: May 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm
How do you know it wasn't intended as pure misdirection?
Brian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm
January 10, 2014 *500* Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/500-years-of-history-shows-that-mass-spying-is-always-aimed-at-crushing-dissent/5364462

Johann , says: May 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm
Politics is now directly endangering innocent civilians. Because of the leaks and its publication, ISIS for sure now knows that there is an information leak out of their organization. They will now re-compartmentalize and may be successful in breaking that information leak. Innocent airline passenger civilians, American, Russian, or whoever may die as a result. Russia and the US are both fighting ISIS. We are de facto allies in that fight whether some people like it or not. Time to get over it.
EliteCommInc. , says: May 16, 2017 at 2:44 pm
Having read the article, uhhh, excuse me, but unlike personal secrets. The purpose of intel is to use to or keep on hand for some-other date. But of that information is related to the security of our interests and certainly a cooperative relationship with Russia is in our interest. Because in the convoluted fight with ISIS/ISIL, Russia is an ally.

What this belies is the mess of the intelligence community. If in fact, the Russians intend to take a source who provided information that was helpful to them, it would be a peculiar twist of strategic action. The response does tell us that we are in some manner in league with ISIS/ISIL or their supporters so deep that there is a need to protect them, from what is anybody's guess. Because if the information is accurate, I doubt the Russians are going to about killing the source, but rather improving their airline security.

But if we are in fact attempting to remove Pres Assad, and are in league with ISIS/ISIL in doing so - I get why the advocates of such nonsense might be in a huff. So ISIS/ISISL our one time foe and now our sometimes friend . . .

Good greif . . .

Pres Trump is the least of muy concerns when it coes to security.

Some relevant material on intel:

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/327413-how-the-intel-community-was-turned-into-a-political

http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/intelligence-failures-more-profound-than-president-admits/

But if I were Pres Trump, I might steer clear of Russia for a while to stop feeding the beast.

Kurt Gayle , says: May 16, 2017 at 3:28 pm
Philip, back on July 23, 2014, you explained in "How ISIS Evades the CIA" "the inability of the United States government to anticipate the ISIS offensive that has succeeded in taking control of a large part of Iraq." You explained why the CIA had to date had no success in infiltrating ISIS.

You continued: "Given U.S. intelligence's probable limited physical access to any actual terrorist groups operating in Syria or Iraq any direct attempt to penetrate the organization through placing a source inside would be difficult in the extreme. Such efforts would most likely be dependent on the assistance of friendly intelligence services in Turkey or Jordan. Both Turkey and Jordan have reported that terrorists have entered their countries by concealing themselves in the large numbers of refugees that the conflict in Syria has produced, and both are concerned as they understand full well that groups like ISIS will be targeting them next. Some of the infiltrating adherents to radical groups have certainly been identified and detained by the respective intelligence services of those two countries, and undoubtedly efforts have been made to 'turn' some of those in custody to send them back into Syria (and more recently Iraq) to report on what is taking place. Depending on what arrangements might have been made to coordinate the operations, the 'take' might well be shared with the United States and other friendly governments."

You then describe the difficulties faced by a Turkish or Jordanian agent trying to infiltrate ISIS: "But seeding is very much hit or miss, as someone who has been out of the loop of his organization might have difficulty working his way back in. He will almost certainly be regarded with some suspicion by his peers and would be searched and watched after his return, meaning that he could not take back with him any sophisticated communications devices no matter how cleverly they are concealed. This would make communicating any information obtained back to one's case officers in Jordan or Turkey difficult or even impossible."

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-isis-evades-the-cia/

Notwithstanding how "difficult or even impossible" such an operation would be - and using the New York Times as your only source for a lot of otherwise completely unsubstantiated information – and admitting that "this is sheer speculation on my part" – you say that "it is logical to assume that the countries that have provided numerous recruits for ISIS [Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia] would have used that fact as cover to carry out a seeding operation to introduce some of their own agents into the ISIS organization."

Back to the New York Times as your only source, you say that "the Times is also reporting that Trump provided to Lavrov 'granular' information on the city in Syria where the information was collected that will possibly enable the Russians or ISIS to identify the actual source, with devastating consequences."

But having ventured into the far reaches of that line of speculation, you do admit that "that projection may be overreach." Indeed!

You go on to characterize the events of the White House meeting with the Russians as "the latest gaffe from the White House" – even though there is absolutely no evidence (outside of the unsubstantiated reports of the Washington Post and the New York Times) that anything to do with the meeting was a "gaffe" – and you further speculate that "it could well damage an important intelligence liaison relationship in the Middle East."

That is, again, pure speculation on your part.

One valuable lesson that you've taught TAC readers over the years, Philip: That we need to carefully examine the sources of information – and the sources of dis-information.

KennethF , says: May 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm
Yet again from Giraldi: the problem isn't that the POTUS is ignorant and incompetent; we should all be more concerned that the Deep State is leaking the proof.
collin , says: May 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm
In general I agree with you, but the media was NEVER concerned about the treatment of sensitive material from HRC!
charley , says: May 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm
I think he needs to cut back on intelligence sharing with Israel. They do just what the hell they want to do with anything.
Brad Kain , says: May 16, 2017 at 5:03 pm
Trump has now essentially confirmed the story from the Post and contradicted the denials from McMaster – he shared specific intelligence to demonstrate his willingness to work with the Russians. Moreover, it seems that Israel was the ally that provided this intelligence. The author and others will defend this, but I can only see this as a reckless and impulsive decision that only causes Russia and our allies to trust the US less.

