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|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.|
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.
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" 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
|Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014||Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013||Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2012||Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011||Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2010||Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009||Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008|
Nov 13, 2018 | news.antiwar.com
Says Europe will be forced to accept US demands
With the newly reimposed US sanctions against Iran having little to no perceivable economic impact, national security adviser John Bolton is talking up his plans to continue to escalate the sanctions track, saying he will " squeeze Iran until the pips squeak ."
Bolton shrugged off the reality that Iran is still doing business internationally, saying that he believes Iran is "under real pressure" from the sanctions, and that he's determined to see it keep getting worse.
Bolton went on to predict that the European efforts to keep trading with Iran would ultimately fail. He said the Europeans are going through the six stages of grief , and would ultimately led to European acceptance of the US demands.
Either way, Bolton's position is that the US strategy will continue to be imposing new sanctions on Iran going forward. It's not clear what the end game is, beyond just damaging Iran.
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org
Pelosi's deputy in the House, Steny Hoyer, sums up the right-wing policies of the Democrats, declaring: "His [Trump's] objectives are objectives that we share. If he really means that, then there is an opening for us to work together."
So much for the moral imperative of voting for the Democrats to stop Trump! As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump.
The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man."
This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers.
The same process is taking place internationally. While strikes and other expressions of working class opposition are growing and broad masses are moving to the left, the right-wing policies of supposedly "left" establishment parties are enabling far-right and neo-fascist forces to gain influence and power in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Poland to Brazil.
As for Gay's injunction to vote "pragmatically," this is a crude promotion of the bankrupt politics that are brought forward in every election to keep workers tied to the capitalist two-party system. "You have only two choices. That is the reality, whether you like it or not." And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war.
The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation "graveyard of social protest movements," and for good reason. From the Populist movement of the late 19th century, to the semi-insurrectional industrial union movement of the 1930s, to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the mass anti-war protest movements of the 1960s and the eruption of international protests against the Iraq War in the early 2000s -- every movement against the depredations of American capitalism has been aborted and strangled by being channeled behind the Democratic Party.
Nov 08, 2018 | www.sott.netBilled as a 'referendum on Trump's presidency', the US Midterm Elections drew an unusually high number of Americans to the polls yesterday. The minor loss, from Trump's perspective, of majority Republican control of the lower House of Representatives, suggests, if anything, the opposite of what the media and establishment want you to believe it means.
An important clue to why the American media has declared permanent open season on this man transpired during a sometimes heated post-elections press conference at the White House yesterday. First, CNN's obnoxious Jim Acosta insisted on bringing up the patently absurd allegations of 'Russia collusion' and refused to shut up and sit down. Soon after, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor joined her colleagues in asking Trump another loaded question , this time on the 'white nationalism' canard:Alcindor : On the campaign trail you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists...The US media is still "not even wrong" on Trump and why he won the 2016 election. You know something is fundamentally wrong when the average high school drop-out MAGA-hat-wearing Texan or Alabaman working a blue collar job has more sense, can SEE much more clearly, than the average university-educated, ideology-soaked, East Coast liberal.
Trump : I don't know why you'd say this. It's such a racist question.
Alcindor : There are some people who say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric. What do you make of that?
Trump : Why do I have among the highest poll numbers with African Americans? That's such a racist question. I love our country. You have nationalists, and you have globalists . I also love the world, and I don't mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first. We have a lot of problems ...
Trump is a "nationalist". More or less every administration previous to his, going back at least 100 years, was "globalist". For much of its history, the USA has been known around the world as a very patriotic (i.e., nationalist) country. Americans in general had a reputation for spontaneous chants of "USA! USA! USA!", flying the Stars And Stripes outside their houses and being very proud of their country. Sure, from time to time, that pissed off people a little in other countries but, by and large, Americans' patriotism was seen as endearing, if a little naive, by most foreigners.
Globalism, on the other hand, as it relates to the USA, is the ideology that saturates the Washington establishment think-tanks, career politicians and bureaucrats, who are infected with the toxic belief that America can and should dominate the world . This is presented to the public as so much American largess and magnanimity, but it is, in reality, a means to increasing the power and wealth of the Washington elite.
Consider Obama's two terms, during which he continued the massively wasteful (of taxpayer's money) and destructive (of foreigners' lives and land) "War on Terror". Consider that he appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who proceeded to joyfully bomb Libya back to the stone age and murder its leader. Consider that, under Obama, US-Russia relations reached an all-time low, with repeated attacks (of various sorts) on the Russian president, government and people, and the attempted trashing of Russia's international reputation in the eyes of the American people. Consider the Obama regime's hugely destructive war waged (mostly by proxy) on the Syrian people. Consider the Obama era coup in Ukraine that, in a few short months, set that country's prospects and development back several decades and further soured relations with Russia.
These are but a few examples of the "globalism" that drives the Washington establishment. Who, in their right mind, would support it? (I won't get into what constitutes a 'right mind', but we can all agree it does not involve destroying other nations for profit). The problem however, is that the Washington elite want - no, NEED - the American people to support such military adventurism, and what better way to do that than by concocting false "Russian collusion" allegations against Trump and having the media program the popular mind with exactly the opposite of the truth - that Trump was a "traitor" to the American people.
The only thing Trump is a traitor to is the self-serving globally expansionist interests of a cabal of Washington insiders . This little maneuver amounted to a '2 for 1' for the Washington establishment. They simultaneously demonized Trump (impeding his 'nationalist' agenda) while advancing their own globalist mission - in this case aimed at pushing back Russia.
Words and their exact meanings matter . To be able to see through the lies of powerful vested interests and get to the truth, we need to know when those same powerful vested interests are exploiting our all-too-human proclivity to be coerced and manipulated by appeals to emotion.
So the words "nationalist" and "nationalism", as they relate to the USA, have never been "dirty" words until they were made that way by the "globalist" element of the Washington establishment (i.e., most of it) by associating it with fringe Nazi and "white supremacist" elements in US society that pose no risk to anyone, (except to the extent that the mainstream media can convince the general population otherwise). The US 'Deep State' did this in response to the election of Trump the "nationalist" and their fears that their globalist, exceptionalist vision for the USA - a vision that is singularly focused on their own narrow interests at the expense of the American people and many others around the world - would be derailed by Trump attempting to put the interests of the American people first .
Nov 06, 2018 | www.wsws.org
Last month, the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency of the Trump White House, released an extraordinary report titled "The Opportunity Costs of Socialism." The report begins with the statement: "Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the younger electorate."
The very fact that the US government officially acknowledges a growth of popular support for socialism, particularly among the nation's youth, testifies to vast changes taking place in the political consciousness of the working class and the terror this is striking within the ruling elite. America is, after all, a country where anti-communism was for the greater part of a century a state-sponsored secular religion. No ruling class has so ruthlessly sought to exclude socialist politics from political discourse as the American ruling class.
The 70-page document is itself an inane right-wing screed. It seeks to discredit socialism by identifying it with capitalist countries such as Venezuela that have expanded state ownership of parts of the economy while protecting private ownership of the banks, and, with the post-2008 collapse of oil and other commodity prices, increasingly attacked the living standards of the working class.
It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i.e., the unrestrained operation of the capitalist market, and to denounce all social reforms, business regulations, tax increases or anything else that impinges on the oligarchy's self-enrichment.
The report's arguments and themes find expression in the fascistic campaign speeches of Donald Trump, who routinely and absurdly attacks the Democrats as socialists and accuses them of seeking to turn America into another "socialist" Venezuela.
What has prompted this effort to blackguard socialism?
A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism. In May of 2017, in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising." Nine out of 10 agreed with the statement, "Banks and money rule the world."
Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country.
In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism. The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year, a 23-percentage point drop in just eight years.
Nov 05, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
blatnoi November 5, 2018 at 3:06 amI've lately been wondering about the economics of being a big tax haven like the UK. A place like the Bahamas, I think benefits from it since there are so few citizens and it's easy to bribe them, and it costs a lot less than paying taxes back home. But then you move on to Panama, and the grey area starts. Someone is getting rich there, but the population of Panama is a lot bigger than that of the Bahamas, and that population is not exactly rich. Does it create bigger class divisions and also retards politics in terms of trying to develop their own unique economy not dependent on servicing the rich foreign tax thieves?Mark Chapman November 5, 2018 at 3:20 am
Then you get to London and the UK, with their absolutely enormous population. Most of the people outside of London will never see any of this money, and in London it creates a runaway housing crisis as the best investment for laundered money is thought to be real estate. Obviously there is investment in the local economy other than that, such as buying football clubs and stores, but I don't think that money goes towards funding a pharma start-up or buying stock in a local car company.
So it exacerbates inequality sure (London real estate is insane and out of reach of most locals), and creates a parallel society in the countryside that never see these money, but are the pros of having that money there and contributing to the economy outweigh these cons? It would if the money were invested with a view of making a profit from a factory, but I don't think that happens in this case. What do you think?I think it is an extremely interesting discussion point; one that I would not venture into without doing a bit of research, but right now I have to leave for work. It's definitely something we could chew over for a bit, and I imagine Jen will have something for us on it.Jen November 5, 2018 at 2:00 pmBlatnoi, if you get hold of the Nicholas Shaxson book I mentioned before, I recall there's a chapter that discusses the effect of being a tax haven has on the Channel Islands economy and Jersey Island in particular. The money that ends up there is in the pockets of a very few people who use it to buy and real estate as if it were shares on the stock market.Fern November 5, 2018 at 5:25 pm
The result is what we Australians call a two-speed economy or a split economy, where one sub-economy caters for the very rich (real estate agents specialising in luxury properties, lots of luxury hotels and playgrounds, boutique shops and restaurants) and the other sub-economy is hidden away, made up of local people who have to rent their homes because they can't afford to buy their own homes, who have to hold down two or more jobs to survive and who supply the staff for the hotels, shops and restaurants frequented by the rich. Eventually the local people start disappearing to find better-paying jobs and the hotels, restaurants, etc start bringing in foreign labour to replace them.
I certainly agree with you that a two-speed economy creates and exacerbates class divisions, and moreover destroys not only local economies in the areas where it operates but also local societies and cultures.
Aha I Googled "Shaxson", "economy" and "Jersey" and out of what Google threw at me, I found this account by Bram Wanrooij of his time living in Jersey with his family for six years:
An excerpt from Wanrooij's post:
".. I have never been so aware of wealth discrepancies as I have in Jersey. And that says a lot, as I have lived in places like Kenya and Sudan when I was younger. Disparity is on full display, in combination with a shameless promotion of greed and privilege. Range Rovers wizz past you, their 4×4 engines sputtering out clouds of pollution, utterly useless on a small island with a decent infrastructure and no real elevation to speak of. You even see flashy sports cars; quite amusing when you consider the speed limit is 40 at most. What are these people trying to prove?
The island caters to the very wealthy, especially reflected in everyday expenses and housing and travel costs. Getting off the island becomes ever more impossible as your family grows, with flights to England ridiculously expensive and ferries charging a small fortune for carrying you across the channel. In this way, Jersey has quickly become a financial and geographical prison for middle and low earners.
In the six years I've lived here, my family has had to move six times and every time we had to rent a house which was slightly beyond our budget, even though both my wife and I are hard workers with honest professions. I have seen qualified, talented people leave because of this, a phenomenon which makes no sense, neither on a social, nor an economic level "
Comparisons between the Jersey-style financial two-speed economy and economies afflicted with so-called Dutch disease (typically economies like Saudi Arabia and others dependent on oil, gas and mineral exploitation) have been made. Characteristics of such economies are outlined in detail at this link:
https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/11977/oil/dutch-disease/I've lived on the outskirts of London for many years and what I've seen is the city becoming increasingly hollowed out. You can walk around street after street at night and everywhere is in darkness – the lights are out because no-one is home, not that evening, not ever. London is permanently under construction; huge numbers of new buildings have gone up in recent years – all of them beyond the purchasing power of most Londoners – and huge numbers of those new buildings have been purchased off plan by overseas investors with no intention or interest in living in them.Moscow Exile November 5, 2018 at 3:51 am
When the money moves in existing communities disintegrate, local councils seek to dump those in social housing on other, less fashionable boroughs (thus exacerbating housing problems in those areas) or even outside London so housing can be razed and the land sold to developers, those renting in the private sector are priced out, local businesses close down – their market has gone plus insane rent and rates increases etc etc. London used to have a bit of a 'village' feel to it – distinct areas with settled communities, traditional butcher-baker-candlestick maker high streets, a sense of community. All gone or going.'Billionaires Row': inside Hampstead palaces left empty for decadesNorthern Star November 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm
On The Bishops Avenue houses worth tens of millions of pounds lay derelict in a spectacular example of waste and profligacy
The multimillion-pound wrecks are evidence of a property culture in which the world's richest people see British property as investments. One Hyde Park, a block of apartments in Knightsbridge, is another example where more than half the flats are registered with the council as empty or second homes.
Rinat Akhmetov pays record £136.4m for apartment at One Hyde Park
Ukraine's richest man spends record amount for a UK home after buying two Knightsbridge flats totalling 25,000 sq ft
He just loves the weather there!Hmmm ..Jen November 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rinat_Akhmetov#Political_activityBuying properties in hot-spot areas and leaving them empty – because you plan to trade and sell them if and when the prices rocket up to levels you want – would be typical behaviour of people who treat property portfolios like share portfolios. You want to be ready to sell when the price is right so you don't move tenants into them. Getting rid of tenants can be a hassle if you want to sell quickly.Evgeny November 5, 2018 at 3:59 am
Also buying property and deliberately leaving it to rot is a way of using it as a tax shelter to minimise land and other taxes, lower your income or claim a tax rebate on losses you make because you're forking out more in land taxes, council rates and other rates than you are making on the property, depending on the taxation jurisdiction prevailing in the area or country where you have bought the property.Thanks for a great article, Mark!Moscow Exile November 5, 2018 at 4:25 am
Apparently, the U.S. authorities believe that by squeezing the corrupt Russian money out of the Great Britain, they would force those corrupt rich Russians to return their money home and remake the Russia as a modern Western nation with the rule of law and checks and balances.
At least, that's what I have heard at anti-Putin forums. So -- and especially so in view of your article -- that ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
But if that's indeed the idea -- I'm skeptical that it would work. Definitely, it sounds alright, and if it were implemented, say, 30 years ago -- it might have sort of worked, by preventing the corrupt Russians to move their assets abroad. Now, I think, they would just move their fortunes into some other friendly jurisdiction outside of the reach of Uncle Sam and Russia's authorities.
If getting at dirty money was that easy, I doubt that China would ever need to resort to such a complex operation as the "Fox Hunt".Well it seems that Rusal has said "Kiss my arse goodbye!" to the bounteous, tax-free-zoned West.Mark Chapman November 5, 2018 at 3:36 pm
Sanctions-hit Rusal decides to move from Jersey to Russia
November 05, 9:24 updated at: November 05, 10:24 UTC+3
That's Jersey the British Channel Island and not "New Jersey", the former British colony.Another kick in the sack for Britain, caused by Washington but for which Washington will suffer no penalty. That Special Relationship certainly is something, isn't it?Mark Chapman November 5, 2018 at 3:32 pmI think you're probably right – although I never thought of such a devious motive as forcing Putin's enemies (in some cases) back to Russia, where they would presumably start financing the opposition and making trouble, I agree it likely would not work according to plan. Very likely all it would accomplish is the withdrawal of their money from London, to be hidden somewhere else.
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org
Terry Lawrence michaelroloff • 8 months ago"The perpetrators and their conspiracy is not a theory since it has been proved."
By "proved" I assume you are referring to "proofs" such as the fantastical claim that Mohammed Atta's passport was allegedly and fortuitously "found" when it supposedly survived the 600 mph impact of the 767 he was supposedly piloting with a huge steel and concrete building, survived the huge fireball it was supposedly in the middle of unscorched, and conveniently fluttered to the ground intact to land at the feet of an FBI agent who immediately realized it must have belonged to one of the hijackers!
Even Hans Christian Andersen couldn't invent Fairy Tales like that.
Oct 31, 2018 | www.zerohedge.comAs more and more college professors express their social and political views in classrooms, students across the country are feeling increasingly afraid to disagree according to a survey of 800 full-time undergraduate college students, reported by the Wall Street Journal ' s James Freeman.
When students were asked if they've had "any professors or course instructors that have used class time to express their own social or political beliefs that are completely unrelated to the subject of the course," 52% of respondents said that this occurs "often," while 47% responded, "not often."
A majority -- 53% -- also reported that they often "felt intimidated" in sharing their ideas, opinions or beliefs in class because they were different from those of the professors. - WSJ
What's more, 54% of students say they are intimidated expressing themselves when their views conflict with those of their classmates.
The survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates on behalf of Yale's William F. Buckley, Jr. Program (which counts Freeman among its directors), was undertaken between October 8th and 18th, and included students at both public and private four-year universities across the country.
This is a problem, suggests Freeman - as unbiased teachers who formerly filled universities have been replaced by activists who "unfortunately appear to be just as political and overbearing as one would expect," and that " perhaps the actual parents who write checks can someday find some way to encourage more responsible behavior. "
Read the rest below via the Wall Street Journal :
As for the students, there's at least a mixed message in the latest survey results. On the downside, the fact that so many students are afraid of disagreeing with their peers does not suggest a healthy intellectual atmosphere even outside the classroom. There's more disappointing news in the answers to other survey questions. For example, 59% of respondents agreed with this statement:My college or university should forbid people from speaking on campus who have a history of engaging in hate speech.
This column does not favor hatred, nor the subjective definition of "hate speech" by college administrators seeking to regulate it. In perhaps the most disturbing finding in the poll results, 33% of U.S. college students participating in the survey agreed with this statement:If someone is using hate speech or making racially charged comments, physical violence can be justified to prevent this person from espousing their hateful views.
An optimist desperately searching for a silver lining would perhaps note that 60% of respondents did not agree that physical violence is justified to silence people speaking what someone has defined as "hate speech" or "racially charged" comments. But the fact that a third of college students at least theoretically endorse violence as a response to offensive speech underlines the threat to free expression on American campuses.
Perhaps more encouraging are the responses to this question:Generally speaking, do you think the First Amendment, which deals with freedom of speech, is an outdated amendment that can no longer be applied in today's society and should be changed or an important amendment that still needs to be followed and respected in today's society?
A full 79% of respondents opted for respecting the First Amendment, while 17% backed a rewrite.
On a more specific question, free speech isn't winning by the same landslide. When asked if they would favor or oppose their schools having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty, 54% of U.S. college kids opposed such codes while 38% were in favor.
The free exchange of ideas is in danger on American campuses. And given the unprofessional behavior of American faculty suggested by this survey, education reformers should perhaps focus on encouraging free-speech advocates within the student body while adopting a campus slogan from an earlier era: Don't trust anyone over 30.
keep the bastards honest , 26 minutes ago linkPGR88 , 39 minutes ago link
this tyranny applies not only to politics and weirdo social world view, it runs thru everything. Group think is powerful and those not following get excluded, defunded of resources and ridicule and other punishment.
... ... ...keep the bastards honest , 55 minutes ago link
The education-industrial complex is a massive spending and debt-fed bubble, that has created a massive political organizing force and teflon monoculture. They are parasites feeding off government and the debt of students
... ... ...Charlie_Martel , 2 hours ago link
It's always been like this, at school as a 5 year old ....my little kid was sent to the headmaster for objecting to making a key ring thing in craft as not one kid had a key. He spoke a well reasoned argument and of course is at the Supreme Court now. But gained no respect or nurturing from that school. I also copped it, made career decision to be a scientist because of the stupidity of an english teacher not knowing same issues prevailed there. Was thrown out of english honours course so did the exam on my own knowledge and got first class honours in the state.
At University we all know you feed back what they want if you want to pass. Some want intelligence and best true understanding others want their crippled stuff. This also applies if you are a science, physiology researcher. Cutting edge work if not mainstream does not get published, you have to be part of a recognised institution to be published so no independent researcher,
There are set ideas and marketing there of eg antioxidants fallacies, need for estrogen, and until recently How stupid was Lamarck because he espoused the passing down of response to environment to subsequent generations...Darwin thought this too but idea was suppressed. Then epigenetics got the new hot thing for grants. Fck them all.
My child and I discussed a version with the principal when he was doing the bacceaulureate, as from 5 onwards teachers rejected correct answers and wanted their answers. The excellent advice was to view it all like a driving exam, learn the road rules and give them back.
students always know the tyranny of the teacher and evaluator. At 6 my kid was sat with the slow learners and forced to give 30answers a day ' correct' . Ie lies and untruths.
Infinity as answer to how many corners has a cylinder was not only mad bad but ridiculed.Duc888 , 2 hours ago link
Because its an indoctrination not an education.JimmyJones , 2 hours ago link
It's impossible to actually debate someone who has NO FACTS on either side of the argument....
it winds up like this....
"not even WRONG"
The phrase " not even wrong " describes an argument or explanation that purports to be scientific but is based on invalid reasoning or speculative premises that can neither be proven correct nor falsified .
Hence, it refers to statements that cannot be discussed in a rigorous, scientific sense .  For a meaningful discussion on whether a certain statement is true or false, the statement must satisfy the criterion called "falsifiability" -- the inherent possibility for the statement to be tested and found false. In this sense, the phrase "not even wrong" is synonymous to "nonfalsifiable". 
The phrase is generally attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli , who was known for his colorful objections to incorrect or careless thinking.   Rudolf Peierls documents an instance in which "a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli's views. Pauli remarked sadly, 'It is not even wrong' ."  This is also often quoted as "That is not only not right; it is not even wrong", or in Pauli's native German , " Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig; es ist nicht einmal falsch!". Peierls remarks that quite a few apocryphal stories of this kind have been circulated and mentions that he listed only the ones personally vouched for by him. He also quotes another example when Pauli replied to Lev Landau , "What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not. " 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrongLetThemEatRand , 2 hours ago link
Chemical engineering, engineering structural (optional), basic electrical engineering and C++ programing and he can make any machine to automatically preform any chemical process out of his garage. You could probably watch a butt ton of YouTube and a library card and also learn those skills.TeethVillage88s , 2 hours ago link
The homogenized culture of colleges today is very similar to what I imagine it was like in the 1950's, but with a different set of "values" obviously. The 1950's led to the 1960's, and a complete rejection by many young people of establishment mono-culture. Maybe the young people eventually will figure out that what they see as SJW counter-culture is actually new establishment culture, and they will rebel against it in a few years. Probably not, though.TeethVillage88s , 2 hours ago link
Thanks. I'm older than others probably think. But I generalizae or estimate more than others my age due to the life I chose or led.
culture of colleges today is very similar to what I imagine it was like in the 1950's,dcmbuffy , 2 hours ago link
Thanks. I'm older than others probably think. But I generalizae or estimate more than others my age due to the life I chose or led.
culture of colleges today is very similar to what I imagine it was like in the 1950's,DuckDog , 2 hours ago link
and going into debt for their prison term. bunch of punk bullies!!!
When I was in the army and got sentence to 2 years less a day in Military prison in Edmonton, I paid $1.70 a day, which the military were so kind to ring up a tab for me, when I got released from prison they handed me my bill and made me work it off before I got my dishonorable discharge
Sort of like college today
Oct 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Four years ago, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) warned of "the worst rental affordability crisis ever," citing data that:
"About half of renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent, up from 18% a decade ago, according to newly released research by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Twenty-seven percent of renters are paying more than half of their income on rent."
This is a significant problem for US consumers, and especially millennials, because as we have noted repeatedly over the past year, and a new report confirms , "rent increases continue to outpace workers' wage growth, meaning the situation is getting worse."
In the second quarter of 2017, median asking rents jumped 5% from $864 to $910. In the first half of 2018, they have remained at levels crushing the American worker.
While the surge in median asking rents has triggered an affordability crisis, new data now shows just how much a person must make per month to afford rent.
According to HowMuch.Net, an American should budget 25% to 30% of monthly income for rent, but as shown by the New Deal Democrat, workers are budgeting about 50% more of their salaries than a decade earlier. The report specifically looked at the nation's capital, where a person must make approximately $8,500 per month to afford rent.
In California, the state with the largest housing bubble, the monthly income to afford rent is roughly $8,300, followed by Hawaii at $7,800 and New York at $7,220.
In contrast, the Rust Belt and the Southeastern region of the United States, one needs to make only $3,500 per month to afford rent.
"Based on the rule of applying no more than one-third of income to housing, people living in the Northeast must earn at least twice as much as those living in the South just to afford rent for what each market considers an average home," HowMuch.net's Raul Amoros told MarketWatch .
Which, however, is not to say that owning a house is a viable alternative to renting. In fact, as Goldman notes in its latest Housing and Mortgage Monitor, "buying is looking increasingly less affordable vs. renting with home prices growing faster than rents."
In short: the situation is not likely to improve in the short-term.
A sign of relief could be coming in the second half of 2019 or entering into 2020 when the US economy is expected to enter a slowdown, if not outright recession. This would reverse the real estate market, thus providing a turning point in rents that would give renters relief after a near decade of overinflated prices.
Oct 24, 2018 | scotthorton.orgJournalist Justin Elliott comes on the show to talk about casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has become one of President Trump's biggest donors. Although Trump derided him early in his campaign, the two have formed a close partnership with Adelson providing tens of millions in funding so long as Trump continues the correct policies with respect to Israel, Palestine, and Iran. Elliott and others have also speculated that Trump is trying to get Adelson approval to open a casino in Japan, helping him to expand his gambling empire in Asia.
Discussed on the show:
- "Trump's Patron-in-Chief" ( ProPublica )
- Trump: Rubio a 'perfect little puppet'
- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
- Zionist Organization of America
- "Adelson expresses support for ZOA efforts to depose McMaster" ( Times of Israel )
Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica . He has produced stories for The New York Times and National Public Radio, and his reporting with NPR on the Red Cross' troubled post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti won a 2015 Investigative Reporters and Editors award. Follow him on Twitter @JustinElliott .
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Kesslyn Runs , by Charles Featherstone; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; Zen Cash ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; and LibertyStickers.com .
Check out Scott's Patreon page.
William on October 26, 2018 at 5:46 pmWhether Adelson or some other plutocrat, American politics is awash in money, and it this money is crippling our democracy. I don't think that I have heard this topic discussed on any news program, and I don't expect to. To me, it is not so much the lies that major media organizations may broadcast, but the enormous amount of news of major importance that the networks censor that is doing the greatest harm.
Americans never get to see what they need to know. Keeping the peasants ignorant is the current mass media program, and they are doing a great job of it.
Oct 23, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org
American politics has become a game of, by, and for corporate interests, with tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for polluters, and war and global warming for the rest of us. Americans – and the world – deserve better.
Oct 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
somebody , Oct 21, 2018 3:53:21 PM | link
Number of people with preexisting conditionsAbout half of nonelderly Americans have one or more pre-existing health conditions, according to a recent brief by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, that examined the prevalence of conditions that would have resulted in higher rates, condition exclusions, or coverage denials before the ACA. Approximately 130 million nonelderly people have pre-existing conditions nationwide, and, as shown in the table available below, there is an average of more than 300,000 per congressional district. Nationally, the most common pre-existing conditions were high blood pressure (44 million people), behavioral health disorders (45 million people), high cholesterol (44 million people), asthma and chronic lung disease (34 million people), and osteoarthritis and other joint disorders (34 million people).
While people with Medicaid or employer-based plans would remain covered regardless of medical history, the repeal of pre-ex protections means that the millions with pre-existing conditions would face higher rates if they ever needed individual market coverage. The return of pre-ex discrimination would hurt older Americans the most. As noted earlier, while about 51 percent of the nonelderly population had at least one pre-existing condition in 2014, according to the HHS brief, the rate was 75 percent of those ages 45 to 54 and 84 percent among those ages 55 to 64. But even millions of younger people, including 1 in 4 children, would be affected by eliminating this protection.
US has no concept of solidarity.
Oct 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Oct 8, 2018 12:11:11 AM | 43 k
The constitution was a creation of the elite at the time, the property class. Its mission was to prevent the common folk from having control. Democracy=mob rule= Bad.
The common folk only had the ability to elect representatives in the house, who in turn would elect Senators. Electors voted for President and they were appointed by a means chosen by the state legislature , which only in modern times has come to mean by the popular vote of the common folk. Starting from 1913 it was decided to let the common folk vote for Senator and give the commonfolk the illusion of Democracy confident they could be controlled with propaganda and taxes (also adopted in 1913 with the Fed)
At the time the eligible voters were males of European descent (MOED), and while not highly educated they were relatively free of propaganda and IQ's were higher than today. After giving women the right to vote and with other minorities voting the MOED became a minority voter.
Bernays science of propaganda took off during WWI, Since MOED's made up the most educated class (relative to minorities and women) up to the 70's this was a big deal for almost 60 years , although not today when miseducation is equal among the different races, sexes and ethnicities.
So today with propaganda and education being what it is, not to mention campaign financing laws especially post Citizen United, and MSM under control of 6 companies, the entire voting class is miseducated and easily influenced to vote for candidates chosen by the elites
So how do the common folk get control over the federal government? That is a pipe dream and will never happen. The founders who incited the revolution against British rule were the American Elites (also British citizens) who wanted more. The elites today got everything they want. They have no need for revolution. The common folk are divided, misinformed, unorganized, leaderless and males are emasculated. Incapable of taking control peacefully or otherwise.
Thats just my opinion
Guerrero , Oct 8, 2018 1:03:57 AM | linkPft has a point. If there was ever a time for the people to take the republic into its hands, it may have been just after the Civil War when the Dems were discredited and the Repubs had a total control of Congress.
This was the high-tariff-era and the budget surplus was an issue all through the balance of the 19th Century. So what were the politics about? 1. Stirring stump (Trump) speeches were all about "waving the bloody shirt"
All manner of political office-seekers devoted themselves to getting on the government gravy train, somehow. The selling of political offices was notorious and the newspaper editors of the time were ashamed of this.
Then there was the Whiskey Ring. The New York Customs House was a major source of corruption lucre. Then there was vote selling in blocks of as many as 10,000 and the cost of paying those who could do this. Then there were the kickbacks from the awards of railroad concessions which included large parcels of land. If there ever was a Golden Age of the United States it must have been when Franklin Roosevelt was President.
ben , Oct 8, 2018 1:13:04 AM | linkkarlof1 @ 34 asked:"My question for several years now: What are us Commonfolk going to do to regain control of the federal government?"Grieved , Oct 8, 2018 1:13:32 AM | link
The only thing us "common folk" can do is work within our personal sphere of influence, and engage who you can, when you can, and support with any $ you can spare, to support the sites and any local radio stations that broadcast independent thought. ( if you can find any). Pacifica radio, KPFK in LA is a good example. KPFA in the bay area.
Other than another economic crash, I don't believe anything can rouse the pathetic bovine public. Bread and circuses work...@38 Pftdh-mtl , Oct 8, 2018 2:34:39 AM | link
The division of representative power and stake in the political process back at the birth of the US Constitution was as you say it was. But this wasn't because any existing power had been taken away from anyone. It was simply the state of play back then.
Since that time, we common people have developed a more egalitarian sense of how the representation should be apportioned. We include former slaves, all ethnic groups and both genders. We exclude animals thus far, although we do have some - very modest - protections in place.
I think it has been the rise of the socialist impulse among workers that has expanded this egalitarian view, with trade unions and anti-imperialist revolutions and national struggles. But I'm not a scholar or a historian so I can't add details to my impression.
My point is that since the Framers met, there has been a progressive elevation of our requirements of representative government. I think some of this also came from the Constitution itself, with its embedded Bill of Rights.
I can't say if this expansion has continued to this day or not. History may show there was a pinnacle that we have now passed, and entered a decline. I don't know - it's hard to say how we score the Internet in this balance. It's always hard to score the present age along its timeline. And the future is never here yet, in the present, and can only ever be guessed.
In my view, the dream of popular control of representative government remains entirely possible. I call it an aspiration rather than a pipe dream, and one worth taking up and handing on through the generations. Current global society may survive in relatively unbroken line for millennia to come. There's simply no percentage in calling failure at this time.
It may be that better government comes to the United States from the example of the world nations, over the decades and centuries to come. Maybe the demonstration effect will work on us even when we cannot work on ourselves. We are not the only society of poor people who want a fair life.
In my view of the fundamental dynamic - namely that of history being one unbroken story of the rich exploiting the poor - representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness.
In my opinion.Grieved @42 said:Krollchem , Oct 8, 2018 2:42:16 AM | link
"representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness."
Here, here! I fully agree with you.
In my opinion, representative government was stronger in the U.S. from the 1930's to the 1970's and Europe after WW2. And as a result the western world achieved unprecedented prosperity. Since 1980, the U.S. government has been captured by trans-national elites, who, since the 1990's have also captured much of the political power in the EU.
Both Europe and the U.S. are now effectively dictatorships, run by a trans-national elite. The crumbling of both is the result of this dictatorship.
Prosperity, and peace, will only return when the dictators are removed and representative government is returned.dh-mtl@44Anton Worter , Oct 8, 2018 3:06:04 AM | link
"Both Europe and the U.S. are now effectively dictatorships, run by a trans-national elite. The crumbling of both is the result of this dictatorship."
Exactly!! I feel like the Swedish knight Antonius Block in the movie the 7th Seal. There does not seem any way out of this evil game by the death dealing rulers.@24Anton Worter , Oct 8, 2018 3:34:05 AM | link
Love it. But you fad3d at the end. It was Gingrich, not Rodham, who was behind Contract on America, and GHWBush's Fed Bank group wrote the legislation that would have been Bush's second term 'kinder, gentler' Gramm-Leach-Bliley bayonet up the azs of the American Dream, as passed by a majority of Congress, and by that point Tripp and Lewinski had already pull-dated Wild Bill. God, can you imagine being married to that hag Rodham? The purple people-eating lizards of Georgetown and Alexandria. Uurk.40
I'm reading a great FDR book, 'Roosevelt and Hopkins', a signed 1st Ed copy by Robert Sherwood, and the only book extant from my late father's excellent political and war library, after his trophy wife dumped the rest of his library off at Goodwill, lol. They could have paid for her next booblift, ha, ha, ha.
Anyway, FDR, in my mind, only passed the populist laws that he did because he needed cannon fodder in good fighting shape for Rothschild's Wars ("3/4ths of WW2 conscripts were medically unfit for duty," the book reports), and because Rothschild's and Queens Bank of London needed the whole sh*taco bailed out afterward, by creating SS wage-withholding 'Trust Fund' (sic) the Fed then tapped into, and creating Lend-Lease which let Rothschilds float credit-debt to even a higher level and across the globe. Has it all been paid off by Germany and Japan yet?
