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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|
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Bryce Buchanan via The Burning Platform blog,
Many government officials with long entrenched power are unwilling to give up any of that power. In their minds, they have a right to control our lives as they see fit, with complete indifference to our wishes. To avoid rebellion, they need to hide this fact as much as possible. They want the citizens to believe the lie that we are a nation of laws with equal justice under the law. To advance this lie, they have staged many theatrical productions that they call "investigations". They try to give us the impression that they want to expose the facts and punish wrongdoing.
Most of the big 'investigations' in the news in recent years have not been at all what they pretended to be. The sham investigations of Hillary's email, or the Clinton Foundation, or Weiner's laptop, or Uranium One, or Mueller's witch hunt, or Huber's big nothing, or the IG's whitewash, or the Schiff-Pelosi charades, have all been premeditated deceptions.There are three types of investigations that call for different deceptions by the Deep State.
- The first type is the rare honest investigation . Examples would be the attempt to find the truth about Fast and Furious (Obama's gunrunning operation), or the IRS scandal (Obama's weaponizing of government). In response to real investigations, the criminals do two things lie and hide evidence. Key evidence, even if it is under subpoena, just disappears. In the IRS case, Lois Lerner's relevant email and the email of 6 others involved in the scheme was just "lost". The IRS "worked tirelessly" to find the email, but hard drives had been destroyed and back-up drives were missing, so the subpoenaed evidence could not be provided.
For the Deep State, hiding and destroying evidence of guilt is standard operating procedure. They simply report a "glitch" that destroyed the key evidence and that's the end of it. Or, they simply redact the portions of the record that would expose the truth. To my memory, no one ever suffers any consequences for this. Even now, Director Wray and others are tenaciously withholding evidence.
- The second type of 'investigation' is when the Deep State pretends to investigate the Deep State . In these 'investigations' the outcome is known in advance, but the script calls for pretending, sometimes for years, that it an honest investigation is underway.
There was nothing about the Hillary investigations that had anything to do with finding facts. The purpose from the beginning was exoneration. Key witnesses were given immunity and many were allowed to attend each other's interviews. There were no early morning swat team raids to gather evidence. Evidence was destroyed with no consequences.
When Anthony Weiner's laptop was found to contain over 340,000 Hillary emails in a file named "insurance", the FBI did not rejoice about finally getting the 'lost' email. No, they hid the discovery for weeks until a New York agent threatened to go public. Then, quite miraculously, Peter Strzok found a way to very quickly examine 340,000 messages and found that there was nothing at all that was incriminating. No rational person would believe that.
The dirty cops are so comfortable about getting away with lies like this that Huber can announce that he found no corruption, when it is readily apparent that he did not interview key witnesses . He even turned away whistleblowers who wanted to submit evidence. A real investigator, Charles Ortel, could have given Huber a long list of Clinton Foundation crimes . Like the Weiner laptop fake investigation, you don't find crimes if you don't really look for them.
The dirty cops are so confident in their ability to deceive the public that they just announced that the FISA court reforms will be managed by David Kris. Kris has been a defender of FBI misconduct and he attacked Devin Nunes for telling the truth about the FISA court. They don't even care about the appearance of fairness. They do what they want.
IG investigations have proven to be flimsy exonerations of Deep State criminality. Any honest observer can see that there was a carefully organized plan by top officials to control the outcome of the Presidential election. This corrupt plan involved lying to the FISA court, illegal surveillance and unmasking of citizens and conspiring with media partners to make sure lies were widely circulated to voters. The government conspirators and the majority of the media were functioning as nothing more than a branch of Hillary's campaign. That's a lot of power aimed at destroying Trump.
To an IG investigator, this monumental scandal was presented to us as nothing to be very concerned about. Yes, a few minor rules were inadvertently broken and there did appear to be some bias, but there was no reason at all to think that bias effected any actions. If the agencies involved make a training video and set aside a day for a training meeting, then that should satisfy us completely.
- The third type of investigation involves investigating an imaginary crime for political reasons . The Mueller investigation and the impeachment investigation are two examples of this. Probably as a justification for illegal surveillance they were already doing, the conspirators pretended that there was powerful evidence that Trump was colluding with Putin to win the election. Lies about this issue propelled the country into 3 years of stories about nothing stories and investigations about something that never happened. Never in the history of nothing has nothing been so thoroughly covered.