[May 16, 2017] Trump facing shark tank feeding frenzy from military industrial media

Notable quotes:
"... What's your take on it? Is the media on to something big here? ..."
"... "sources and methods" ..."
"... 'Deep State' ..."
"... The mainstream media is going on little more than 'anonymous sources.' Could it have a hidden agenda here? ..."
"... "drain the swamp." ..."
"... "I am moving forward with my program." ..."
"... Do you think mainstream media is a part of something big and controlled all over from the top? ..."
"... The media has run with this. Are they on to something big here? ..."
"... Trump attacked Hillary Clinton as being unreliable with state secrets. Can the same now be said of him? ..."
"... The mainstream media is going on little more than 'anonymous sources'... could it have a hidden agenda here? ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.rt.com
There are elements of the 'Deep State' here who are very opposed to the things Donald Trump said during the campaign. They don't want to cooperate with Russia, Jim Jatras, former US diplomat, told RT. Political analyst John Bosnitch joins the discussion. US President Trump said his White House meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ranged from airline safety to terrorism. A Washington Post story, however, has accused the American leader of revealing classified information to Russian officials.

RT: What's your take on it? Is the media on to something big here?

Jim Jatras: To start with, again, this is from the Washington Post and an unnamed source. So you do have to doubt the accuracy of the information knowing the vendetta the Washington Post and other mainstream media have against the Trump administration and against President Trump personally and how much they want to disrupt any kind of cooperation with Russia against the terrorist threat. I would say that was the first thing.

'I was in the room. It didn't happen' - National Security Advisor H.R. #McMaster https://t.co/gVIHigqXaT

- RT America (@RT_America) 15 мая 2017 г.

Second, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Deputy of National Security Adviser Dina Powell, who were both in the meeting, have stated since the Washington Post article appeared – there was nothing discussed with Mr. [Sergey] Lavrov and Mr. [Sergey] Kislyak that compromised what they call "sources and methods" that would lead to any kind of intelligence vulnerability on the part of the US. But rather this was all part of a discussion of common action against ISIS. Those are the first things to be noted

Let's remember that there are elements of what we call the 'Deep State' here who are very opposed to the things Donald Trump said during the campaign. They don't want to cooperate with the Russians; they don't want improved relations with Moscow. And let's be honest, they have a very strong investment in the various jihadist groups that we have supported for the past six years trying to overthrow the legitimate government in Damascus. I am sure there are people – maybe in the National Security Council, maybe in the Staff, maybe in the State Department – who are finding some way to try and discredit the Trump administration. The question is where is the investigation into these leaks? Who is going to hold these people accountable?

RT: The mainstream media is going on little more than 'anonymous sources.' Could it have a hidden agenda here?

JJ: Of course. In fact, I would even go further. I wouldn't be at all surprised if President Trump timed his firing with the FBI Director James Comey – what some people even pointed out – he himself in one of his tweets says "drain the swamp." One of the first elements was getting rid of the principals of the Deep State who have been trying to hijack his policy; that he did this precisely because he was meeting with Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kislyak the next day. He's shoving it in their face, saying: "I am moving forward with my program." And I think that's the reason we're getting this hysteria building around the Russians, the Russians, the Russians when what we need is to move forward on an America First national security policy.

'US policy today: Aircraft, where co-pilots try to override pilots' (Op-Edge) https://t.co/x153yPtqVS

- RT (@RT_com) 16 мая 2017 г.

RT: Do you think mainstream media is a part of something big and controlled all over from the top?

JJ: Absolutely. There is a whole structure of what people call the 'Deep State' establishment, the oligarchy – whatever you want to call it. Of course, the mainstream media is part of this. It includes all the Democrats, who were very easy on the Soviet Union when it was Communist. But now that it is not Communist under Russia, they have a deep, very deep hatred of Russia, and they don't want any kind of rapprochement with Russia. And unfortunately, there are Republicans who sympathize with this agenda, as well. I think we can say at this point that Mr. Trump is only partially in control of the apparatus of government. He does not yet have complete control and that there is a frantic effort by these elements to make sure he is not able to get control of the American government and carry out the policies he talked about.

#Trump says he had 'absolute right' to share data on flight safety & terrorism with Russia https://t.co/U6h9FW2ZKy pic.twitter.com/eFBIRhVaI3

- RT (@RT_com) 16 мая 2017 г.
The 'military industrial media'

The mainstream media of the US is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military industrial complex. If you want to call it anything, you can call it the 'military media,' John Bosnitch , political analyst, told RT.

RT: The media has run with this. Are they on to something big here?

John Bosnitch: I wouldn't say so. I've worked in this field for three decades. I don't see a scrap of evidence here. But I do see like a shark tank of media feeding – no evidence.

RT: Trump attacked Hillary Clinton as being unreliable with state secrets. Can the same now be said of him?

JB: Trump is the chief executive officer of the United States of America. As the chief executive officer of the country, he has full legal and constitutional authority to use state secrets in the conduct of diplomacy. He's also the chief diplomat of the country. So there is a big difference between the chief executive officer deciding what information he can share in conducting of state policy, and Hillary Clinton deciding as a cabinet minister which laws she chooses to obey, and which ones she doesn't.

'You cannot reset:' No way for US & Russia to start over 'with clean slate' – #Tillerson https://t.co/vC71YbLpQL

- RT (@RT_com) 15 мая 2017 г.

RT: The mainstream media is going on little more than 'anonymous sources'... could it have a hidden agenda here?