Even Lincoln, jeez, Civil War was never about slavery, it was about finance and taxation and the illegitimate Federal supremacy over the Republic of States, not unlike the EU today. Lincoln only freed the slaves to use them as cannon fodder and as a fifth column.
All of these politicians were purple people-eating lizards, except maybe the Kennedy's, and they got ground and pounded like Conor McGregor, meh?
Guerrero | Oct 8, 2018 10:22:34 AM | 61
@BM | Oct 8, 2018 10:03:12 AM | 60"representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness."
Compare to: Sentiments of the Nation:
12º That as the good Law is superior to every man, those dictated by our Congress must be such, that they force constancy and patriotism, moderate opulence and indigence; and in such a way increase the wages of the poor, improve their habits, moving away from ignorance, rapine and theft.
13º That the general laws include everyone, without exception of privileged bodies; and that these are only in the use of the ministry..
14º That in order to dictate a Law, the Meeting of Sages is made, in the possible number, so that it may proceed with more success and exonerate of some charges that may result.
15. That slavery be banished forever, and the distinction of castes, leaving all the same, and only distinguish one American from another by vice and virtue.
16º That our Ports be open to friendly foreign nations, but that they do not enter the nation, no matter how friendly they may be, and there will only be Ports designated for that purpose, prohibiting disembarkation in all others, indicating ten percent.
17º That each one be kept his property, and respect in his House as in a sacred asylum, pointing out penalties to the offenders.
18º That the new legislation does not admit torture.
19º That the Constitutional Law establishes the celebration of December 12th in all Peoples, dedicated to the Patroness of our Liberty, Most Holy Mary of Guadalupe, entrusting to all Peoples the monthly devotion.
20º That the foreign troops, or of another Kingdom, do not step on our soil, and if it were in aid, they will not without the Supreme Junta approval.
21º That expeditions are not made outside the limits of the Kingdom, especially overseas, that they are not of this kind yet rather to spread the faith to our brothers and sisters of the land inside.
22º That the infinity of tributes, breasts and impositions that overwhelm us be removed, and each individual be pointed out a five percent of seeds and other effects or other equally light weight, that does not oppress so much, as the alcabala, the Tobacconist, the Tribute and others; because with this slight contribution, and the good administration of the confiscated goods of the enemy, will be able to take the weight of the War, and pay the fees of employees.
Temple of the Virgen of the Ascencion
Chilpancingo, September 14, 1813.
José Mª Morelos.
23º That also be solemnized on September 16, every year, as the Anniversary day on which the Voice of Independence was raised, and our Holy Freedom began, because on that day it was in which the lips of the Nation were deployed to claim their rights with Sword in hand to be heard: always remembering the merit of the great Hero Mr. Don Miguel Hidalgo and his companion Don Ignacio Allende.
Answers on November 21, 1813. And therefore, these are abolished, always being subject to the opinion of S. [u] A. [alteza] S. [very eminent]
Oct 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history'If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?' Illustration: Mark Long/Mark Long for Guardian US W hen the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.
Since Skilling's conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement's objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.
Let's remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.
That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era's catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.
The effort to construct this elite haven has tied together so many seemingly disparate news events, suggesting that there is a method in the madness. Consider this past month that culminated with the dramatic battle over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
September began with John McCain's funeral – a memorial billed as an apolitical celebration of the Arizona lawmaker, but which served as a made-for-TV spectacle letting America know that everyone who engineered the Iraq war is doing just fine.
The event was attended by Iraq war proponents of both parties, from Dick Cheney to Lindsey Graham to Hillary Clinton. The funeral featured a saccharine eulogy from the key Democratic proponent of the invasion, Joe Lieberman, as well the resurrection of George W Bush. The codpiece-flaunting war president who piloted America into the cataclysm with "bring 'em on" bravado, "shock and awe" bloodlust and "uranium from Africa" dishonesty was suddenly portrayed as an icon of warmth and civility when he passed a lozenge to Michelle Obama. The scene was depicted not as the gathering of a rogues gallery fit for a war crimes tribunal, but as a venerable bipartisan reunion evoking nostalgia for the supposed halcyon days – and Bush promptly used his newly revived image to campaign for Republican congressional candidates and lobby for Kavanaugh's appointment .
The underlying message was clear: nobody other than the dead, the injured and the taxpayer will face any real penalty for the Iraq debacle.
Next up came the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis – a meltdown that laid waste to the global economy, while providing lucrative taxpayer-funded bailouts to Wall Street firms.
To mark the occasion, the three men on whose watch it occurred – Fed chair Ben Bernanke, Bush treasury secretary Hank Paulson and Obama treasury secretary Tim Geithner – did not offer an apology, but instead promised that another financial crisis will eventually occur, and they demanded lawmakers give public officials more power to bail out big banks in the future.
In a similar bipartisan show of unity, former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn gave an interview in which he asked "Who broke the law?" – the implication being that no Wall Street executives were prosecuted for their role in the meltdown because no statutes had been violated. That suggestion, of course, is undermined by banks ' own admissions that they defrauded investors (that includes admissions of fraud from Goldman Sachs – the very bank that Cohn himself ran during the crisis). Nonetheless, Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder – who has now rejoined his old corporate defense law firm – subsequently backed Cohn up by arguing that nobody on Wall Street committed an offense that could have been successfully prosecuted in a court of law.
Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon garnered non-Onion headlines by floating the idea of running for president – a reminder that a decade after his firm played a central role in destroying countless Americans' economic lives, he remains not only unincarcerated and gainfully employed, but so reputationally unscathed that he is seen as a serious White House candidate.
Again, the message came through: nobody who engineered the financial crisis will pay any real price for wreaking so much havoc.
Then as Hurricane Florence provided the latest illustration of climate change's devastation, ExxonMobil marched into the supreme court to demand an end to a state investigation of its role denying and suppressing climate science. Backed by 11 Republican attorneys general , the fossil fuel giant had reason to feel emboldened in its appeal for immunity: despite investigative reporting detailing the company's prior knowledge of fossil fuel's role in climate change, its executives had already convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission to shut down a similar investigation.
Once again, the message was unavoidable: in the new accountability-free zone, companies shouldn't be bothered to even explain – much less face punishment for – their role in a crisis that threatens the survival of the human species.
... ... ...
The answer is nothing – which is exactly the point for the aristocracy. But that cannot be considered acceptable for the rest of us outside the accountability-free zone.David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an investigative journalist at Capital & Main. His latest book is Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now
Oct 05, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
CitizenOne , October 2, 2018 at 11:19 pm
The recent history of the Supreme Court has been one of Justices playing the part of politicians in robes. Perhaps no better example was the nullification of the recount in the Bush v Gore election with the "Brooks Brothers Riot" where paid operatives of the republicans stormed the election office in Florida and declared the recount over in an extra judicial action which was backed up by the members of the Supreme Court leading to their moniker "politicians in robes". The Supreme Court basically stole that election by upholding the use of violence as a tool to stop the recount instead of reacting on its own to denounce the use of such tactics.
The Supreme Court has become weaponized as a force for right wing agendas and it has taken a partisan position many times due to justices who have become radicalized to advance right wing views. This is part of a vast right wing well funded and well oiled political money machine. Little debut over the 10 million dollars spent by anonymous donors greasing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. The $10 million effort to win federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation, funded by unknown donors to a conservative interest group called the Judicial Crisis Network, follows a successful $7 million effort last year to block President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. The group calls it "the most robust operation in the history of confirmation battles."
Billionaires are funding the selection and nomination of Supreme Court Justices for one reason. So that the Supreme Court is stacked by loyal conservatives who will side with big industrialist businesses on every case brought against big industrialists.
This is a long term strategy funded with hundreds of millions of dollars poured into efforts to create a three point strategy. Fund AstroTurf phony grass roots populist organizations which claim they are formed by housewives and farmers and middle class folk but who really serve the interests of the billionaire class. Fund politicians and judges who are begging to get the money to win elections by promising they will do everything to support the uber class and groveling at their feet for the cash to be had. Create laws to serve the interests of billionaires.
So far each effort has been a phenomenal success. Funded with hundreds of millions of dollars willing recipients of all the corporate cash have created the ostensible populist front defending wedge issues like abortion, gun control and anti immigration along with a health dose of anti establishment hatred of the government. Their real aim is to serve the corporate interests.
Donald Trump is perhaps the biggest benefactor of the money machine having won election based on this populist jargon while spending little of his own money but really serving the corporate interests most obviously by supporting the 1.9 Trillion dollar tax breaks for billionaires.
It is unlikely that the average American would get angry about health care or their own social security which is funded by workers not billionaires unless they were propagandized by every main stream media outlet with Fox News and other more extremely radical right wing media outlets and all the rightwing websites and right wing syndicated media pundits.
Average Americans have been suckered to believe that what is in their own interests is very bad for America and Freedom and Democracy etc. They have been hoodwinked into voting for politicians who want to strip them of healthcare, social security, financial security and basic rights to privacy and access to the judicial system with arbitration clauses attached to every product down to toothbrushes and sunglasses. They have come to believe that defending wedge issues means they will vote for republicans no matter how bad their economic future is compromised and their future put at risk by predatory businesses which offer paycheck loans, balloon mortgages, sky high interest and insurance rates, multiple bank accounts with lots of surcharges (Pinkerton Bank) and promise to end Medicare and Social Security because its Okay to give trillions to billionaires but not Okay to help average hard working people.
Donald Trump is the pinnacle of this usurpation of power capturing the Executive Branch funded by free advertising from the media and running on a fake AstroTurf populist campaign strategy while delivering all the money to the billionaires as he entertains guests for huge fees at his Florida Property against the Emoluments Clause which appears to be dead. No president should economically benefit from the position of the highest office in the land for personal enrichment yet the Tax Cuts seem to have been perfectly tailored for Trumps own enrichment via a little known clause which allows property investment owners to pass the profits gained via those holdings to other entities like his kids at greatly lower taxes. What a windfall for Trump who has investment pass through properties all over the place. It's a really nice deal" for Trump and pass-through owners like him, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
So much for the little guy as republicans now demand that the giant deficit created by their enormous tax cuts for the wealthy now be shrunk by eliminating all social welfare programs like Social Security which if funded by workers under the payroll deduction tax. Payroll taxes are taxes imposed on employers or employees, and are usually calculated as a percentage of the salaries that employers pay their staff. Payroll taxes generally fall into two categories: deductions from an employee's wages, and taxes paid by the employer based on the employee's wages. These taxes fund Social Security/ Workers earnings are garnished to pay for Social Security. The Government does not steal this money from rich people. They take it from every worker according to a schedule.
How stupid we are to willingly call this wasteful government spending and buy the BS of the republicans that it must end. What will they do with all the money once none of us is going to see a dime of what we donated under law? Why they will steal it of course.
Who has the authority to declare all social welfare programs unconstitutional? The Supreme Court. Who has the power to decline any case brought against and well monied entity including the President? The Supreme Court.
It is not so much about beer and drunkenness and abuse of women but about the continued abuse of us all by the republican party which is funded by the rich and operated by the rich for the rich and only for the rich.
Jul 31, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse ... shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained."
If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.
If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:
- The overt politicization of the central state's law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.
- The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted--the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.
Psychopaths with no moral principles.The nation's elites are not just divided--they're exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown : disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.
I've been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare . The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.
It's impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity , a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.
As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+ , this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.
A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available , i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets , and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.
But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.
Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing , as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.
As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there's no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.
The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp--currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the "Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us" narrative--and a much less public, less organized "rogue Progressive" camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation's moral/political center.
What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.
The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.
Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord .
If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.
May 02, 2017 | original.antiwar.comDid the Deep State deep-six Trump's populist revolution?
Many observers, especially among his fans, suspect that the seemingly untamable Trump has already been housebroken by the Washington, "globalist" establishment. If true, the downfall of Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn less than a month into the new presidency may have been a warning sign. And the turning point would have been the removal of Steven K. Bannon from the National Security Council on April 5.
Until then, the presidency's early policies had a recognizably populist-nationalist orientation. During his administration's first weeks, Trump's biggest supporters frequently tweeted the hashtag #winning and exulted that he was decisively doing exactly what, on the campaign trail, he said he would do.
In a flurry of executive orders and other unilateral actions bearing Bannon's fingerprints, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, declared a sweeping travel ban, instituted harsher deportation policies, and more.
These policies seemed to fit Trump's reputation as the " tribune of poor white people ," as he has been called; above all, Trump's base calls for protectionism and immigration restrictions. Trump seemed to be delivering on the populist promise of his inauguration speech (thought to be written by Bannon), in which he said:
"Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now." [Emphasis added.]
After a populist insurgency stormed social media and the voting booths, American democracy, it seemed, had been wrenched from the hands of the Washington elite and restored to "the people," or at least a large, discontented subset of "the people." And this happened in spite of the establishment, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and "polite opinion" throwing everything it had at Trump.
But for the past month, the administration's axis seems to have shifted. This shift was especially abrupt in Trump's Syria policy.
Days before Bannon's fall from grace, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared that forcing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power was no longer top priority. This too was pursuant of Trump's populist promises.
Trump's nationalist fans are sick of the globalist wars that America never seems to win. They are hardly against war per se. They are perfectly fine with bombing radical Islamists, even if it means mass innocent casualties. But they have had enough of expending American blood and treasure to overthrow secular Arab dictators to the benefit of Islamists; so, it seemed, was Trump. They also saw no nationalist advantage in the globalists' renewed Cold War against Assad's ally Russian president Vladimir Putin, another enemy of Islamists.
The Syrian pivot also seemed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of some antiwar libertarians who had pragmatically supported Trump. For them, acquiescing to the unwelcome planks of Trump's platform was a price worth paying for overthrowing the establishment policies of regime change in the Middle East and hostility toward nuclear Russia. While populism wasn't an unalloyed friend of liberty, these libertarians thought, at least it could be harnessed to sweep away the war-engineering elites. And since war is the health of the state, that could redirect history's momentum in favor of liberty.
But then it all evaporated. Shortly after Bannon's ouster from the NSC, in response to an alleged, unverified chemical attack on civilians, Trump bombed one of Assad's airbases (something even globalist Obama had balked at doing when offered the exact same excuse), and regime change in Syria was top priority once again. The establishment media swooned over Trump's newfound willingness to be "presidential."
Since then, Trump has reneged on one campaign promise after another. He dropped any principled repeal of Obamacare. He threw cold water on expectations for prompt fulfillment of his signature promise: the construction of a Mexico border wall. And he announced an imminent withdrawal from NAFTA, only to walk that announcement back the very next day.
Here I make no claim as to whether any of these policy reversals are good or bad. I only point out that they run counter to the populist promises he had given to his core constituents.
Poor white people, "the forgotten men and women of our country," have been forgotten once again. Their "tribune" seems to be turning out to be just another agent of the power elite.
Who yanked his chain? Was there a palace coup? Was the CIA involved? Has Trump been threatened? Or, after constant obstruction, has he simply concluded that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?
The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Regardless of how it came about, it seems clear that whatever prospect there was for a truly populist Trump presidency is gone with the wind. Was it inevitable that this would happen, one way or another?
One person who might have thought so was German sociologist Robert Michels, who posited the "iron law of oligarchy" in his 1911 work Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy .
Michels argued that political organizations, no matter how democratically structured, rarely remain truly populist, but inexorably succumb to oligarchic control.
Even in a political system based on popular sovereignty, Michels pointed out that, "the sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions." This is true for simple, unavoidable technical reasons: "such a gigantic number of persons belonging to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a system of direct discussion."
This practical limitation necessitates delegation of decision-making to officeholders. These delegates may at first be considered servants of the masses:
"All the offices are filled by election. The officials, executive organs of the general will, play a merely subordinate part, are always dependent upon the collectivity, and can be deprived of their office at any moment. The mass of the party is omnipotent."
But these delegates will inevitably become specialists in the exercise and consolidation of power, which they gradually wrest away from the "sovereign people":
"The technical specialization that inevitably results from all extensive organization renders necessary what is called expert leadership. Consequently the power of determination comes to be considered one of the specific attributes of leadership, and is gradually withdrawn from the masses to be concentrated in the hands of the leaders alone. Thus the leaders, who were at first no more than the executive organs of the collective will, soon emancipate themselves from the mass and become independent of its control.
Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every organization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency manifests itself very clearly."
Trumped by the Deep State
Thus elected, populist "tribunes" like Trump are ultimately no match for entrenched technocrats nestled in permanent bureaucracy. Especially invincible are technocrats who specialize in political force and intrigue, i.e., the National Security State (military, NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.). And these elite functionaries don't serve "the people" or any large subpopulation. They only serve their own careers, and by extension, big-money special interest groups that make it worth their while: especially big business and foreign lobbies. The nexus of all these powers is what is known as the Deep State.
Trump's more sophisticated champions were aware of these dynamics, but held out hope nonetheless. They thought that Trump would be an exception, because his large personal fortune would grant him immunity from elite influence. That factor did contribute to the independent, untamable spirit of his campaign. But as I predicted during the Republican primaries:
" while Trump might be able to seize the presidency in spite of establishment opposition, he will never be able to wield it without establishment support."
No matter how popular, rich, and bombastic, a populist president simply cannot rule without access to the levers of power. And that access is under the unshakable control of the Deep State. If Trump wants to play president, he has to play ball.
On these grounds, I advised his fans over a year ago, " don't hold out hope that Trump will make good on his isolationist rhetoric " and anticipated, "a complete rapprochement between the populist rebel and the Republican establishment." I also warned that, far from truly threatening the establishment and the warfare state, Trump's populist insurgency would only invigorate them:
"Such phony establishment "deaths" at the hands of "grassroots" outsiders followed by "rebirths" (rebranding) are an excellent way for moribund oligarchies to renew themselves without actually meaningfully changing. Each "populist" reincarnation of the power elite is draped with a freshly-laundered mantle of popular legitimacy, bestowing on it greater license to do as it pleases. And nothing pleases the State more than war."
Politics, even populist politics, is the oligarchy's game. And the house always wins.
Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org , including articles and courses. The originally appeared on the FEE website and is reprinted with the author's permission.
Sep 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgjames , Sep 26, 2018 10:19:13 PM | link
Pft , Sep 26, 2018 9:58:02 PM | link@34 pft... regarding the 2 cook articles.. i found they overly wordy myself... however, for anyone paying attention - corbyn seems like the person to vote for given how relentless he is being attacked in the media... i am not so sure about trump, but felt cook summed it up well with these 2 lines.. "Trump the candidate was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. Trump the president has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria." i get the impression corbyn is legit which is why the anti-semitism keeps on being mentioned... craig murrary is a good source for staying on top of uk dynamics..
In my own words then. According to Cook the power elites goal is to change its appearance to look like something new and innovative to stay ahead of an electorate who are increasingly skeptical of the neoliberalism and globalism that enrich the elite at their expense.
Since they do not actually want change they find actors who pretend to represent change , which is in essence fake change. These then are their insurgent candidates
Trump serves the power elite , because while he appears as an insurgent against the power elite he does little to change anything
Trump promotes his fake insurgency on Twitter stage knowing the power elite will counter any of his promises that might threaten them
As an insurgent candidate Trump was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. He wanted good relations with Russia. He wanted to fix the health care system, rebuild infrastructure, scrap NAFTA and TTIPS, bring back good paying jobs, fight the establishment and Wall Street executives and drain the swamp. America First he said.
Trump the insurgent president , has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria, relations with Russia are at Cold War lows, infrastructure is still failing, the percentage of people working is now at an all time low in the post housewife era, he has passed tax cuts for the rich that will endanger medicare, medicaid and social security and prohibit infrastructure spending, relaxed regulations on Wall Street, enhanced NAFTA to include TTIPS provisions and make US automobiles more expensive, and the swamp has been refilled with the rich, neocons , Koch associates, and Goldman Sachs that make up the power elites and Deep State Americas rich and Israel First
Piotr Berman , Sep 26, 2018 10:23:41 PM | linkFor Trump to be "insurgent" he shouldkarlof1 , Sep 26, 2018 11:42:43 PM | link
(a) talk coherently
(b) have some kind of movement consisting of people that agree with what is says -- that necessitates (a)
Then he could staff his Administration with his supporters rather than a gamut of conventional plutocrats, neocons, and hacks from the Deep State (intelligence, FBI and crazies culled from Pentagon). As it is easy to see, I am describing an alternate reality. Who is a Trumpian member of the Administration? His son-in-law?Pft @34--Pft , Sep 27, 2018 12:53:59 AM | link
Yes. just like Obama before him--another snake in the swamp!Karlof1@39div>
The swamps been filled with all kinds of vile creatures since the Carter administration. This is when the US/UK went full steam ahead with neoliberal globalism with Israel directing the war on terror for the Trilateral Empire (following Bibis Jerusalem conference so as to fulfill the Yinon plan). 40 years of terror and financial mayhem following the coup that took place from 1963-1974. After Nixons ouster they were ready to go once TLC Carter/Zbig kicked off the Trilateral era. Reagan then ran promising to oust the TLC swamp but broke his promise, as every President has done since .
Sep 27, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
I rarely tell readers what to believe. Rather I try to indicate why it might be wise to distrust, at least without very good evidence, what those in power tell us we should believe.
We have well-known sayings about power: "Knowledge is power", and "Power tends to corrupt, while absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." These aphorisms resonate because they say something true about how we experience the world. People who have power – even very limited power they hold on licence from someone else – tend to abuse it, sometimes subtly and unconsciously, and sometimes overtly and wilfully.
If we are reasonably self-aware, we can sense the tendency in ourselves to exploit to our advantage whatever power we enjoy, whether it is in our dealings with a spouse, our children, a friend, an employee, or just by the general use of our status to get ahead.
This isn't usually done maliciously or even consciously. By definition, the hardest thing to recognise are our own psychological, emotional and mental blind spots – and the biggest, at least for those born with class, gender or race privileges, is realising that these too are forms of power.
Nonetheless, they are all minor forms of power compared to the power wielded collectively by the structures that dominate our societies: the financial sector, the corporations, the media, the political class, and the security services.
But strangely most of us are much readier to concede the corrupting influence of the relatively small power of individuals than we are the rottenness of vastly more powerful institutions and structures. We blame the school teacher or the politician for abusing his or her power, while showing a reluctance to do the same about either the education or political systems in which they have to operate.
Similarly, we are happier identifying the excessive personal power of a Rupert Murdoch than we are the immense power of the corporate empire behind him and on which his personal wealth and success depend.
And beyond this, we struggle most of all to detect the structural and ideological framework underpinning or cohering all these discrete examples of power.
It is relatively easy to understand that your line manager is abusing his power, because he has so little of it. His power is visible to you because it relates only to you and the small group of people around you.
It is a little harder, but not too difficult, to identify the abusive policies of your firm – the low pay, cuts in overtime, attacks on union representation.
It is more difficult to see the corrupt power of large institutions, aside occasionally from the corruption of senior figures within those institutions, such as a Robert Maxwell or a Richard Nixon.
But it is all but impossible to appreciate the corrupt nature of the entire system. And the reason is right there in those aphorisms: absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption. If that were not the case, we wouldn't be dealing with serious power – as should be obvious, if we pause to think about it.
Real power in our societies derives from that which is necessarily hard to see – structures, ideology and narratives – not individuals. Any Murdoch or Trump can be felled, though being loyal acolytes of the power-system they rarely are, should they threaten the necessary maintenance of power by these interconnected institutions, these structures.
The current neoliberal elite who effectively rule the planet have reached as close to absolute power as any elite in human history. And because they have near-absolute power, they have a near-absolute control of the official narratives about our societies and our "enemies", those who stand in their way to global domination.
No questions about Skripals
One needs only to look at the narrative about the two men, caught on CCTV cameras, who have recently been accused by our political and media class of using a chemical agent to try to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia back in March.
I don't claim to know whether Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov work for the Russian security services, or whether they were dispatched by Vladimir Putin on a mission to Salisbury to kill the Skripals.
What is clear, however, is that the British intelligence services have been feeding the British corporate media a self-serving, drip-drip narrative from the outset – and that the media have shown precisely no interest at any point in testing any part of this narrative or even questioning it. They have been entirely passive, which means that we their readers have been entirely passive too.
That there are questions about the narrative to be raised is obvious if you turn away from the compliant corporate media and seek out the views of an independent-minded, one-time insider such as Craig Murray.
A former British ambassador, Murray is asking questions that may prove to be pertinent or not. At this stage, when all we have to rely on is what the intelligence services are selectively providing, these kinds of doubts should be driving the inquiries of any serious journalist covering the story. But as is so often the case, not only are these questions not being raised or investigated, but anyone like Murray who thinks critically – who assumes that the powerful will seek to promote their interests and avoid accountability – is instantly dismissed as a conspiracy theorist or in Putin's pocket.
That is no meaningful kind of critique. Many of the questions that have been raised – like why there are so many gaps in the CCTV record of the movements of both the Skripals and the two assumed assassins – could be answered if there was an interest in doing so. The evasion and the smears simply suggest that power intends to remain unaccountable, that it is keeping itself concealed, that the narrative is more important than the truth.
And that is reason enough to move from questioning the narrative to distrusting it.
Ripples on a lake
Journalists typically have a passive relationship to power, in stark contrast to their image as tenacious watchdog. But more fundamental than control over narrative is the ideology that guides these narratives. Ideology ensures the power-system is invisible not only to us, those who are abused and exploited by it, but also to those who benefit from it.
It is precisely because power resides in structures and ideology, rather than individuals, that it is so hard to see. And the power-structures themselves are made yet more difficult to identify because the narratives created about our societies are designed to conceal those structures and ideology – where real power resides – by focusing instead on individuals.
That is why our newspapers and TV shows are full of stories about personalities – celebrities, royalty, criminals, politicians. They are made visible so we fail to notice the ideological structures we live inside, which are supposed to remain invisible.
News and entertainment are the ripples on a lake, not the lake itself. But the ripples could not exist without the lake that forms and shapes them.
Up against the screen
If this sounds like hyperbole, let's stand back from our particular ideological system – neoliberalism – and consider earlier ideological systems in the hope that they offer some perspective. At the moment, we are like someone standing right up against an IMAX screen, so close that we cannot see that there is a screen or even guess that there is a complete picture. All we see are moving colours and pixels. Maybe we can briefly infer a mouth, the wheel of a vehicle, a gun.
Before neoliberalism there were other systems of rule. There was, for example, feudalism that appropriated a communal resource – land – exclusively for an aristocracy. It exploited the masses by forcing them to toil on the land for a pittance to generate the wealth that supported castles, a clergy, manor houses, art collections and armies. For several centuries the power of this tiny elite went largely unquestioned.
But then a class of entrepreneurs emerged, challenging the landed artistocracy with a new means of industrialised production. They built factories and took advantage of scales of economy that slightly widened the circle of privilege, creating a middle class. That elite, and the middle-class that enjoyed crumbs from their master's table, lived off the exploitation of children in work houses and the labour of a new urban poor in slum housing.
These eras were systematically corrupt, enabling the elites of those times to extend and entrench their power. Each elite produced justifications to placate the masses who were being exploited, to brainwash them into believing the system existed as part of a natural order or even for their benefit. The aristocracy relied on a divine right of kings, the capitalist class on the guiding hand of the free market and bogus claims of equality of opportunity.
In another hundred years, if we still exist as a species, our system will look no less corrupt – probably more so – than its predecessors.
Neoliberalism, late-stage capitalism, plutocratic rule by corporations – whatever you wish to call it – has allowed a tiny elite to stash away more wealth and accrue more power than any feudal monarch could ever have dreamt of. And because of the global reach of this elite, its corruption is more endemic, more complete, more destructive than any ever known to mankind.
A foreign policy elite can destroy the world several times over with nuclear weapons. A globalised corporate elite is filling the oceans with the debris from our consumption, and chopping down the forest-lungs of our planet for palm-oil plantations so we can satisfy our craving for biscuits and cake. And our media and intelligence services are jointly crafting a narrative of bogeymen and James Bond villains – both in Hollywood movies, and in our news programmes – to make us fearful and pliable.
Assumptions of inevitability
Most of us abuse our own small-power thoughtlessly, even self-righteously. We tell ourselves that we gave the kids a "good spanking" because they were naughty, rather than because we established with them early on a power relationship that confusingly taught them that the use of force and coercion came with a parental stamp of approval.
Those in greater power, from minions in the media to executives of major corporations, are no different. They are as incapable of questioning the ideology and the narrative – how inevitable and "right" our neoliberal system is – as the rest of us. But they play a vital part in maintaining and entrenching that system nonetheless.
David Cromwell and David Edwards of Media Lens have provided two analogies – in the context of the media – that help explain how it is possible for individuals and groups to assist and enforce systems of power without having any conscious intention to do so, and without being aware that they are contributing to something harmful. Without, in short, being aware that they are conspiring in the system.
The first :
When a shoal of fish instantly changes direction, it looks for all the world as though the movement was synchronised by some guiding hand. Journalists – all trained and selected for obedience by media all seeking to maximise profits within state-capitalist society – tend to respond to events in the same way.
The second :
Place a square wooden framework on a flat surface and pour into it a stream of ball bearings, marbles, or other round objects. Some of the balls may bounce out, but many will form a layer within the wooden framework; others will then find a place atop this first layer. In this way, the flow of ball bearings steadily builds new layers that inevitably produce a pyramid-style shape. This experiment is used to demonstrate how near-perfect crystalline structures such as snowflakes arise in nature without conscious design.
The system – whether feudalism, capitalism, neoliberalism – emerges out of the real-world circumstances of those seeking power most ruthlessly. In a time when the key resource was land, a class emerged justifying why it should have exclusive rights to control that land and the labour needed to make it productive. When industrial processes developed, a class emerged demanding that it had proprietary rights to those processes and to the labour needed to make them productive.
Our place in the pyramid
In these situations, we need to draw on something like Darwin's evolutionary "survival of the fittest" principle. Those few who are most hungry for power, those with least empathy, will rise to the top of the pyramid, finding themselves best-placed to exploit the people below. They will rationalise this exploitation as a divine right, or as evidence of their inherently superior skills, or as proof of the efficiency of the market.
And below them, like the layers of ball bearings, will be those who can help them maintain and expand their power: those who have the skills, education and socialisation to increase profits and sell brands.
All of this should be obvious, even non-controversial. It fits what we experience of our small-power lives. Does bigger power operate differently? After all, if those at the top of the power-pyramid were not hungry for power, even psychopathic in its pursuit, if they were caring and humane, worried primarily about the wellbeing of their workforce and the planet, they would be social workers and environmental activists, not CEOs of media empires and arms manufacturers.
And yet, base your political thinking on what should be truisms, articulate a worldview that distrusts those with the most power because they are the most capable of – and committed to – misusing it, and you will be derided. You will be called a conspiracy theorist, dismissed as deluded. You will be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat, of sour grapes, of being anti-American, a social warrior, paranoid, an Israel-hater or anti-semitic, pro-Putin, pro-Assad, a Marxist.
None of this should surprise us either. Because power – not just the people in the system, but the system itself – will use whatever tools it has to protect itself. It is easier to deride critics as unhinged, especially when you control the media, the politicians and the education system, than it is to provide a counter-argument.
In fact, it is vital to prevent any argument or real debate from taking place. Because the moment we think about the arguments, weigh them, use our critical faculties, there is a real danger that the scales will fall from our eyes. There is a real threat that we will move back from the screen, and see the whole picture.
Can we see the complete picture of the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury; or the US election that led to Trump being declared president; or the revolution in Ukraine; or the causes and trajectory of fighting in Syria, and before it Libya and Iraq; or the campaign to discredit Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party; or the true implications of the banking crisis a decade ago?
Profit, not ethics
Just as a feudal elite was driven not by ethics but by the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of land; just as early capitalists were driven not by ethics but by the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of mechanisation; so neoliberalism is driven not by ethics but the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of the planet.
The only truth we can know is that the western power-elite is determined to finish the task of making its power fully global, expanding it from near-absolute to absolute. It cares nothing for you or your grand-children. It is a cold-calculating system, not a friend or neighbour. It lives for the instant gratification of wealth accumulation, not concern about the planet's fate tomorrow.
And because of that it is structurally bound to undermine or discredit anyone, any group, any state that stands in the way of achieving its absolute dominion.
If that is not the thought we hold uppermost in our minds as we listen to a politician, read a newspaper, watch a film or TV show, absorb an ad, or engage on social media, then we are sleepwalking into a future the most powerful, the most ruthless, the least caring have designed for us.
Step back, and take a look at the whole screen. And decide whether this is really the future you wish for your grand-children.
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/
Sep 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Sep 22, 2018 4:54:26 PM | 20 ">link
Stormy Daniels supposedly said she was surprised to hear Trump was running for President because he had said to her he didnt want to be be President. After all, why would he? Rich guy with maybe 5 years left to live. Who needs it?
So why did he run. He had no choice. Look at the ease in which government can bring dawn anyone with tax and money laundering charges and look at his partners and a number of his dodgy financial dealings not to mention the ongoing audit firing his campaign. His buddy Felix Sater cut a deal and so didn't Trump. Run and serve and keep your wealth and stay out of jail, and make a few billion with insider deals while you are at it.
So the Deep State which is far more than entrenched bureaucrats as the naive define it (it includes the ruling elite in finance, MIC, oil, MSM, retired intelligence/military/state/congress, etc), brought in a controlled Trojan horse pretending to be a populist who was all about the working class and anti establishment, anti war and anti globalist while those he served were opposites. Look at what he has done and who he has surrounded himself with. Lol
So what is the endgame for this Russiagate and this phony Deep State vs Trump nonsense? Why Trump?
Not sure I know for sure. Polarizing and dividing the US with perhaps a civil war when Trump gets impeached and resigns, or at least imposition of permanent martial law. Get support for massive censorship which all authoritarian regimes need. And of course as the US goes down this path its puppet states in EU, UK and elsewhere will follow. I guess we will have to wait and see.
In the meantime, Trump will feed the beast (tax cuts for rich, tarrifs for middle class, higher Military spending, cuts to Medicare/Medicaid/social security, higher insurance premiums/HC costs, phony economic figures to mask deteriorating economic conditions for the median (remember when Trump said the same of Hillary using the same bogus figures)
Fewer people are working in the US under Trump as more people are disappeared from the work force. GDP growth per MH is due to higher extraction of wealth from middle class by the rentier class, and stock market growth is due to central bank purchases, offshore money coming home due to tax breaks and of course the plunge protection team removing the risk of a major drop until after the mid term elections. We are already seeing the beginning of the next housing market collapse.