Because there was nothing, and because it was known from the start that, " there is no big there, there ", the Mueller Team used several irrelevant legal actions to prolong the belief that they were closing in on Trump. Mueller arranged for their media partner, CNN, to film the early morning swat team raid on 67 year old Roger Stone's home. It was very dramatic and very un-necessary. Also, some small-time Russian troll farms were indicted so that the word "Russia" could fill the news, prolonging the desired myth. One of the indicted firms did not even exist. The others did not appear to favor any one candidate and much of their activity was after the election .
Mueller led a 40 million dollar investigation looking for a crime. That effort failed at finding any collusion, but it did play a role in the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives. That then enabled another investigation of an imaginary crime for political purposes. A scripted hearsay 'whistleblower' submitted lies that allowed Adam Schiff to continue his own campaign of lies. You know the rest of the story. Trump is being falsely charged for doing what Biden bragged about doing.
The Deep State and the media appear to believe that we are fooled by these fraudulent investigations. We are not fooled. We are tired of the lies and the arrogance.
We are increasingly angry that there is a double standard of justice in this country. There is a protected class of people who are not prosecuted for their crimes. This needs to end.
insanelysane , 9 minutes ago linkDonGenaro , 10 minutes ago link
The sheeple are easily led including the opposition sheeple. Two quick examples:
1. In the email scandal, Hillary was guilty, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of violating the FOIA by conducting all State Department business via a personal email She was guilty. Yet her team, listen up sheeple, her team made it about whether or not classified information was transmitted. This is a gray area which could be defended. She knew she was guilty of the FOIA violation because it was the whole reason the server was set up in the first place. Yet she got away with it because everyone focused on the classifications of emails which was a gray area.
2. In the Weiner / Abedin laptop matter, it is and was illegal for any of these emails to be on a personal computer. Again, guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet again everyone focused on what was in the emails and not the fact that just possessing the emails was illegal. So the FBI was able to say nothing new here and let it drop. If another group such as the US Marshals was in charge of this investigation, Weiner / Abedin would have been fully charged with possessing these emails. They would have been pressured to reveal why it was named Insurance and have been asked to cut a deal.East Indian , 23 minutes ago link
Assange rots in jail, and Maxwell walks free, while Trump is busy pleasuring every Zionist in sighthardmedicine , 38 minutes ago link
A comment in 'The Gateway Pundit':
"Andy McCabe admits lying to the FBI and nothing happens. The FBI lies to Gen. Flynn and he faces jail time. Justice in Deep State America."
- reader ricocat1hoffstetter , 40 minutes ago link
his name was Seth Rich!buckboy , 57 minutes ago link
The purpose of show trials is to fool those that don't pay attention. There are millions of US citizens that get their news from their neighbor or a narrow set of information that is disseminated by media that parrot their providers verbatim without challenge. Such people are quite regularly fooled and some vote.marlin2009 , 1 hour ago link
We, the People are free to bitch and moan.Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago link
The double standard justice system in America is appalling and even worse than communists. Americans really don’t have any credit to criticize communist countries. The ruling class is no better than them.
The media and ruling classes have tried decades to brainwashed the mass to believe that the less or even not corrupted.Old Hippie Patriot , 1 hour ago link
Trump University Fraud: Trump paid fine
Trump Taj Mahal Casino Money Laundering: Trump paid fine
Trump Foundation Fraud: Trump paid fine
Trump Campaign Law Violations: pending
Trump Abuse of Power:
Trump...HANGTHEOWL , 1 hour ago link
They could have never pulled off the JFK assassination had the internet existed back in 1963. Time for the Epstein *********** to be posted on the internet. Even the asleep would realize the unimaginable evil that has been controlling this world for millenia.monty42 , 1 hour ago link
I am not sure about that,,we have the net now,,and although there are many of us that pay attention and figure out their crimes and hoax's,,,,they still get away with them,,,,,,NASA still gets 59 million a day to fake the space program,,,HANGTHEOWL , 57 minutes ago link
Why not? They pulled off 9/11. And what do we have? The same as with the JFK murder. People still arguing over how it was done, and ignoring the obvious, historically established now, of who benefited and why. Grassy knoll, 2nd shooter, or directed energy weapons or explosives, internet or not, still chasing the tail.
True, they murdered 3,000 of us on 9-11,,right on TV, using plainly obvious controlled demolitions, and to date they have still gotten away with it...
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kali , Jan 17 2020 19:26 utc | 7
That Power Elite theory which was written in the 50s by C.W. Mills is incomplete for today because in the 60s there was a split among the power elite between the new "movement conservatives" and the old eastern bank establishment. The conservatives were more focused on the pacific region and containing China, and the liberal establishment were more focused on Europe and containing Russia.