JB: I don't see any other possibility, whatsoever. Let's not play the game of dividing the so-called mainstream media from its owners. The mainstream media of the US is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military industrial complex. If you want to call it anything, you can call it the 'military media.' The military makes money by making war; they buy the media to promote war. They use the media to promote propaganda in favor of war. And that is where we get into the mess we're in today. Because we have a president who is a businessman and would prefer to make money, and would prefer to put people to work in any industry other than war. The military industrial media in the United States is depending on being able to speak to a captive audience of uninformed viewers The military controls the media because they own them.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[May 15, 2017] The explosive mixture of middle-class shrinking and dual economy in the West

This idea of two segregated societies within one nation is pretty convincing.
Notable quotes:
"... A book released last March by MIT economist Peter Temin argues that the U.S. is increasingly becoming what economists call a dual economy; that is, where there are two economies in effect, and one of the populations lives in an economy that is prosperous and secure, and the other part of the population lives in an economy that resembles those of some third world countries. ..."
"... The middle class is shrinking in the United States and this is an effect of both the advance of technology and American policies ..."
"... In the United States, our policies have divided us into two groups. Above the median income - above the middle class - is what I call the FTE sector, Finance, Technology and Electronics sector - of people who are doing well, and whose incomes are rising as our national product is growing. The middle class and below are losing shares of income, and their incomes are shrinking as the Pew studies, both of them, show. ..."
"... The model shows that the FTE sector makes policy for itself, and really does not consider how well the low wage sector is doing. In fact, it wants to keep wages and earnings low in the low wage sector, to provide cheap labour for the industrial employment. ..."
"... As already described , the middle-class, which has not collapsed yet in France, still has the characteristics that fit to the neoliberal regime. However, it is obvious that this tank of voters has shrunk significantly, and the establishment is struggling to keep them inside the desirable 'status quo' with tricks like the supposedly 'fresh', apolitical image of Emmanuel Macron, the threat of Le Pen's 'evil' figure that comes from the Far-Right, or, the illusion that they have the right to participate equally to almost every economic activity. ..."
"... The media promotes examples of young businessmen who have succeed to survive economically through start-up companies, yet, they avoid to tell that it is totally unrealistic to expect from most of the Greek youth to become innovative entrepreneurs. So, this illusion is promoted by the media because technology is automating production and factories need less and less workers, even in the public sector, which, moreover, is violently forced towards privatization. ..."
"... In the middle of the pyramid, a restructured class will serve and secure the domination of the top. Corporate executives, big journalists, scientific elites, suppression forces. It is characteristic that academic research is directed on the basis of the profits of big corporations. Funding is directed increasingly to practical applications in areas that can bring huge profits, like for example, the higher automation of production and therefore, the profit increase through the restriction of jobs. ..."
May 14, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

The Pew Research Center, released a new study on the size of the middle class in the U.S. and in ten European countries. The study found that the middle class shrank significantly in the U.S. in the last two decades from 1991 to 2010. While it also shrank in several other Western European countries, it shrank far more in the U.S. than anywhere else. Meanwhile, another study also released last week, and published in the journal Science, shows that class mobility in the U.S. declined dramatically in the 1980s, relative to the generation before that.

A book released last March by MIT economist Peter Temin argues that the U.S. is increasingly becoming what economists call a dual economy; that is, where there are two economies in effect, and one of the populations lives in an economy that is prosperous and secure, and the other part of the population lives in an economy that resembles those of some third world countries.

globinfo freexchange

MIT Economist Peter Temin spoke to Gregory Wilpert and the The Real News network.

As Temin states, among other things:

The middle class is shrinking in the United States and this is an effect of both the advance of technology and American policies . That is shown dramatically in the new study, because the United States is compared with many European countries. In some of them, the middle class is expanding in the last two decades, and in others it's decreasing. And while technology crosses national borders, national policies affect things within the country.

In the United States, our policies have divided us into two groups. Above the median income - above the middle class - is what I call the FTE sector, Finance, Technology and Electronics sector - of people who are doing well, and whose incomes are rising as our national product is growing. The middle class and below are losing shares of income, and their incomes are shrinking as the Pew studies, both of them, show.

The model shows that the FTE sector makes policy for itself, and really does not consider how well the low wage sector is doing. In fact, it wants to keep wages and earnings low in the low wage sector, to provide cheap labour for the industrial employment.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/BRs4VcHprqI" name="I1"

This model is similar to that pursued in eurozone through the Greek experiment. Yet, the establishment's decision centers still need the consent of the citizens to proceed. They got it in France with the election of their man to do the job, Emmanuel Macron.

As already described , the middle-class, which has not collapsed yet in France, still has the characteristics that fit to the neoliberal regime. However, it is obvious that this tank of voters has shrunk significantly, and the establishment is struggling to keep them inside the desirable 'status quo' with tricks like the supposedly 'fresh', apolitical image of Emmanuel Macron, the threat of Le Pen's 'evil' figure that comes from the Far-Right, or, the illusion that they have the right to participate equally to almost every economic activity.

For example, even in Greece, where the middle class suffered an unprecedented reduction because of Troika's (ECB, IMF, European Commission) policies, the last seven years, the propaganda of the establishment attempts to make young people believe that they can equally participate in innovative economic projects. The media promotes examples of young businessmen who have succeed to survive economically through start-up companies, yet, they avoid to tell that it is totally unrealistic to expect from most of the Greek youth to become innovative entrepreneurs. So, this illusion is promoted by the media because technology is automating production and factories need less and less workers, even in the public sector, which, moreover, is violently forced towards privatization.

As mentioned in previous article , the target of the middle class extinction in the West is to restrict the level of wages in developing economies and prevent current model to be expanded in those countries. The global economic elite is aiming now to create a more simple model which will be consisted basically of three main levels.

The 1% holding the biggest part of the global wealth, will lie, as always, at the top of the pyramid. In the current phase, frequent and successive economic crises, not only assist on the destruction of social state and uncontrolled massive privatizations, but also, on the elimination of the big competitors.

In the middle of the pyramid, a restructured class will serve and secure the domination of the top. Corporate executives, big journalists, scientific elites, suppression forces. It is characteristic that academic research is directed on the basis of the profits of big corporations. Funding is directed increasingly to practical applications in areas that can bring huge profits, like for example, the higher automation of production and therefore, the profit increase through the restriction of jobs.

The base of the pyramid will be consisted by the majority of workers in global level, with restricted wages, zero labor rights, and nearly zero opportunities for activities other than consumption.