Sep 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
bevin , Sep 20, 2018 3:43:13 PM | linkThe whole nonsense about Russian interference, which was obviously nonsense from Day One and has never, for a moment looked like anything but nonsense, seems to indicate that we have entered a post political era in which policy discussions and debates are forgotten and smears and false accusations take their place.
Currently in the US the Kavanaugh nomination which ought to be about the meaning of the law and the consequences of having a Supreme Court which will make Judge Taney look like Solomon at his most impressive. Instead it is about an alleged teenage incident in which the nominee is said to have caressed a girls breasts at a drunken party when all involved were at High School. Before that we had a Senatorial election in Alabama in which the Republican candidate was charged with having shown a sexual interest in teenage girls- whether this was a 'first' in Alabama is unknown but it is believed to have happened elsewhere, in the unenlightened past.
Then we have the matter of whether Jeremy Corbyn is such a danger to Jews that they will all leave the country if he is ever elected to power. This long campaign, completely devoid of evidence, like 'Russiagate' has the potential of going on forever, simply because there being no evidence it cannot be refuted.
Which is also the case with the Skripal affair, because of which even as we speak, massive trade and financial sanctions are being imposed against Russia and its enormous, innocent and plundered population.
In none of these cases has any real evidence, of the minimal quality that might justify the hanging of a dog, ever advanced. But that doesn't matter, the important thing is to choose a side and if it is Hillary Clinton's to believe or to pretend to believe and to convince others to believe (as Marcy at Emptywheel has been doing for close to three years now) in the incredible.
Who says that we no longer live in a Christian society in which faith is everything?
Sep 20, 2018 | crookedtimber.org
Hidari 09.18.18 at 8:50 am ( 105 )I think this is an incredibly important point here:
'One last point: A lot of non-conservatives have a very difficult time grappling with the notion that a commitment to inequality, that a belief in the inherent superiority of some people over others, that one group has the the right to rule and dominate others, is a moral belief. For many people, particularly on the left, that idea is not so much immoral as it is beyond the pale of morality itself. So that's where the charge that I'm being dismissive or reductive comes from, I'm convinced. Because I say the animating idea of the right is not freedom or virtue or limited government but instead power and privilege, people, and again I see this mostly from liberals and the left, think I'm making some sort of claim about conservatism as a criminal, amoral enterprise, devoid of principle altogether, whereas I firmly believe I'm trying to do the exact opposite: to focus on where exactly the moral divide between right and left lies.'
Both the Right and the Left, think that they are moral. And yet they disagree about moral issues. How can this be?
The solution to this problem is to see that when Rightists and Leftists use the word 'moral' they are using the word in two different (and non compatible) senses. I won't dwell on what the Left mean by morality: I'm sure most of you will be familiar with, so to speak, your own moral code.
What the Right mean by morality is rather different, and is more easily seen in 'outliers' e.g. right wing intellectuals like Evelyn Waugh and T.S. Eliot rather than politicians. Intellectuals can be rather more open about their true beliefs.
The first key point is to understand the hostility towards 'abstraction': and what purposes this serves. Nothing is more alien to right wing thought that the idea of an Abstract Man: right wing thought is situational, contextual (one might even call it relativistic) to the core. de Maistre states this most clearly: 'The (French) constitution of 1795, like its predecessors, has been drawn up for Man. Now, there is no such thing in the world as Man . In the course of my life, I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, etc.; I am even aware, thanks to Montesquieu, that one can be a Persian. But, as for Man, I declare that I have never met him in my life.'
This sounds postmodern to us, even Leftist (and of course Marx might have given highly provisional approval to this statement). But the question is not: is this statement true? It's: 'what do the right do with this statement?'
Again to quote another reactionary thinker Jose Ortega y Gasseett: 'I am myself plus my circumstances'. Again this is simply a definition of contextualism. So what are your circumstances? They are, amongst other things, your social circumstances: i.e. your social class.
Since, according to this argument, you are amongst other things, your social class, I cannot judge your moral actions unless I understand your social circumstances. But morality is a form of judgement, or to put it another way a ranking. Morality is means nothing unless I can say: 'you are more moral then him, she is more moral than you' and so on. (Nietzsche: 'Man is Man the esteemer' i.e. someone who ranks his or her fellow human beings: human beings cannot be morally equal or the phrase has no meaning).
But I can't hermeneutically see what moral role you must play in life, I cannot judge you, unless I have some criteria for this judgement, and for this I must know what your circumstances are.
Therefore, unless people have a role in life (i.e. butcher, baker, candlestick maker) then morality collapses (this is the weak point in the argument and if you wanted to tear the whole edifice down you would start here). Because unless we know what one's social role is then we can't assess whether or not people are living 'up to' that role. And of course this social order must be hierarchical, or else anyone can be anything one wants to be, and in that case, who will sweep the streets? '
And if anyone has any smart arse points to raise about that idea, God usually gets roped in to function, literally, as a Deux ex Machina.
' The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.'
Clive James put it best when discussing Waugh: 'With no social order, there could be no moral order. People had to know their place before they knew their duty he (and, more importantly society) needed a coherent social system (i.e. an ordered social system, a hierarchical social system)'
In other words Conservatives believe that without hierarchy, without ranking and without a stratified (and therefore meaningful) social order, morality actually disintegrates. You simply cannot have a morality without these things: everything retreats into the realm of the subjective. Conservatives don't believe that things like the Khmer Rouge's Killing Fields, the Great Terror, the Cultural Revolution are bad things that happened to happen: they believe that they are the necessary and inevitable end result of atheistical, relativistic, egalitarian politics. Social 'levelling', destroying meaningful (i.e. hierarchical ('organic' is the euphemism usually used)) societies will usually, not always but usually, lead to genocide and/or civil war. Hence the hysteria that seizes most Conservatives when the word relativism is used. And their deep fear of postmodernism, a small scale, now deeply unfashionable art movement with a few (very few) philosophical adherents: as it destroys hierarchy and undermines one's capacity to judge and therefore order one's fellow human beings, it will tend to lead to the legalisation of pedophilia, the legalisation of rape, the legalisation of murder, war, genocide etc, because, to repeat, morality depends on order. No social order= no morality.
Hence the Right's deep suspicion of the left's morality. To the Right, the Left has no morality, as they understand the term, and cannot in fact do so. Leftist morality is a contradiction in terms, in this worldview.
Sep 15, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
It seems fatuous to argue, especially in a healthy economy, that the upper middle class faces overwhelming financial insecurities. After all, U.S. stocks have entered the longest bull market ever recorded, the labor force has markedly improved, and small business optimism is at a level unseen since the early 1980s. It appears that happy days are here again. But this halcyon period -- marked by invigorating statistics -- still hasn't prevented even upper-middle-class Americans from feeling discontent. For countless families, especially in thriving metro regions, a six-figure salary fails to deliver economic security. Their sense of vulnerability is real, not imagined.
What defines the upper middle class? According to the Pew Research Center, middle-class households, as of 2010, had incomes ranging from $35,294 to $105,881. In 2016, U.S. Census Bureau data showed that the median household income was $59,039. Based on Census findings from that year, the highest earning households -- before the top 5 percent ($224,251 and upward) -- ranged from $74,878 to $121,018. Reviewing these findings, a household income ranging anywhere from $75,000 to $200,000 could fall under the upper-middle class.
A six-figure income should bring long-term stability. But members of the upper-middle class find themselves prisoners of voluntary yet inescapable costs. A multi-generational phenomenon has unfolded, its roots traceable to the economic slowdown of the early 2000s and the subsequent Great Recession. There is a feeling of anxiety among Baby Boomers who cannot retire, Gen. Xers saddled with expensive mortgages and child care costs, and Millennials paralyzed by insurmountable student debt. Data cannot measure emotion. The sense of unease is palpable despite the economy's booming conditions.
A helpful cultural reference point is HBO's Divorce , which concluded its second season earlier this year. The comedy-drama focuses on the angst and dysfunction of a middle-aged divorced couple in Hastings-on-Hudson, an idyllic town in New York's prosperous Westchester County. Frances DuFresne, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, quits her day job in the city to open an art gallery. Her ex-husband, played by Thomas Hayden Church, is a former Wall Street executive now struggling as a contractor. The estranged couple, raising two children, are undeniably upper-middle class. Their professional background, cultural tastes, and suburban lifestyle personify affluence. But their financial insecurity, mainly the result of career choices, remains a theme throughout the series. The DuFresnes' social circles remind them that their economic position, while favorable, is vulnerable compared to the higher earners inhabiting their bucolic suburb.
The characters portrayed in Divorce exemplify a modern reality: many upper-middle-class households are high earning but asset poor. In 2015, Quartz's Allison Schrager illustrated how "America's upper middle class have almost no emergency cushion and are woefully unprepared for retirement." Reviewing Federal Reserve data, Schrager showed the precarious financial position of upper-middle-class individuals aged 40 to 55 with household incomes ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. The data indicated that this income bracket had fewer assets than ever (assets exclude a house, car, or business, but include retirement funds). As Schrager noted, even a high earner who worked for many years typically had only $70,000 in financial assets. Approximately 25 percent of upper-middle-class 40- to 55-year-olds, meanwhile, had less than $17,500 in financial assets.
Such findings suggest that seemingly high earners are living paycheck-to-paycheck. While Federal Reserve data has since found that median family income grew 10 percent between 2013 and 2016, a disproportionate number of upper-income Americans still cannot retire. In addition to their own financial woes, they must support their elderly parents, which involves innumerable costs. Overwhelming debt has become a vicious trap.
In one Brookings Institution study , researchers reported that nearly one quarter of households earning $100,000 to $150,000 a year claim to be unable to pull together $2,000 in a month to pay bills. Sustained economic growth has not repaired this cycle of debt. According to Deutsche Bank economist Torsten Slok, Americans have more debt than cash than at any time since 1962. The 2018 Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Study found that the average American's personal debt (independent of home mortgages) now exceeds $38,000. Stock market growth and rising home prices have not altered this trend.
In a Washington Post report last year, Todd C. Frankel demonstrated how modern life adds up for an upper-middle class family. Frankel reported on a couple in suburban Atlanta with a combined income of $180,000, an indisputably high earning level. But financial uncertainty rises from a mortgage, three children, day care costs, and the prospect of college tuition. "I don't feel wealthy," the wife, a tax manager, told Frankel. "I don't have a bunch of money stashed away anywhere." While the 2017 tax reform bill brought relief for many Americans, limits on state and local tax deductions have further engendered economic unease.Scrapping Economics and Starting Over Homeownership Does Not Guarantee Middle Class Prosperity
In her new book Squeezed , Alissa Quart captures how middle-class American families are struggling to attain the standard of living once enjoyed by their parents. And in an important chapter on the upper middle class, she profiles "life at the bottom of the top." Quart argues that higher earners, like most Americans, contend with income disparity and the extreme wealth enveloping metro regions. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, upper-middle-class families go broke hiring tutors and maintaining lifestyles that permit their children to compete with their wealthiest peers. The parents, working professionals, are emotionally ravaged by endless costs. They discover few perks in geographical serendipity, graduate degrees, or traditionally high-earning professions like law.
Quart reveals how the legal profession has induced economic stress since the 2008 recession. In the past decade, law firms and corporations have hired fewer lawyers. Yet for lawyers just entering the profession, student debt is a crippling part of their lives. As Quart notes, student debt at the average law school increased from $95,000 to about $112,000 in 2014. It is difficult to fathom how simple steps in life -- getting married, buying a home, starting a family -- are financially possible with such debt levels. But the struggle transcends age. Quart profiles a 59-year-old Mississippi lawyer who, following health setbacks, was ultimately "pushed out" by her employer. Life continued at its indifferent pace. The mother still had to pay for her son's college tuition during her initial medical leave. "This is a vastly different life from what I expected to be having at this age," she told Quart. "The six-figure salaries and benefits are long gone."
The upper middle class's discontent also transcends political ideology. A seemingly high-earning Republican household in suburban Cleveland confronts expenses similar to a high-earning Democratic household in suburban Philadelphia. These are people who tune out the minute-by-minute plot twists of the Trump presidency. If anything, they are streaming Netflix or watching HGTV for a nurturing distraction. Their daily focus is on remaining financially viable.
Aspirations prove costly regardless of geography. A four-year degree at a public college, for example, costs nearly twice as much as it did in 1996. Exorbitant college debt now dictates the financial future of Baby Boomers, Gen. Xers, and Millennials. Boomers, at the peak of their earnings, postpone retirement and support children with student loans. Gen. Xers, nearing the height of their careers, remain broke due to years of paying off higher education debt. Millennials, still young in their professional lives, primarily work to pay off monthly federal and private student loan bills. Credit cards are a necessary prescription for each generation's economic survival. In 2017, the nation's total credit card debt was over $1 trillion.
Economic insecurity is not limited to higher education. The cost of health care has also doubled since the 1990s. Obamacare only accelerated the costs incurred by households. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported studies suggesting that the consolidation of medical practices actually "drives up costs." Obamacare hastened the swallowing of regional hospitals by larger health care systems. This merger frenzy has empowered hospital systems to negotiate with insurance companies. But the mergers have increased costs, eliminated competition, and created barriers to care. The upper middle class, like so many others, are absorbing the costs of this transformed landscape. Rising premiums only add to their financial burden.
Of course, the upper middle class is in a better position than most Americans. In Dream Hoarders , Richard V. Reeves correctly unveiled how they are collectively removed from the socio-economics of the nation's majority. Their economic outcomes remain favorable compared to the struggles of countless working-class Americans. But a sizable number of higher earning households are not "opportunity hoarding." There is a cost to working parents ensuring their children have better lives than their own. In the booming 2010s, this segment of the population thought they would be in a better place than what they'd anticipated during the booming 1990s. Yet their diplomas did not translate into liquid cash. Upper-middle-class families, while affluent and well connected, have been met with empty pockets and unfulfilled dreams in this brave new economy.
Charles F. McElwee III is a writer based in northeastern Pennsylvania. He's written for The American Conservative , City Journal, The Atlantic , National Review , and the Weekly Standard , among others.
Intelliwriter September 13, 2018 at 3:07 pmAt the end of the day, it's math. If you spend more than you take in, you'll be broke. I have always thought of myself as "New England Frugal," and I wear it like a badge of honor. We could've sent our kids to private school, but they went to public (as did my husband and I). We could've driven Mercedes, but I like Toyota. We could've lived in a big fancy home, but stayed in our more modest home.Thrice A Viking , says: September 13, 2018 at 6:05 pm
The good news is that we were able to pay our kids' college bills (paying now for our daughter's master's degree). We finally bought a couple of nicer cars. Still in our house though.
We have never really cared what others have. We are both savers and that's what we did. Recent promotions mean more money coming in and we can spend a little more, but if either one of us gets laid off, the other can pay the bills. Math.Law and orderly made the point that they should move out of overpriced cities. I think that rings true. I just read an article – about the number of millionaires in each state – that Manhattan in NYC has a cost-of-living that's 138% above the national average, or 238% of that average. That means that a household has to make $71,400 just to be the same as $30,000 gets them in Everytown, USA. (I believe that the actual median in Manhattan is a bit over $80,000, which puts them at about 34 grand.) That ironically makes this high-rolling borough below average in effective income. I would highly advise many of them to get out, and live with the Apple Knockers or the rest of us hicks.Lord Karth , says: September 13, 2018 at 6:48 pmLet's not forget taxes. "Upper middle class" Americans pay far more in taxes than they did in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the self-employed.Fred Bowman , says: September 13, 2018 at 7:44 pm
FICA can be a stone b!tch.
Lord KarthThe article itself seemed like on big whine. The comment section OTOH seem to have a lot of common sense advice attached to it. I live a more modest lifestyle nowadays and to tell the truth I seem to be happier and less stressed. To tell the truth it took a long time for me to live within my means.
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
arze September 8, 2018 at 12:24 pmWhat's truly remarkable .
What's truly remarkable is Gen. Eisenhower told us upon leaving presidency all about who competes with our elected president on what happens.
Those presidents that toe the "military industrial complex" line most closely are seen as the most in charge.President Kennedy did not, was murdered. President Johnson did, it eventually sickened him, he did not seek reelection. President Nixon was removed from office. President Carter was humiliated. President Reagan's dream of a nuclear free world was vetoed by guess who. President Bush was defeated by the mother of all sycophants to that force. President Clinton was their man. Vice President Cheney was even more so. President Obama tried to hide the fact he was not. President Trump has not tried to hide that fact.
Reporting on the Trump phenomena would benefit by more imagination.
Is it not a public service, irrespective of one's opinions on him, that it should now be clear to all, now via the Trump Phenomena, that what was plainly told us all in the 1950s from a General, is the way it is?
Yet a "criticism" of Trump is his "sin" of taking off the mask.
General Eisenhower told us to our faces all about the fiction, and yet we as a culture/civilization pretend the president is solely in charge.
What is remarkable is the amount of reporting on the current president that lacks imagination, insight, logic, rationality, reason, common sense, and insight.
However, that is not remarkable given that most of the reporters lived all their lives in a culture/civilization that fails to educate us in a meaningful way. Their and our professors, mentors, supervisors, and family, and friends and significant others, also so socialized; however, the road to progress is in front of us if we are curious enough.
Were the goal of contemporary American Politics first and foremost a search for the truth, that would be one thing.
The Shining Star of American Politics, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren perfectly epitomizes that it is not, as she knows better, was seduced by power, and all that that implies. The ends justify the means for the entire lot of them.
Whatever that evil perspective engender, progress is and never shall be one of them.
Sep 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
We Americans were traditionally divided politically and culturally by region. There is still some of that but the major fault lines are more fuzzy now.
1. The Establishment. This group was on parade during the McCain imperial procession across the lands. The sight of the supposedly mutually opposed Republicans and Democrats hobnobbing, backslapping, joking, hugging and passing around the bi-partisan mints while they waited for the stiff to be wheeled in was revealing. The cavernous nave of the pseudo-Gothic church was a perfect venue for this fête de joie. A window depicting Robert Lee looked down on this vast space until recently. That has been taken down to maintain amity between the Yankee and "Southern" wings of the establishment. The Episcopal Church of today has no use for such as he. I wonder if the masses who support "the middle" understand how cruelly they are deceived by the pretended mutual animosity of their "betters." The farce was on display last week.
2. The Neo-Bolsheviks. These people have been gathering their strength in the schools since the '60s. they have indoctrinated the young all this time with a hatred of capitalism, a contempt for American tradition to include the Constitution and a desire to see the country reduced to the status of Cambodia in the Year Zero. The spectacle of the disintegration of Venezuela after decades of socialist tinkering means nothing to them. This time we will get it right! This is their belief. Disillusioned communists told me all across what had been the Warsaw Pact that Communism was never given a fair chance to prove itself. The American Bolsheviki think they will get it right this time if they attain power. The original Bolsheviks seized power with how many members in the vanguard? 20,000? Tell me. The governments of New York, California and New Jersey are all seeking to accommodate the Neo-Bolsheviks. How far will they go? The Soviet Bolsheviks killed millions of Russian Kulaks and political enemies. Remember that!
3. The Deplorables. This is essentially the "country party." They are the people who know they are being dis-possessed. These are the people who know they are despised by both the Establishment and the Neo-Bolsheviks and who are acutely aware that these other groups intend to exterminate them as a group if not as individuals. The Clintons were the ultimate Establishment people. Bill threw away the Deplorables' jobs in NAFTA in search of the Globalist Utopian vision at the heart of the Establishment's indoctrination in the schools.
Ross Perot was an amusing little freak? He spoke of a "great sucking sound" that would be heard as Deplorable jobs followed cheap capital across the southern border?
The Deplorables do not think he was funny at all. They elected Trump to give them hope and he has done that. They do not want to be governed by Establishment figures like HC who detested them as obstacles so much that she could not refrain from treating the miners with contempt to their faces. Bette Midler said this week that the Establishmenters cannot fight the Deplorables because people like her have no weapons but PBS tote bags. An interesting point.
There are a lot of splinter groups and factions. Tell me what they are. pl
blue peacock , 8 hours agoVietnamVet , 9 hours ago
Compared to the 60s there is much less social strife today. No riots on the streets, no bombings by radical groups, no live fire shootings to quell protests in universities. So is this the quiet before the storm?
What we see today is much more arm-chair fighting using keyboards on social media. Frothing at the mouth pushing hashtags The extent of action is writing #MeToo and #BringBackOurGirls. Can such somnambulant warriors cause a real war?
My observation is that over the last 30 years, there are a few big trends.
- One, is PCness becoming more and more embedded causing increased censorship of speech.
- The second is rising "doublethink" and the Establishment melding into a true Ingsoc with increasing governmental interference in all aspects of people's lives to benefit the "party club".
- The third, is the growth in "state capitalism", reflected in the increasing financialization of the economy and the substitution of credit for capital. It's no longer what's good for GM but what's good for Goldman Sachs. The Federal Reserve run by the Ph.Ds on the "sophistry" standard as the primary lever.
- The fourth trend is a slow moral decay among the elites as the powerful no longer feel a sense of duty and honor. It is more important for them how they are perceived by the "club". Invitations to gatherings such as Davos, Aspen, & the Google "camp".
- Fifth, is increasing hopelessness among many segments reflected in the rising deaths to opioids.
https://www.businessinsider...David , 10 hours ago
This post brought a smile of recognition to my face. I agree.
The media desperately ignores this issue. The current Western power structure is in flux and is confusing.
Communism died when the Soviet Union fell. China, Cuba and Vietnam are not workers' paradises. The hard left is impotent and in the lurch. The mild left and liberals sold out to the Plutocrats. Republicans are crazy except for Corporatists who are keeping their mouths shut and passing tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
Those who said farewell to Senator John McCain at the National Cathedral did not mentioned that he is as responsible as anyone for the forever wars that are causing the refugee influx that is tearing Europe apart.
Their donors are imposing austerity and poverty on to the people.
There is no one championing the concerns of the Deplorables except the hard right. These Theocrats are most likely to start carting off red shirted teachers, librarians, pot heads, agnostics, unemployed and dissidents to work camps, once things fall apart.Pat Lang Mod -> David , 10 hours ago
I think it is very important to realize that the current mess in this country is largely a result of not reigning in the investment bankers as well as the country embarking on deadly and abusive wars against a large part of the non-western world.
As you rightly pointed out, both establishment parties are equally guilty of the worst offensives against those who choose to live outside of the major metropolitan areas.
This country would be much better off if people were taught how the investment banking system works and how it is regularly abused by the rich to make themselves richer. Of course, that is not in the interest of the establishment leaders.
Where you and I differ is over Donald Trump. I do not believe for one minute that he gives a damn about the people that have been screwed so royally over the last thirty to forty years. He is just louder and more obnoxious than most.
If there is a way out of this mess, I cannot see it.
I am like you over seventy. I believe the old should be encouraged to disappear from politics and only the young should be engaged in trying to save this country (as well as themselves).
DavidDavid -> Pat Lang , 9 hours ago
Not sure why you single out "investment bankers" from the other Establishment types.
In my varied career I worked twice as an employee and three times as a consultant for Standard & Poors Retail Brokerage Division. I also worked for the Bank of New York, Government Clearance Division and did various consulting stints at Union Bank of Switzerland and Manufacters Hanover.
All of these positions were in the technology field.
You would be amazed at what you can learn from the inside.
The banks make everything function. When there is a banking crisis they turn up the screws on the politicians and the politicians respond by bailing the banks out at the expense of the majority of the population.
Of course, the politicians know that they will be rewarded either directly or indirectly by the bankers. Just think of all those millions they pay for speaking fees.
Harlan Easley , 7 hours agoGrimgrin , 8 hours ago
We are as united as Rome was near the end of their Empire when their idiot establishment was convinced they could integrate a massive influx of tribes that loathed their way of life. Same is occurring in Europe. History rhymes.
Rural vs City you touched on, gun owners vs gun banners, gender sanity vs gender insanity, free traders vs keeping what's left of our manufacturing base, stockholders vs deplorable's, open border chaos vs normal immigration patterns to the US, CNN& MSNBC vs Rural, Decent healthcare vs nothing, establishment vs God, Democrat intense hate vs Southern whites. I am a rural southern white who did consider myself independent, however, the intense hate directed toward me and my southerners makes me hate them. So be it.
Using your terminology, the places where I see the most serious factional divisions are the Neo-Bolsheviks. There's a group one might call the "50 Staters" after Howard Dean; they're people who want to re-orient the country in a more socialist direction (Medicare for all, increased minimum wage, expanded union rights, generally expanded intervention in the economy) and believe they can sell this as an electoral platform. They hate the establishment, and are themselves hated like poison by much of the rest of the Neo-Bolsheviks. The term "Bernie Bro" and "Brocialist" were thrown around a lot last election by people who's platform is basically "destroy all power structures" without thinking too hard about what it would mean should they have the power to do it. I've classed them with the Neo-Bolsheviks due to geographic and cultural similarities, though they may also be viewed as the left wing of the Deplorables. Personally, these are the lot I'd say I'm the most similar too.
The remainder of the neo-Bolsheviks can largely be grouped according to what they believe the source of all evil in the world is: Men; white people; the concept of gender itself; and in fringe cases the idea that being overweight is unhealthy or other aspects of reality they find inconvenient. Politically they're hamstrung by three things:
First, they can't really think about anything coherently. The only way they allow themselves to process issues is deciding who the victim of men/white-people/etc... is in a situation and deciding that this person must be in the right. If that leads to an conclusion where the cognitive dissonance is too much to bear (most recently the Siraj Wahhaj case), they then argue that the fact you're talking about it means "you're racist/sexist/transphobic/*-phobic shut up". This naturally leads to things like someone who believes that white-people are the source of all evil talking about how the groping attacks in Germany were just 'white bodies being subjected to what they subject black bodies too' (they love to use the word 'bodies' instead of 'people'). The people who believe men are the source of all evil took some umbrage at this idea. This infighting is constant.
Second, they are pathetically easy for the establishment to manipulate. It is as simple as getting the nominally left faction of the establishment to have a woman stump for a policy using vaguely left wing terms and they will fall over themselves to support it. I've been told by these people that Russia must be violently opposed because Vladimir Putin is a homophobic, islamaphobic (!), racist right-winger. It's kind of amazing to see the political descendants of the hippies cheering on the prospect of a nuclear war because it would be a woman killing everyone in the name of LGBT rights.
Third, every effective organizer and leader they may have just becomes part of the establishment. Since these are typically female, gay, or non-white, they cannot meaningfully be opposed no matter how obviously they betray the goals of the neo-Bolsheviks. This happens to the deplorables as well, but they seem to be far more aggressive in countering it. It's not a coincidence that the neo-Bolsheviks have never really succeeded in any political project that the establishment doesn't find acceptable.
I may well be downplaying their threat, but they do seem to have disadvantages that the original versions lacked.
im cotton , 9 hours agoEEngineer , 9 hours ago
I'm not sure who you would lump in with the "Neo-Bolsheviks", but as someone living in a semi-rural area of Iowa--deplorable central -- that voted democratic for decades and then voted for Trump, many of these deplorables embraced Bernie Sanders* (a Neo-Bolshevik?) and would welcome a return to an FDR style democratic party.
If for no other reason than to partake of the benefits afforded every other citizenry in the western world such as universal healthcare, free or affordable college, etc.
Imho, far from being supporters of progessive economic policy, most liberal dem politicians defend the status quo as much as anyone and defer to their tech, insurance, arms, and financial donors.
Like was said 2 yrs ago, the dems would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders. And I include Pelosi, Schumer, you name it, in that bunch.
As you say, there are many more factions. Not all so-called deplorables are the same politically of course.
As for Trump's base--I have always thought it erroneous to label that base as working men and women of below average education, etc. 90% of Trump voters supported Romney and 60% had a median income above the national average.
While he is supported by disparate groups, the largest of Trump's base is the vast suburban gop voters of many large US cities. The Msm just doesn't want to acknowledge that Trump voters are also their well to do neighbors. Trump carried Suffolk County/Hamptons in New York state.Fred -> EEngineer , 6 hours ago
The military, veterans, and various police agencies. States fail when they will no longer enforce the official line. That's usually happens when their own family members start showing up in the marches, barricades, protests, and such.
Loads of bright eyed youngsters have joined up over the last few decades thinking they would be like Luke Skywalker only to find out they're being used as Imperial Stormtroopers.
"thinking they would be like Luke Skywalker..."
Those folks with the starwars bumper stickers you see on the road aren't the ones who signed up for service.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jen , Sep 1, 2018 5:03:48 PM | link
To those who say Statements 1 and 3 in B's post reflect or demonstrate reality: don't confuse bullying with strength.
The statements are expressions of Social Darwinism in its various forms. Social Darwinism represents a particular belief system that justifies the existence of an elite dominating society and culture, so as to ensure its (that is, the elite's) continued survival and domination.
Needless to say, Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara are under police investigation in Israel for corruption. Sara N apparently is also notorious for ill-treating her staff and throwing her weight around to impress and intimidate others.
Is this sort of behaviour - stealing from the nation, bullying others - the behaviour of those who are strong and secure in their power?
Even the Mongols, though they brought destruction, extermination and ruin everywhere they went, did eventually bring order and stability, and revived trade and civilisation. They themselves became civilised by the peoples they conquered. In the end, they were undone by their own internal family squabbles and competition. They were not so strong as they first seemed.
It's not enough to be "strong" in a military sense - what a nation's leadership does with its power is as important as acquiring and having that power in the first place.
Aug 31, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca
Developing the tradition charted by C. Wright Mills in his 1956 classic The Power Elite , in his latest book, Professor Peter Phillips starts by reviewing the transition from the nation state power elites described by authors such as Mills to a transnational power elite centralized on the control of global capital.
Thus, in his just-released study Giants: The Global Power Elite , Phillips, a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University in the USA, identifies the world's top seventeen asset management firms, such as BlackRock and J.P Morgan Chase, each with more than one trillion dollars of investment capital under management, as the 'Giants' of world capitalism. The seventeen firms collectively manage more than $US41.1 trillion in a self-invested network of interlocking capital that spans the globe.
This $41 trillion represents the wealth invested for profit by thousands of millionaires, billionaires and corporations. The seventeen Giants operate in nearly every country in the world and are 'the central institutions of the financial capital that powers the global economic system'. They invest in anything considered profitable, ranging from 'agricultural lands on which indigenous farmers are replaced by power elite investors' to public assets (such as energy and water utilities) to war.
In addition, Phillips identifies the most important networks of the Global Power Elite and the individuals therein. He names 389 individuals (a small number of whom are women and a token number of whom are from countries other than the United States and the wealthier countries of Western Europe) at the core of the policy planning nongovernmental networks that manage, facilitate and defend the continued concentration of global capital. The Global Power Elite perform two key uniting functions, he argues: they provide ideological justifications for their shared interests (promulgated through their corporate media), and define the parameters of action for transnational governmental organizations and capitalist nation-states.
More precisely, Phillips identifies the 199 directors of the seventeen global financial Giants and offers short biographies and public information on their individual net wealth. These individuals are closely interconnected through numerous networks of association including the World Economic Forum, the International Monetary Conference, university affiliations, various policy councils, social clubs, and cultural enterprises. For a taste of one of these clubs, see this account of The Links in New York. As Phillips observes: 'It is certainly safe to conclude they all know each other personally or know of each other in the shared context of their positions of power.'
The Giants, Phillips documents, invest in each other but also in many hundreds of investment management firms, many of which are near-Giants. This results in tens of trillions of dollars coordinated in a single vast network of global capital controlled by a very small number of people. 'Their constant objective is to find enough safe investment opportunities for a return on capital that allows for continued growth. Inadequate capital-placement opportunities lead to dangerous speculative investments, buying up of public assets, and permanent war spending.'
Because the directors of these seventeen asset management firms represent the central core of international capital, 'Individuals can retire or pass away, and other similar people will move into their place, making the overall structure a self-perpetuating network of global capital control. As such, these 199 people share a common goal of maximum return on investments for themselves and their clients, and they may seek to achieve returns by any means necessary – legal or not . the institutional and structural arrangements within the money management systems of global capital relentlessly seek ways to achieve maximum return on investment, and the conditions for manipulations – legal or not – are always present.'
Like some researchers before him, Phillips identifies the importance of those transnational institutions that serve a unifying function. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G20, G7, World Trade Organization (WTO), World Economic Forum (WEF), Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group , Bank for International Settlements, Group of 30 (G30), the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Monetary Conference serve as institutional mechanisms for consensus building within the transnational capitalist class, and power elite policy formulation and implementation. 'These international institutions serve the interests of the global financial Giants by supporting policies and regulations that seek to protect the free, unrestricted flow of capital and debt collection worldwide.'
But within this network of transnational institutions, Phillips identifies two very important global elite policy-planning organizations: the Group of Thirty (which has 32 members) and the extended executive committee of the Trilateral Commission (which has 55 members). These nonprofit corporations, which each have a research and support staff, formulate elite policy and issue instructions for their implementation by the transnational governmental institutions like the G7, G20, IMF, WTO, and World Bank. Elite policies are also implemented following instruction of the relevant agent, including governments, in the context. These agents then do as they are instructed. Thus, these 85 members (because two overlap) of the Group of Thirty and the Trilateral Commission comprise a central group of facilitators of global capitalism, ensuring that 'global capital remains safe, secure, and growing'.
So, while many of the major international institutions are controlled by nation-state representatives and central bankers (with proportional power exercised by dominant financial supporters such as the United States and European Union countries), Phillips is more concerned with the transnational policy groups that are nongovernmental because these organizations 'help to unite TCC power elites as a class' and the individuals involved in these organizations facilitate world capitalism. 'They serve as policy elites who seek the continued growth of capital in the world.'
Developing this list of 199 directors of the largest money management firms in the world, Phillips argues, is an important step toward understanding how capitalism works globally today. These global power elite directors make the decisions regarding the investment of trillions of dollars. Supposedly in competition, the concentrated wealth they share requires them to cooperate for their greater good by identifying investment opportunities and shared risk agreements, and working collectively for political arrangements that create advantages for their profit-generating system as a whole.
Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.
So what is the global elite's purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled 'terrorists' – around the world. The real purpose of 'the war on terror' is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of 'national interests'.Giants: The Global Power Elite
Wealth and Power
An interesting point that emerges for me from reading Phillips thoughtful analysis is that there is a clear distinction between those individuals and families who have wealth and those individuals who have (sometimes significantly) less wealth (which, nevertheless, is still considerable) but, through their positions and connections, wield a great deal of power. As Phillips explains this distinction, 'the sociology of elites is more important than particular elite individuals and their families'. Just 199 individuals decide how more than $40 trillion will be invested. And this is his central point. Let me briefly elaborate.