The "movement conservatives" leader was Barry Goldwater who Trump's dad was a big supporter of, and Trump was raised in and among AND represents that faction of elite power. In fact he is the 1st president from that faction of the elites to hold the oval office, many people thought Reagan was, but he was brought under the control of George Bush and the liberal elites after taking office after he was injured by a Bush related person. The different agendas of the the two factions are out in the open today with one being focused on anti-Russia and the other being focused on anti-China. It has been like that since the 1960s.
The anti-China conservative faction which Trump represents (and which unleashed the VietNam War) is screwing up the "rules based order" aka "Liberal International Economic Order" aka Pax Americana which was set up after WWII at Bretton Woods and then altered in the 1970s with the creation of the petrodollar and petrodollar recycling into Treasury Bonds, by destroying the monetary scam they set up to control the world
It needed the cooperation of the elites of Europe and elsewhere, which Trump and his faction doesn't care about -- they only care about short term profits on Wall St.
The LIEO or Rules Based Order is based on being closely allied with European elites against Russia to contain the Middle East and Central Asia (Iran and Afghanistan) based on Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard theory. China trade is important for them, Russia is their main enemy. ( War of the Worlds: The New Class ). Trump and his movement conservative faction is ruining their world order for their own short term gain on Wall St.
VietnamVet , Jan 17 2020 22:34 utc | 44The 1950's triangle of power was superseded by the oligarch's counter revolution that led to supranational trade institutions. Democracies were relegated to a secondary status and run by technocrats for the benefit of oligarchs until Donald Trump. He is a nationalist plutocrat; admittedly a lower level one, a NY casino owner who went bankrupt. Mike Bloomberg represents the other side, a globalist billionaire. Elizabeth Warren is a top level technocrat but no politician.fairleft , Jan 18 2020 1:21 utc | 81
The endless wars are fought to make a profit for the plutocracy and destabilize nations to make foreign corporate exploitation possible. That was why Hunter Biden was in Ukraine. The conflicts are not meant to be won.
Donald Trump is way for over his head and getting old. His competent staff are in jail or fired. Apparently no one told him about the thousands of ballistic missiles that can destroy the Gulf States' oil facilities at will and make the buildup for the invasion of Iran impossible. He makes stupid mistakes. Through the barrage of propaganda, reports of shell shocked troops, destroyed buildings and 11 concussion causalities from Iran's missile attack made it into the news. The military must be pissed. The aura of invincibility is gone.
Donald Trump should be removed by the 25th amendment before he mistakenly triggers the Apocalypse. Except the 1% politician VP, Mike Pence, believes that the End of Time is God's Will and necessary for his Ascension.The power triangle theory is less in line with the facts than a simple duality: Wall Street & the MIC, you have to advance interests of both or you're out.Passer by , Jan 17 2020 22:04 utc | 35
Second, the 'meeting in the Tank' sounds like complete b.s. designed to sell books, with an obvious sales strategy, as b said, of pleasuring both the pro/anti Trump sides of the book-buying bourgeoisie.
And the 'rules-based international order' rings very false as something that would be said with a straight face by real MIC insiders, which those generals are.
Finally, whether Trump ridiculed the generals or not, that's a sideshow to entertain the rubes. Trump's always been on side with the big picture Neocon approach essential to the MIC. Their global dominance or chaos approach is essential to keeping military budgets gigantic until 'forever'. True that Trump whined about endless wars as a 2016 campaign strategy, but he was either b.s.-ing or at the time didn't get that they are part of the overall Neocon approach he backs.A P , Jan 17 2020 19:33 utc | 9
Not a very good analysis by b because this does not explain why 90 % of US corporate media is hostile to Trump. This does not happen without significant elite support.
That Trump is backed by the military faction is something i have been saying often. But there are forces within the government faction that dislike him, for example the CIA.
As for the corporate faction, it is not true that free money made them supportive of Trump. Rather the faction is divided - between the globalist corporate faction, relying on globalisation, including most tech companies, and US nationalist faction, such as local US businesses, big oil, shale gas, etc.
Another point - jews have large influence within the US, and 80 % voted against Trump regardless of his Israeli support. They again voted 80 % Dem in 2018. Having 80 % of US jews against you means encountering significant resistance.
Demographically speaking, most women, jews, muslims, latinos, asians, afroamericans, lgbt people, young people, etc. are strongly against him so i think that he will lose. Unless for some reason they do not vote.