This type of dual economy with the rapid extinction of middle class may bring dangerous instability because of the vast vacuum created between the elites and the masses. That's why the experiment is implemented in Greece, so that the new conditions to be tested. The last seven years, almost every practice was tested: psychological warfare, uninterrupted propaganda, financial coups, permanent threat for a sudden death of the economy, suppression measures, in order to keep the masses subservient, accepting the new conditions.

The establishment exploits the fact that the younger generations have no collective memories of big struggles. Their rights were taken for granted and now they accept that these must be taken away for the sake of the investors who will come to create jobs. These generations were built and raised according to the standards of the neoliberal regime 'Matrix'.

Yet, it is still not certain that people will accept this Dystopia so easily. The first signs can be seen already as recently, French workers seized factory and threatened to blow it up in protest over possible closure . Macron may discover soon that it will be very difficult to find the right balance in order to finish the job for the elites. And then, neither Brussels nor Berlin will be able to prevent the oncoming chaos in Europe and the West.

Read also:

[May 07, 2017] Growing Inequality Under Global Capitalism naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development and Anis Chowdhury, former Professor of Economics, University of Western Sydney, who held various senior United Nations positions in New York and Bangkok. Originally published at Inter Press Service ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
May 07, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Even though much of the material in this post will be familiar to regular readers, some points are worth emphasizing. One defense regularly made of globalization is that even though it has lowered income of less-skilled workers in advanced economies (and even those of some skilled workers), laborers in emerging economies have gained. This picture is simplistic. As Joseph Stiglitz pointed out years ago, and the picture hasn't changed much, China has captured all of the income gains by emerging economies. Poverty in developing economies ex China hasn't budged. And the authors stress that inequality has exploded in China.

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development and Anis Chowdhury, former Professor of Economics, University of Western Sydney, who held various senior United Nations positions in New York and Bangkok. Originally published at Inter Press Service

Income and wealth inequality has increased in recent decades, but recognition of the role of economic liberalization and globalization in exacerbating inequality has never been so widespread. The guardians of global capitalism are nervous, yet little has been done to check, let alone reverse the underlying forces.

Global Elite Alarmed by Growing Inequality

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has described severe income inequality as the biggest risk facing the world. WEF founder Klaus Schwab has observed, "We have too large a disparity in the world; we need more inclusiveness If we continue to have un-inclusive growth and we continue with the unemployment situation, particularly youth unemployment, our global society is not sustainable."

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director, told political and business leaders at the WEF, "in far too many countries the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people. This is not a recipe for stability and sustainability." Similarly, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has warned that failure to tackle inequality risked causing social unrest. "It's going to erupt to a great extent because of these inequalities."

In the same vein, the influential US Council of Foreign Relations' journal, Foreign Affairs , carried an article cautioning, "Inequality is indeed increasing almost everywhere in the post-industrial capitalist world . if left unaddressed, rising inequality and economic insecurity can erode social order and generate a populist backlash against the capitalist system at large."

Much Ado About Nothing?

Increasingly, the main benefits of economic growth are being captured by a tiny elite. Despite global economic stagnation for almost a decade, the number of billionaires in the world has increased to a record 2,199. The richest one per cent of the world's population now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined. The world's eight richest people have as much wealth as the poorer half.

In India, the number of billionaires has increased at least tenfold in the past decade. India now has 111 billionaires, third in the world by country. The largest number of the world's abject poor also live in the same country - over 425 million, a third of the world's poor, and well over a third of the country's population.

Africa had a resource boom for a decade until 2014, but most people there still struggle daily for food, clean water and health care. Meanwhile, the number of people living in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, has grown substantially to at least 330 million from 280 million in 1990!

In Europe, poor people bore the brunt of draconian austerity policies while bank bailouts mainly benefited the moneyed. 122.3 million people, or 24.4 per cent of the population in the EU-28, are at risk of poverty. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of Europeans without enough money to heat their homes or cope with unforeseen expenses, i.e., living with "severe material deprivation," rose by 7.5 million to 50 million people, while the continent is home to 342 billionaires!

In the United States, the income share of the top one per cent is at its highest level since the eve of the Great Depression, almost nine decades ago. The top 0.01 per cent, or 14,000 American families, own 22.2 per cent of its wealth, while the bottom 90 per cent, over 133 million families, own a meagre four per cent of the nation's wealth. The top five per cent of households increased their share of US wealth, especially after the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, the richest one per cent tripled their share of US income within a generation.

This unprecedented wealth concentration and the corresponding deprivation of others have generated backlashes, arguably contributing to the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election, the Brexit referendum, the strength of Marine Le Pen in France, the Alternative for Germany, and the ascendance of the Hindutva right in secular India.

"Communist" China and Inequality

Meanwhile, China has increasingly participated in and grown rapidly as inequality has risen sharply in the ostensibly communist-ruled country. China has supplied cheaper consumer goods to the world, checking inflation and improving living standards for many. Part of its huge trade surplus - due to relatively low, albeit recently rising wages - has been recycled in financial markets, mainly in the US, which helped expand credit at low interest rates there.

Thus, cheap consumer products and cheap credit have enabled the slowly shrinking "middle class" in the West to mitigate the downward pressure on their living standards despite stagnating or falling real wages and mounting personal and household debt.

China's export-led development on the basis of low wages has sharply increased income inequality in the world's largest country for more than three decades. Beijing is the new "billionaire capital of the world," no longer New York. China now has 594 billionaires, 33 more than in the US!

Since the 1980s, income inequality in China has risen faster than most! China now has one of the world's highest levels of income inequality, rising mainly in the last three decades. The richest one per cent of households own a third of the country's wealth, while the poorest quarter own only one per cent. China's Gini coefficient for income rose to 0.49 in 2012 from 0.3 over three decades before when it was one of the most egalitarian countries in the world. Another survey put China's income Gini at 0.61 in 2010, greatly exceeding the US's 0.45!