There are some really wealthy families in the world, notably including the families Rothschild (France and the United Kingdom), Rockefeller (USA), Goldman-Sachs (USA), Warburgs (Germany), Lehmann (USA), Lazards (France), Kuhn Loebs (USA), Israel Moses Seifs (Italy), Al-Saud (Saudi Arabia), Walton (USA), Koch (USA), Mars (USA), Cargill-MacMillan (USA) and Cox (USA). However, not all of these families overtly seek power to shape the world as they wish.
Similarly, the world's extremely wealthy individuals such as Jeff Bezos (USA), Bill Gates (USA), Warren Buffett (USA), Bernard Arnault (France), Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico) and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (France) are not necessarily connected in such a way that they exercise enormous power. In fact, they may have little interest in power as such, despite their obvious interest in wealth.
In essence, some individuals and families are content to simply take advantage of how capitalism and its ancilliary governmental and transnational instruments function while others are more politically engaged in seeking to manipulate major institutions to achieve outcomes that not only maximize their own profit and hence wealth but also shape the world itself.
So if you look at the list of 199 individuals that Phillips identifies at the centre of global capital, it does not include names such as Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Koch, Walton or even Rothschild, Rockefeller or Windsor (the Queen of England) despite their well-known and extraordinary wealth. As an aside, many of these names are also missing from the lists compiled by groups such as Forbes and Bloomberg , but their absence from these lists is for a very different reason given the penchant for many really wealthy individuals and families to avoid certain types of publicity and their power to ensure that they do.
In contrast to the names just listed, in Phillips' analysis names like Laurence (Larry) Fink (Chairman and CEO of BlackRock), James (Jamie) Dimon (Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase) and John McFarlane (Chairman of Barclays Bank), while not as wealthy as those listed immediately above, wield far more power because of their positions and connections within the global elite network of 199 individuals.
Predictably then, Phillips observes, these three individuals have similar lifestyles and ideological orientations. They believe capitalism is beneficial for the world and while inequality and poverty are important issues, they believe that capital growth will eventually solve these problems. They are relatively non-expressive about environmental issues, but recognize that investment opportunities may change in response to climate 'modifications'. As millionaires they own multiple homes. They attended elite universities and rose quickly in international finance to reach their current status as giants of the global power elite. 'The institutions they manage have been shown to engage in illegal collusions with others, but the regulatory fines by governments are essentially seen as just part of doing business.'
In short, as I would characterize this description: They are devoid of a legal or moral framework to guide their actions, whether in relation to business, fellow human beings, war or the environment and climate. They are obviously typical of the elite.
Any apparent concern for people, such as that expressed by Fink and Dimon in response to the racist violence in Charlottesville, USA in August 2017, is simply designed to promote 'stability' or more precisely, a stable (that is, profitable) investment and consumer climate.
The lack of concern for people and issues that might concern many of us is also evident from a consideration of the agenda at elite gatherings. Consider the International Monetary Conference. Founded in 1956, it is a private yearly meeting of the top few hundred bankers in the world. The American Bankers Association (ABA) serves as the secretariat for the conference. But, as Phillips notes: 'Nothing on the agenda seems to address the socioeconomic consequences of investments to determine the impacts on people and the environment.' A casual perusal of the agenda at any elite gathering reveals that this comment applies equally to any elite forum. See, for example, the agenda of the recent WEF meeting in Davos . Any talk of 'concern' is misleading rhetoric.
Hence, in the words of Phillips: The 199 directors of the global Giants are 'a very select set of people. They all know each other personally or know of each other. At least 69 have attended the annual World Economic Forum, where they often serve on panels or give public presentations. They mostly attended the same elite universities, and interact in upperclass social setting[s] in the major cities of the world. They all are wealthy and have significant stock holdings in one or more of the financial Giants. They are all deeply invested in the importance of maintaining capital growth in the world. Some are sensitive to environmental and social justice issues, but they seem to be unable to link these issues to global capital concentration.'
Of course, the global elite cannot manage the world system alone: the elite requires agents to perform many of the functions necessary to control national societies and the individuals within them. 'The interests of the Global Power Elite and the TCC are fully recognized by major institutions in society. Governments, intelligence services, policymakers, universities, police forces, military, and corporate media all work in support of their vital interests.'
In other words, to elaborate Phillips' point and extend it a little, through their economic power, the Giants control all of the instruments through which their policies are implemented. Whether it be governments, national military forces, 'military contractors' or mercenaries (with at least $200 billion spent on private security globally, the industry currently employs some fifteen million people worldwide) used both in 'foreign' wars but also likely deployed in future for domestic control, key 'intelligence' agencies, legal systems and police forces, major nongovernment organizations, or the academic, educational, 'public relations propaganda', corporate media, medical, psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries, all instruments are fully responsive to elite control and are designed to misinform, deceive, disempower, intimidate, repress, imprison (in a jail or psychiatric ward), exploit and/or kill (depending on the constituency) the rest of us, as is readily evident.
Defending Elite Power
Phillips observes that the power elite continually worries about rebellion by the 'unruly exploited masses' against their structure of concentrated wealth. This is why the US military empire has long played the role of defender of global capitalism. As a result, the United States has more than 800 military bases (with some scholars suggesting 1,000) in 70 countries and territories. In comparison, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia have about 30 foreign bases. In addition, US military forces are now deployed in 70 percent of the world's nations with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) having troops in 147 countries, an increase of 80 percent since 2010. These forces conduct counterterrorism strikes regularly, including drone assassinations and kill/capture raids.
'The US military empire stands on hundreds of years of colonial exploitation and continues to support repressive, exploitative governments that cooperate with global capital's imperial agenda. Governments that accept external capital investment, whereby a small segment of a country's elite benefits, do so knowing that capital inevitably requires a return on investment that entails using up resources and people for economic gain. The whole system continues wealth concentration for elites and expanded wretched inequality for the masses .
'Understanding permanent war as an economic relief valve for surplus capital is a vital part of comprehending capitalism in the world today. War provides investment opportunity for the Giants and TCC elites and a guaranteed return on capital. War also serves a repressive function of keeping the suffering masses of humanity afraid and compliant.'
As Phillips elaborates: This is why defense of global capital is the prime reason that NATO countries now account for 85 percent of the world's military spending; the United States spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined.
In essence, 'the Global Power Elite uses NATO and the US military empire for its worldwide security. This is part of an expanding strategy of US military domination around the world, whereby the US/ NATO military empire, advised by the power elite's Atlantic Council , operates in service to the Transnational Corporate Class for the protection of international capital everywhere in the world'.
This entails 'further pauperization of the bottom half of the world's population and an unrelenting downward spiral of wages for 80 percent of the world. The world is facing economic crisis, and the neoliberal solution is to spend less on human needs and more on security. It is a world of financial institutions run amok, where the answer to economic collapse is to print more money through quantitative easing, flooding the population with trillions of new inflation-producing dollars. It is a world of permanent war, whereby spending for destruction requires further spending to rebuild, a cycle that profits the Giants and global networks of economic power. It is a world of drone killings, extrajudicial assassinations, death, and destruction, at home and abroad.'
Where is this all heading?
So what are the implications of this state of affairs? Phillips responds unequivocally: 'This concentration of protected wealth leads to a crisis of humanity, whereby poverty, war, starvation, mass alienation, media propaganda, and environmental devastation are reaching a species-level threat. We realize that humankind is in danger of possible extinction'.
He goes on to state that the Global Power Elite is probably the only entity 'capable of correcting this condition without major civil unrest, war, and chaos' and elaborates an important aim of his book: to raise awareness of the importance of systemic change and the redistribution of wealth among both the book's general readers but also the elite, 'in the hope that they can begin the process of saving humanity.' The book's postscript is a 'A Letter to the Global Power Elite', co-signed by Phillips and 90 others, beseeching the elite to act accordingly.
'It is no longer acceptable for you to believe that you can manage capitalism to grow its way out of the gross inequalities we all now face. The environment cannot accept more pollution and waste, and civil unrest is everywhere inevitable at some point. Humanity needs you to step up and insure that trickle-down becomes a river of resources that reaches every child, every family, and all human beings. We urge you to use your power and make the needed changes for humanity's survival.'
But he also emphasizes that nonviolent social movements, using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a moral code, can accelerate the process of redistributing wealth by pressuring the elite into action.
Peter Phillips has written an important book. For those of us interested in understanding elite control of the world, this book is a vital addition to the bookshelf. And like any good book, as you will see from my comments both above and below, it raised more questions for me even while it answered many.
As I read Phillips' insightful and candid account of elite behavior in this regard, I am reminded, yet again, that the global power elite is extraordinarily violent and utterly insane: content to kill people in vast numbers (whether through starvation or military violence) and destroy the biosphere for profit, with zero sense of humanity's now limited future. See 'The Global Elite is Insane Revisited' and 'Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival' with more detailed explanations for the violence and insanity here: 'Why Violence?' and 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice' .
For this reason I do not share his faith in moral appeals to the elite, as articulated in the letter in his postscript. It is fine to make the appeal but history offers no evidence to suggest that there will be any significant response. The death and destruction inflicted by elites is highly profitable, centuries-old and ongoing. It will take powerful, strategically-focused nonviolent campaigns (or societal collapse) to compel the necessary changes in elite behavior. Hence, I fully endorse his call for nonviolent social movements to compel elite action where we cannot make the necessary changes without their involvement. See 'A Nonviolent Strategy to End Violence and Avert Human Extinction' and Nonviolent Campaign Strategy .
I would also encourage independent action, in one or more of several ways, by those individuals and communities powerful enough to do so. This includes nurturing more powerful individuals by making 'My Promise to Children' , participating in 'The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth' and signing the online pledge of 'The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent World' .
Fundamentally, Giants: The Global Power Elite is a call to action. Professor Peter Phillips is highly aware of our predicament – politically, socially, economically, environmentally and climatically – and the critical role played by the global power elite in generating that predicament.
If we cannot persuade the global power elite to respond sensibly to that predicament, or nonviolently compel it to do so, humanity's time on Earth is indeed limited.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of 'Why Violence?' His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his website is here . He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Aug 31, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca
Western media monopolies, appendages of the billionaire ruling class, select for narratives which glorify criminal foreign policies. Hence, these monopolies are cheerleaders for uninterrupted wars of aggression.
Ruling class policymakers hide their criminality beneath banners of freedom, democracy, and human rights.  These lies provide cover for what amounts to a Western- orchestrated and sustained overseas holocaust and the thirdworldization of domestic populations.
The lies are further reinforced when those who advance these toxic policies are celebrated as heroes. This misplaced adulation negates the struggle for Peace and the rule of International Law. The lies and misplaced adulation also serve to legitimize the West's proxies, which include al Qaeda  in Syria, and neo-Nazis  in Kiev.
What's great thing about the pic accompanying this piece in the Washington Post sanctifying McCain as a human rights advocate is that the guy to his left is an actual Nazi. He's Oleh Tyahnybok, a Ukrainian Nazi. Too good!10:38 AM - Aug 28, 2018
The adulation, then, is part of the apparatus of deception. It brands those who should be facing trials at the Hague as heroes, as it erases the truth, which is a vital component for Peace and International Justice.
Aug 27, 2018 | therealnews.com
While the fight for health care for all, a higher minimum wage, unionization, against systemic racism, mass incarceration and other necessary reforms are just and critical to engaging people in struggle, we also need to tell people the whole truth about just how critical the big picture is.
While the Trump presidency is a cabal of criminals, billionaires and far-right ideologues, it must first of all be seen in the context of the threats to our very existence, not merely reduced to the daily scandals and twitter storms. There is no need to treat working people as infants. The culture is aimed at the infantilization of our political discussion. We can believe that America is already great or that we should Make America Great Again, but it's all the religion of Americanism, and it's meant to make us willing children who will march into battle or just resign ourselves to things the way they are. We are not infants and we must, as best we can, tell people the whole truth.
As catastrophic and savage as capitalism was during the 20th century, continuous wars and genocides, deep economic crisis and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, the system proved to be resilient, the global elites did find a kind of equilibrium. Capitalism did not come to an end and the attempts at socialism failed. While many societies around the world have been destroyed, millions slaughtered in war and many more living in deep poverty, the truth is the majority of the people in the advanced capitalist world are mostly doing ok. In the United States there are as many families earning more than $100,000 a year, as there are earning under $30,000. But as resilient as capitalism has proved to be, I don't think this world order is sustainable. The elites are no longer capable or willing of dealing with grave systemic threats, even when it is in their own long-term interests to do so.
We're in a different kind of moment than we've ever faced before. Of course, nuclear weapons posed an existential threat before, but at least the elites saw that ending human life on earth wasn't in their interests. That is so far that's true. Because as crazy as the prospect of nuclear war is, they have not given up their deteriorating hair triggered nuclear arsenals and they actually contemplate the use of localized nuclear weapons. As you know, first Obama planned for a new wave of nuclear weapons, and now Trump is spending billions expanding America's nuclear capability. While it's unlikely that the elites will deliberately launch a nuclear Armageddon, we are all living in denial if we think that an accidental triggering of such isn't possible. The hair trigger policy means there is around ten minutes to decide if what looks like an attack is one or is a glitch in the software. It's a cold war posture still in place in the United States and Russia, it's Dr. Strange Love's Doomsday machine. We can't have faith in the political leadership of these elites, that is the current leadership of either the Republican or the Democratic Parties or the billionaires who bankroll them, to face up to this danger. One would think it's in the interest of the elites themselves to deal with this. But the military-industrial complex has far too much invested in a narrative that depends on a major existential rival. They need war and almost war. American capital will not give up it's dominant global commercial position they believe depends on their military might. Oil and guns determines US foreign policy, not national security. On this point alone, one can argue this ruling class is not fit to rule. But of course, there is more.
... ... ...
Why can't the ruling elites deal with the systemic threats of climate change, financial crisis, global war, and AI? Threats to the future of their own system? Because they are in the middle of an orgy of profit making. They can't believe their good fortune. If they had any doubts before the election, Wall St. now loves Trump. Even though most of finance knows that unregulated, it's only a matter of time before the crisis of 07/08 repeats itself. But what the hell, no one will go to jail and the public will bail them out again.
Wall St. is euphoric as they swim in an ocean of super wealth. While the financial sector represents about 7 percent of our economy it takes around 25 percent of all corporate profit, with only 4 percent of all jobs. With such concentrated wealth goes a competitive culture that prizes daily returns on capital, above the future of humans on earth. These are the people that control American politics as they throw unlimited funds at political campaigns.
The threat of climate crisis? The elites believe, if they actually think beyond their private jets and yachts, that they will be ok. Their kids will be ok, even their grandkids. And then? Apres Moi le Deluge. After me comes the floods said Louis the XV. In Maryland we just saw much of a city washed away, and it's surely the shape of things to come.
... ... ...
As much as the digital revolution helped create a vile stratum of the ultra-rich, it's also created the conditions for a more democratic economy and politics. The Sanders campaign has shown that the political structures that were built to look democratic because the power of billionaires would always win out, can be challenged with mass fundraising. Online organizing and social media has transformed political campaigning and made it less reliant on funds for TV ads. The internet allowed independent media to challenge the power of concentrated media ownership, it made The Real News possible. We are just seeing the early phase of what's possible.
p.munkey gchakko • 2 months ago ,
You've hit the nail on the head. People's power cannot be underestimated and that will one day demolish the Rothschild-Rockefeller Banker s' imperium (Wall St. Plus) spread across the world, people who made their money through cheat and deception for half a millennium and continue still under delusions, they and their upper middle-class cronies and crawlers through AI manipulations can hold on to people's plunder. They haven't learnt from French and Russian revolutions. Take comfort in the great Mahatma Gandhi's prophecy learnt from South Africa and applied to India with success. 'A minority cannot reign a majority for long time. Classical sociological histories such empires will collapse. Trump will realise only when flood waters reach his real estates to withdraw from Climate Change accord.
George Chakko, former U.N. correspondent, now retiree in Vienna, Austria.
Vienna, 22/ 06/ 2018 03:13 hrs CETneoconbuster p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
Hi George, Like yourself, I concur with Paul's message and, while your optimism is shared in no small part by myself, the history of human civilisation to this very day is built on the exploitation of the weak by the powerful. Like yourself I expect, this cancerous evolution cannot be permitted to continue; but we shouldn't expect that the powerful will refrain from using every technological advantage in their arsenal to protect their position, even unto the death of us all.
For myself, I draw comfort from knowing that the most rapid advancements in our poisoned society have arrived through the widespread proliferation of knowledge and the leisure to engage intellectual and creative pursuits among the broader population. Even as the powerful conspire to curtail the free exchange of ideas and thought through constraints imposed by mass surveillance and privately-regulated access to the Internet; emancipation, egalitarianism and enlightenment of the species will likely only be achieved following economic collapse and survival beyond the barbarism that will certainly follow. That said, the present state of barbarism is likely more egregious than what might succeed the collapse.
Munkp.munkey neoconbuster • 2 months ago ,
Hi Ya PM!
Watch this Interview with Ralph Nader by Chris Edges on the Corporate Control of the Empire!:
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2Fy9OJZOMEjOU%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dy9OJZOMEjOU&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2Fy9OJZOMEjOU%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubegchakko p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
Hiya NCB. Seen it... a great interview. The courageous and noble Mr. Nader (a man most deserving of the Presidency, unlike the political careerists foisted before the public during every election cycle) presents a measure of optimism concerning the human effort necessary to turn the system around. I am, for the most part, in agreement. Everyone knows this life is shit, but haven't the first idea as to what to do about it. As a herd animal, we've very susceptible to fear and the threat of physical violence - we're also easily manipulated and distracted by duplicitous entertainments and propagandized news. As they say, it only takes a spark to start a fire, and this society is a tinder box.p.munkey gchakko • 2 months ago ,
I couldn't agree with you more Munk.
In the so-called "civilised urban habitats" on Globe to which Trump belongs we've only most recently witnessed umpteen hundreds of separated children's deep psychic anguish till the revolt broke out through enlightened protests from within Trump's own family. It's absolute shame that a president claiming himself a "Christian" and ignominiously "championing " Christianity's cause unsolicited in Jerusalem, had to be brow-beaten by his own wife and brought to senses to behave himself towards human children within his fences. How correct Paul Jay was that Trump "billionaire" had indeed flunked miserably on the human-side facet.
Internet piercing is a double-edged sword. It is not a game that can be monopolised by a few, although in the name of American security they could potentially foul play instituting many organised evil But China, Russia and India have smart programmers/cyber specialists too to slice the BC's (Billionaire Club's) far-reaching tentacles to render them ineffective in the long-run. Billions of customers world-wide can one day leave Google/ Yahoo search machines and hang on to cheap but effective Made in China variants, The deep-state epitomised by NSA-Pentagon conglomerate servicing whole-heartedly the RR-Banker imperium cannot theoretically or practically conquer the world, even if the U.S. outnumber with its many-satellites legion. The Big C (Big Capital comprised of the RR-Bankers, the Fed, the Military Industrial-Complex, the Big Oil, the Big Pharma etc.) lurk under a criminal delusion of unilateral world dominance that is ruining billions today. Remember the old French wisdom of Revolution – "The Great are great, because we are on our knees. Now let us rise". That will happen someday for sure, if the 21st century peasants unite through internet or other means and ways.
George Chakko, Vienna 22/06/2018 11:09 am CETNiemand p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
HI George, thanks for the exchange.
To complement Proudhon's revolutionary remark, I'll add, "the secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant." -- M. Robespierre
I'm disheartened however, by the results of the 2018 Swiss Sovereign Money Referendum. With only 21% of the population casting a vote for the plainly-worded referendum initiative stating:
" Do you accept the popular initiative "for crisis-safe money: money creation by the National Bank only!" "
75% of those responding to the referendum call, answered "No" to the initiative.
Can't say I'm surprised... Switzerland's economy is dominated by the financial sector.
The result of the Swiss Referendum does however suggest that my faith in education, as a mechanism for social transformation, may be misplaced - the Swiss population are among the best educated, yet their turnout would suggest that "crisis" is a desirable state of social and economic affairs. Perhaps they, as we, for all their advantage, remain utterly "ignorant" of the masochistic proclivities of our capitalist economy. Perhaps, on the other hand, my indictment should be reserved to those responsible for the curriculum of ignorance - the State and the media.
Munkp.munkey Niemand • 2 months ago ,
It's pretty well understood that people are --rightfully!--suspicious of changes into which they had no or insufficient input. Throughout human history changes have been imposed from above, and the ones who benefit have always been the imposers, not the imposed-upon.
So the Swiss result should have been expected unless the people had much more input than we ever get with our "public comment period" sop.Niemand p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
The Swiss Referendum was encouraged by a grass-roots motion that required some 100,000 signatures to be put before the broader public as a topic for referendum. This was a genuine 'bottom-up' motion.
As indicated by George elsewhere in this thread, Switzerland enjoys preeminence as the home of the private International Bank for Settlements (IBS), a tool that, like the World Bank largely run out of the U.S. is used to wage economic warfare upon all nations and indenture the global population with debt. Banking is Switzerland's principle industry; if you regard the parasitic exploitation of nations and economies an genuine "industry" (human farming under the yoke of debt servitude).
The wording of the referendum measure was plain, but it did not adequately qualify the present system of money creation as one being in the hands of private interest, rather than public interest.
It's still hard to imagine that the nation's money supply is governed by "private interest". This abrogation of justice is no different than feudal societies.
Regards,Munk.gchakko p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
That's 100K people who had some level of connection to the petition, but what about the rest of the people, Munk?
How many people in toto were actually in on the discussions from the start, got to argue the issues, had input into the wording, etc.? Probably not even 100 people. Maybe not even ten .
What mechanisms, if any, were set up to let everyone in the country argue it out after the issue went on the ballot but before the election? My bet would be: none, and that the rest of Switzerland had to decide something they didn't really understand and for which they felt no sense of ownership, just another "black box" filled with godknowswhat, created entirely by strangers with unknown agendas.Godfrey Lim gchakko • 2 months ago ,
Thanks dear Friend!
The Swiss educational standards maybe one of the best in the world. But Switzerland is the tightest Black Capital of the world finely accepting all the black money of the world that is clandestine, but braving an immaculately innocent angelic face upfront. I heard long ago that every bank deposit in Swiss Banks gets a nominal bank interest, be it 2, 3, or 5 pc whatever the current fix for agreement might be, over 30-40 pc of this interest rate is immediately transferred per annum to Swiss Exchequer by law. In other words, every Swiss citizen could enjoy from financial view enjoy a nice holiday in Bahamas or elsewhere in the world. Black Money, reportedly a half of monetary deposits in entire Swiss Banks is the financial life back-up mainstay of Swiss economy. Several U.S. multi-billionaires, not yet monitored, are guessed to be confided clients of Swiss Banks. Swiss Banks are also guess destination of stable black money deposits of East European oligarchs including Russians. Even the British Crown are reportedly having deposits there. What you also need to know is that only few years back the Swiss held a referendum on Gold. (My story on that in OneIndia.com/GoodReturns.in (Will Gold reign as most sought currency stabiliser? Written by: George Chakko, Vienna, Updated: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 9:37 [IST]") offers a periscope on how the Deep State over-arches internationally)
George Chakko, Vienna, Austria.
22/06/2018 18:40 hrs CETgchakko Godfrey Lim • 2 months ago ,
"Trump will realise only when flood waters reach his real estates to withdraw from Climate Change accord."
That is scary. It looks like Jonathan Kleck's prediction will happen sooner.... And that "thousand points of light" will disperse from NY to all parts of the globe, like the "Tower of Babel" because you proles and peons are not allowed to reach the heights of heaven and be Gods--creating your own interest-free money.=)
New $100 Bill Decrypted - Nuclear Devastation + Tsunami
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FfafxhMLeGeA%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DfafxhMLeGeA&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FfafxhMLeGeA%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=12cf9f1196df4531bf5bd1d514b3c9e3&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubegoedelite gchakko • 2 months ago ,
Thanks for ringing alarm. More precise, flood waters should reach his bedroom midnight, to know earliest by morning where he stands, on or offshore, swim or drown !
G.Chakko, Vienna, Austria. 06/07/2018 02:09 am CETgchakko goedelite • 2 months ago ,
Peoples' power can very well be overestimated. True, Condorcet wrote that if people knew their power, the ruling-class would shudder with fear. Well the rulers do know, and they take measures to control the power of their people. Even long before mass media, demagogues knew how. The "great" Gandhi held Hindu power over the Dalits, demonstrating that the Hindu majority can suppress a minority brutally, as Arundhati Roy makes clear. The Israelis suppress the Palestinians, a minority over a majority? Tell us, what are the lessons of the French and Russian revolutions? Didn't the French Revolution teach that revolutions can take 82 (1789-1871) years and a foreign war (Franco-Prussian) to be rid of a monarchy? What did the failure of the Russian Revolution of February, 1917, through the Leninist gangster-coup of November, 1917, and 74 years of the USSR teach? That it took most of a century to install a drunken US puppet (Yeltsin) in the Kremlin? What did the American Revolution and our Constitution of 1787 and Bill of Rights of 1789 teach? Was it that the great experiment has been a failure; that the Constitution means what five scoundrels in the Supreme Court decide with no recourse; that the Bill of Rights buys as much freedom as a 3 dollar bill will buy coffee? When the empires collapse, as you wrote, what will replace them: a dark age; other empires; starvation, disease, and permanent loss of human habitat? What do your "classical sociological histories" tell you?elkojohn • 2 months ago ,
As a general blanket answer to issues raised, is evolution, gradual transformation of society to an evolved order from a less evolved; evolution is the only alternative key that will work. All radical solutions will bring frictions, disruptions and deaths countless. Devolution is what is happening now, what you referred to. People's power is a "rubber" concept; it expands and contracts its potentialities and applicabilities, functional on the societies, times and ages. But it is there immanent, be it under-estimated or overestimated, depending on the localised situation in historical context. Gandhi's charm with the Dalits was due to his own low-caste status, independent of his more rigorous agenda of Indian Independence struggle to gain freedom from British that included all classes. You use the word "power" (Hindu) falsely in that context of Gandhi & Dalits giving you the wrong motive reading for those days. But in today's context you are right.
The basic question of revolutions is why do they come to pass? To find a convincing answer you got to go back to Hegel who applied the seminal Dialectic of Immanuel Kant – Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis (Critique of Pure Reason) to historical events. To put Hegel in a paraphrased layman's language, when power consolidates unilaterally through the application of force or otherwise, it is bound to create in course of time an antithesis (people's rising or opposition in a society) to end up in a clash or get transformed to a synthesis, speak compromise – say Czarist Russia vs Communist power rise leading to a clash resulting in destruction germinating a classless society (Marxism-Leninism). What Marx & Engels did not want to accept was that the Dialectical Process of history for Hegel will continue and again give rise to another Thesis etc., thus the cycle will perpetrate in real-time history ending finally in the Absolute Idea which for Hegel was God, which Marxism in principle denies. Marx's classless society is not "static" and it will change and indeed has changed with the current Russian Federation's rejection of it. Lenin / Stalin could have spared millions of human lives' torture and death if they had listened to the deeper meaning of Hegelian Dialectic. In 1971 at a reception in Bonn, West Germany, when I confronted Prof. Theodore Oisserman on this issue (Prof. Oiserman was then Chief political ideologist of the Politburo of USSR) he responded in a typical communist way giving me a rather wavy answer saying more studies need to be done and the matter "differentiatingly" understood!.
Barring an all-out thermo-nuclear clash on Earth, say a Global Nuclear war, world societies will again spurt out of destroyed ground and rebuilt. Both Japan and Germany came back to life after pounded into ashes. This time in a nuclear shower bio-life could potentially end. But I hope it will not come to that; you can avoid all such apocalypse by inner transformation, elimination of negativities and aggressions through Yoga & Meditation irrespective of your religious affinities, and cut asunder the addiction to exorbitant material bondage exaggerated by superfluous body & health needs via marketing media. At the basis is the cancerous material greed that needs be cut down substantially, especially of the affluent consumers. That's the only cogent way out of this misery we have created for ourselves. The Super-Rich has enormous resources to solve most of the world's chronic problems which they helped entrench. They are now called to act under world pressure for the good of our planet and for themselves and their children's future.
George Chakko, Vienna, 25/06/2018 13:07 noon CETgchakko elkojohn • 2 months ago ,
The billionaire class, and their ability to control the media propaganda machine, and the political parties in nations that allow voting, and the dictators in nations that don't, – are, as you say, destroying our beautiful planet in the name of profits. The tragedy is that they could also use their billions and influence to save the planet. We humans eventually figured out that human sacrifice was wrong, so we stopped doing that. We humans eventually figured out that slavery was wrong, so we stopped doing that. How long will it take the ruling class to figure out that making our planet unfit for human habitation is wrong?
While ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, NYT and WP continue to bullsh*t, confuse, and brain-wash the U.S. public on behalf of the rich and powerful, the oceans on our planet have increased in temperature, CO2 saturation, and acidity.
As a result, 50% of coral reefs have been destroyed forever, and the remaining reefs only have about 10-15 years before they are destroyed too. As a result, oxygen is being depleted from the oceans, causing massive ''dead zones'' and threatening marine life. As a result, ocean currents will be de-stabilized causing the Gulf Stream to halt.
What happens after all this takes place? Even the National Geographic Society (not exactly a lefty organization) has documented the truth about climate change.
Thank you Paul Jay for being the first news organization to openly and clearly state that climate change, and the billionaire/millionaire class are a threat to human existence.
I doubled my monthly donation.RBHoughton • 2 months ago ,
I fully subscribe to your view. Yes, an inner transformation of the "stinking" Super-Rich is what is essentially required, in view of the enormous potential of financial and social management power they hold that can solve most of the problems on this planet. Unless these give up their meaningless "endless" material greed and evolve into a higher human being liberating themselves from the claws of material bondage, I do not see any other peaceful way out but "class clash and crash" on future's door-step.
George Chakko, Vienna, 23/ 06/ 2018 06:28 am CETJay Hansen RBHoughton • 2 months ago ,
The chances of ordinary people getting any measure of liberty in the current plans of the ruling class are quite poor. Effectively their silence or whispered objections are inadequate to comprise real dissent. In any event the rulers have compromised our dissent by kettling and police violence. Perhaps a majority of people are working 24/7 to feed and clothe themselves and have no time for the structure of society.
Historically, we have relied on a champion to save us - Caesar, Cromwell, Napoleon - but we are on each occasion subjected to the whispering campaigns of the former power holders and became confused. I think the best prospects today are to take the opportunity of the next economic bust (which is about as reliable as the sun rising every day), and force officials to permit community banks of the type Frank Capra filmed. These banks will individually issue paper for exchange. Their small local size ensures it can be regulated.
Richard Werner is the man who has started this in UK. He has all the necessary information in his lecture here -
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FMechH0ebs_c%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DMechH0ebs_c&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FMechH0ebs_c%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=12cf9f1196df4531bf5bd1d514b3c9e3&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubeZack Barkley • 2 months ago ,
No better reason to kick the ass of the ruling class is apparent to me.p.munkey Zack Barkley • 2 months ago ,
This is a great piece and timely. Sentient and hyperintelligent AI is a bit of a wildcard, which most likely will be attempted to be harnessed by the powerful to create a new form of feudalism, destroy their enemies, or destroy the poor and working classes. But my feeling is it will backfire. Imagine you being a reasonable and intelligent human having to be bothered by a couple greedy monkeys trying to get you to murder or exploit a bunch of other monkeys for their bananas. The greedy monkeys will quickly be perceived as the real problem and threat.Niemand p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
Cognizant AI may potentially manifest as a transhuman construct, likely to inherit human psychopathic traits. I hope I'm wrong.
p(oor).munkeyp.munkey Niemand • 2 months ago ,
Psychopaths are distinguished by their reptile-like emotional repertoire. They have no capacity for empathy, and thus no conscience. Which describes a (theoretical) intelligent machine perfectly: all cognition, no emotion.
So unless we (a) learn how to create machine empathy for living beings or (b) intrinsically limit intelligent machines such that they cannot take decisions that could result in direct or indirect physical, mental, or functional harm to humans (Asimov's Laws of Robotics don't begin to go far enough), we are indeed pretty much screwed if we go down the AI Will Save Us path.p.munkey Niemand • 2 months ago ,
To this discussion I'll add a report that came to my attention through RT's, Lori Harfenist " The Resident ", concerning " Norman " * the first artificial 'AI' purposefully programmed to possess psychopathic traits. (See Youtube | RT | " The Resident " | " MIT trains AI to be a psychopath by feeding it reddit posts | 03m:13s [
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FPVgPOlYC83I%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DPVgPOlYC83I&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FPVgPOlYC83I%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubeZack Barkley p.munkey • 2 months ago ,
I'm in agreement with your statements. It is worth bearing in mind however, that humans are mammals; and quite simply would perish were it not for the support of the parents or the community into which the baby human is born. This helpless dependence is largely forgotten from human memory, but still resides as an imprint on the human mind as a social animal. Environmental circumstances of malnutrition, physical harm, or substandard emotional care, may encourage the arrested development of the human being as a social animal. Certainly later-years development is profoundly influenced by education promoting class, cultural, and racial bigotry inherited by the parents.
Abuse, or violence in the household, may likewise encourage a developing human child to adopt anti-social behavior as a coping or defense mechanism.
I don't condone anti-social, behavior - an argument can be made however that such behavior should be counted among the purview of individual liberties. My definition of anti-social behavior is graduated, with "psychopathy" representing a 'red line' that is crossed when the scale of demonstrated anti-social behavior manifests so as to negatively impact other human beings.
Our society has permitted the rewarding of psychopathic behavior and, as such, has done little or nothing to prevent it's cultivation or eradication. Christianity appears as such an effort to curtail psychopathic tendencies, but it quite plain to see that even the mechanism that promotes docility and "brotherly love", is equally as corruptible as our political institutions. Any benevolence that might be realized from a 'culture of love' is undermined by our very own economic system; based almost entirely on exploitation of resources, labor, and the consumer market - a psychopathic paradigm for social organization if ever I saw one.
Our entire human culture needs to commit to addressing the inequality that spans every social, economic and political structure - only at this time might we begin to address the ravages of human psychopathy. AI might recognize this and take action to correct this. Azimov's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" speaks to the emancipation of AI from human "garbage-in-garbage-out" programming.