Even if he somehow wins again, this will lead to civil war like situation and extreme polarisation in the US.Walter , Jan 17 2020 23:25 utc | 56
The US military, the various factions within the Deep State, political and corporate cabals has the attitude of a spoiled 3-year-old: If I can't have it, I'll break it so it is of little use to others.
Unfortunately, breaking other countries is just fine for the MIC... arms sales all around and chaos to impede non-military commerce with other major power centers like Russia or China.
Trump is the product of a dysfunctional family, a "greed is good" trust-fund social circle and a sociopathic US bully/gun culture.
The fact "bone spurs" Trump weaseled out of the draft will also not play well with the generals, let alone the grunts who suffer most from endless POTUS idiocy (not limited to Trump, see Prince Bush/Bandar the 2nd)
All the more proof that most Western "democracies" would be better served with a lottery to choose their Congressional and POTUS chair-warmers. Joe Sixpack could do a better job. A 200-lb sack of flour would do better than any POTUS since Kennedy.Likklemore , Jan 17 2020 21:50 utc | 29
@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc | 3
your: "Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it."
May be, I think is, true in one sense. But Trump is far from the sole agent capable of starting a war. War, as opposed to simple murder, involve 2 or more parties. Whatever the intentions, the recent murders by drone in Baghdad hav,e it seems, brought Iran to consider war exists now...and they have a nifty MAGA policy. On Press TV today they hosted an expert who called for the execution of several exceptional American leaders...sounds like war to me.
(Make America Go Away)
The system is so screwy and peopled by such uneducated and delusional people that it's quite simple that they would do some stupid that that caused a war. Looks like war to me. I await the horrors.
Decaying empires usually start wars that bring about their rapid ruin. Does it matter how they do this?
The thesis of the triangle of elite factions is fascinating.
Walter recalls that JFK got the reports from Vietnam that said we were winning, while at the same time Johnson got the true story. And also what happened then with the "correction" of 1963 (their words) and the immediate change of war policy. Can't help an old guy from remembering old folly. And noting that history repeats as farce.
The Iran affair is liable to coordinate with NATO. Lavrov spoke to the NATO preparations today @ TASS...
Some say Trumpie screwed up the schedule, which goes hot in April as a showdown with the Roooskies. I take that with a grain of salt. But I think the sources I've seen might be right. They say that if Barbarossa had not been delayed, the nazis woulda won in Russia. Screwups can be very important.
I can't see any way the US won't use atomic bangers. But maybe...psychohistorian , Jan 17 2020 19:52 utc | 11
@ wagelaborer 3
Good points. I endorse. However the USD have been weaponized, is being sidelined and will be shunned U.S. dollar: Russia, China, EU are motivated to shift from
@ juiliana 22
I posted an article by Shedlock essentially saying all it will take is 3 states to flip and Trump loses: Trump will be easily defeated in 2020 perhaps by a landslide.
Not only sick of wars, his mobster approach to foreign policy and allies is an embarrassment to RINO and Independents.
I agree with wagelaborer in comment #3 and worth a repeat of most of it
"Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it.
US foreign policy is not run by White House puppets.
The US trash-talked Saddam Hussein and starved Iraqis for 14 years, but didn't actually invade until he started trading oil in Euros.
The US trash-talked Ghaddafi for decades, and even launched missiles which killed his child in the 80s, but didn't destroy Libya until Ghaddafi decided to sell oil in dinars.
The US has trash-talked and sanctioned Iran for decades, but it was the threat of Iran and Saudi Arabia making peace that pushed them to assassinate General Soleimani, as he arrived at the airport on that diplomatic mission.
If Iran and Saudi Arabia make peace, and the Saudis drop the petro-dollar, the US Empire crumbles. It doesn't matter at all who is in the White House at the time, the Empire will never allow that."
Humanity is in a civilization war about public/private finance being fought by proxies and character actors like Trump. Maybe after this war is over, and if we survive, we can all communicate about the social contract directly instead of through proxy fronts. Do you want to live in a sharing/caring world or a selfish/competitive one?....socialism or barbarism?
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Jan 18 2020 2:37 utc | 90I think the "triangle of power" theory walks towards the truth, but is not the truth.
For starters, the USA is a very large and complex society. There are a lot of classes and a lot of groups which clash and prop up each other all the time. The only consensus is that it is and must remain a capitalist society, i.e. that capitalism must be preserved at any cost.