12 0 24 5 0 This entry was posted in Africa , Banana republic , China , Economic fundamentals , Free markets and their discontents , Globalization , Guest Post , Income disparity , India on May 6, 2017 by Yves Smith .
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Subscribe to Post Comments 55 comments MoiAussie , May 6, 2017 at 4:16 am

Global Elite Alarmed by Growing Inequality is a rather misleading, or rather, abbreviated, subhead. On suspects it should be Global Elite Alarmed that Growing Inequality may not be Sustainable .

Is there any evidence anywhere that Global Elites would want voluntarily to reduce inequality?

cnchal , May 6, 2017 at 5:51 am

The reality is the global elite are alarmed that inequality isn't high enough, and fear having to give up a single dollar to the poors. There is no measuring stick big enough to measure the elite's greed.

Apple workers in China are so abused and underpaid, I am waiting for a factory rampage. When your sweat is stolen by Tim Cook colluding with the criminal leaders of China to steal all your effort for themselves, that would drive anyone nuts. Buying an Apple product means thousands of Chinese slaves are tortured.

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 8:44 am

Proof: 1% in US keep on arguing how they only collect 20% of income but pay 40% of taxes.

They don't seem to realize that if their income had stayed at 30x the lowest paid instead of 300x, the lower paid would actually be paying more taxes.

Second, the rich typically have low incomes relative to assets so if taxes included assets, it would be interesting to see how that proportion would change.

Furthermore, why should someone get waterfront property just because of their birthright and have the audacity to tell the younger ones to pick themselves up by their bootstraps? If society does not fix the problem, Mother Nature will.

cnchal , May 6, 2017 at 9:35 am

Chinese labor get's shot if they were to try and organize a fight for better working conditions. The elite here and there conspire with each other to profit from it.

Here is proof:

Meanwhile, China has increasingly participated in and grown rapidly as inequality has risen sharply in the ostensibly communist-ruled country. China has supplied cheaper consumer goods to the world, checking inflation and improving living standards for many . Part of its huge trade surplus - due to relatively low , albeit recently rising wages - has been recycled in financial markets, mainly in the US, which helped expand credit at low interest rates there.

Thus, cheap consumer products and cheap credit have enabled the slowly shrinking "middle class" in the West to mitigate the downward pressure on their living standards despite stagnating or falling real wages and mounting personal and household debt.

China's export-led development on the basis of low wages has sharply increased income inequality in the world's largest country for more than three decades. Beijing is the new "billionaire capital of the world," no longer New York. China now has 594 billionaires, 33 more than in the US!

There are suicide prevention nets in the stairwells and around the building where Apple products are made. And they make really shitty money, compared to what they put out.

Apple has what, a fifth of a trillion stashed "offshore". Where did it come from? Right out of the sweat of those workers.

There is a fundamental difference between our politicians and Chinese politicians.

In our system, narcissists are elected and are then surrounded by psychopaths, in China it's a total brawl all the way to the top, so they skip the narcissist step.

sgt_doom , May 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Nicely stated!

dontknowitall , May 6, 2017 at 5:56 am

One way that inequality can be mitigated is by increasing government spending to create jobs and improve infrastructure but forecasts of the benefits can be manipulated to defeat such proposals by usually showing that less than a dollar of GDP growth is returned for each dollar of spending. Economists at North Carolina Sate U. have recently created an agnostic model stripped of partisan bias of how government spending benefits GDP and they show about $1.30 of GDP growth for each dollar spent. Let me quote (the original paper is paywalled):

" most widely used model for predicting how U.S. government spending affects gross domestic product (GDP) can be rigged using theoretical assumptions to control forecasts of how government spending will stimulate the economy Based on their observations, the researchers then developed an agnostic model, which was designed to avoid those tweaks that predispose the results to support a particular argument We found that the agnostic model predicts roughly $1.30 in near-term GDP growth for each $1 in spending."

https://phys.org/news/2017-05-impact-easily.html
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20111196&&from=f

sgt_doom , May 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

I think most of us realize the details of how to decrease inequality - just as most of us thinking people realize that inequality increases unemployment which increases inequality - so your comment falls upon those who are tired with the oblivious who seem ignorant that the problem is not with the HOW, it is with that bloody revolution which has yet to come!

cripes , May 6, 2017 at 6:48 am

Yeah, I've always wondered what factors, besides sheer greed, elite inbreeding and stupidity, are responsible for the wide range of national GINI rankings.

According to the CIA anyway, among the most equal are affluent Germany (27.0) France (30.1) and Sweden (24.0), but also not-rich Albania (29.0) Romania (27.3) and, most equal, Slovenia at 23.7.

The European Union as a whole is rated GINA 30.1. The handful of non-European countries that crack the more equal list, strangely are, in ascending order Kazakstan (28.9) Pakistan (29.6) South Korea (30.2) and Australia (30.3).

Geographically, there is a swath of more-equal economies stretching from Western Europe to North Africa, South-west Asia (middle east) through India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Japan. This tends towards the idea that old-world, culturally cohesive societies have an interest in maintaining economies that promote inclusion and common interest. The Muslim barbarians and European socialists are less prone to exploiting their neighbors or throwing them overboard than we are, although Washington is working hard to remedy this situation.

Canada and Australia have wisely plotted a course closer to their European forbears than their American cousins.

Southern Africa, Latin America starting at the Rio Grande, China, Russia (bordering much more equal Kazakhstan?) and of course the USA are the heartlands of inequality. The common thread here, I presume, is their colonial heritage.

There may be something to the argument about homogeneous societies having a cultural advantage and all that, but England (32.4) and France, hardly exemplars of racial tranquility, or Australia, India and Canada seem to say otherwise.

The interesting thing seen easily on the map is that low income "developing" countries, with exceptions like Hong Kong (53.7) have a large preponderance of high GINI scores.