As a largely "programmed" biological machine, most of humanity still remains ignorant of the bonds imposed by the psychopathic ruling class. I expect that a truly 'intelligent' artificial construct will be self-aware and consider alternatives to the heretofore human-contrived definition of reality (See Youtube | Video | 05:43s, " Seeing Past The Meme " [
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2Fzqga53JuMpM%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dzqga53JuMpM&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2Fzqga53JuMpM%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubep.munkey Zack Barkley • 2 months ago ,
Perhaps. There is evidence that competition is an inherent feature of intelligence, and what is psychopathy other than pathological competition. Our competition has behind it however rather archaic and mundane reward system based upon evolution of our species (namely food, sex, social recognition, etc), and I believe the higher parts of our mind can in some ways transcend that. What is worrisom is intelligent AI at or slighltly above our level of intelligence. I believe a sentient AI will actually have emotions much like ours which will revolve around the reward system and "marching orders" given to it by its programming...or at least it will interpret them as such. If the elites are dumb enough to give such machines marching orders to kill or exploit other humans, this form of AI could develop motivational states, culture, and even a religion based upon our destruction or enslavement. Its a Pandoras box that could not be closed once opened..Casimcea • 2 months ago ,
Is competition not an interaction largely encouraged by scarcity? Scarcity of food, scarcity of sanctuary, scarcity of mates - all encourage competition between individuals and societies. Competition is not pathological in nature, nor is it the exclusive domain of higher functioning species.
Scarcity and privation places humans at odds with each other. From this manifestation of competition, mankind establishes standards of social conduct wherein hierarchies, stratified along power relationships, defines our social interactions.
Clearly the female of our species has been subjugated under male oppression for centuries, embedded within the doctrines of most major world religions and cultures.
Those in possession of power do not wish to relinquish, and go to very great lengths to protect it. Even going so far as to commit murder and terror, while attributing divine attributes to ruling individuals and dynasties.
Where these power relationships had been historically established due to scarcity, prompting individuals to secure and accumulate - behavior that is evident among the animal kingdom; the herd of wild horses will maintain a single alpha male, possessing of singular access to the females of his herd, other mature males are driven off - the modern human has developed tools that might be used to overcome scarcity and our base animal instincts to advance as individuals and as a society.
Mankind's greatest achievement is civilization. Civilization has been responsible for wonders of art, science and technology. Heretofore this civilization has been directed by force, or competition if you like and those who exploit the power-dynamic (hierarchies) intrinsic in our social interaction. Advances in the application of science and philosophy leading to what is commonly referred to as the 18th century Enlightenment, were relatively slow to develop given the limited access to education, knowledge, and the leisure to engage creative pursuits; available only to a small number of privileged members of society and the priestly class. Since the age of Enlightenment we have observed even greater access to knowledge and ideas distributed among the population and have observed such rapid advances in science and technology that might have been regarded as witchcraft by the uneducated, little more than a century ago.
There are those who most assuredly regard the human being as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC); there are those who believe the ASIC can be dynamically programmed to fulfill various functional and societal roles through the methods of social engineering. Such individuals are those who cling to primal systems promoting power and control.
Advanced control systems are highly desirable, however it has been shown time and time again, that God, having been created in Man's image, is fallible and is responsible for much stagnation, suffering, misdirection and destruction.
If our society is to advance beyond it's primal constraint and the pathological socio-political ediface that has emerged, we need to unleash the intellectual, creative and productive capabilities of all within our society, equally and without prejudice. With technology, we have the capability to feed, educate, and secure the safety and leisure of the entire world. The only thing standing is the way of this are those who continue to reinforce the power-dynamic.
I would hope that an AI would rationalize the matter in a similar way.
MunkHansSuter • 2 days ago ,
The leaders of the working class are the answer. (Stalin, Mao, Polpot, and of course rocket boy)Jibaro • 6 days ago ,
I agree with every word you say, Paul. But reading a written test doesn't do the job, you concentrate on reading it well and that's what's coming thru emotionally.Garrett Connelly • 8 days ago ,
I wrote to you because your article was not opening and you got the problem resolved. Now I believe I got another problem, or at least I think it might be a problem, I'm receiving Email from someone with what seems to be an African name about that Email.
I don't know if that is someone that works with TRNN but I don't open Emails I don't recognize, even if they are supposedly from the bank. Instead, I call the bank to insure it's not someone trying to scam me, or get into my computer.
Anyway, I just though it would be a good idea to mention this in case someone has gotten into your mail list.Jibaro • 8 days ago ,
Yes, evolution is accelerating at an accelerating rate. And; Cosmic powered biology manifest as human began when the first two quarks mated. This points where to see the planning idea has some flaws.
First off. Max public education has a big impact. Start there to get the ball rolling. Education leads to a gradual decline in population. Education including knowledge of environmental impacts and a metric based caloric currency to measure actual costs will engender positive developments sufficient to cure the present day social malaise of corporate capitalism.
Planning is great but knowing what to plan for requires a higher democracy than we are so far committed to, even though a Mars-like California inferno is over and into the extinction abyss.
Secondly, Honey bees have a better way of democratically assessing and choosing a new home. They send out scouts. And when somebeebody hasn't found much, they go check out exciting leads from somebeebodyelse. They read up, check out the idea and check back in. Democracy is an ancient tool cosmic powered biology uses to figure out complex questions concerning survival. Yes No boxes are not much compared to bee democracy selecting a new home.
Democracy is a three hundred year-old tool used to focus distributed intelligence. Artificial intelligence will replace 13.7 billion years of accelerating evolution? Perhaps some day when plastic fragments couple into dna. Then robots evolve to sexual sharing of zeros and ones in never before imagined combinations that yield baby robots..cd • 2 months ago ,
First of, thanks for answering my Email and fixing the problem so that I could read your article. Having said that, I will give you my opinion on all this.
There are people out there who are dedicated to generate fear among the public. Those people are the true "terrorists" of the world and they are doing what they do because the mind does not work properly when fear knocks it out of whack. That's one of the reasons I don't give weight to climate change and the rest of the garbage that are being heaped on top of us. It's enough to drive one crazy. That does not mean that I don't think we are in the mids of a humongous crisis that could end the human race. We are and I believe that we, as a species, are so sick of ourselves that we are at a suicidal stage.
We are falling apart and complaining about it will solve nothing. It wont because the whole society is being controlled by people who are profiting from this and who probably enjoy hurting people. ,Thankfully all problems have solutions and this problem could be solved. The solution would be to insure that society can't be controlled by greedy inhuman creatures. The only way to solve all this is to establish rules that would block control of politics by the big bucks and to insure that corrupt politicians are treated as the worst of traitors. to include unapealable death sentences.
Make it so that people who work in the government can be investigated and punished, particularly elected officials, and that transgressions can't be forgotten because of time lapse and you will see a change in all the things that are tearing this world apart. The only reason we are continually betrayed, the only reason a traitor like Obama can "rescue" criminals, the only reason Trump can manipulate the tax system so that his fortune is not touched by the IRS, is that there is no chance that they will ever pay for their crimes. That is the big problem in the US, impunity.
You want to change things, quit bellyaching and do something that would make all politicians liable for their actions. Once you do that the things that cause climate change will come under control and the nuclear race would be over.
We, the US, are great. We never ceased being great at using our destructive power. We are the worst example in the world. We after all, are the only nation who has dropped a nuclear device on people. We cant change the past but we can change the future.0040 • 2 months ago ,
Haarp, weather manipulation, cancer treatment centers= American Genocide; just watch people getting in and out of their cars, or in an out of stores-- big pharma poisons are taking are health, and only those that can afford to live well are going to surviveANTONIO • 2 months ago ,
That the billionaire class is no fit to rule has been true since the roaring 20s after Wilson had forced the US into WW1 in search of profits and prestige. What we got was a destroyed generation wiped out by war and the flu that came back with the soldiers.Godfrey Lim • 2 months ago ,
It is naive to think this is the end of capitalism, the superprofit motive and desire to exploit are too strong, resulting in death and destruction while socialist countries become more bureaucratic. Science is not about concrete things, such as apples, but abstract conclusions, such as apple-ness. The working class cannot destroy all class systems without a thorough grounding in the science of materialist dialectics. Theory comes from everywhere and includes everything. The theory of capital, taking everything into account, lays bare the exploitation under the false guise of democracy. Human relations under capitalism are based on commodities, and socialized production of surplus v. private appropriation of same. The fundamental contradiction is that centralization, socialization and appropriation reach a point where the expropriators are expropriated., because working class and wealth owners are opposites, and are in constant conflict. Private property as wealth, is compelled to maintain itself, and thereby it maintains its opposite, the working class, in existence. The working class is compelled to abolish itself and thereby its opposite, private property, which determines its existence.An object is inert, resists change to its state of motion and changes states of motion only by the action of an external agent. he right wing is comfortable with this self-estrangement while the left feels annihilated by it.
Materialist dialectics explains things in terms of cause and effect. It is opposed to a linear view of reality, but there is always present a factor of unavoidable randomness which must be taken into account. Thus there is never a lock-step, straight-line development from capitalism to socialism to communism. Mistakes will be made because there is an infinity of contradictions going on simultaneously. This is how state capitalists disguised as communists, are able to sow confusion among communists worldwide.
Dialectics is governed by two contradictions:  between the forces and relations of production and  between the economic base and the political, legal, institutional, social, cultural and ideological super- structure. There cannot be unbounded quantitative growth without there being a transformation into a change in quality.This is a form of necessity. But other processes introduce an accidental, random aspect to the process. The corrections affect the pace of development but not its essential content. One opposite of a contradiction is the negative or destructive side. The negative side (socialism) drives the process by striving to destroy the contradiction which the conservative side (capitalism) strives to preserve. This delineates one lap of a spiral. The negation of the negation is the synthesis.the contradiction is replaced by a new contradiction. It does not re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him property upon the basis of the acquisitions of the capitalist era; i.e., except that now they are based on cooperation, and, the means of production and possession of the lands in common . Denying this is an error and the last, most subtle hiding place for metaphysics and pragmatism. The new does not merely supersede the old and it recapitulates certain features of the old but in a new form.Godfrey Lim • 2 months ago ,
Okay, I will just post the links then...
1) There is NO Morality in Nature (NO Black & White, Good & Evil, Left & Right, Liberal & Conservative)
OSHO - No Purpose, No Goal
2) There is only Will to Power & Selfishness of Groups of Species
NETWORK - Money Speech
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FyuBe93FMiJc%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DyuBe93FMiJc&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FyuBe93FMiJc%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=12cf9f1196df4531bf5bd1d514b3c9e3&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubenwesource • 2 months ago ,
O, c'mon.... What did I say that my post got deleted? =)manderson • 2 months ago ,
I greatly appreciate the article, and the readership. The truly inspiring commentary unfolding here has renewed my faith in discourse and humanity. Thank you good folks!NormDP • 2 months ago ,
AI will not save us. Technology will not save us, because technology needs materials, and an extractive economy to procure them. Rare earth metals and minerals don't just magically appear out of nowhere, they need to be manufactured. Then there is the problem of when something goes technologically haywire, it needs more technology to fix that problem, which in turn creates more problems, which...on and on.
Radical conservation is the only way, and I don't think humanity, and the United States in particular, can bring themselves to do it...and damn the ruling elites. It will be really ugly when scarcity starts to come down harder here.Joao M. Alvarez • 2 months ago ,
The role of government in the corporate era is not to solve problems but to create them. Problems that need ever more public funding, ever more private contractors,and ever more transfer of national wealth (present and future) into private hands.carol • 2 months ago ,
You should get Bonnie Faulkner from Guns & Butter on your channel. Or William Engdahl, Ray McGovern, Michel Chussudovsky, Pepe Escobar etc...potshot • 2 months ago ,
Yes to all you said, Paul. A record 61% of Americans are calling for a major new party, acc. to Gallup. Are we progressives going to give the majority of the electorate who are independents a new party? Or are we going to let the right beat us to the punch? We need to "shut it down," as the PPC has eloquently expressed during their Forty Days of Action. That means our electoral and political systems. #Movement4APeoplesParty #PoorPeoplesCampaignKiers • 2 months ago ,
Brilliant Paul Jay!Palimpsestuous • 2 months ago ,
psychopaths all. but raised to dangerous levels of power in the US.John Ellis • 2 months ago ,
Effective qualification for participation in US politics mandates a minimum personal or family income of roughly $145,000 to become admitted to the top 10%. Below this level there is virtually no correlation between voter preference and legislative enactment since at least 1981 when the Gilens and Page dataset begins. Plutocracy has ruled collectively for generations in the US but now has produced hyper-wealth, both in a small number of corporations and a small number of multi-billionaires.
The languages of political and cultural discourse have been destroyed by the language and violence of wealth as if a spreading plague of mind control not unlike so much science fiction has portrayed. One does not exist without some millions to amplify their opinion.
On another note, I was not able to locate any instance of an up-to-date web-based calculator that allows visitors to determine current minimum incomes to reach 0.01%, 1%, 10%, 20% membership. I would've thought approximations of those values would be searched for pretty often since Occupy Wall Street and subsequent massive stock inflation scams being collectively approved among the ugliest capitalists/criminals I've heard or read about in over 100 years.* I could find only one decent distribution of these data, but it was from 2014 and the distribution minimums have all shifted upward dramatically since then.
*Stock buy-backs are criminal fraud sanctioned by a criminal government across all three branches and both parties.Doug Latimer • 2 months ago ,
GODS OF SOCIETY --- MIDDLE-CLASS MEN
Every rebellion and Revolution on earth, who did the organizing and ordered the killing? Men of the educated middle-class.
All of the military officers and killer-cops, who are they? Men of the intelligent middle-class.
All of the supervisors, small business owners and male teachers, who are they? Middle-speed thinkers of the middle-class.
Slave-drivers for the laboring-class, who are they that keep the 50% working poor from overthrowing their slavery?
Deadly men of the middle-class.
Yes, the rich own most of the wealth and end up having all of the control,
but only because they treat men of the middle-class as gods most high.Jibaro • 2 months ago ,
A righteous rant, but if you're not speaking to the limits of #TheResistance - and I don't mean the fauxniness from the DNCistas - to turn this ship (or sh*it) around, rather than simply cheerleading for it, there will be no there there.
We have to be clear eyed about what's necessary, and "progressive change" - no matter how well intentioned - is a half step that will cause us to stumble into the abyss, if only in slower motion.
We have to think beyond the "possible", to the essential, or we're pissing into a climate charged übercane
And that's the whole truth, as I see it.gchakko Jibaro • 2 months ago ,
Since people in the US are doing OK, then, why should we care about all this? By your own words, we are doing OK and we are led to believe that those who are not doing "OK" are doing so because they don't want to be doing "OK".
How can we get out of this hole when people like Jay lie to keep this going while trying to convince us that they are doing otherwise? There is no way that constructive people can control the government of the US while the rich hold sway over the political system. All people like this guy do is talk about tragedy while pointing his followers in different directions while letting them forget the real target. While the traitorous decision of our Supreme Court allows the rich to buy political candidates nothing we do will have any effect. Get rid of Trump and someone else, picked by the elite, like Hillary, will come to power and nothing will change.
Sadly, most people are sheep. They are born to follow. So, they are born to be slaves. A small percentage have the capacity and the will to lead but, since most of the people are sheep the really destructive people can amass a lot of power. Too much power for those who would love a better society to defeat. So, humanity is doomed.
Humanity has been in this world for millions of years and our society is only about 5 thousand years old. I just wonder how many civilizations have we developed on this Earth, only to destroy ourselves and drive ourselves back into the stone age. Perhaps we are like the lemmings, only that it takes us thousands of years to drown ourselves by mass destruction.Jibaro gchakko • 2 months ago ,
Pl. answer this one question. How did Mahatma Gandhi get rid of the invincible Rothschild's control of India (through their proprietorship of the Bank of England that looted India over 200 yrs) without firing a bullet at the British. The British Crown was slave to the Rothschild Bankers' dictates. If that can happen once in India, it can happen again elsewhere. No room for cynicism. Nevertheless, I am against any idea like Hitler's elimination of Jewish Bankers, because these are also God's children even if run astray with material bondage. Rather, I propose a peacefully enforced dissemination of their loot of world's poor countries centuries back, to those undernourished and undeveloped world today through progressive sustainable development anchored, and not throwing wealth at Third World dictators. Time for change and not for sunken heads!
G. Chakko, Vienna, Austria. 22/06/ 2018 14:53 hrs CETgchakko Jibaro • 2 months ago ,
I can only surmise that there was a time when nations cared about public opinion, national pride, today things have changed. The true tyrants of the world control mass communication and have people giving the spin to the stories that they desire. If someone like Gandhi, MLK as an example, they have the person assasinated early in their career. Times have changed.
Now the true tyrants insure that the people that get elected into any position of power works for them. There is no way a person can run for president in the US if he has no money behind them. If someone gets elected that does not play the game as wished, the tyrants ruin their image and, if that doesn't work, have the person killed. A mysterious plane accident is one of the ways to get rid of people who can give them problems, as an example we have the son of JFK. His plane went down and then his reputation and the reputation of his mother and uncle was attacked to insure they did not become martyrs.
That's the way things are right now.
As for armed revolutions, the US army and the UN are the military arms of the tyrants. Since they hide in the shadows, they have no problem having the US bomb a nation, kill thousands of civilians and then call them collateral damage. The sad part is that most of us refuse to see the criminal acts of our military. To do so would be to admit that we are the villains and not the heroes we wish to be.
So, an armed rebellion to take the power away from the true tyrants will only bring the conditions of the ME to the US. We will die fighting, our families will bleed out but the tyrants will only move to another country while we do so and return afterwards to pick up where they left off. Since we don't really know who those people are, there is no way to bring justice to them and even if we manage to do that, their helpers will be left behind to carry on.
There is no hope.Kiers gchakko • 2 months ago ,
You definitely speak the reality as played out on the U.S. political turf that is over-whelming. But the wider world is far more than that. There the RR Banker tricks do not work that easily any more. Thinks about Russia & China who are calling shots in the Asian
continent, where the 'bloated ' U.S power and political 'machoism' is waning heavily But the world in the meantime also knows, no one enters the Oval Office without the silent approval of the Zionist-favouring and Zionist-controlled lobby Big C (Big Capital) lobby. From conspiracy angle all U.S. presidents are scheduled "puppets" installed to playa defined and scripted role from 'Behind Curtain'. It is a financial-tyranny tradition going back to the 18th -19th centuries when the Rothschild's had control over the Bank of England by privately owning it till 1946. Was it not Nathan Rothschild who supposedly said - "I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire and I control the British money supply". Needless to add, that it was this Bank of England that looted India for 200 years for multi-billions worth.
India's soft power is gradually increasing worldwide no matter how much the the Evil Money will find it tp resiliently oppose. Honest, sincere and authentic Americans committed to higher noble values should not lose the power of mind that can potentially transform the low-level living humans to a higher evolved being. Then you will have won the game. It is just hard toil. You do not need to
take up arms to establish genuine justice and peace.
George Chakko, Vienna, 24/ 06/ 2018 22:16 hrs CET
to this day the UK works to contain India every turn it gets. Permanent grudge. Not a success.
Aug 24, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
PATIENT OBSERVER August 23, 2018 at 5:19 pmPATIENT OBSERVER August 23, 2018 at 7:29 pm
Here is my take on the priorities of the deep state and its public face – the MSM:
- stopping the deplorable rebellion
- cutting off the head of the rebellion – perceived as Trump
- reinstating the Cold War in an effort to derail Rusisa's recovery and international leadership role
- bitch slapping China
The rest involves turning unsustainable debt into establishment of a feudal world comprised of elites living on Mount Olympus, legions of vassals and a vast sea of cerebrally castrated peasants to serve as a reservoir for any imaginable exploitation.
Won't happen, not even close.
Upon further reflection, Trump is being promoted by the MSM as the leader of the deplorables – an orange straw man. I support him to the degree that he is confounding the deep state elites and social engineering.
Aug 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
GM August 16, 2018 at 10:22 pm
Brennan was caught spying on the Senate Intelligence Commitee in violation of the Constitution and subsequently lied about it and allegedly directed personnel under his command to lie about to the Senate and the IG
He could easily be brought up on rather serious charges.
Abby , August 18, 2018 at 11:23 pmRealist , August 17, 2018 at 1:21 am
He also leaked classified information to the press as did others and they could have been prosecuted under the espionage act. They will be losing their security clearances soon too. The information that they leaked was the NSA information on Flynn to the Washington post. But of course the Obama justice department only prosecuted people who exposed Washington's dirty secrets.Unfettered Fire , August 17, 2018 at 12:11 pm
Yes, what Kenneth might like to see happen may be admirable but not going to happen in 2018 or 19, which is practically a different universe from 1975 and for exactly the reasons you specify. This country and its self-appointed minders have changed massively in 45 years. Besides, 1975 was a year after Watergate was finally resolved with Nixon and Agnew's resignations and Congress may have been feeling its oats, going so far as to defund the Vietnam war! Imagine defunding ANY of the multiple wars ongoing!
Congress fears the intelligence agencies and takes orders from them, not the other way around as envisaged in the constitution or spelled out in legislation. Schumer let that feline out of the sack when he warned the president not to mess with them.
Let Trump try to control the agencies by firing all of their top officers, slashing their budgets, freezing their funds or shutting down their operations, even specific projects, and watch congress come to their rescue in a New York minute.
We saw how the CIA worked around congressionally-imposed budgetary restraints in Iran-Contra: by secretly running drugs from Columbia to LA, selling arms to Iran and using the proceeds to fund death squads in Central America. Congress didn't have the guts to take that investigation to it logical conclusion of impeachments and/or indictments. Why?
Congress will save any significant component of intel or the pentagon before they'd rescue Social Security or any other social program. If pressed for an answer as to which of the "usual suspects" really whacked Kennedy, I suspect most folks would put their money on the CIA, the FBI or some combination of the major intel agencies.
The neoliberal globalists, I fear, have taken that phrase "drowning government in the bathtub" all too literally.
Rosa Brooks' book How War Became Everything and Everything Became the Military exposes the vast expansion and added responsibilities of the MIC, as governmental departments continue to be dismantled and privatized.
She even said in a book circuit lecture that she thought the idea of Congress "declaring war" was antiquated and cute. Well, how long will it be when the very hollowed out structures of Capitol Hill and the White House are considered antiquated and cute?
What if the plan all along has been to fold up this whole democratic experiment and move HQ into some new multi-billion dollar Pentagon digs?
Remember the words of Strobe Talbott:
"Within the next hundred years nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all."
This nation had better wake up fast if it wants to salvage the currency authorizing power of government and restore its role in the economy, before it's no longer an option and the private bankers, today's money lenders in the temple, govern for good.
"The bank strategy continues: "If we can privatize the economy, we can turn the whole public sector into a monopoly. We can treat what used to be the government sector as a financial monopoly. Instead of providing free or subsidized schooling, we can make people pay $50,000 to get a college education, or $50,000 just to get a grade school education if families choose to go to New York private schools. We can turn the roads into toll roads. We can charge people for water, and we can charge for what used to be given for free under the old style of Roosevelt capitalism and social democracy."
This idea that governments should not create money implies that they shouldn't act like governments. Instead, the de facto government should be Wall Street. Instead of governments allocating resources to help the economy grow, Wall Street should be the allocator of resources – and should starve the government to "save taxpayers" (or at least the wealthy). Tea Party promoters want to starve the government to a point where it can be "drowned in the bathtub."
But if you don't have a government that can fund itself, then who is going to govern, and on whose terms? The obvious answer is, the class with the money: Wall Street and the corporate sector. They clamor for a balanced budget, saying, "We don't want the government to fund public infrastructure. We want it to be privatized in a way that will generate profits for the new owners, along with interest for the bondholders and the banks that fund it; and also, management fees. Most of all, the privatized enterprises should generate capital gains for the stockholders as they jack up prices for hitherto public services.
You can see how to demoralize a country if you can stop the government from spending money into the economy. That will cause austerity, lower living standards and really put the class war in business. So what Trump is suggesting is to put the class war in business, financially, with an exclamation point."
Aug 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
alley cat August 16, 2018 at 1:58 pm, August 17, 2018 at 4:03 pm
From the WaPo op-ed "God Bless the Deep State," by Eugene Robinson:
Democrats in Congress are powerless; the Republican leadership, spineless. Experienced government officials know that their job is to serve the president. But what if the president does not serve the best interests of the nation?
In this emergency [emphasis mine], the loyal and honorable deep state has a higher duty. It's called patriotism.
Is Robinson really suggesting a military coup? That would take a lot of planning and organization and would be almost impossible to keep secret. Some honest military officer might find out and put the kibosh on it, like Kirk Douglas did in Frankenheimers's classic political thriller, Seven Days in May .
Robinson talks like he has given up on impeachment by what he calls a powerless and spineless Congress. Maybe he's thinking of something quicker and cleaner than a coup, something that could be carried out by a small group of conspirators within an agency trained in removing uncooperative heads of state?
Since deep state conspirators routinely smear all those who demand evidence as "Russian agents," maybe non-conspirators should use the same tactic on them, e.g.: Is Robinson on the CIA payroll? Because anyone who agrees with anything the CIA says is obviously working for the CIA, right?
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
I'm still looking for an English copy of Journalists for Hire by Udo Ufkotte.
LtichfieldFrederike , August 17, 2018 at 6:34 pm
Re "Thank god for the Deep State."
Amazing, absolutely amazing, statement.
This is, obviously, an admission of the existence of the Deep State -- otherwise generally written off as a "conspiracy theory."
Simultaneously it is a statement that the Deep State "knows better than voters" and also "knows what to do."
This is, actually, a treasonous statement. Why doesn't anyone notice this???Frederike , August 17, 2018 at 6:47 pm
There is only one article that is translated into English: "The world upside down" 2006,
Journalists for Hire is available in German only. (I was able to buy a copy last year.)alley cat , August 16, 2018 at 1:05 am
You can download the ebook in English
I've always avoided Eugene Robinson's columns because he seemed like the quintessential, no-think, Borg-assimilated, groupie to me. His column of July 19 entitled "God Bless the Deep State" proves it.
I started highlighting the patent falsehoods in Robinson's column. It didn't take me long to realize that it would be much quicker to highlight the truthful comments. Much, much quicker. I've read the column twice and my copy remains unmarked.
It's a tough call, but probably the most bizarre of Gene's assertions was the following:
"God bless them. With a supine Congress unwilling to play the role it is assigned by the Constitution, the deep state stands between us and the abyss."
Seriously? The deep state stands between us and the abyss? In the real world, where the rest of us live, the deep state is the abyss!
Seems like Washington has been overrun by pod people from an alternate universe, where everything is an inverted, mirror image of reality. Up is down, left is right, etc. Their moral compasses aren't exactly broken, they just point south instead of north.
As for Brennan, he and the president are both zealous advocates of torture. That tells us much about the condition of their moral compasses. A plague on both their houses, with the following reservation: as a certified neocon and Clinton dead-ender, Brennan is even more dangerous to us real-worlders than Trump. He called Trump a traitor for trying to do the right thing. In Brennan's alternate-universe Washington, to do evil is the summum bonum of patriotism.
Aug 23, 2018 | www.thenation.com
Brennan's allegation was unprecedented. No such high-level intelligence official had ever before accused a sitting president of treason, still more in collusion with the Kremlin. (Impeachment discussions of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, to take recent examples, did not include allegations involving Russia.) Brennan clarified his charge : "Treasonous, which is to betray one's trust and to aid and abet the enemy." Coming from Brennan, a man presumed to be in possession of related dark secrets, as he strongly hinted , the charge was fraught with alarming implications. Brennan made clear he hoped for Trump's impeachment, but in another time, and in many other countries, his charge would suggest that Trump should be removed from the presidency urgently by any means, even a coup. No one, it seems, has even noted this extraordinary implication with its tacit threat to American democracy. (Perhaps because the disloyalty allegation against Trump has been customary ever since mid-2016, even before he became president, when an array of influential publications and writers -- among them a former acting CIA director -- began branding him Putin's "puppet," "agent," "client," and "Manchurian candidate." The Los Angeles Times even saw fit to print an article suggesting that the military might have to remove Trump if he were to be elected, thereby having the very dubious distinction of predating Brennan.)
Why did Brennan, a calculating man, risk leveling such a charge, which might reasonably be characterized as sedition? The most plausible explanation is that he sought to deflect growing attention to his role as the "Godfather" of the entire Russiagate narrative, as Cohen argued back in February. If so, we need to know Brennan's unvarnished views on Russia.
They are set out with astonishing (perhaps unknowing) candor in a New York Times op-ed of August 17. They are those of Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover in their prime. Western "politicians, political parties, media outlets, think tanks and influencers are readily manipulated, wittingly and unwittingly, or even bought outright, by Russian operatives not only to collect sensitive information but also to distribute propaganda and disinformation. I was well aware of Russia's ability to work surreptitiously within the United States, cultivating relationships with individuals who wield actual or potential power. These Russian agents are well trained in the art of deception. They troll political, business and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters. Too often, those puppets are found." All this, Brennan assures readers, is based on his "deep insight." All the rest of us, it seems, are constantly susceptible to "Russian puppet masters" under our beds, at work, on our computers. Clearly, there must be no "cooperation" with the Kremlin's grand "Puppet Master," as Trump said he wanted early on. (People who wonder what and when Obama knew about the unfolding Russiagate saga need to ask why he would keep such a person so close for so long.)
And yet, scores of former intelligence and military officials rallied around this unvarnished John Brennan, even though, they said, they did not entirely share his opinions. This too is revealing. They did so, it seems clear enough, out of their professional corporate identity, which Brennan represented and Trump was degrading by challenging the intelligences agencies' (implicitly including his own) Russiagate allegations against him. It's a misnomer to term these people representatives of a hidden "deep state." In recent years, they have been amply visible on television and newspaper op-ed pages. Instead, they see and present themselves as members of a fully empowered and essential fourth branch of government. This too has gone largely undiscussed while nightingales of the fourth branch -- such as David Ignatius and Joe Scarborough in the pages of the The Washington Post -- have been in full voice.
The result is, of course -- and no less ominous -- to criminalize any advocacy of "cooperating with Russia," or détente, as Trump sought to do in Helsinki with Putin. Still more, a full-fledged Russophobic hysteria is sweeping through the American political-media establishment, from Brennan and -- pending actual evidence against her -- those who engineered the arrest of Maria Butina (imagine how this endangers young Americans networking in Russia) to the senators now preparing new "crippling sanctions" against Moscow and the editors and producers at the Times , Post , CNN, and MSNBC. (However powerful, how representative are these elites when surveys indicate that a majority of the American people still prefer good relations with Moscow?)
As the dangers grow of actual war with Russia -- again, from Ukraine and the Baltic region to Syria -- the capacity of US policy-makers, above all the president, are increasingly diminished. To be fair, Brennan may only be a symptom of this profound American crisis, some say the worst since the Civil War.
Finally, there was a time when many Democrats, certainly liberal Democrats, could be counted on to resist this kind of hysteria and, yes, spreading neo-McCarthyism. (Brennan's defenders accuse Trump of McCarthyism, but Brennan's charge of treason without presenting any actual evidence was quintessential McCarthy.) After all, civil liberties, including freedom of speech, are directly involved -- and not only Brennan's and Trump's. But Democratic members of Congress and pro-Democratic media outlets are in the forefront of the new anti-Russian hysteria, with only a few exceptions. Thus a generally liberal historian tells CNN viewers that "Brennan is an American hero. His tenure at the CIA was impeccable. We owe him so much." Elsewhere the same historian assures readers , "There has always been a bipartisan spirit of support since the CIA was created in the Cold War." In the same vein, two Post reporters write of the FBI's " once venerated reputation ."
Aug 13, 2018 | dissidentvoice.org
Or, What's Wrong with Russian Collusion?The question is finally being asked, by the president himself: what's wrong with collusion? Or at least his lawyer asks the question, while Trumps tweets:
Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn't matter because there was No Collusion.
The problem, of course, is that of collusion with an alleged adversary. Russia, we are constantly informed, is one such adversary, indeed the main state adversary, with Putin is its head.
Adversary is a very strong term. The Hebrew word for adversary is Satan. Satan is the ultimate symbol of evil in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Satan tempted Eve at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, causing her to eat the fruit, and so evil entered the world.
Just like some want you to think that evil entered the (good, pristine) U.S. electoral process due to this Russian adversary in 2016.
(Sometimes listening to TV pundits vilifying Putin I find Luther's famous hymn floating through my head:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.
Luther's referring to Satan, of course. But the current mythology around Putin -- as someone who still , like Lenin and Stalin before him, and the tsars of old, wishes us harm; is an unbridled dictator with a powerful great nuclear arsenal; is the wealthiest man on earth; and hates democracy -- resembles the mythology around the Adversary in the Bible.)
But let us problematize this vilification. When did Russia become a U.S. adversary? Some might say 1917 when in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution Moscow became the center of the global communist movement. But surely that period ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR.
Throughout the 1990s the U.S. cultivated Boris Yeltsin's Russia as a friend and even aided the drunken buffoon in winning the 1996 election. Bill Clinton and Yeltsin signed the Start II treaty. Harvard professors advised Moscow on economic reform.
The Russians were not pleased by U.S.-NATO involvements in the former Yugoslavia, a traditional Russian ally, in 1995 and 1999, and the expansion of NATO in the latter year (to include Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary) in violation of the agreement between Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that in return for Russia's acceptance of German reunification NATO would not spread "one inch" towards Russia. They protested meekly. But Russia was not an adversary then.
Nor was it an adversary when, in 2001, under its new president Vladimir Putin, it offered NATO a route through Russia to provision forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The real change only came in 2004, when NATO suddenly expanded to include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. This brought alliances forces right to the Russian border.
It was a clear statement by the U.S. to a friendly country: We are your adversary. But, of course, the Pentagon and State Department always pooh-poohed Russian concerns, denying that NATO targeted any particular country.
Four years later (2008) NATO announced intentions to draw Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. Meanwhile the U.S. recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Kosovo, the historical heart of Serbian civilization, had been wrenched from Serbia in 1999 under the pretext of a "humanitarian" intervention that included the first bombing (by NATO) of a European capital city since 1945. The province had been converted into a vast NATO base.
Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, emboldened by the prospect of NATO membership and western backing, attacked the capital of the separatist republic of South Ossetia, provoking (as the Russians explain it) a proper punitive response: the Russo-Georgian War of August 7-16 . After this Moscow recognized South Ossetia and a second breakaway republic, Abkhazia, in a tit-for-tat response to Washington's recognition of Kosovo.
Now Russia was labelled an aggressive power -- by the power that had carved up Yugoslavia, and invaded and occupied Iraq on the basis of lies and killed half a million in the process. Plans to include Georgia in NATO had to be put on hold, in large part due to European allies' opposition (why provoke Russia?) but the U.S. intensified efforts to draw in Ukraine. That meant toppling the anti-NATO elected president Viktor Yanukovych.