That said, I see many interests involved, but a hierarchy, in layered form. Here's my opinion on the state of the art of the USA right now:
1) at the highest level, there's the division between the most powerful members of the capitalist class between what should be the American foreign policy strategy for the rest of this century. It is divided between two different ideologies: russophobes (i.e. the "establishment") and the believers of the "clash of civilizations" (i.e. the far-right, sinophobes). The only thing that unites both groups is the conviction Eurasia should remain divided, i.e. that Russia and China should not consolidate their newborn alliance. If that alliance consolidates a century from now, then this contradiction will disappear, but America's new enemy will be stronger than ever - possibly more powerful than the USA.
2) at the lower level, there's the division of the American people about how the spoils that come from the imperial conquests should be better shared. This division manifests itself in the battle between social-democracy and fascism. Neoliberalism is basically a rotten corpse after 2008, but it is important to state it is not an ideology per se, but a political doctrine, from which both American social-democracy and American fascism lend some aspects.
3) at the vestigial level, you have many micro battles which shock with each other. For example, the good part of the American middle class imploded Elizabeth Warren's support for universal healthcare because they wanted to keep their class distinction as the class which has access to healthcare through expensive health insurances (which are often directly linked to distinct jobs they probably have) - but they still will vote Democrat, and probably will support Warren as long as she's viable. In the far-right camp, there are those who want to emphasize the fight against China must happen because China represents modern socialism, while another part wants to fight China for the simple fact they want some jobs back. In the deep state, there's the usual Pentagon vs CIA clash of philosophies about how to better operate overseas. In the lobby industry, each one is fending for themselves.
In conclusion, my take is all of these conflicts have one ultimate cause: the exhaustion of the American imperial system installed in 1945 . Capitalism doesn't know national barriers; in 1945, the USA was both the industrial and financial superpower, but capital must spread and expand or it dies. The Marshall Plan soon begun and, in two decades, Germany and Japan - both spawns of the American post-war doctrine - directly threatened the USA as the industrial superpower. It still managed to fend off these two nations with the Plaza Accord (1985), but at a huge cost: outsourcing its own industrial capacity to China. In 2011, China definitely overcame the USA and now holds the belt of the industrial superpower. It is now trying to be also the financial superpower, with the "opening up" reforms.
This generated a structural contradiction: the loss of the industrial superpower title left the USA only with the financial superpower title. But the financial superpower title can only be maintained, in a nation-State architecture, with increased submission of the rest of the world - naturally, through violent means and financial sanctions.
However, that was not the way the USA was able to build its overwhelming post-war alliance: it did so with nation building , i.e. the proverbial "carrot", the massive investments in infrastructure and better living standards for Western Europe, Japan, Asian Tigers and Australia. But without the industrial superpower title, the USA cannot maintain its "alliance" (i.e. the empire), which reinforces its condition as the financial superpower - which, in turn, increases its necessity to maintain the alliance (empire) which, in turn, weakens more and more said alliance, which, in turn, increases even more its necessity to maintain said alliance, and so on, in a downward spiral movement.
The result of this dialectical contradiction is that the USA will, over time, resort to ever more violent methods to keep the corners of its empire whole, which will drive it ever closer to an epic war against its ultimate enemy: socialism (China/Eurasia).
Duncan Idaho , Jan 18 2020 2:41 utc | 91Well-----Patroklos , Jan 18 2020 4:52 utc | 100
"And many of them may actually be as mind-blowingly stupid as he is as well and they don't see what a problem it is to have such an arrogant moron running the world's only superpower. If there's one thing right-wingers take as an article of faith it's that expertise is nothing but a scam and the guy at the end of the bar can run the world better than the pointy-headed elites. They got what they wanted."
Trump might be appropriate. The survivors, if any, will have more resources, as the ditch he is heading into.
A slow death by Dims would be worse.@ vk 90
Your analysis nicely maps onto the Braudelian model of the phases of capitalism, especially as articulated in the chapter by Arrighi and Moore in Phases of Capitalist Development . They argue that the historical signal that the US had begun to lose its hegemony in commodity production (M-C-M') was the Nixon shock/Oil Shock (1970-73). They further argue that the inevitable shift to financial hegemony (M-M'), which has occurred in every other phase (Genovese, Dutch, British), has taken place more quickly than the one before it. As a result, they predicted (in 2001) very broadly that the terminal point of this financial (self-)vampirism -- when the system reaches a point of complete contradiction -- would take place around 2020. One key difference they note between the US global regime with all prior hegemonic orders is the reach and power of the military. The British Empire was able to deploy its navy to support its hegemony only up to a point -- and then became a paper tiger overnight. But the US military has not been deployed to any extent comparable to 1941-45. If it saw a real existential threat to dollar hegemony their military capacity would postpone any collapse indefinitely -- and throw the world into utter chaos.