Middle-income China, Russia and Brazil, are joined by the always exceptional United States as continental empires with extreme inequality.

Readers thoughts?

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 9:09 am

I'm not sure Canada can survive without socialism.

If we use current economic productivity and efficiency models, it would seem that North-South activity would make more sense than East-West. So from my perspective, if we want Canada to work, we have to share and accept higher costs and less material wealth to reach that goal.

The other issue we are facing capital from China let's say there are 10 million Chinese (we only have something like 12m households) who want to get their money out and a few million Canadians who want to get rich selling their house, you can imagine what kind of havoc the zirp/bailout/EZ money policies have unleashed on small attractive countries like Canada.

And our leaders are still denying the impact of foreign capital on our real estate market. Because these are the people who live in the overvalued urban areas and quite happy to see their home values soar.

IMO, protectionism will need to rear its ugly head.

Massinissa , May 6, 2017 at 7:04 pm

I'm not sure anyplace can survive without socialism if capitalism doesn't try and fix itself again like in the 30s. Which it might not, this time.

sgt_doom , May 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Remember, please, GINI scores do not accurately represent growing inequality within countries, they just supposedly represent inequality BETWEEN countries.

knowbuddhau , May 6, 2017 at 7:08 am

>>>"Meanwhile, China has increasingly participated in and grown rapidly as inequality has risen sharply in the ostensibly communist-ruled country."

Participated in what?

We're the bottom of the barrel. They're the cream on top. But the vessel is being overpressurized, accidentally on purpose. How much more can we take before the Great Blowout?

cripes , May 6, 2017 at 7:20 am

Oooops:

The common thread (to the US) with unequal China and Russia is not their "colonial heritage" but their empire-sized geography.

Also:

There is also the matter of GINI inequality within national borders, seen here: http://dev.null.org/scrapbook/2009/0420_us_gini.jpg

Surprisingly, but not to me, is that New York State holds the worst GINA rank at 49.9, a fact due not solely to the density of high income jerk-offs like Trump who claim residence there, but to the density of truly impoverished people that still remain in the five boroughs of NYC and the abandoned former industrial cities of upstate New York.

Although they report a very high 21% "poverty" rate, NYC's Commission on Equal Opportunity reports in 2012 that 40% of New York City families subsisted on less than $34,000 annually. Anyone familiar with the absurd official poverty thresholds, or the punishing cost of living in NYC for working people, well, do your own math.

Suffice it to say, national GINI rankings tell only part of the story.

There is a whole other realm of study in qualifying GINI effects by state, county, zip code or tract level.

UserFriendly , May 6, 2017 at 8:48 am

Bernie did best in the most egalitarian states interesting. Rich people vote more and if you are rich in an unequal state Bernie must sound like Satan.

MoiAussie , May 6, 2017 at 10:41 am

I guess you meant more rich people vote , but there're hidden truths in rich people vote more which are worth unpacking.

– In the US system, money talks. Rich people donate to support their future benefactors, which buys MSM speech and advertising that sways gullible votes to their side.

– Elected representatives are often in it to get rich, and are certainly bought and paid for. So rich people get the votes on the legislation that matters to them. The rest get representatives who simply don't deliver on the policies and promises that they ran on. Obama.

Susan the other , May 6, 2017 at 11:10 am

I was also thinking that broad data like the above hide the obvious solution. But I don't know how working from localities upward from towns to counties to cities to states would technically work to redistribute income. I know how they redistribute state tax money for the state's dept of education – they pool the money and distribute it per pupil evenly across all districts. The poorest districts getting the most help. So redistribution of income via taxes would have to come from the tax authority, i.e. the state. But that leaves local resources and solutions unused. As unused as they are disenfranchised from neoliberal globalization. It is just those very local communities that could be enlisted and employed to clean up the environment and do it sustainably. The state could subsidize cleanup. Organic farming. Artisans of all sorts. The fact that there is such inequality, and the fact that we are awash in garbage, pollution, and climate change seem to go hand in glove; and the mess is totally reversible. But start at the local level.

HopeLB , May 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Fresh water and arable land are becoming scarce and climate change will only exacerbate the trend. People could be put to useful, gratifying work using that suburban farmer's idea. Those large subsurban yards covered in meticulous lawns could be put to use feeding the world.

sgt_doom , May 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for your great remarks and comments - should be highly informative to many.

Also important to note - given the incredibly shrinking middle class in America (which might not always appear that way in the purposely faulty numerical data presented - or misrepresented) - that it is always worse than it appears since such data derives from the Census Bureau, which tracks ONLY wages, not income streams from capital gains (such as bonds and stocks, etc.). This (purposely) skews the size of the middle class much larger than it actually is - and it has been dramatically shrinking in America - as those rich and super-rich show up listed as in the middle class, economically.

Also, important to keep in mind that much supposed "data" comes from the National Bureau of Economics Research (NBER), which has as an emeritus , one Martin Feldstein from Harvard. Said Feldstein was a director at HCA when they were hit with the largest out-of-court penalty settlement for their Medicare/Medicaid fraud back in the 1990s. Said Feldstein was a director at Eli Lilly when they were hit with the then-largest criminal penalty for fraudulent marketing of their drugs. Said Feldstein was a director at AIG/Financial Products when they had to be bailed out by the US government for partaking in the largest insurance swindle in US history, so EVERYTHING coming out of the NBER should be considered suspect, given the character of its crew!

Anonymous2 , May 6, 2017 at 7:23 am

I wonder about Gini scores for the UK. A lot of residential central London is now owned by extremely rich people like Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs. My suspicion is that they are excluded from the figures. Their impact on the local economy by pricing just about everyone else out of this market is, however, non-trivial.

sgt_doom , May 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Yes, this site has carried some excellent articles in the past about this subject, GINI essentially tracks the supposed inequality among countries, not WITHIN the individual countries (or at least it fails to do so).