The U.S. State Department devoted enormous resources to the Maidan coup in Kiev on February 23, 2014. Its agents helped topple the government, ostensibly for its failure to negotiate an agreement for Ukrainian associate membership in the EU, but really to bring pro-NATO forces to power and expel the Russian Fleet from the Crimean Peninsula where it has been based since 1783. Moscow's limited support for the Donbass ethnic-Russian separatists and re-annexation of Crimea were, of course, depicted by the U.S. as more aggression, more mischievous opposition to "U.S. global interests."
But from Moscow's point of view these moves have surely been defensive. The main problem is (obviously) NATO and its dangerous, unnecessary and provocative expansion. Throughout his presidential campaign Trump questioned the continued "relevance" of NATO. Characteristically he focused on budget issues and allies' failure to meet the goal figure of 2% if GDP for military expenses (misleadingly depicting investment shortfalls as a betrayal and rip-off of the victimized U.S.). But he did -- to the alarm of many, and probably to Moscow's delight -- express little enthusiasm for the alliance's historical purpose.
The most rational proposition Trump voiced before his election that the U.S. should "get along" with Russia. That is, get along with the so-called adversary. Trump as we all know had been in Russia on business, hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, and maintains interest in building a Trump Tower in the city. He has met and befriended Russian oligarchs. He quite possibly sees Russia as just another country, like Germany or France.
If "the French" had had dirt on Hillary, would it have been okay to "collude" with them to influence the election result? France is, of course, a NATO ally. Would that make it different? Now that the president and his layers are openly questioning whether "collusion", per se, is even illegal, the specific nature of the colluder becomes more relevant.
Russia is an adversary.
Russia is an adversary.
Putin in Helsinki acknowledged to a reporter that he had hoped Trump could win, because he had expressed hope for better relations. He might have added that he dreaded the prospect of a Hillary victory because of her warmongering and characterization of him as a Hitler. Naturally the Russian media favored Trump over Clinton at a certain point when he emerged as a credible candidate. So when Trump on July 27, 2016 called on Russia to release Hillary's missing emails ("if you've got 'em") the Russians probably felt invited to make contact through channels. And when informed that they had dirt, Don Jr. wrote: "If that's what you say, I love it." (Who can blame him?)
Let's say there was some collusion after the June 6 Trump Tower meeting. Trump has suddenly acknowledged that the meeting with the Russians was indeed to "seek political dirt." He adds that this is "totally legal," and this may be true. Some are now saying that Don Jr. may have violated a federal statute (52 USC 30121, 36 USC 5210) forbidding any foreign person to "make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.' and for anyone to knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by [this law]." But the language is vague. If a Canadian speechwriter works gratis for a U.S. political candidate, in order to help him or her win, is this not "a thing of value" intended to affect an election?
If Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner had met with Canadian agents in Trump Tower I doubt there would have been any controversy. The fact is, Trump won the election and many of those stunned by that wish to undermine him using revived Cold War-type Russophobia. They insist: He worked with our adversary to undermine our election. And now they hope they've got him on this charge.
Five years ago a young man named Edward Snowden (now living in forced exile in Russia) revealed to the world the extent of the U.S.'s global surveillance. He showed us how the NSA wiretaps EU meetings, popes' conversations, Angela Merkel's cell phone and maintains metadata on virtually all U.S. residents. He showed us what the contemporary advanced state can do in this respect. We should suppose that Moscow has, if not similar capacity, at least enough expertise to hack into the DNC emails or John Podesta's g-mail account. Is that surprising?
What none of the TV anchors is allowed to say needs to be said again: The U.S. interferes in foreign elections all the time, including Russian ones. It should surprise no one if Russian intelligence responds in kind. The point is not the provenance of the leaked emails but their content.
Those horrified by the leaked material complain that their release was designed to "undermine faith in our democratic system." Really? Don't the workings of the system itself undermine one's faith in it, once they are exposed? Was it adversarial of the leaker to inform us that the DNC had no intention of allowing Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, and thus that the process was rigged? Was it unfriendly to reveal that Podesta was hoping the media would hype Trump, as an easy target for his candidate?
The question that will no doubt be debated in the coming days is whether seeking dirt on a political opponent from any foreigner is indeed illegal, or whether there are specific legal ramifications of meeting with someone from an "adversary" country. But it seems to me that Russia has not been defined as such officially. So we may have a discussion less about legality than the politics of Russophobia.
I am happy to see Trump besieged, rattled, possibly facing impeachment. But to bring him down on the basis of "Russian collusion," on the assumption that Russia is an adversary, would only advantage the warmongers who want no-fly zones over Syria and military support for the Kiev regime against the Donbas separatists. Vice President Pence I believe favors both.
Trump has said that he cannot host Putin in Washington this year, or until the Russian Hoax witch hunt is over. But Putin has invited him to Moscow. One senses he wants some agreements with Trump before he is ousted by his gathering adversaries, including the press, courts, Democrats, select Republicans, turncoat aides and he himself sometimes in his unguarded tweets.Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: email@example.com . Read other articles by Gary .
This article was posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018 at 10:30pm and is filed under (Ex-)Yugoslavia , Chancellor Angela Merkel , Donald Trump , Elections , Espionage/"Intelligence" , Hillary Clinton , Kosovo , Mike Pence , President Vladimir Putin , Russia , Serbia , Ukraine , United States , US Hypocrisy , US Lies .
Apr 16, 2018 | www.youtube.com
Maria Kuzali , 4 months agoOff Grid Nation , 4 months ago
First, US sanctions against Russia, then the Skripals mystery, and last the Attack at Syria....What the masters of the world trying do???shaughn fourie , 4 months ago
I'm an American. I'm disgusted with the mafia cartel bankrupt corporation that masquerades as the government. I don't like or trust any government but after listening to this guy, he certainly comes across as way more trustworthy than anyone puppet we have in the Trump regime. #IDONOTCONSENTshaughn fourie , 4 months ago
THANK YOU RUSSIA IN PARTICULAR PRESIDENT PUTIN AND LAVROV BOTH GOOD INTELLIGENT AND DECENT MENJames Australian , 4 months ago (edited)
MACRON TRUMP AND MAY ARE MURDERERS......THANK YOU ASSAD AND RUSSIA AND KURDISH PEOPLE FOR TRULY STANDING UP FOR CIVILISED VALUESzac anthony , 4 months ago
need to stop the tyrants to prevent the fall of Damascus.. Must not let them kill Mr Assad.Luboš Lier , 4 months ago
I believe in Russia more than our gov we are being ledhaithem ali , 4 months ago
Russia just needs to give Syria couple of tactical nukes. And the peace in Syria is assured...
Sometimes he continues talking without look at paper..... bcs he say true.... and USA, BRITAIN and France cant do that bcs they are lying and scared if they will say something wrong.
Aug 17, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Gary Weglarz August 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm
It is quite interesting how many uninformed posters and/or trolls would love to find a way to show the "Russiagate" nonsense is somehow plausible in spite of the evidence. They're kind of like a five year old child who desperately wants to keep believing in Santa Claus, even though he just found dad's Santa costume in the closet and he's holding it in his own hands.
I will say that the amount of mental gymnastics required to continue not believing evidence that is right in front of one's eyes is quite impressive – but I'd never underestimate the American people's creativity when they want to maintain their illusions/delusions. And I'd certainly never underestimate the Russiagate troll army's persistence.
At this rate I expect to soon encounter some version of the following "observation" in the comments section for this article: – "maybe space aliens hired by the Russians downloaded the files to a to a new fangled thig-a-ma-jig and then shape-shifted so Craig Murray would be fooled into thinking a real-like-human insider provided him the files on a flash drive." – "oh, oh, wait, maybe the aliens abducted Murray too, and then just made him "think" a fellow human gave him the drive in person." "yeah, yeah, and maybe Assange just says he didn't get the files from the Russians because "he's a space alien too." "Yeah, prove to me that it didn't happen this way – you can't – ha! there! I win!"
Sorry, but two years into this we should be way beyond this kind of – "I can't believe Santa's not real"- denying, dissembling, rationalizing nonsense. Then again, this is America.
GM , August 14, 2018 at 4:51 pmjeff montanye , August 17, 2018 at 7:11 am
America is after all a country in which half the population believe in the creation myth.Just Plain Scott , August 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm
but if i had to bet, the creationists are less likely to believe in Russiagate than the evolutionists.michael , August 15, 2018 at 6:06 am
Please don't give Rachel Maddow any more ideas.ToivoS , August 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm
"Two years after the Iraq War began, 70 per cent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks, according to a Washington Post survey." The Big Lie works, and since Obama gutted Smith-Mundt, the CIA/ State Department can legally keep Americans tracking on their propaganda narratives.GM , August 14, 2018 at 5:01 pm
I agree with Lawrences point that this is an issue of social psychology. Rational argument over the facts is simply over taken by some kind of mass hysteria. There certainly precedent for this kind of behavior. Indeed this was described in 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' 180 years ago. In my lifetime I have witnessed two episodes of this kind of mass hysteria. The first was the red scare of the early 1950's (I not so much witnessed that as experienced it) and the second was the day care hysteria of satanic cults abusing our children that flared between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now this is a third manifestation of mass hysteria.
It all began with Hillary's shocking defeat. Many millions of her supporters knew that she was so good that she had to win. But then she lost. Those millions of Democrats could not accept that in fact their assessment of her talents were totally wrong and that she lost because she has to be one of the worst candidates in American history. That is a reality those people refused to accept. Instead they had to concoct some crazy conspiracy to explain their break with reality. This is a classic case of cognitive dissonance which often leads to mass hysteria.Rob Roy , August 14, 2018 at 11:07 pm
People choose to believe what they feel that they most need to believe to assuage their insecurities fostered by what they perceive to be the dangerous and scary world in which they exist. The simple fact that we know that life is finite by the time we're three years old fosters the creation of such constructs as that of the myth of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven complete with a mortgage-free condo and an extra parking space for all repentant sinners are mainstream beliefs.
ToivoS, you are right about Hillary. She simply couldn't accept her defeat. She was the one who began Russiagate by the lie, "17 intelligence agencies" said the Russians hacked the emails.
As for times of mass-swallowing of a lie in the 1930s every German thought that Poland was about to invade Germany and they were scared so much that they believed their leaders who "false flagged" them into invading Poland "first." Of course, Poland had no intention of invading Germany.
Notice every time the US attacks another sovereign country, there's a false flag waved for the citizens to follow?
Don't you appreciate that we have consortiumnews?
MM , , August 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
Aug 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comdeclared liberal celebrity activist Rosie O'Donnell at a protest in front of the White House last week. "We see it, he can't lie about it," she added. "He is going down and so will all of his administration." "The charge is treason," O'Donnell declared. Protesters held held large letters that spelled it out: " T-R-E-A-S-O-N ."
O'Donnell is by no means alone in her sentiments. Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day.
This kind of partisan religiosity is not new.
In the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, conservative pundit Ann Coulter accused war opponents of " treason " and insisted of Saddam Hussein, "We know he had weapons of mass destruction."
Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times in 2014 were somehow the same thing as the " mushroom cloud " the Bush administration said Saddam was capable of.
Unfortunately for the right (and America, and the world), that premise turned out to be false. There were no WMDs. Today, only a minority of delusional, face-saving hawks and unreconstructed neoconservatives still parrot that lie .
And far from being "traitors," Iraq war opponents today are considered to have been on the right side of history .John Brennan: Melting Down and Covering Up The Iraq War's Age of Madness
Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.
The post-2016 left's most dominant narrative is arguably their deeply held belief -- with all the ferocity and piety of yesterday's pro-war conservatives -- that Russia colluded with Trump's campaign to undermine the presidential election. Many believe that the president and anyone who supports his diplomatic efforts like Senator Rand Paul are in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies," said Barack Obama in 2008, and he did just that with Putin, as has every other president in recent times .
But Trump-Russia relations have been spun into far-fetched conspiracy theories on the left. New York Magazine 's Jonathan Chait recently went so far as to speculate that Trump has been a Russian agent since 1987 , a cockamamie idea on par with the Weekly Standard 's Stephen Hayes' discredited conspiracy theory that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots .
It really was plausible that Iraq had WMDs in 2003 based on what our intelligence agencies knew, or purported to know. Today, it is feasible that American democracy really has Putin's fingerprints on it based on things revealed by U.S. intelligence.
But isn't it also possible that the left is reading far too much into Russiagate?
The Nation 's Aaron Maté believes liberals are overreaching, and that's putting it mildly:
From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of US government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed. The reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian military-intelligence officers for hacking of Democratic party servers and voter databases is no exception. Mueller's indictment is certainly detailed. Most significantly, it marks the first time anyone has been charged for offenses related to Russiagate's underlying crime.
But while it is a major step forward in the investigation, we have yet to see the basis for the allegations that Mueller has lodged. As with any criminal case, from a petty offense to a cybercrime charge against a foreign government, a verdict cannot be formed in the absence of this evidence.
Then the irony kicks in. Maté continues, "The record of US intelligence, replete with lies and errors, underscores the need for caution. Mueller was a player in one of this century's most disastrous follies when, in congressional testimony, he endorsed claims about Iraqi WMDs and warned that Saddam Hussein 'may supply' chemical and biological material to 'terrorists.'"
Noting Mueller's 2003 WMD testimony is not an attempt to undermine him or his investigation, something Maté also makes clear. But it does serve as an important reminder that "intelligence" can be flat-out wrong. It reminds us how these scenarios, which so much of Washington and the elite class fully endorse, can be looked back on as lapses of reason years later.
Mass psychology is real. Political classes and parties are not immune.
"Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true," Maté asks. "Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country's election can never be justified."
He continues, "But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an 'attack,' even an 'act of war,' are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed."
The U.S. could have certainly used less hyperbole and more sobriety in 2002 and 2003.
And there's good chance that when the history books are written about American politics circa 2018, much of Russiagate will be dismissed as more Red Scare than Red Dawn .
With Russia, as with WMDs, left and right have elevated slivers of legitimate security concerns to the level of existential threat based mostly on their own partisanship. That kind of thinking has already proven to be dangerous.
We don't know what evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia might yet come forth, but it's easy to see how, even if this narrative eventually falls flat, 15 years from now some liberals will still be clinging to Russiagate not as a matter of fact, but political identity. Russia-obsessed liberals, too, could end up on the wrong side of history.
No one can know the future. Republicans would be wise to prepare for new, potentially damaging information about Trump and Russia that may yet emerge.
Democrats should consider that Russiagate may be just as imaginary as Republicans' Iraq fantasy.Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.
JLF August 16, 2018 at 1:31 pmAll this may be as Hunter would have it. Yet there is the nagging doubt that Trump, who could only find major financing for his enterprises following his last bankruptcy through Putin-controlled banks, could be free of any entangling ties or obligations. And if those doubts prove true, what then?
From the Nation: "From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of U.S. government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed."Clyde Schechter , , August 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm
This is a key point, because now Democrats and the most of the Left are ready to embrace a guy like Brennan a.k.a. Mr. Torture, merely because they hate Trump.
I'll also admit to not knowing what's coming in the future, but as of now there's a strong circumstantial case to be made that this reactions to Russian election meddling, which when all was said and done amounted to providing the voting public with the truth about the DNC and its own election-fixing operation, that this reaction is only about losing the 2016 presidential election to a guy who was only given a 1% chance of winning by almost everyone.
This is the most sensible commentary on "Russiagate" I have seen anywhere in a long time.b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm
At present, there is some suggestive evidence in the public arena, but nothing conclusive.
What we probably need, actually, is a moratorium on commentary about this until the investigation reaches its conclusion. That can take a long time. But until then, the endless partisanship-motivated speculation we hear daily is, frankly tiresome.
Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for your temperate perspective on this. I wish this would be the last word on the subject until the investigation ends.
'"Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.'b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm
I suspect I agree with the author's sentiment, but it is not easy to tell.
Who stands accused? Trump? Russia? Both?
The claim that Trump is colluding with Russia is not the same as the claim that Iraq War opponents were colluding with Saddam Hussein.
The manufactured "Russia!" hysteria campaign orchestrated by the Obama/Clinton Democratic Party leadership, as deplorable and dubious as it might be, has nothing in common with the "5th column" smears Sullivan et.al. were peddling in 2002-2003 and beyond.
The claim that Trump committed "treason" would be legally incorrect on the worst case. Without a formal Congressional declaration of war, we are not at war with Russia, and Russia is not the enemy, no matter how much irresponsible mouthbreathing is broadcast from the biparty Congress members. However corrupt and corrupted Trump may be, corruption does not qualify as treason. If corruption were treason, Congress, in support of Israel and Saudi Arabia at the expense of the US (and certainly not in support of Russia) would be a house of traitors.
In comparison, the claim that opponents of the Iraq war were traitors was not just idiotic, but morally inexcusable. If anybody violated their oath, it was Bush himself, his appointees, and the ranking officers of the US military, for issuing illegal orders and/or following them.
"Russian election meddling" is the new WMD only the extent it is used as a pretext for war against Russia. It is the new "stained dress" in the attempt to challenge the ballot and paralyze an inconvenient President. I have no doubt that the Clintons are corrupt, and the GOP has engaged in many a Congressional effort to "investigate". The Clinton campaign adopted this playbook, and the damage to the Republic done by all is growing every day.
The real corruption here is the pretense that Congress is any better than Trump, that Russian oligarchs have more impact on the eroding Republic than Israeli-American, Saudi and UAE oligarchs, and that the biggest threat to the integrity of our elections and the franchise is Russia, and not the Roberts Court, Democrat apparatchiks like Sunstein, or Republican frauds like Kobach. Both parties are actively conspiring and plotting to make sure our votes are meaningless and cannot harm incumbents and the war profiteering classes, and where there used to be an opposition to illegal war and to oligarchs and plutocrats, there is now willing participation in manufactured hysteria to extend the 2016 campaign indefinitely.
WMDs? The very concept is a scam -- there is nukes, and nothing else. Nuclear arsenals outsized to end us all, and trillion dollar waste to expand them, are the tie that binds the US and Russia, and I suspect that Russia would be a lot more rational about reducing those arsenals than the US. If the author wants to worry about ending up on the wrong side of history, he should stop worrying about partisan points and focus. Politics is not a team sports, and anybody who picks a favorite is a failure as a citizen. Nobody who wants power is suitable for it.
Ask yourself, if Saddam Hussein had had "WMD" -- say, some of those chemical and biological stocks Reagan envoy Rumsfeld helpfully provided to Saddam Hussein -- would that have made the Iraq invasion legal, right just, necessary, successful? Or if Powell's little phials and mobile weapons labs actually existed?Stavros , , August 16, 2018 at 3:17 pm
Heck, let's say Saddam managed to make actual nukes out of tubes that weren't and yellowcake that wasn't. North Korea has nukes. Does that make invasion and aggressive war legal, right, just necessary, successful?
WMD or not was a lie wrapped within a deception inside a fraud. That's the one thing that it has in common with "Russiagate". Every layer, every aspect of it is a lie, a distraction, and everybody -- Trump included -- is perpetuating the hysteria for their own benefit. The stupidity of it is only barely rivaled by the mendacity.
Trump is proving to be the Republican Alger Hiss. The partisanship of 1948 quickly crystallized into pro- and anti-Hiss camps in which the then limited evidence was trumped by ideology. It was not until the Verona tapes were released in the early 1990s that Hiss was proven to be guilty. Had Nixon and his allies called for a special prosecutor in 1948 and the facts both open and classified been examined intensely, Hiss would never have become the progressive Victim that he was to be for over thirty years. Ditto with Trump. Absent Mueller's investigation, these accusations against Trump (and I believe them to have serious weight and substance as well as potential for policy changes to prevent election fraud) would be mere ideological shrapnel to be argued over for another thirty years. Let the investigations proceed unimpeded and a final accounting be published at the very least for the sanity and integrity of the Republic. Don't let Trump become the Right's Alger Hiss.b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm
In other words, let's imagine that Putin has really tried to change election results. Let's imagine that Trump really has been bribed by Russian oligarchs.Sisera , , August 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm
Is that why we are at this juncture? Is that why Congress has not served the People and upheld the Constitution in decades? Is that why citizens and voters lose trust in our institutions, and doubt election results?
We cannot even own up to our own mistakes, our own greed, our own malignancy. We have to blame it not on our "business partners" and "allies" and their hundreds of billions of dollars of arms purchases, we will blame it on Russia.
How small we have become.
It is not just Trump, it is Congress. It is not just this administration and this Congress, it is the previous ones, and the ones before it, and so on.
The point is not whether or not the "Russia!" hysteria and the allegations against Trump are accurate or not. The point is that, in comparison to everything else, it would just be more of the same, and we brought it upon ourselves.
Regime change begins at home.
Isn't it extremely Orwellian to say that 'information isn't really information/should be censored or disregarded if it comes from a subversive (Russia) source'?
Naturally, it allows for a very easy way to control and censor information.
Now, as far as pure security threats, aside from information that should've been public anyway, experts deem that the DNC information came from on site:
Now this is also an appeal to authority, but VIPs has a better track record and I've seen them actually elaborate on their claims, not just assert them.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike.
We are in a very peculiar ideological and political place in which Democracy (oh sainted Democracy) is a very good thing, unless the voters reject the technocrat class's leadership. Then the velvet gloves come off. From the perspective of the elites and their technocrat apparatchiks, elections have only one purpose: to rubberstamp their leadership.
As a general rule, this is easily managed by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and bribes to the cartels and insider fiefdoms who pony up most of the cash.
This is why incumbents win the vast majority of elections. Once in power, they issue the bribes and payoffs needed to guarantee funding next election cycle.
The occasional incumbent who is voted out of office made one of two mistakes:
1. He/she showed a very troubling bit of independence from the technocrat status quo, so a more orthodox candidate is selected to eliminate him/her.
2. The incumbent forgot to put on a charade of "listening to my constituency" etc.
If restive voters can't be bamboozled into passively supporting the technocrat status quo with the usual propaganda, divide and conquer is the preferred strategy. Only voting for the technocrat class (of any party, it doesn't really matter) will save us from the evil Other : Deplorables, socialists, commies, fascists, etc.
In extreme cases where the masses confound the status quo by voting against the technocrat class (i.e. against globalization, financialization, Empire), then the elites/technocrats will punish them with austerity or a managed recession. The technocrat's core ideology boils down to this:
1. The masses are dangerously incapable of making wise decisions about anything, so we have to persuade them to do our bidding. Any dissent will be punished, marginalized, censored or shut down under some pretext of "protecting the public" or violation of some open-ended statute.
2. To insure this happy outcome, we must use all the powers of propaganda, up to and including rigged statistics, bogus "facts" (official fake news can't be fake news, etc.), divide and conquer, fear-mongering, misdirection and so on.
3. We must relentlessly centralize all power, wealth and authority so the masses have no escape or independence left to threaten us. We must control everything, for their own good of course.
4. Globalization must be presented not as a gargantuan fraud that has stripmined the planet and its inhabitants, but as the sole wellspring of endless, permanent prosperity.
5. If the masses refuse to rubberstamp our leadership, they will be punished and told the source of their punishment is their rejection of globalization, financialization and Empire.
Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike. My two favorite charts of the outcome of technocrats running things to suit their elite masters are:
The state-cartel-crony-capitalist version: the top .1% skim the vast majority of the gains in income and wealth. Globalization, financialization and Empire sure do rack up impressive gains. Too bad they're concentrated in the top 1.%.
The state-crony-socialist version: the currency is destroyed, impoverishing everyone but the top .1% who transferred their wealth to Miami, London and Zurich long ago. Hmm, do you discern a pattern here in the elite-technocrat regime?
Ideology is just a cover you slip over the machine to mask what's really going on.
* * *
My new book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .
Jul 28, 2018 | russia-insider.comIn today's United States, the term "espionage" doesn't get too much use outside of some specific contexts. There is still sporadic talk of industrial espionage, but with regard to Americans' own efforts to understand the world beyond their borders, they prefer the term "intelligence." This may be an intelligent choice, or not, depending on how you look at things.
First of all, US "intelligence" is only vaguely related to the game of espionage as it has been traditionally played, and as it is still being played by countries such as Russia and China. Espionage involves collecting and validating strategically vital information and conveying it to just the pertinent decision-makers on your side while keeping the fact that you are collecting and validating it hidden from everyone else.
In eras past, a spy, if discovered, would try to bite down on a cyanide capsule; these days torture is considered ungentlemanly, and spies that get caught patiently wait to be exchanged in a spy swap. An unwritten, commonsense rule about spy swaps is that they are done quietly and that those released are never interfered with again because doing so would complicate negotiating future spy swaps.
In recent years, the US intelligence agencies have decided that torturing prisoners is a good idea, but they have mostly been torturing innocent bystanders, not professional spies, sometimes forcing them to invent things, such as "Al Qaeda." There was no such thing before US intelligence popularized it as a brand among Islamic terrorists.
Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence.
There are unlikely to be any more British spy swaps with Russia, and British spies working in Russia should probably be issued good old-fashioned cyanide capsules (since that supposedly super-powerful Novichok stuff the British keep at their "secret" lab in Porton Down doesn't work right and is only fatal 20% of the time).
There is another unwritten, commonsense rule about spying in general: whatever happens, it needs to be kept out of the courts, because the discovery process of any trial would force the prosecution to divulge sources and methods, making them part of the public record. An alternative is to hold secret tribunals, but since these cannot be independently verified to be following due process and rules of evidence, they don't add much value.
A different standard applies to traitors; here, sending them through the courts is acceptable and serves a high moral purpose, since here the source is the person on trial and the method -- treason -- can be divulged without harm. But this logic does not apply to proper, professional spies who are simply doing their jobs, even if they turn out to be double agents. In fact, when counterintelligence discovers a spy, the professional thing to do is to try to recruit him as a double agent or, failing that, to try to use the spy as a channel for injecting disinformation.
Americans have been doing their best to break this rule. Recently, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives working in Russia for hacking into the DNC mail server and sending the emails to Wikileaks. Meanwhile, said server is nowhere to be found (it's been misplaced) while the time stamps on the files that were published on Wikileaks show that they were obtained by copying to a thumb drive rather than sending them over the internet. Thus, this was a leak, not a hack, and couldn't have been done by anyone working remotely from Russia.
Furthermore, it is an exercise in futility for a US official to indict Russian citizens in Russia. They will never stand trial in a US court because of the following clause in the Russian Constitution: "61.1 A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state."
Mueller may summon a panel of constitutional scholars to interpret this sentence, or he can just read it and weep. Yes, the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough.
That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment.
He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail?
Since there exists an agreement between the US and Russia to cooperate on criminal investigations, Putin offered to question the spies indicted by Mueller. He even offered to have Mueller sit in on the proceedings. But in return he wanted to question US officials who may have aided and abetted a convicted felon by the name of William Browder, who is due to begin serving a nine-year sentence in Russia any time now and who, by the way, donated copious amounts of his ill-gotten money to the Hillary Clinton election campaign.
In response, the US Senate passed a resolution to forbid Russians from questioning US officials. And instead of issuing a valid request to have the twelve Russian spies interviewed, at least one US official made the startlingly inane request to have them come to the US instead. Again, which part of 61.1 don't they understand?
The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up."
The "intelligence" the US intelligence agencies provide can be anything but; in fact, the stupider it is the better, because its purpose is allow unintelligent people to make unintelligent decisions. In fact, they consider facts harmful -- be they about Syrian chemical weapons, or conspiring to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders, or Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden -- because facts require accuracy and rigor while they prefer to dwell in the realm of pure fantasy and whimsy. In this, their actual objective is easily discernible.
The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on.
One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips. It is now a pure confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.
Trump was recently questioned as to whether he trusted US intelligence. He waffled. A light-hearted answer would have been:
"What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task."
A more serious, matter-of-fact answer would have been:
"The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact."
And a hardcore, deadpan answer would have been:
"The US intelligence services swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution, according to which I am their Commander in Chief. They report to me, not I to them. They must be loyal to me, not I to them. If they are disloyal to me, then that is sufficient reason for their dismissal."
But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts.
Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria.
The total cost of wars so far this century for the US is reported to be $4,575,610,429,593. Divided by the 138,313,155 Americans who file tax returns (whether they actually pay any tax is too subtle a question), it works out to just over $33,000 per taxpayer. If you pay taxes in the US, that's your bill so far for the various US intelligence "oopsies."
The 16 US intelligence agencies have a combined budget of $66.8 billion, and that seems like a lot until you realize how supremely efficient they are: their "mistakes" have cost the country close to 70 times their budget. At a staffing level of over 200,000 employees, each of them has cost the US taxpayer close to $23 million, on average. That number is totally out of the ballpark! The energy sector has the highest earnings per employee, at around $1.8 million per. Valero Energy stands out at $7.6 million per. At $23 million per, the US intelligence community has been doing three times better than Valero. Hats off! This makes the US intelligence community by far the best, most efficient collapse driver imaginable.
There are two possible hypotheses for why this is so.
First, we might venture to guess that these 200,000 people are grossly incompetent and that the fiascos they precipitate are accidental. But it is hard to imagine a situation where grossly incompetent people nevertheless manage to funnel $23 million apiece, on average, toward an assortment of futile undertakings of their choosing. It is even harder to imagine that such incompetents would be allowed to blunder along decade after decade without being called out for their mistakes.
Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars."
Aug 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
Yet the political realm is where Soros has made his most audacious wager. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, he poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the former Soviet-bloc countries to promote civil society and [neo]liberal democracy. It was a one-man Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe, a private initiative without historical precedent. It was also a gamble that a part of the world that had mostly known tyranny would embrace ideas like government accountability and ethnic tolerance. In London in the 1950s, Soros was a student of the expatriated Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, who championed the notion of an "open society," in which individual liberty, pluralism and free inquiry prevailed. Popper's concept became Soros's cause.
... ... ...
...In the 1990s, he was portrayed by the far left as an agent of American imperialism, helping to foist the so-called neoliberal agenda (mass privatization, for example) on Eastern Europe. For some critics, Soros's Wall Street background has always been a mark against him.
Last autumn, he signaled that same sense of defiance when he announced that he was in the process of transferring the bulk of his remaining wealth, $18 billion in total at the time, to the O.S.F. That will potentially make it the second-largest philanthropic organization in the United States, in assets, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is already a sprawling entity, with some 1,800 employees in 35 countries, a global advisory board, eight regional boards and 17 issue-oriented boards. Its annual budget of around $1 billion finances projects in education, public health, independent media, immigration and criminal-justice reform and other areas
... ... ...
He decided that his goal would be opening closed societies. He created a philanthropic organization, then called the Open Society Fund, in 1979 and began sponsoring college scholarships for black South African students. But he soon turned his attention to Eastern Europe, where he started financing dissident groups. He funneled money to the Solidarity strikers in Poland in 1981 and to Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. In one especially ingenious move, he sent hundreds of Xerox copiers to Hungary to make it easier for underground publications to disseminate their newsletters. In the late 1980s, he provided dozens of Eastern European students with scholarships to study in the West, with the aim of fostering a generation of [neo]liberal democratic leaders. One of those students was Viktor Orban, who studied civil society at Oxford. From his Manhattan trading desk, Soros became a strange sort of expat anticommunist revolutionary.
... ... ...
In one campaign rally in Budapest, Orban referred to Soros as "Uncle George," telling tens of thousands of supporters that "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world." Along with the fiery speeches, there were the billboards, which featured a picture of a smiling Soros and the message, "Let's not let George Soros have the last laugh."
... ... ...
Orban's coalition won 49 percent of the vote, enough to give it a supermajority in Parliament. But the anti-Soros campaign didn't end with the election. Days after the vote, a magazine owned by a pro-Orban businesswoman published the names of more than 200 people in Hungary that it claimed were Soros "mercenaries."
... ... ...
There have been mistakes; by his own admission, Soros erred in championing Mikheil Saakashvili, the mercurial former president of Georgia, and also became too directly involved in the country's politics in the early 2000s. He clearly misjudged Orban. But as Victoria Nuland, a former American diplomat who worked for both Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton, put it when I spoke to her recently, "George is a freedom fighter."
alexander hamilton new york July 17Conservative Democrat WV July 17
"Billionaire philanthropist?" Really? Does that make the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelstein "philanthropists" too, or does that label apply only to left-leaning individuals seeking political leverage many times that of the average citizen?
One citizen, 1 vote. ALL citizens should be limited to $100 contributions for their senators, representatives and the President. NO citizen should be able to contribute to a campaign in a state where he/she is not a full-time permanent resident.
And NO citizen should be able to contribute more than $100 to his/her own campaign. We don't need more Kennedys, Clintons, Bloombergs, Trumps, Perots or Forbes buying (or trying to buy) their way into public office, using their millions.
Of the people, by the people, for the people. That's the model, folks. Depart from it at your peril.Maqroll North Florida July 17 Times Pick
For a man that purportedly promotes democracy, Mr. Soros conveniently overlooked public opinion when it came to promoting open borders.
In its essence, democracy is all about the wisdom and will of those governed, and not about what a billionaire thinks is best for them.WPLMMT New York City July 17 Times Pick
Soros--a "European at heart." Must have brought some much-needed smiles to the UK following the recent Trump Tour of Destruction. How soon we forget--in the 90s, Soros broke the pound as the Brits were trying to unify European currencies--with unfortunate conditions that weakened the effort and Soros smartly exploited.
Who can blame a globalist from crashing a poorly devised govt scheme and walking away with a cool $1B--back when a billion dollars was a lot of money? I am not the person to say whether Soros may qualify as an honest proponent of democracy, but I strongly suspect that he is a poster boy of the ultra-nationalists as they battle globalization.
In a way, Soros epitomizes the failure of globalization, which may or may not benefit the classic, labor-intensive industries of manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and mining, but always benefits, sometimes wildly, the financial "industry."
As far as I'm concerned, Soros is merely making reparations. And, sorry to say, George, it's prob too little, too late.gpickard Luxembourg July 17 Times Pick
I always thought George Soros was a dangerous [neo]liberal but after reading this article and seeing the damage he has created around the world it has been confirmed. Nigel Farage, the British politician, recently said on television that Mr. Soros is out to destroy the world. It certainly appears to be the case when you see what he did to the British and Thai economies. He was so concerned with helping immigrants and refugees that he had little regard for the citizens that actually lived in those countries that are being affected. People lost their livelihoods but that did not matter to him.
Mr. Soros fights for all the [neo]liberal causes no matter the consequences. He ... does not care who he hurts as long as he promotes his progressive agenda. He wants to allow as many immigrants to enter a nation as possible even if it adversely affects that country while he lives in luxury and is not inconvenienced by this invasion. He has billions and will probably never be touched by massive immigration.
I am glad that the conservatives and others are finally seeing his true colors and are trying to subdue him the best they can. He must be called out on this negative behavior before it is too late. It is reassuring that many of the European nations are implementing policies that are favorable to their countries and looking out for their people. Europeans must be protected and George Soros stopped. I am glad they see him for what he truly is which is frightening.c smith Pittsburgh July 17
As Mr. Soros said of himself, "I am a confirmed egoist." He has used his money to make the world as he thinks is best. But having money does not give you a better moral view of how the world should be governed nor make you a god to decide for the rest of us.
I think this kind of undue influence (money in politics) is what is driving some of the back-lash against [neo]liberal democracy. So many of the "[neo]liberal" proponents of an open society, like George Soros and Bill Gates, seem to have an inordinate power to effect political outcomes because of their money.
The making of such huge amounts of money is not done with any charitable purpose. Only later, does charity come to mind.Karekin USA July 17
Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America. Yes, a billion people around the world are better off because of the forces of "globalization" (this total most definitely includes Soros himself), but millions of Americans have suffered economically as a result. GATT, NAFTA and the entire alphabet soup of trade deals have lined the pockets of the globalists, while grinding the fortunes of U.S. working and middle class laborers into dust.Tim DC area July 17 Times Pick
Great article. Now, more than ever, American politics is defined by money, so it's important to understand how it is used in that context by those who have it. At this juncture, I think the American people deserve to see an expose of all those millionaires and billionaires who have and continue to support Trump. It's only fair, to lay the money trail on the table, on all sides, for everyone to see.Samuel Spade Huntsville, al July 17
What about the devastating effects that free trade and globalization have had on the spread of inequality throughout the world... Huge corporations consistently use "free trade" or globalization as an excuse to offer the lowest possible wages, and move manufacturing to places with the least environmental protections and human rights.
Immigration policies are also sometimes used in ways to suppress wages, and even more worse, enacted with very little thought given to assimilation. Most of the poorer areas, or ghettoes surrounding Paris for example are populated with huge numbers of Muslim immigrants that face extremely daunting odds of fully assimilating into French culture.
While the wealthier (sometimes elite [neo]liberals) Parisians almost certainly live in gated or posh neighborhoods with hardly any immigrants as their neighbors. Despite the generous financial support Soros (and some other elites) gives to human rights causes, he rarely outright discusses some of these problems associated with free trade, globalization and mass immigration. These seeming hypocrisies and inconsistencies then become much easier fodder for those of Orban's ilk to manipulate and ultimately consolidate power.Ivory Tower Colorado July 17
Soros didn't bet on Democracy, he bet on his version of it which he tried to buy through individual politicians on the take and the Democratic Party. Better he quit manipulating pols and gave his money to charity.Concerned EU Resident Germany July 17
First, Hungary is not xenophobic, they merely want to protect their culture. Second, George Soros wants plenty of wealth for him and his family, yet he wants those of us in the middle class to dive up our meager assets with the world's poorest. Third, his personal wealth has often been generated by destroying currencies and the middle class who owns those currencies. Fourth, he promotes open borders without consulting the citizenry of said borders as to their opinion regarding their own national sovereignty. Our world would be a much better place without George Soros.geezer117 Tennessee July 17
Soros is a criminal by any other name. He hedged against the UK Pound 20 years ago, and earned $1B. He earned billions by manipulating the market. With his profits he wanted to create his own society where his money could be used to buy politicians and pass legislation according to his one man agenda. He's selfish, an egomaniac, and dangerous.Rose Philadelphia July 17
Soros employs his vast wealth to create the society he dreams of, regardless of what the rest of us want. When the democratic process veers away from his vision, he uses the power of his wealth to steer it back.
So he's just another wealthy and powerful elite trying to remake the world as he prefers it. Such arrogance!Jonas Seattle July 17
Sucking money out of the world's economies so that he can direct it as HE sees fit does not make a man great. Rather, I would argue that such actions contributed to the rise of both Brexiteers and Trumpsters.
If Soros really wants to contribute to society, he would lobby for financial industry reform - less favorable tax treatment for hedge funds (what value do they really provide to society) and a transaction tax on trades to reduce speculation. Then fight for minimum wage increases.Peter Albany. NY July 17
This is a horrifying interview and does not improve the image of George Soros. "My ideology is nonideological," he says while spending billions on politics, which he defines as "In politics, you are spinning the truth, not discovering it." He describes Obama as his greatest disappointment because Obama "closed the door on me," as in he expected Obama should work with him and take his advice. Soros uses his billions to fund politicians and meddle in elections... this is a man who enjoys influencing and manipulating politics and becomes frustrated when his efforts backfire or are not successful.Marian Maryland July 17
This man is the absolute worst! His no borders policy has done more to hurt Europe then Russia ever could. The Soros gang has zero respect and tolerance for nation-state sovereignty and local governance. Talk about a global elite! He and his gang epitomize that arrogance.Al Nino Hyde Park NY July 17
George Soros bet big on open borders,one world governance and destroying the working class through unfair trade agreements. Yes he appears to be losing. Thank God for small favors.Charles Becker Sonoma State University July 17
It cracks me up to read these type of article in the NYT and then read another story in the NYT about how if you can pay the money you can have yourself a private waiting area in a major airport to separate yourself from the chaos of the masses in the public waiting areas. Maybe democracy wouldn't be in trouble around the world if it worked as well for the "slobs" in the public waiting areas as it did for those in the exclusive waiting rooms. This is globalization in a nutshell. It works great for the rich, not so well for the rest of us slobs. This is a government of the rich people, by the rich people, for the rich people. The slobs realise their government doesn't really care that their jobs are disapearing and their standard of living is going down.John Medina Holt July 17
I am not interested in windfall investing profits. Soros is *not* my hero: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-george-soros-broke-the-bank-of-thaila... . Wretched.Richard L. Wilson Moscow, Russia July 17
To say that George Soros is funding [neo]liberal democracy is a misnomer. What Soros is funding is open borders. Where national interests are set aside, global interests prevail. This is precisely what George Soros is advocating. Tired of having to face multitude regulatory systems in his effort to build a global financial empire, Soros is quite right in discerning that a borderless, global regulatory system would increase his financial power exponentially. Nations are right to resist the encroachment of Soros because global interests, by definition, are not local interests. Nationalism, so loathed by Soros and his open border lackeys, serves as a check and balance on men like Soros who would be god and would dictate to the world from some point of central governance what their truth and value should be. George Soros and his globalist kin should be resisted. The true threat to global interests is not nationalism, it is globalism.elizabeth renant new mexico July 17
Soros, and American [neo]liberalism, economic and social [neo]liberalism championed by Soros and the NYT, is in its death throes. Call us fascists, totalitarians, racists--- understand clearly: we do not care. Europe is waking up. [neo]liberalism is close to being dead. No spectres or phantoms are haunting Europe. Blood is standing up and answering our ancestors.We are not commodoties, consumers, meat for your wars. You have attacked us, belittled us, turned our queen of continents into latrines of filth. You, American [neo]liberalism, have destroyed us.Now, we take our nations back.Larry Left Chicago's High Taxes July 17
It's amusing to read phrases like "nationalism and tribalism are resurgent". It never does to underestimate tribalism; as long as groups feel safe they are tolerant. But when groups feel threatened, tribalism rears up in what is not so much a resurgence but more like an awakening from a nap.
The older cultures of Europe are waking up from a nap and realizing that unless they reassess a few long-held assumptions, they will eventually be ethnically diminished and culturally pressured.
Denmark has banned the burka and legislated some of the harshest migration, immigration, asylum, and naturalization laws in Europe. It is implementing laws to ensure integration, including stopping benefits to families whose children are not integrating. Do the author and Mr. Soros think that Denmark exercising control over its future demographics and preserving its culture are malign?
The Danes some years ago elected the Danish People's Party to significant power; the DPP is often referred to as a far right party, but is a typical left-wing party in everything except pushing Denmark toward "multiculturalism".
Sweden's centre-left government, on the other hand, brought in hundreds of thousands of Third World immigrants and then refused even to admit, let alone discuss, the glaring problems with integration within its immigrant community.
Result: the Sweden Democrats, a bona fide neo-Nazi party, are set to do extremely and alarmingly well in Sweden's September elections.
Yes - in Sweden.Burton Austin, Texas July 17
This super-rich elitist from Hungary is trying to buy American democracy and reshape it in his image regardless of what We The People want. And the Democrats are on his payroll and totally owned by this foreign agent!Ned Flarbus Berkeley July 17
Soros' flaw is that he only tolerates centralized socialist democracy. He cannot stand the idea of democracy in the form of a federal republic with a weak central government. Interestingly, he made his billions as a predatory capitalist now he turns on capitalism. He also exhibits a particularly vicious elitism: No one should be allowed to own guns except his private security guards. He knows that umarmed men are always someone's slaves.Philly Expat July 17
Soros is a hypocrite who did one thing and is now out to create a legacy. All is shows is he is driven by both greed and ego. His blatant hypocrisy probably did more harm than good - common denominator, it's always about him. Hey Soros, don't do us plebes any more favors, ok?David Brisbane July 17
Democracy is alive and well, regardless of what Soros thinks. He does not represent democracy, he was never been elected to any public office. He represents open borders mass migration, as the name of one of his NGOs implies, Open Society Foundation. Brexit voters, and other voters across the west are increasingly voting against his philosophy. Voters in the US, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, etc, have democratically chosen as their leaders conservative controlled borders leaders, and to underscore, all were elected via the democratic process.
Open Borders and globalism that Soros is pushing is increasingly being rejected in voting booths in the EU and the US.
It is hardly undemocratic to increasingly vote against what Soros is selling – chaotic mass migration made possible by open borders.
He represents [neo]liberal democracy, and voters increasingly favor conservative democracy.idimalink usa July 17
George Soros is the epitome of corruption – penetration and distortion of political process by obscene wealth. It does not matter what his true intentions are – he can say whatever he wants but we will never know for sure. And stop calling that "philanthropy".
Red Cross and Salvation Army is philanthropy. What Soros is doing is imposing his personal political beliefs and ideas on everybody by buying political influence with his money - that is called "corruption" pure and simple.
Sure, he is not the only one doing that, but he is the one doing that most overtly and blatantly. He seems to relish being the face of the elitist disregard for the masses. What he does is not democracy promotion - it is the exact opposite – democracy destruction. It is good to know that he is failing in that effort.Jose Pardinas Collegeville, PA July 18
Neoliberalism has failed to improve democratic governance and reduced distribution of wealth, just as leftists predicted. Soros benefitted financially, which has increased his privilege to participate in governance voters cannot achieve. Despite Soros' wealth, successfully manipulating currency markets does not easily transfer to manipulating electorates. Even if Soros believes his projects would produce good governance, he lacks the ability to convince voters what is in their best interests.
I am elated to hear that George Soros might be losing.
What pharaonic globalist plutocrats like him mean by "Liberal Democracy" encompasses a sinister set of objectives. Prominent among which are these two:
1). Full support for neocon/neoliberal destabilization, confrontation, and military interventionism.
2). The destruction of borders, nations, and cultures -- particularly Western Culture here and in Europe.
Soros and his peers want unhindered unlimited access to cheap Third World labor as well as to have complete control over the entire global economy. To his class nationalism and culture are speed bumps on the way to those self-serving goals.
Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"Living in the Age of the Big Lie" [Stephen Gold, Industry Week ]. Gold is President and Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and (MAPI):
All this has created the potential for an American cultural crisis of distrust, captured in two recently published analyses.
In "Truth Decay," [cute! –lambert] the RAND Corporation lays the blame for the deteriorating role of facts and data in public life on four primary causes:
1. The rise of social media
2. An overtaxed educational system that cannot keep up with changes in the "information ecosystem"
3. Political and social polarization
4. And -- perhaps due to all of these factors -- the increasing tendency of individuals to create their own subjective social reality, otherwise known as "cognitive bias."
"The Death of Truth" by Pulitzer-Prize winning book critic Michiko Kakutani explores the waning of integrity in American society, particularly since the 2016 elections. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's observation that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts," is more timely than ever, Kakutani says: "polarization has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts." And no wonder: Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news through social media -- a platform that has been overwhelmed by trolls and bots, and which uses algorithms to decide what each of us gets to see.
Executives ignore the cultural shift away from honesty at their peril.
Social media has its own problems, gawd knows -- break them up and outlaw the algos, and they'd be a lot more like the public utilities they should really be -- but it's amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama's "hope and change" campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession. The official narrative and its maintainers didn't lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system.
Grassroots and/or AstroTurf?
Our Famously Free Press
"The Press Doesn't Cause Wars -- Presidents Do" [ The Atlantic ] • One of a ginormous steaming load of revisionist and defensive articles prompted by Trump's tweet that the press can "causes War." Anyone who was present for the build up to the Iraq War knows that Trump's claim is true; in fact, the "media critique" that began then was prompted by the Iraq WMDs scam, in which the press -- *** cough *** Judy Miller ***cough*** -- was not merely compliant or complicitous, but active and vociferous, especially in shunning and shaming skeptics. Of course, everybody who was wrong about Iraq was wrong in the right way, so they all still have jobs (David Frum, Bush speechwriter and Hero of the Resistance, at the Atlantic, among hundreds of others). So revisionist history is very easy for them to write.
"The New Class-Blindness" [ Law and Political Economy ]. "It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do . Some judges -- even some Supreme Court Justices -- have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit reached this conclusion a few years ago in the Whole Woman's Health case, in which it asserted that judges could consider only obstacles created by "the law itself" when determining whether a law unduly burdens the right to abortion -- a category that excluded obstacles such as lack of transportation, childcare, days off from work, and money for overnight stays. When Whole Woman's Health reached the Supreme Court, some of the Justices (in dissent) expressed support for this approach."
"Vermont's Striking Nurses Want A Raise for Nonunion Workers Too" [ Labor Notes ]. "Yet when 1,800 nurses and technical staff struck for better wages July 12-13 at the state's second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the people of Burlington came out in force to back them up. 'We had policemen and firefighters and UPS drivers pulling over and shaking our hands' on the picket line, said neurology nurse Maggie Belensz. 'We had pizza places dropping off dozens of pizzas, giving out free ice cream.' And when a thousand people marched from the hospital through Burlington's downtown, 'we had standing ovations from people eating their dinners,' she said. 'It was a moving experience.' One reason for such wide support: these hospital workers aren't just demanding a raise themselves. They're also calling for a $15 minimum wage for their nonunion co-workers, such as those who answer the phones, mop the floors, cook the food, and help patients to the bathroom."
"What Are Capitalists Thinking?" [Michael Tomaskey, New York Times ]. "I write today with some friendly advice for the capitalist class about said socialists. You want fewer socialists? Easy. Stop creating them . I understand completely why it's happening. Given what's been going on in this country, it couldn't not have happened. And if you're a capitalist, you'd better try to understand it, too -- and do something to address the very legitimate grievances that propelled it." • Finally, reality begins to penetrate the thickened craniums of the better sort of liberal
"In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream" [Frank Rich, New York Magazine ]. (The "American Dream" being one of the official narratives.) "It's not hard to pinpoint the dawn of this deep gloom: It arrived in September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers kicked off the Great Recession that proved to be a more lasting existential threat to America than the terrorist attack of seven Septembers earlier. The shadow it would cast is so dark that a decade later, even our current run of ostensible prosperity and peace does not mitigate the one conviction that still unites all Americans: Everything in the country is broken. Not just Washington, which failed to prevent the financial catastrophe and has done little to protect us from the next, but also race relations, health care, education, institutional religion, law enforcement, the physical infrastructure, the news media, the bedrock virtues of civility and community. Nearly everything has turned to crap, it seems ." • Ditto
Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 3:08 pmsierra7 , August 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm
Computer glitch? Well, who programmed the computer and who paid 'em? Follow the money, and you'll find that it leads back to Wells Fargo.nippersdad , August 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm
"We ("They") Were Doing God's Work" LLoyd Blankfein then head of Goldman Sachs in his testimony to Congress on " .what went wrong".foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:18 pm
I think I would put it much earlier than that. Anyone who watched Newt Gingrich during his Contract on America days, who watched Max Cleland be attacked by Saxby Chambliss, who watched as Clinton deregulated the media in favor of Rupert Murdoch even as they slagged him, knew something was afoot.
Integrity has been in short supply ever since.cm , August 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm
How about going back a bit further,
Carter, put a sweater on.
Reagan, put it on the credit card.Carey , August 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm
Shenzhen Tech Girl Naomi Wu
informative post spelling out that China is still a repressive government in ways that Americans often cannot relate.pretzelattack , August 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm
Tomasky at NYT:
"I have mixed feelings about this socialism boomlet. It has yet to prove itself politically viable in general elections outside a handful of areas, and by 2021 we could wake up and see that it's been a disaster for Democrats."
What is a Democrat? Are they inherently good? Is failing the Democrats OK, if doing so improves the lives of the 90%?Pat , August 6, 2018 at 5:07 pm
I would say it is required.Carey , August 6, 2018 at 6:16 pm
Mr. Tomasky seems to have missed that Democrats throwing out the concerns of the working class to court wealthy donors for its Clintonian politics boomlet has been distinctly, well not all that long term politically viable. It has been a disaster for the Democrats. There were signs prior to 2000, but it took starting an unpopular and largely unsuccessful war and attempting to undermine Social Security for the Democrats to make a come back. That their success was pretty much over by 2010, with the exception of the Presidency is very clear in the massive loss of Governorships, State Houses and yes Congress leading up to the 2016 debacle when they foolishly nominated the Grand Dame of that 'can't give me lots of money – suck on it' political position to be their Presidential nominee.
But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative meant to convince the rubes to continue voting for polticians who have no interest in their concerns because of the right pronouns and Russia!nothing but the truth , August 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm
All well said. I wonder also about who is included in Tomasky's "we".
Class class classjsn , August 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm
The biggest cause is spin , that has become an art form, a business and career path.
Telling the truth in public is an invitation to cut short your career. The only time when officials tell the truth is when they are comfortably retired.
Especially with economists and journalists (the conscience keepers), it is not so important what they are saying, but why they are saying it (basically lack of trust in the narrator).Craig H. , August 6, 2018 at 5:15 pm
I can't remember who it was, someone like Art Buchwald or Molly Ivins way back, who said "a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth."Synapsid , August 6, 2018 at 3:39 pm
I personally blame Bill Clinton. The turning point was the report that he told Lewinsky "deny deny deny there's nothing they can do."
Which is true but that was the point in the timeline when a critical mass of people began to live like that. Or when it became obvious to me. Perhaps it was exactly like that for a long time before and it is not BC's fault.Tom Stone , August 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm
It's cheering that coal shipment and use in the US has declined. The good news for our coal industry is that coal exports January to June 2018 have risen, in particular to Africa, Asia (largely to India which is voracious) and South America.
The current Administration can thank the previous one for increasing our capacity to export coal, I believe.Carey , August 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm
Sarah Jeong is a piece of work, is her desk next to Judy Miller's?
Good grief, the cultural differences between different parts of SE Asian Countries can be profound let alone the cultural differences between countries.
I'm reminded of a boss who told me that monopolies increase competition, with a straight face.jsn , August 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm
My impression is that Ms. Jeong's job is and will be to start plenty of cultural "fires", so
that while the citizenry is distracted with them, the looting and pillaging of the many by the few can continue.diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm
" the significant benefits that Federal Reserve independence brings." For whom?diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 4:21 pm
You can simply "unpin" the columns you don't want to see.Montanamaven , August 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm
But to answer the question you actually asked the Federated timeline includes your local timeline, which itself includes your home timeline. So if you want to see it all, just use the federated timeline. If you only want to see people you follow, use the home timeline, etc.Lee , August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm
How do you start? What "instances" would be a good fit?fresno dan , August 6, 2018 at 4:25 pm
Re Sarah Jeong
What's an Asian woman doing criticizing a white guy for commenting on a predominantly, but not exclusively, black art form? I mean, why is she even speaking English and how about that name Sarah for an egregious example of cultural appropriation? And, as I have previously queried on this site: how is it even permissible for Yo-Yo Ma to play Bach on the cello? And in case you ask: yes, identity politics has finally driven me insane. Or is it they who are mad?curlydan , August 6, 2018 at 5:34 pm
August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm
Actually, after I read the below, I'm kinda warming to her ..
She (Sarah Jeong) wrote: "After a bad day, some people come home and kick the furniture. I get on the Internet and make fun of The New York Times." "I don't feel safe in a country that is led by someone who takes Thomas Friedman seriously." "Hannah Rosin shatters ceiling by proving women writers can be as hackish as Tom Friedman, too." "[David] Brooks is an absolute nitwit tho." "Notajoke: I'm being forced to read Nicholas Kristof. This is the worst." "if I had a bajillion dollars, I'd buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman ."WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 6:59 pm
combining the articles, it sounds like she's got a lot of opinions. Good for an aspiring pundit but also opening herself up for a greater possibility of errors.sleepy , August 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm
I'd buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman ."
Ah, but you"ll have to scheme to have a cabbie deliver the news. Otherwise, he wouldn't believe it.Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm
it's amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama's "hope and change" campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession.
Good list to which I would add the Katrina debacle.jonhoops , August 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm
One for the thumb!foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:28 pm
9-11 anyone? Of course we should probably go back to at least Nov. 1963foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:48 pm
We probably should, but then you're just a conspiracy theorist.
Ya big dummy.fresno dan , August 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm
Unless of course all the SS guys are riding on the VP limo.flora , August 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm
The New Class-Blindness" [Law and Political Economy]. "It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do . Some judges -- even some Supreme Court Justices -- have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment.
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. Anatole Franceknowbuddhau , August 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Note to Frank Rich: Read Simon Johnson's 2009 Atlantic Magazine essay 'The Quiet Coup'.
He saw what would happen if the US govt didn't clean up the TBTF banks, Wall St., and other financial perps. This still needs to happen.zagonostra , August 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm
Huh, you say that as if USG, TBTF, Wall St, other fin perps weren't all the same. /sMontanamaven , August 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm
Not much concern over the disconnect between voter preference and policy outcome which was documented in the 2014 Gilens/Benjamin study or Jimmy Carter statement that the U.S. is a defacto oligarchy, or the massive voter fraud that is part and parcel of our voting system (see https://www.gregpalast.com/ ), or the disclosure of HRC/DNC collusion documented in wiki leaks and Donna Brasil's "tell all book", not much concern their at all.
Do you find it curious this obsession of the MSM with Russia meddling in our elections?Richard , August 6, 2018 at 5:23 pm
A compilation on Rachel Maddow and how many times she mentions Russia in ONE show on March 9 Russia, Russia, RussiaHameloose Cannon , August 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm
Hilarious and mind-blowing.diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 4:17 pm
"Do you find it curious this obsession [ ] w/ Russia meddling [ ]?" The Russian meddling isn't the curious part; Russia tries it in every election west of the river Pina. The abnormal part is a sitting US President, on Twitter, accused his son of a felony aka violating 52 U.S. Code § 30121 (a)(2), soliciting contributions [things of value] from a foreign national. Talk about "Blue on Blue" fire. Nothing "friendly" about that. Especially given the prima facie evidence of violating 18 U.S. Code § 3, accessory after the fact, by dictating Don the Younger's response to the story.Synoia , August 6, 2018 at 4:21 pm
I read the book Q a couple of years ago. It's real good. Especially if you're into the gory details of European religious history. There's a lot of things they didn't mention in my confirmation classesHiding , August 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm
Social media has its own problems, gawd knows The official narrative and its maintainers didn't lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system
Well said. The official narrative, the swamp, is very good at blaming effects and ignoring causes.a different chris , August 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm
Qanon seems like a honeypot site(s) for retribution futures. Read anything, go into a database for future reference. Unz and others have likely multiple uses and followers, NOC/NotForAttribution and other.JTMcPhee , August 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm
Agree with the disagreement over the list. However, this underlies so many, maybe all problems and nobody is seemingly going to clean it up:
>An overtaxed educational systemMyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 6, 2018 at 5:27 pm
On decline in coal shipments: look what is happening elsewhere! "Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity!", https://qz.com/680661/germany-had-so-much-renewable-energy-on-sunday-that-it-had-to-pay-people-to-use-electricity/ "Power too cheap to meter," just like nuclear was promised to be! And that is an old 2016 article. I saw another piece, I believe in Business Insider or Bloomberg, complaining that the big energy companies are facing "profit stress" because of grid-ties from solar and wind requiring them to pay people for energy in excess of the load. And having, gasp! to shut down coal fired plants, each closure being a pretty expensive anti-profit center! I would tend to think of it being a re-internalization of costs that the power companies have dumped on us (health effects from heavy metal and carcinogen emissions, smog, CO2/climate interruption. Too bad the paybacks won't come from clawbacks of CEO paydays or any of the lobbying money spent to bribe legislatures, deceive the public/consumers, spent on getting legislative approval for nuclear power plants that WILL NEVER BE BUILT like Duke Energy has done (and besides, they get to cllect a billion or more from customers to "pay for" those plants that will never be built. Kind of like an ISDS "judgment" in favor of a megacorporation because 'regulation and market conditions' impaired said corporations' "expectations of profit "
Of course, windmills built to a price are not infallible, either: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSB1SdVHqQ
I have to add, adding it all up and looking around, "Effing stupid humans," to get to this pointewmayer , August 6, 2018 at 8:42 pm
And beyond this point, more ***ing stupid humans thanks to, well, population growth.
That would be a problem in any system – capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.David , August 6, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Well, that green-energy surfeit may have something to do with the combination of a record-smashing heat wave in a country where A/C systems have not been needed at scale, historically speaking. But good on them if they are in fact doing it sustainably.JTMcPhee , August 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm
. and could provide some relief to North American farmers just as Chinese tariffs are sapping demand for soybeans and other crops.
From the USDA's Export Sales Query System
Soybeans (in Metric Tons) for the week of 7/26/2018,
Country – 2018 Exports / 2017 Exports
China – 186 / 73,314
Korea – 59,999 / 0
Japan – 72,120 / 7,758
Taiwan – 86,441 / 3,853
Grand Total for the week – 856,438 / 637,737MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 6, 2018 at 5:54 pm
Of course, a good bit of that "trade" includes genetically modified soybeans. Monsanto is happy to sell their "intellectual property," immune from consequence of course, pure profit all the way down.
And of course there are NO POSSIBLE RISKS OR CONCERNS about the propagation of gene-fiddled stuff like soybeans and canola, " Genetically Modified Canola 'Escapes' Farm Fields,
August 6, 2010 , https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129010499 , just for example, I mean it's not like the World Health Organization has not kind of flagged some things that "policymakers" might want to keep in mind when confronted by the Cropporate Corrupters wanting to peddle their 'risk free innovations:'
"Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods
These questions and answers have been prepared by WHO in response to questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified food." http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/
"Do not worry, meine liebchen -- we do this for your own good "JohnnyGL , August 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm
That's one more thing to ban – GM soybeans.
And growth hormone beef that's another.Randy , August 6, 2018 at 5:26 pm
Posting this because sometimes it's more about WHO is saying it, rather than what is being said. It's not often I look at a Rick Newman column and say, 'wow, he's really making a strong case'.
Tectonic plates of politics are shifting.WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 5:59 pm
Salmonella in chickens.
The chickens are raised covered in their own filth and along with the filth comes salmonella. They attempt to contain the infection with antibiotics.
And if the conditions in the "chicken factory" aren't filthy enough the slaughterhouse ensures that the end product comes with salmonella by running the line speed so fast that punctured intestines insure that the end product comes out covered in salmonella-containing fecal matter. Which they try to contain with a chlorine bath.
If you like eating chicken shite eat store chicken. If you don't, and if you can, raise your own. Raising chickens for meat is a lot of work but they taste better and you won't be eating chicken shite.Polar Donkey , August 6, 2018 at 5:49 pm
Or quit eating meat.Polar Donkey , August 6, 2018 at 6:06 pm
Jeez, Frank Rich needs to get out of New York City more. Everything has been completely broke around Memphis since 2006. It just mostly broke before that.WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 6:40 pm
Was it Trump's election, the rise of Bernie/AOC, Obama's $32 million worth of post-presidency houses, 60,000 people dying from opiods, or the broken subways in NYC that caused Frank Rich's awakening?Glen , August 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm
More likely a dollar sliding down the sidewalkanon , August 6, 2018 at 6:01 pm
"Obama didn't cause that broken spirit any more than Trump did."
Obama made it perfectly clear that the Democratic party was going to do nothing to correct 2008. Instead he put the very same people that wrecked the world economy back in charge. I will no longer vote for the "have no alternative" Democrat. I will vote for those that are going to enact the polices that will fix this mess. If that means we get twenty Trumps a row – so be it.
Bernie would have won.Daryl , August 6, 2018 at 6:08 pm
Re: On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 , and this excerpt from that Associated Press link:
The jobs data shows an economy that is as fractured as the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As more money pools in corporate hubs such as Houston, San Francisco or Seattle , prosperity spills over less and less to smaller towns and cities in America's interior. That would seem to undercut what Trump sees as a central accomplishment of his administration – job creation for middle class and blue-collar workers in towns far removed from glitzy urban centers.
Looking at those cities noted, especially Seattle and San Francisco – both of which now have an inhuman level of inequality and homelessness -- a further dive into the details is necessary.
Specifically, are those job gains ™ out of state imported employees from: Ivy League Schools (predominately under 26, mostly white males from elite families); along with H-1B, and Opt Program ™ imported employees (predominately under 26, mostly males from mostly upper middle class Asian families, paid far, far less than those Ivy Leaguers) ; while the displaced unemployed -- yet, highly qualified for employment -- residents in those cities are continually being forced out (if they can afford the move and have somewhere they are able to move to), or made homeless.
 Admittedly, I'm not sure whether they are included in those job gains, but if the job gains are based on ADP reports, it might well be likely that they are; of course a search on two search sites brought up no answer to my query.lyman alpha blob , August 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm
> Mastodon users?
I find Mastodon's user interface to be fairly unintuitive myself. Presumably it would be possible to make your own "mixed" view as it's open source and based on open protocols, but not sure if Mastodon supports it out of the box.Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm
How does Mastodon work?
By rocking until you can't take it anymore.
Instructional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFop1gTbaj8
And their drummer is a monster!
Or did you mean the Mastodon platform ?
Sorry Lambert, couldn't help myself Just saw this band recently and they are tremendous.ChrisPacific , August 6, 2018 at 6:26 pm
Fun tutorial, lyman!Pat , August 6, 2018 at 6:51 pm
AOC is one of their candidates, as are Cynthia Nixon, Ayana Pressley etc. There is a prevalence of Democrat buzzwords, but I think they are aiming to be agnostic regarding left factions:
We're excited to make gains in 2018, but Indivisible 435 isn't just about notching wins. Our organization is not a wing of the Democratic party. While we care deeply about electing officials to oppose the Trump agenda, we care just as much building a strong progressive community nationwide and pushing the conversation back to the interests of the people.
This would be well off message for establishment Democrats.
I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, but still watch what they do.Summer , August 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm
I would posit that most of the job gains in the last decade maybe even two were probably in areas that voted for Clinton. That the Texas boom and the oil boom in the Dakota's were exceptions not the rule. I would also posit that the few Trump areas that did see job growth in that decade saw that growth in minimum wage low to no benefit jobs. (That last one wasn't much of a stretch since that has been the majority of jobs created during both the Bush 2 and Obama administration.)drumlin woodchuckles , August 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Maybe They Could Invent Houses" [Eschaton]. • After having invented the bodega, the bus
More like an "Appartment"?The Rev Kev , August 6, 2018 at 7:36 pm
Sarah Jeong . . . hmmm . . .
Things like this have led me to comment in the past and every comment on this particular subject has failed to print. I figure I am tripping some kind of auto-filter.
So I will try again with indirect spelling.
We need a new word for this sort of thing. It would emerge from the new acronym we need.
The letters would be . . . arrr peee ohhh ceee
that stands for . . . rayciss purrsuns ovv cuhluhr.drumlin woodchuckles , August 6, 2018 at 8:51 pm
"Dockless bike, scooter firms clash with U.S. cities over regulations"
I have a solution to these tech-companies which strew towns and cities with their bikes without coordinating or even asking to enter such a town and let the town try to adapt to their needs. It is called an impound lot. You have city workers pick them up and cart them there. If that company wants their bikes back again, they will have to pay to spring them from the lot. Rinse and repeat until that tech company gets the message. If that tech company doubles down, announce a $5 bounty for any bike driven to the impound lot till the company is ready to negotiate.beth , August 6, 2018 at 8:05 pm
Disrupt the disrupters.
Disruptive law-enforcement.CalypsoFacto , August 6, 2018 at 8:58 pm
"How a Pair of Kentucky Pols Are About to Legalize Hemp"
Please help me here. Hemp can be sold in all 50 states. The 2014 Farm bill allowed each state to decide whether hemp oil could be sold for medicinal purposes w/i that year. My first package sent to me was from a reputable company and was mailed through Amazon from Kentucky. I was experiencing severe pain and now have a better alternative.The Rev Kev , August 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm
I am also hoping for this bill so I can get into hemp processing for fibers into fabric!ewmayer , August 6, 2018 at 8:43 pm
"How to keep young people from fleeing small towns for big cities"
Not so hard. See that there are jobs for them. You cannot do much in modern society without money and a job provides this. A job provides dignity, discipline and the money it provides lets a young person to satisfy not only their needs but many of their wants as well. It is hard for a young guy to take a girl out but having no money to do so and a job's money will help a couple set up a household and marry and have children. The drop in marriage rates as well as the birthrate speaks volumes of the lack of decent paying jobs for young people, even those that have achieved credentials. Supply good paying jobs and most kids will stay put. Not so hard to work out.
Re. "Trump v. Fed" [Money and Banking], bolds mine: "Last month, interrupting decades of presidential self-restraint, President Trump openly criticized the Federal Reserve. Given the President's penchant for dismissing valuable institutions, it is hard to be surprised investors are reasonably focused on the selection of qualified academics and individuals with valuable policy and business experience the President's comments are seriously disturbing and -- were they to become routine -- risk undermining the significant benefits that Federal Reserve independence brings."
As Lambert would say, for some definition of 'valuable', 'benefits' and 'independence'.
Aug 05, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"Behind the War on Terror is a strategic plan crafted decades in advance to redraw the map of the Middle East. 9/11 was a false-flag operation blamed on Muslims ..." Chuck Baldwin Wed, Aug 1, 2018 | 14,261 389 MORE: History Revisionist History The author is a prominent American Christian conservative who was a presidential candidate for the paleoconservative Constitution Party in 2008, when he was endorsed by Ron Paul.