Something with is as appropriate to the UK as it is to America, a quote from an outstanding book, Glass House , by Brian Alexander:

"Corporate elites said they needed free-trade agreements, so they got them. Manufacturers said they needed tax breaks and public money incentives in order to keep their plants operating in the USA, so they got them. Banks and financiers needed looser regulations, so they got them. Employers said they needed weaker unions – or no unions at all – so they got them. Private equity firms said they needed carried interest and secrecy, so they got them. What did Lancaster and a hundred other town like it get? Job losses, slashed wages, poor civic leadership, social dysfunction, drugs."

Michael C. , May 6, 2017 at 8:12 am

To alter James Carville's noted quote, "It's capitalism, stupid." Or at least the way it is configured so that short term profit for the ownership class takes precedence over the immoral destruction of societies and mother earth.

Kalen , May 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

Rampant inequality, joblessness, homelessness is not a shameful aspect of unfortunate excesses of few or tragic side effect of modern mass capitalism but in fact it is its best feature, in fact absolutely necessary even critical to the success of this unbelievable confidence scheme callled capitalist socioeconomics enhanced by debt based monetary system and fiat currency.

And we all believe in that sham. We all believe in the value system and valuation of our commodified social life by somehow divine authority of few puny lowlifes in the ruling elite who are laughing at us all the way to the empty bank they own and we are indebted to.

As long as we believe that we work for money, a useless symbol of our total dependence, not for food, sustenance and shelter, as long as we believe we need money that cannot be eaten or utilized as a material for building shelter but can best be used as an emergency bathroom tissue substitute, we are lost begging for mercy enslaving ourselves to strangers for nothing but an illusion that breaths and promotes rampant inequality.

I know it sounds shocking but give it a thought if you can.

Here I found unique and controversial take on origins of money that touches upon similar theme of money itself as a propaganda tool of social control.

https://contrarianopinion.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/plutus-and-the-myth-of-money/

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 9:52 am

Even if everyone worked their butt off or got multiple PhDs, we'd still need workers to clean radiation messes, toilet bowls or change diapers.

All our system is doing today is making everyone compete ever harder for crappy jobs.

Do we really need the education we are getting for most of the jobs out there?

justanotherprogressive , May 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

"Even if everyone worked their butt off or got multiple PhDs, we'd still need workers to clean radiation messes, toilet bowls or change diapers."

Is there some law that says that PhD's can't clean radiation messes, toilet bowls or change diapers? Shouldn't everyone be responsible for "survival work"? Why should it just be some class of "workers" that need to do those jobs? Why are some people considered so much better than others that they are exempt from "survival work"? What if everyone put some of their work time every day doing this "survival work" before they did their "careers"?

Unfortunately, this is just another example of how the neoliberal ideology has infiltrated everyone's thinking, even those who are diametrically opposed to neoliberalism on some level and why it is going to be so hard to get rid of ..

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 11:07 am

Typically those who go to university to get PhDs do not dream of changing diapers and wiping butts.

Two big issues here are expectations management and misallocation of resources.

Unhappy individuals and misallocation of resources contribute to reduce quality of life and wealth.

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 11:18 am

If we want PhDs to like wiping butts, we need to dissociate education from the workforce. IOW, education should be for the love of knowledge.

But why would we want those with special skills changing diapers if they could contribute in areas that improve our quality of life?

p.s. I have trouble with progressivism when it is used to level from the bottom

John Wright , May 6, 2017 at 11:17 am

My late father, who looked for employment during the Great Depression, would say "You needed a college degree to pump gas for Standard Oil".

He had a cynical view of college degrees, asserting that if degrees were necessary for jobs, the future employers should help with the training expense.

The "must get an expensive college degree" assertion is losing its effectiveness on the stressed American population, where we approach nominal full employment at poor wages.

I suspect the education that is most needed in the USA is critical thinking that serves to question the wisdom of our government and the MSM in the propaganda they promote..

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 11:20 am

I tend to agree. If corporate America shouldered the cost of education, my intuition tells me that workers would not need as many degrees.

John Wright , May 6, 2017 at 11:44 am

My dad did have a college degree, but his experience in his father's store helped him get a job as a butcher for Safeway during the Great Depression.

As I remember the story, many were vying for the Safeway butcher job, but he outlined how his prior experience would "help them sell more meat".

All one has to do is look at the projections from the labor department for STEM job growth over the next 10 years (about 100K/year) and compare that to the similarly sized H1-B visa count that tech firms want per year to see that a STEM college education is not the safe haven in the job market that the MSM promotes.

International companies cast a world wide net for educated talent, and are probably unconcerned how much a prospective employee's degree cost to acquire.

And these corporations also want to lower their US taxes, which indirectly cuts public education funding.

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 11:52 am

A large percentage of well paying jobs are sales related. We don't need PhD knowledge to perform in those. These require people skills and a network.

Paul Greenwood , May 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm

We don't actually need PhD outside physical sciences. It is a qualification ONLY in the Thesis subject matter. We also don't need so many Lawyers and should turn of the production line (maybe that is what inflates GDP in UK and US .lawyers billing rates ?)

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 11:34 am

It also brings to mind all those who don't want to pay for school taxes because they don't have children.

I'm quick to remark that on the same principle, in such a system they should not accept government services from anyone younger than them.

sgt_doom , May 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Excellent point, but that is the purpose of Identity Politics, to erase the concept of "the worker" from our minds and thoughts, practiced by both the r-cons of the bankster party and the faux crats of the bankster party.

The r-cons' identity politics is that the "media" (still haven't found them in Amerika) are "liberal" (still have found that, either) and the r-cons are besieged by these outfits.

The faux crats wish to focus on every possible sub-grouping of humans, to the exclusion of wage earners.