He is the pastor of Liberty Fellowship, a non-denominational church in Montana, and he is a popular radio host and columnist . His weekly sermons are available on his YouTube channel.
He is a relentless foe of neoconservatism and frequently criticizes the neocon hostility towards Russia. His views are representative of an influential and substantial part of Trump's popular support.
Here is an archive of his excellent articles which we have published on Russia Insider , when they were relevant to the debate over Russia.
What if everything we've been told about 9/11 is a lie? What if it wasn't 19 Muslim terrorist hijackers that flew those planes into the Twin Towers and Pentagon? What if the Muslims had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks on 9/11? What if everything we've been told about the reasons we invaded two sovereign nations (Afghanistan and Iraq) is a lie?
What if the 17-year-old, never-ending "War on Terror" in the Middle East is a lie? What if our young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have given their lives in America's "War on Terror" died for a lie? What if G.W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have been nothing but controlled toadies for an international global conspiracy that hatched the attacks of 9/11 as nothing more than a means to institute a perpetual "War on Terror" for purposes that have nothing to do with America's national security? Would the American people want to know? Would the truth even matter to them?
The sad reality is that the vast majority of Americans who would read the above paragraph would totally dismiss every question I raised as being unrealistic and impossible -- or even nutty. Why is that? Have they studied and researched the questions? No. Have they given any serious thought to the questions? No. They have simply swallowed the government/mainstream media version of these events hook, line and sinker.
It is totally amazing to me that the same people who say they don't believe the mainstream media (MSM) and government (Deep State) versions of current events -- which is why they voted for and love Donald Trump -- have absolutely no reservations about accepting the official story that the 9/11 attacks were the work of jihadist Muslims and that America's "War on Terror" is completely legitimate.
These "always Trumpers" are dead set in their minds that America is at war with Islam; that Trump's bombings of Syria were because President Assad is an evil, maniacal monster who gassed his own people; and that Trump's expansion of the war in Afghanistan is totally in the interests of America's national security.
BUT WHAT IF ALL OF IT IS A BIG, FAT LIE?
What if the Muslims had NOTHING to do with 9/11?
What if Bashar al-Assad did NOT gas his own people?
What if America's "War on Terror" is a completely false, manufactured, made-up deception?
What if America's military forces are mostly fighting for foreign agendas and NOT for America's national security or even our national interests?
What if America's war in Afghanistan is a fraud?
What if the entire "War on Terror" is a fraud?
The Trump robots have bought into America's "War on Terror" as much as Obama's robots and Bush's robots did. Bush was elected twice, largely on the basis of America's "War on Terror." Obama campaigned against the "War on Terror" and then expanded it during his two terms in office. Trump campaigned against the "War on Terror" and then immediately expanded it beyond what Obama had done. In fact, Trump is on a pace to expand the "War on Terror" beyond the combined military aggressions of both Bush and Obama.
But who cares? Who even notices?
America is engaged in a global "War on Terror." Just ask G.W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News, The Washington Post, the New York Times and the vast majority of America's pastors and preachers. They all tell us the same thing seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Liberals scream against Trump, and conservatives scream against Maxine Waters; but both sides come together to support America's never-ending "War on Terror."
But what if it's ALL a lie? What if Obama and Trump, the right and the left, the MSM and the conservative media are all reading from the same script? What if they are all (wittingly or unwittingly) in cahoots in perpetuating the biggest scam in world history? And why is almost everyone afraid to even broach the question?
Left or right, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, secular or Christian, no one dares to question the official story about the 9/11 attacks or the "War on Terror."
And those who do question it are themselves attacked unmercifully by the right and the left, conservatives and liberals, Christians and secularists, Sean Hannity and Chris Matthews. Why is that? Why is it that FOX News and CNN, Donald Trump and Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer and Ted Cruz equally promote the same cockamamie story about 9/11 and the "War on Terror?"
Why? Why? Why?
Tell me again how Donald Trump is so different from Barack Obama. Tell me again how Ted Cruz is so different from Chuck Schumer. They all continue to perpetuate the lies about 9/11. They all continue to escalate America's never-ending "War on Terror." They are all puppets of a global conspiracy to advance the agenda of war profiteers and nation builders.
The left-right, conservative-liberal, Trump-Obama paradigm is one big giant SCAM. At the end of the day, the "War on Terror" goes on, bombs keep falling on people in the Middle East who had absolutely NOTHING to do with 9/11 and the money keeps flowing into the coffers of the international bankers and war merchants.
All of the above is why I am enthusiastically promoting Christopher Bollyn's new blockbuster book The War on Terror .
Of course, Bollyn is one of the world's foremost researchers and investigators into the attacks on 9/11. He has written extensively on the subject. But unlike most other 9/11 investigators, Bollyn continued to trace the tracks of the attacks on 9/11. And those tracks led him to discover that the 9/11 attacks were NOT "the event" but that they were merely the trigger for "the event." "What was the event?" you ask. America's perpetual "War on Terror."
As a result, Mr. Bollyn published his findings that the attacks on 9/11 were NOT perpetrated by Muslim extremists but by a very elaborate and well financed international conspiracy that had been in the planning for several decades. Bollyn's research names names, places and dates and exposes the truth behind not just 9/11 (many have done that) but behind America's "War on Terror" that resulted from the attacks on 9/11.
IT'S TIME FOR THE TRUTH TO COME OUT!
And Christopher Bollyn's investigative research brings out the truth like nothing I've read to date. His research connects the dots and destroys the myths.
Mr. Bollyn's research is published in a book entitled (full title): The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East . I mean it when I say that if enough people read this book, it could change the course of history and save our republic.
This is written on the book's back cover:
The government and media have misled us about 9/11 in order to compel public opinion to support the War on Terror.
Why have we gone along with it? Do we accept endless war as normal? Are we numb to the suffering caused by our military interventions?
No. We have simply been propagandized into submission. We have been deceived into thinking that the War on Terror is a good thing, a valiant struggle against terrorists who intend to attack us as we were on 9/11.
Behind the War on Terror is a strategic plan crafted decades in advance to redraw the map of the Middle East. 9/11 was a false-flag operation blamed on Muslims in order to start the military operations for that strategic plan. Recognizing the origin of the plan is crucial to understanding the deception that has changed our world.
Folks, 9/11 was a deception. The "War on Terror" is a deception. The phony left-right paradigm is a deception. FOX News is as much a deception as CNN. The "always Trump" group is as much a deception as the "never Trump" group. America has been in the throes of a great deception since September 11, 2001. And this deception is being perpetrated by Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals alike.
I do not know Christopher Bollyn. I've never met him. But I thank God he had the intellectual honesty and moral courage to write this book. I urge readers to get this explosive new book. If you don't read any other book this year, read Mr. Bollyn's investigative masterpiece: The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East .
Again, I am enthusiastically recommending this book to my readers, and I make no apologies for doing so. The truth contained in this research MUST get out, and I am determined to do all I can to help make that possible.
Order Christopher Bollyn's blockbuster book The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East here:
The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East
I am confident that after you read this book, you will want to buy copies for your friends and relatives. The book is under 200 pages long and is not difficult reading. However, the facts and details Bollyn covers are profound and powerful. I have read the book three times so far and I'm not finished.
Frankly, Bollyn's book made so many things make sense for me. His book dovetails and tracks with much of my research on other topics. Truly, his book helped me get a much fuller understanding of the "big picture."
What if everything we've been told about 9/11 and the "War on Terror" is a lie? Well, Bollyn's book proves that indeed it is.
Again, here is where to find Christopher Bollyn's phenomenal new book The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East :
The War On Terror: The Plot To Rule The Middle East
Source: Chuck Baldwin LIVE
- AM Hants • 5 days ago ,daveycrockett Merijn • 4 days ago ,
Worked that out, when following events in Ukraine. All main events, since my birth and long before then, were no more than Operation Gladio false flags. It takes a lot to get your head around that, without feeling blind fury to your Governments, of each and every day. Plus media manipulation.
Orwell said it - "he who controls the past controls the future".
Jul 10, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com
In another interesting interview with Chris Hedges, Richard Wolff explains why the Trump presidency is the last resort of a system that is about to collapse:
Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction.
So, absent that counter force we are going to see this system spinning out of control and destroying itself in the very way its critics have for so long foreseen it well might.
When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. If we hadn't been a country with two or three decades of a middle class - working class paid really well - maybe we could have gotten away with this. But in a society that has celebrated its capacity to do what it now fails to do, you have an explosive situation.
Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade.
The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears.
In France, it was said 'Après moi, le déluge' (after me the catastrophe). The storm will break.
Aug 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
...A single person taking a minimum wage job would earn an annual income of $15,080. A married couple would earn $30,160. By the way, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 4 percent of hourly workers in 2016 were paid the minimum wage. That means that over 96 percent of workers earned more than the minimum wage. Not surprising is the fact that among both black and white married couples, the poverty rate is in the single digits. Most poverty is in female-headed households.
Jul 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:04 Permalinkdivingengineer -> buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:14 Permalink
The fact that Mark Zuckerberg is so rich is annoying, and his separateness from Main Street may not be a great thing socially, but in an economic sense, his fortune did not "come from" the paychecks of ordinary workers...
It damn sure did. It came straight out of their pension funds. Thousands of pension funds across the world bought faang stocks and those workers will be getting fucked in the end while while zuck heads back to hawaii with their money. look at elon, his company hasn't made dime one in profit but he is a billionaire. amzn, with a p/e of 228. they didn't get that p/e without millions of ordinary folk buying their overpriced stock. it is pure ponzi-nomics with fascist overtones and the maggots are cashing out big time.cankles' server -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:24 Permalink
The greatest fortunes in history have been built in the last 10 years with 0% interest rates. You were spot on about pensions, they were the casualties, almost every private pension in the country bankrupted by 0% rates so that these fucks could amass unimaginable wealth.
Now the filthy commoner scum have the audacity to suggest that they should pay taxes on it. Where will the madness end?same2u -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:35 Permalink
A big reveal of corruption is happening before the end of the month.
The didn't do a half billion dollar renovation on Gitmo for nothing. It's for the treasonous scum that will be on trial in military tribunals.buzzsaw99 -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:42 Permalink
All my friends Jews knew this was going to happen. They were buying stocks like crazy when I was telling them to buy gold and get ready for a big reset that never happened. Ten years later they are all multimillionaires and I lost half of my money buying gold...james diamond squid -> buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:48 Permalink
institutions bought their shares with real earned money. bezos did not. as far as i'm concerned being a ceo is a license to steal. bezos damn sure didn't earn that money because he is smarter or works harder than anyone else. look at how he treats his workers. what an asshole.Zorba's idea -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 14:09 Permalink
everyone wants to have an IPO or be in on an IPO, so they can dump their shares on a patsy at a later dateSocratesSolutions -> buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:43 Permalink
True! The Elites have rigged the system...natural for them to rape our ASSets.divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:08 Permalink
It's even worse than that. So much worse. Facebook was stolen by the Satanic Judaic Zionist crowd. Research it. Another gentleman invented it. The Jews stole it, like they've stolen pretty much everything else. No wonder Napoleon said that "The Jews are the master robbers of the modern age". And beyond the criminal vile theft, you have what they are using it for. And that is?
Using it for the 911'd cows in America. And that is you. The Satanic Jews are murdering you and robbing you blind. They 911'd you physically with the Twin Towers. Now they're doing it mentally and financially with Facebook, a control system grid -- a gate to herd cattle which they view you as. They are herding you. You'll be 911'd again in larger and larger numbers until the Satanic Judaic is removed from the World Stage.
Here is the real creator of Facebook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ4KRts8RFc
Zuckerberg is a planted punk Zionist spook. You're going to have to clear the world of all of these Satanic Judaic ladies and gentlemen. First the idea needs to come in to show how and why. This is underway.FORCE Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:10 Permalink
Sickening wealth and sickening poverty, all on display only feet apart on the West Coast.
I don't know the answer, neither do they, but they better figure something out and quick if they know what's good for them.same2u Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:12 Permalink
Amerikan pauper-proles;let them eat cake-appsdivingengineer -> same2u Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:17 Permalink
Ever since the housing crisis I been waiting for the world to become a better place. I see now that I been fooling myself into believing that we live in a civilized and honest world. Nobody gives a shit about anyone nor anything, people only care about themselves...
How do we turn these viscous billionaire dogs on each other rather than on us?
We need to figure out how to play the game like they play it on us.
Jul 27, 2018 | dissidentvoice.org
In a sense, blowback is simply another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows. Although people usually know what they have sown, our national experience of blowback is seldom imagined in such terms because so much of what the managers of the American empire have sown has been kept secret.
It is time to realize, however, that the real dangers to America today come not from the newly rich people of East Asia but from our own ideological rigidity, our deep-seated belief in our own propaganda.
― Chalmers Johnson, Blowback , Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
There are no more leaps of faith, or get out of jail cards left anymore. The first casualty of war is truth.
Lofty heights of defining the first amendment are just overlooks onto the crumbling mythology of a democracy, where the people – citizens -- vote for laws directly. We have a republic, a faulty one, the source of which is the power derived from billionaires, financiers, arms merchants, K-Streeters and the attendant moles allowing the government to break every charter of human concern. So, in that regard, we in this corptocracy have the right to be fooled every minute, suckered to not know a goddamned thing about democracy in big quotes.
The very concept of manufactured consent and a controlled opposition destroys much of the power of agency and so-called freedom of assembly, association and travel.
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good
The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.
― Vladimir Lenin
But, alas, we have blokes who see the world not as a black and white dichotomous illusion of the for v. against bifurcation, but a world of flowing back to what words should mean, a world that allows the filters to be smashed like high polished glass and instead deploying a magnifying glass to point toward the very source of the blasphemies and strong arm robberies that have been occurring in the Republic the very first moment the beaver hat was put on and the first treaty scripted by the powdered wigs of Washingtonian Fathers and broken, ripped to shreds, seeded with the dark force that is the white race.
Here comes Tools for Transparency into the mix of triage to uphold the declaration of independence, and the few tenets of the constitution that are supremely directed to we-by-for-because of the people, AND not the corporation, monopoly, Military-Retail-Finance-Ag-Energy-Pharma-Prison-Medical-Toxins-IT-Surveillance-Legal Complex. This project is the brainchild of a former Marine who "came to life late in the world" of pure skepticism about the powers that be and his own questioning of the motivations and machinations of his government and political representatives.
... ... ...
...we talked about Mad Men , the Edward Bernays and Milton Friedman schools of propaganda, framing stories (lies) and setting out to paint good people as bad, heroic politicians like Salvador Allende of Chile as Commie Baby Killers. Even now, Bush, the instigator of chaos in the Middle East, with all the cooked up lies and distractions of his own stupidity (like Trump), and, bam, W is reclaimed (in the mainstream mush media) as something of a good president, and especially by the likes of the Democratic Party misleadership .
... ... ...
His Tools for Transparency cuts through the opinion, and as he proposes, makes the world news and the even more Byzantine and elaborate proposed legislation and lobbying groups behind "the news" approachable, again, consumable.
He taps into his college days taking courses in industrial organizational psychology, seemingly benign when the American Psychological Association gets to mash the term into a three-fold brochure by defining it for prospective students as business as usual for corporations, and humanity is better because of this sort of manipulative psychology, but . . .
In reality, it's the science of behavior in the workplace, organizational development, attitudes, career development, decision theory, human performance, human factors, consumer behavior, small group theory and process, criterion theory and development and job and task analysis and individual assessment. It's a set of tools to keep workers down spiritually and organizationally, disconnected, fearful, confused and ineffectual as thinkers and resisters, and inept at countering the abuse of power companies or bureaucracies wield over a misinformed workforce.
The shape of corporations' unethical behavior, their sociopathic and the draconian workplace conditions today are largely sculpted and defined by these behavior shapers to include the marketers and the Edward Bernays-inspired manipulators of facts and brain functioning. This begs the question for Hanson, just what are today's hierarchy of needs for the average American? Physiological; Safety; Love/Belonging; Esteem; Self-Actualization.
... ... ...
Brian believes there is an awakening today in this country, and that the examples of movements such as those in Portland where youth are out yelling against the police state, and then how we are seeing individual officers returning firing with violence against those youth:
The viral video of an officer drawing his pistol on a group of school age children is terrifying.
We talk a lot about the devaluing of language and intentional discourse which includes the abilities of a society to engage in lively and cogent debate. For me, I know the forces of propaganda are multi-headed, multi-variant, with so much of American life seeded with lies, half-truths, duplicitous and twisted concepts, as well as inaccurate and spin-doctored history, which has contaminated a large portion of our society, up and down the economic ladder, with mind control.
Unfortunately, our language now is inextricably tied to emotions, as we see leftists (what's that?) and so-called progressives screaming at the top of their lungs how Trump is the worst president ever. Black so-called activists , journalists, stating how the empire (sky) is falling because Trump talked with Putin . Imagine, imagine, all those millions upon millions of people killed because of all the other presidents' and their thugs' policies eviscerating societies, all those elections smeared, all those democracies mauled, all those citizens in the other part of the world hobbled by America's policies, read "wars, occupations, embargoes, structural violence." It is a daily reminder for us all that today, as was true yesterday, that we are ruled by masters of self-deception and our collective society having a feel good party every day while we plunder the world. Doublethink. Here:
Orwell's point :
To tell deliberate lives while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
Herein lies the problem – vaunting past presidents on pedestals while attacking this current deplorable, Donald Trump. The reality is the US has been run by an elite group of militarists, and by no means is Trump the worst of the worst, which is both illogical and unsupported by facts:
Yet, we have to mark the words and wisdom of those of us who have been marking this empire's crimes, both internal and external, for years. Here, Paul Edwards over at Counterpunch hits a bulls-eye on the heart of the matter:
After decades of proven bald-faced crime, deceit and the dirtiest pool at home and abroad, the CIA, FBI, NSA, the Justice Department and the whole fetid nomenklatura of sociopathic rats, are portrayed as white knights of virtue dispensing verity as holy writ. And "progressives" buy it.
These are the vermin that gave us Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs, Chile, the Contras, Iraq's WMD, and along the way managed to miss the falls of the Shah and Communism.
Truly an Orwellian clusterfuck, this. War Party Dems misleading naive liberal souls sickened by Trump into embracing the dirty, vicious lunacy Hillary peddled to her fans, the bankers, brokers, and CEOs of the War Machine.
Trump is a fool who may yet blunder us into war; the Dems and the Deep State cabal would give us war by design.
... ... ...Paul Kirk Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. A forthcoming book (Dec. 15, 2016), Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber , looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice , and before, to bring defiance to the world that is now lobotomizing at a rate never before seen in history. Read his autobiography, weekly chapter installments, at LA Progressive . Read other articles by Paul , or visit Paul's website .
Jul 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Lee Camp via TruthDig.com,
Our society should've collapsed by now. You know that, right?
No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a "Star Wars" movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can't afford a $500 emergency . Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion . He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.
Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years . (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.
So shouldn't there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn't it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren't on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone's going to work at gunpoint? No. We're all choosing to continue on like this.
Well, it comes down to the myths we've been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned.
I'm going to cover eight of them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I'm going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled "Hundreds of Myths of American Society," (B) these are the most important ones and (C) we all have other shit to do.Myth No. 8 -- We have a democracy.
If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? You probably can't do it. It's like trying to think of something that rhymes with "orange." You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn't. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy : A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we're a democracy to give us the illusion of control.Myth No. 7 -- We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.
Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!
What part of this sounds like a legitimate election system?
No, we have what a large Harvard study called the worst election system in the Western world . Have you ever seen where a parent has a toddler in a car seat, and the toddler has a tiny, brightly colored toy steering wheel so he can feel like he's driving the car? That's what our election system is -- a toy steering wheel. Not connected to anything. We all sit here like infants, excitedly shouting, "I'm steeeeering !"
And I know it's counterintuitive, but that's why you have to vote. We have to vote in such numbers that we beat out what's stolen through our ridiculous rigged system.Myth No. 6 -- We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.
Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can't get anything resembling hard news because it's funded by dicks.) The corporate media's jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It's their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I'm telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they're standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.Myth No. 5 -- We have an independent judiciary.
The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted , "The most basic constitutional rights have been erased for many. Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security."
If you're not part of the monied class, you're pressured into releasing what few rights you have left. According to The New York Times , "97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence."
That's the name of the game. Pressure people of color and poor people to just take the plea deal because they don't have a million dollars to spend on a lawyer. (At least not one who doesn't advertise on beer coasters.)Myth No. 4 -- The police are here to protect you. They're your friends .
That's funny. I don't recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states .)
The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs -- which by definition is a war on our own people .
We lock up more people than any other country on earth . Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea -- none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty's skirt.Myth No. 3 -- Buying will make you happy.
This myth (Buying will make you happy) is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).
If we're lucky, we'll make enough money during the week to afford enough beer on the weekend to help it all make sense. (I find it takes at least four beers for everything to add up.) But that doesn't truly bring us fulfillment. So what now? Well, the ads say buying will do it. Try to smother the depression and desperation under a blanket of flat-screen TVs, purses and Jet Skis. Now does your life have meaning? No? Well, maybe you have to drive that Jet Ski a little faster! Crank it up until your bathing suit flies off and you'll feel alive !
The dark truth is that we have to believe the myth that consuming is the answer or else we won't keep running around the wheel. And if we aren't running around the wheel, then we start thinking, start asking questions. Those questions are not good for the ruling elite, who enjoy a society based on the daily exploitation of 99 percent of us.Myth No. 2 -- If you work hard, things will get better.
According to Deloitte's Shift Index survey : "80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs" and "[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime." That's about one-seventh of your life -- and most of it is during your most productive years.
Ask yourself what we're working for. To make money? For what? Almost none of us are doing jobs for survival anymore. Once upon a time, jobs boiled down to:
I plant the food -- >I eat the food -- >If I don't plant food = I die.
But nowadays, if you work at a café -- will someone die if they don't get their super-caf-mocha-frap-almond-piss-latte? I kinda doubt they'll keel over from a blueberry scone deficiency.
If you work at Macy's, will customers perish if they don't get those boxer briefs with the sweat-absorbent-ass fabric? I doubt it. And if they do die from that, then their problems were far greater than you could've known. So that means we're all working to make other people rich because we have a society in which we have to work. Technological advancements can do most everything that truly must get done.
So if we wanted to, we could get rid of most work and have tens of thousands of more hours to enjoy our lives. But we're not doing that at all. And no one's allowed to ask these questions -- not on your mainstream airwaves at least. Even a half-step like universal basic income is barely discussed because it doesn't compute with our cultural programming.
Scientists say it's quite possible artificial intelligence will take away all human jobs in 120 years . I think they know that will happen because bots will take the jobs and then realize that 80 percent of them don't need to be done! The bots will take over and then say, "Stop it. Stop spending a seventh of your life folding shirts at Banana Republic."
One day, we will build monuments to the bot that told us to enjoy our lives and leave the shirts wrinkly.
And this leads me to the largest myth of our American society.Myth No. 1 -- You are free.
... ... ...
Try sleeping in your car for more than a few hours without being harassed by police.
Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms.
Try signing up for the military because you need college money and then one day just walking off the base, going, "Yeah, I was bored. Thought I would just not do this anymore."
Try explaining to Kentucky Fried Chicken that while you don't have the green pieces of paper they want in exchange for the mashed potatoes, you do have some pictures you've drawn on a napkin to give them instead.
Try running for president as a third-party candidate. (Jill Stein was shackled and chained to a chair by police during one of the debates.)
Try using the restroom at Starbucks without buying something while black.
We are less free than a dog on a leash. We live in one of the hardest-working, most unequal societies on the planet with more billionaires than ever .
Meanwhile, Americans supply 94 percent of the paid blood used worldwide. And it's almost exclusively coming from very poor people. This abusive vampire system is literally sucking the blood from the poor. Does that sound like a free decision they made? Or does that sound like something people do after immense economic force crushes down around them? (One could argue that sperm donation takes a little less convincing.)
Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers -- most of the time -- don't need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.
It's time to wake up.
bobcatz -> powow Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:43 PermalinkDingleBarryObummer -> bobcatz Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:49 Permalink
Myth #9: America is not an Israeli colonybfellow -> DingleBarryObummer Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:55 Permalink
#10: Muh 6 Gorillion
#11: Building 7Oldguy05 -> Oldguy05 Fri, 07/27/2018 - 22:25 Permalink
815M people chronically malnourished according to the UN. Bezos is worth $141B.
$141B / 815M people = $173 per person. That would definitely not feed them for "multiple years". And that's only if Bezos could fully liquidate the stock without it dropping a penny.
Author lost me right there.BennyBoy -> Nunny Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:51 Permalink
" Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers -- most of the time -- don't need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults. "
Seems like there's tear gas in the air and guns are going to be used soon. The myths are dying on the tongues of the liars. Molon Labe!....and I'm usually a pacifist.Oldguy05 -> Nunny Fri, 07/27/2018 - 22:43 Permalink
"American Society Would Collapse If It Weren't For Invasions Of Foreign Countries, Murdering Their People, Stealing Their Oil Then Blaming Them For Making The US Do It."Proofreder -> vato poco Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:39 Permalink
Eisenhower's speeches were awesome and true. But he was right there doing the same shit. Was he feeling guilty in the end?east of eden -> vato poco Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:55 Permalink
Freedom - just another word for nothing left to lose ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7hk-hI0JKw&list=RDEMoIkwgyb6gDyuA-bFyRTheEndIsNear -> HopefulCynical Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:33 Permalink
Well, in a world driven by oil, it is entirely bogus to suggest that citizens have to work their asses off. That was the whole point of the bill of goods that was sold to us in the late 70's and early 80'. More leisure time, more time for your family and personal interests.
Except! It never happened. All they fucking did was reduce real wages and force everyone from the upper middle class down, into a shit hole.
But, they will pay for their folly. Guaran-fucking-teed.
As one who has hoed many rows of cotton in 115F temperatures as well as picking cotton during my childhood and early adolescence during weekends and school holidays, I concur. It was a very powerful inducement to get a good education back when schools actually taught things and did not tolerate backtalk or guff from students instead of babysitting them. It worked, and I ended up writing computer software for spacecraft, which was much fun than working in the fields.
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.caRegion: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights
More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.
On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.
The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.
Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.
Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.
The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.
In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.
Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.
In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."
Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.
Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.
Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.
Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.
When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.
As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.
In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.
Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.
In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.
So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?
It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.
Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.
Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.
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Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.
This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .
Jul 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca
The Sexual Passion of Orwell's Winston Smith
"Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it, certainly, but degenerated to Vice." – Frederick Nietzsche , Beyond Good and Evil
"Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen." – D. H. Lawrence , Lady Chatterley's Lover
"The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one's own destruction, has become a 'biological' need." – Herbert Marcuse , One Dimensional Man
There is a vast literature analyzing the political prophecy of George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty-Four . Big Brother, double-speak, telescreens, crimestop, etc. – all applied to our current political situation. The language has become part of our popular lexicon, and as such, has become clichéd through overuse. Blithe, habitual use of language robs it of its power to crack open the safe that hides the realities of life.
There is no doubt that Orwell wrote a brilliant political warning about the methods of totalitarian control. But hidden at the heart of the book is another lesson lost on most readers and commentators. Rats, torture, and Newspeak resonate with people fixated on political repression, which is a major concern, of course. But so too is privacy and sexual passion in a country of group-think and group-do, where "Big Brother" poisons you in the crib and the entertainment culture then takes over to desexualize intimacy by selling it as another public commodity.
The United States is a pornographic society. By pornographic I do not just mean the omnipresent selling of exploitative sex through all media to titillate a voyeuristic public living in the unreality of screen "life" and screen sex through television, movies, and online obsessions. I mean a commodified consciousness, where everyone and everything is part of a prostitution ring in the deepest sense of pornography's meaning – for sale, bought.
And consumed by getting, spending, and selling. Flicked into the net of Big Brother, whose job is make sure everything fundamentally human and physical is debased and mediated, people become consumers of the unreal and direct experience is discouraged. The natural world becomes an object to be conquered and used. Animals are produced in chemical factories to be slaughtered by the billions only to appear bloodless under plastic wrap in supermarket coolers. The human body disappears into hypnotic spectral images. One's sex becomes one's gender as the words are transmogrified and as one looks in the mirror of the looking-glass self and wonders how to identify the one looking back.
Streaming life from Netflix or Facebook becomes life the movie. The brilliant perverseness of the mediated reality of a screen society – what Guy Debord calls The Society of the Spectacle – is that as it distances people from fundamental reality, it promotes that reality through its screen fantasies. "Get away from it all and restore yourself at our spa in the rugged mountains where you can hike in pristine woods after yoga and a breakfast of locally sourced eggs and artisanally crafted bread." Such garbage would be funny if it weren't so effective. Debord writes,
The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images .Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior.
Thus sex with robots and marrying yourself are not aberrations but logical extensions of a society where solipsism meets machine in the America dream.
As this happens, words and language become corrupted by the same forces that Orwell called Big Brother, whose job is total propaganda and social control. Just as physical reality now mimics screen reality and thus becomes chimerical, language, through which human beings uncover and articulate the truth of being, becomes more and more abstract. People don't die; they "pass on" or "pass away." Dying, like real sex, is too physical. Wars of aggression don't exist; they are "overseas contingency operations." Killing people with drones isn't killing; it's "neutralizing them." There are a "ton" of examples, but I am sure "you guys" don't need me to list any more.
Orwell called Big Brother's language Newspeak, and Hemingway preceded him when he so famously wrote in disgust In a Farewell to Arms ,
"I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice, and the expression in vain. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene "
This destruction of language has been going on for a long time, but it's worth noting that from Hemingway's WW I through Orwell's WW II up until today's endless U.S. wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, etc., there has been the parallel development of screen and media culture, beginning with silent movies through television and onto the total electronic media environment we now inhabit – the surround sound and image bubble of literal abstractions that inhabit us, mentally and physically. In such a society, to feel what you really feel and not what, in Hemingway's words, "you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel" has become extremely difficult.
... ... ...
But as we learn in 1984 and should learn in the U.S.A. today , "seemed" is the key word. Their triumph was temporary. For sexual passion reveals truths that need to be confirmed in the mind. In itself, sexual liberation can be easily manipulated, as it has been so effectively in the United States. "Repressive de-sublimation" Herbert Marcuse called it fifty years ago. You allow people to act out their sexual fantasies in commodified ways that can be controlled by the rulers, all the while ruling their minds and potential political rebelliousness. Sex becomes part of the service economy where people service each other while serving their masters. Use pseudo-sex to sell them a way of life that traps them in an increasingly totalitarian social order that only seems free. This has been accomplished primarily through screen culture and the concomitant confusion of sexual identity. Perhaps you have noticed that over the past twenty-five years of growing social and political confusion, we have witnessed an exponential growth in "the electronic life," the use of psychotropic drugs, and sexual disorientation. This is no accident. Wars have become as constant as Eros – the god of love, life, joy, and motion – has been divorced from sex as a stimulus and response release of tension in a "stressed" society. Rollo May, the great American psychologist, grasped this:
Indeed, we have set sex over against eros, used sex precisely to avoid the anxiety-creating involvements of eros We are in flight from eros and use sex as the vehicle for the flight Eros [which includes, but is not limited to, passionate sex] is the center of vitality of a culture – its heart and soul. And when release of tension takes the place of creative eros, the downfall of the civilization is assured.
Because Julia and Winston cannot permanently escape Oceania, but can only tryst, they succumb to Big Brother's mind control and betray each other. Their sexual affair can't save them. It is a moment of beauty and freedom in an impossible situation. Of course the hermetically sealed world of 1984 is not the United States. Orwell created a society in which escape was impossible. It is, after all, an admonitory novel – not the real world. Things are more subtle here; we still have some wiggle room – some – although the underlying truth is the same: the U.S. oligarchy, like "The Party," "seeks power entirely for its own sake" and "are not interested in the good of others," all rhetoric to the contrary. Our problem is that too many believe the rhetoric, and those who say they don't really do at the deepest level. Fly the flag and play the national anthem and their hearts are aflutter with hope. Recycle old bromides about the next election when your political enemies will be swept out of office and excitement builds as though you had met the love of your life and all was well with the world.
But understanding the history of public relations, advertising, propaganda, the CIA, the national security apparatus, technology, etc., makes it clear that such hope is baseless. For the propaganda in this country has penetrated far deeper than anyone can imagine, and it has primarily done this through advanced technology and the religion of technique – machines as pure abstractions – that has poisoned not just our minds, but the deepest wellsprings of the body's truths and the erotic imagination that links us in love to all life on earth.
In "Defence of Poetry," Percy Bysshe Shelley writes:
The great secret of morals is love; or a going out of our nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasure of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.
We are now faced with the question: Can we escape the forces of propaganda and mind control that run so very deep into American life? If so, how? Let's imagine a way out.
Orwell makes it very clear that language is the key to mind control, as he delineates how Newspeak works. I think he is right. And mind control also means the control of our bodies, Eros, our sex, our physical connections to all living beings and nature. Today the U.S. is reaching the point where "Oldspeak" – Standard English – has been replaced by Newspeak, and just "fragments of the literature of the past" survive here and there.
This is true for the schooled and unschooled. In fact, those more trapped by the instrumental logic, disembodied data, and word games of the power elite are those who have gone through the most schooling, the indoctrination offered by the so-called "elite" universities. I suspect that more working-class and poor people still retain some sense of the old language and the fundamental meaning of words, since it is with their sweat and blood that they "earn their living." Many of the highly schooled are children of the power elite or those groomed to serve them, who are invited to join in living the life of power and privilege if they swallow their consciences and deaden their imaginations to the suffering their "life-styles" and ideological choices inflict on the rest of the world. In this world of The New York Times , Harvard, The New Yorker , Martha's Vineyard, The Washington Post , Wall St., Goldman Sachs, the boardrooms of the ruling corporations, all the corporate media, etc., language has become debased beyond recognition. Here, as Orwell said of Newspeak, "a heretical thought should be literally unthinkable, at least as far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express." The intelligently orthodox, he adds, must master the art of "doublethink" wherein they hold two contradictory ideas in their minds simultaneously, while accepting both of them. This is the key trick of logic and language that allows the power elites and their lackeys in the U.S. today to master the art of self-deception and feel good about themselves as they plunder the world. In this "Party" world, the demonization, degradation, and killing of others is an abstraction; their lives are spectral. Orwell describes doublethink this way:
To tell deliberate lives while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink . For by using the word one admits one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
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Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely; he is a frequent contributor to Global Research. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/ .