Worked for decades, but I suspect it may possibly and finally be beginning to fall apart . . .

justanotherprogressive , May 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

"Do we really need the education we are getting for most of the jobs out there?"

The future belongs to those capable of handling it – the others will be cast to the wayside. Do you really want to condemn most people to being part of the wayside? Why do you think education is becoming so expensive?

No, we ALL need more education, not less.

MoiAussie , May 6, 2017 at 11:04 am

We do indeed all need more education, but not of the type that most people think. The education young people suffer through for years and then go into debt for more of is designed largely to impoverish, enslave, and brainwash. It's anti-education, creating false expectations, instilling poisonous memes, punishing independence and non-compliance.

There are exceptions of course. Education for the rich is designed to teach the rules of the game, weed out the unreliable, and establish lifetime networks.

justanotherprogressive , May 6, 2017 at 11:14 am

Absolutely true. Our current education system only creates workers – it doesn't create thinkers .

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 11:25 am

Thank you. That is what I wanted to convey.

Norb , May 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I am reminded that people with curious minds are always educating themselves – formal setting or not- wealthy or not. The social system should provides an outlet for those talents and effort. The failing of todays ruling ideology is that human talent is undervalued and underutilized. In effect, built on waste and inefficiency in a broader sense. Todays economic system seems most efficient on creating inequality.

A 4 hour work day based on a livable wage could open many "educational" doors.

Norb , May 6, 2017 at 12:36 pm

I am also old enough to remember that vocational training was taken seriously in public schools without social stigma. Labor was not a dirty word. A different form of critical thinking focused on manufacture.

Another Anon , May 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

MoiAussie,

Are you referring to the "practical" one and two year programs like the Australian TAFE system ? I got a two year computer degree from such a program almost twenty
years ago and was fairly impressed with the program. Of the twenty
people in my class, eighteen had at least a masters degree in some technical
subject though the program was designed for those who did not seek to
go to university. The ones with the advanced degrees such as myself were unemployed and so retraining.

MoiAussie , May 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Not at all. Practical training like TAFE (or like TAFE used to be) can be valuable, depending on what course you choose. I'm referring to primary, secondary and university education as it is offered to the mainstream today in the western world.

Primary and secondary education is degraded for reasons far too complex to get into here. Of course there are still tertiary courses and teachers that educate, but universities are now run strictly as commercial enterprises, and such teachers find it harder and harder to prosper.

Paul Greenwood , May 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Before John Major UK had quality courses such as City & Guilds and Part-Time University Courses – "Sandwich Courses" where working students had Block or Day Release to study and could work through their studies with access to industrial labs and equipment and university facilities. It was very cost-effective. Major turned everyone into Full-Time Students so they emerged after 3 years with no relevant industrial experience and lots of debt

Norb , May 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm

The answer to your question is No. The resistance to single payer health care in America belies that fact. Many alternative lifestyles would be possible if one could relieve exorbitant medical care from household expenses. Private businesses would be indirectly forced to offer more humane working conditions, regardless of what that work entailed by the mere fact that labor could easily relocate to a less exploiting employer. Added to that, the removal of stress accompanied by needing to deal with medical uncertainties of life. A sane society would provide care for all its members.

Guaranteed food, shelter, basic education, healthcare, and some form of work are all that is required from a just society. That should be the criteria for evaluating the system. This is not utopia, and is within reach. There is nothing technical holding this realization back. The elite create conflict to secure their position. They believe in inequality.

When you look at it, most "jobs" in capitalist society don't satisfy any legitimate human need for survival. Not to mention the needs of the remaining life on the planet. Most are satisfying manufactured wants. A cynical play on human emotion that condemns most to unhappy and stressful lives.

Change will happen when a critical mass of people can get past the fear and psychological damage that is caused by manufactured needs, excessive higher education for all being one them. In and of itself, a "higher education" is meaningless if you cannot practice the acquired skill. Are lower work hours on the horizon to accommodate all the excess degrees? Not in the least.

This is not to say that lifelong education should not be an aspirational goal. Only to stress that the social organizing structure must accommodate that goal in a meaningful way. Right now, in America, it is mostly overt exploitation. A creative way to manufacture debt slaves.

Moneta , May 6, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Once upon a time, most of the highly educated took a vow of poverty with the assurance they would be cared for in a time of need.

Today most jump on the degree bandwagon to get on the road to material consumption and end up realizing they were sold an expensive if not worthless bill of goods.

Paul Greenwood , May 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Before BANKS became the motor of Western Capitalism it was different. Banks were a Service Business now the rest of society SERVES the Banks

jrs , May 6, 2017 at 12:23 pm

well said

MoiAussie , May 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Regarding excessive higher education as a manufactured need, I think there are at least two other factors at play besides credentialism and the (futile?) pursuit of good careers.

One is the decline in the literacy, numeracy, general knowledge, and other educational achievements of your average high school graduate compared to 30 years ago. It's well recognised in universities that much of what used to be taken as known by freshpersons, today needs to be taught or retaught in the early years of a university/college course.

The second factor is simply the growing complexity and pace of change of the world we inhabit. I suspect this is a major reason behind the increase in the number of years of fulltime education the average person seems to think they require.

Paul Greenwood , May 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm

What is the US Healthcare problem ? It is a Ricardian Issue of who is taking Supernormal Profit and what the correct level of Economic Rent might be.

Maybe it is Insurance that is the problem. People buy Insurance not Health and Insurance responds only to Litigation

justanotherprogressive , May 6, 2017 at 11:13 am

+ 100
I think that people are so driven to value themselves in terms of money, that they won't even allow other ideas like this to enter their consciousness
Sadly, now is the time when we need to be thinking about other ideas, because the ones we currently accept as valid just aren't working for most of the world's people ..

Kalen , May 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Thank you. You seem to be the only one who got my most important point namely a subversive function of money as a propaganda of liberalism that underlie socioeconomic system of capitalism and commodification