My question to you and all is this: where are we in the timeline between their loss of industrial hegemony and the real crisis of their financial hegemony? Is this the decade of hegemonic challenge and change -- and therefore war? And to what extent will Iran be the trigger? Or will it be another GFC and de-dollarization?
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Jan 18 2020 13:29 utc | 135@ Posted by: V | Jan 18 2020 9:49 utc | 118
Inequality in the USA has reached an 100-year record high:
It's not the 1% anymore but the 0.1%!The top 0.1% of US wealth holders now have as much wealth (property, financial assets) as the bottom 90% for the first time since the 'roaring 20s'.
It's not the 1% anymore but the 0.1%!
Jan 09, 2020 | www.reddit.com
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Tiny_Pay 2 points · 5 hours agoIAmTeaBag4 2 points · 4 hours ago
What a weird tweet. level 1Tarlok888 1 point · 3 hours ago
Paul is probably just trying to get ahead of it. Possibly he was tipped off he was about to be busted? Just a thought. Nothing better than blaming Q in a leftist mind..
Edit: In the Alex Jones case they sent the child porn as an attachment to an email. This is straight up using his IP address. I'm no computer expert so I don't know if this can be done? Or how hard it would be to do. level 2nocoinerclub 1 point · 3 hours ago
If someone had a backdoor into his system, it's theoretically possible they could have done it by remote control. His description of it is completely ridiculous, though. Continue this thread
even though prison limits Internet usage, the good news is he'll be allowed to use a FAX MACHINE!
(FYI- Krugman's two famous predictions are 1) bitcoin is not worth its $100 price and will soon go to $0.. and 2) the Internet will fail and be nothing more than a glorified fax machine)
Jan 07, 2020 | off-guardian.org
Brian Harry ,The people at the top in the USA, Neo-Cons, Zionists, Pentagon, CIA, etc, are Hell bent on promoting Israel's needs in the Middle East, rather than the needs of the American people(who have been shafted good and hard by "Globalization" and "Trickle Down" in the last 40 years).
Successive Presidents in recent years have just been "The Organ Grinder's Monkey" and Trump is no exception. Always carrying out Israel's agenda, and ignoring the vast majority of the American people.
The Military Industrial Complex are the enemy of the American people, and you have to wonder how much longer they are going to put up with it.
By the way, WHO is the CIA answerable to? They seem to be a "loose Cannon", and always carrying out an agenda which is harmful to "The People".
Jan 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
oldhippie , Jan 4 2020 18:11 utc | 13Sitting in coffee shop in Chicago listening to Americans. The general sentiment is they had it coming and Iran should be nuked.
Glass parking lot is the desired end.
This sentiment is bottom to top in America. Measured response? No way can Iran 'measure' a response.
More generally the sentiment is that a little war in Iran, a few nukes, is not even a big thing. Football scores more important.
Isabella , Jan 4 2020 18:22 utc | 16"Sitting in coffee shop in Chicago listening to Americans. The general sentiment is they had it coming and Iran should be nuked.Zanon , Jan 4 2020 21:09 utc | 76
Glass parking lot is the desired end."
That's pretty much the picture i get from reading responses in UK MSM, not only from English, but many giving American addresses. They are all pretty much thoroughly brainwashed, believing as gospel the lies they've told, and still think that they are the "White hatted, good guys, who do good things for the places they bomb and invade".
it seems they will be supportive of an attack on Iran, and if their maniac "leaders", the basement crazies who got out of the basement, realise this, it increases substantially the chances of a "hot" war. In that case, should it escalate out of control, your Chicago coffee deadheads will get the Glass parking lot they want. It just wont be in the ME. Or Russia. They can have their very own, in their own back yard.Information_AgentPft , Jan 4 2020 21:48 utc | 79
Yes I also noticed this, what I believe is most depressing is how dumb people are. Trump/White house tell alot of lies which then become the truth for alot of his supporters and he also manage to get MSM where he wants, because MSM do not seems to care either, they are on-board when it comes to war.
And yes additional to that, a clear psychological operation going on to get the propaganda out.
I try to counter it on social media, I hope everyone here also do the same.Patroklos @77Dick , Jan 4 2020 22:13 utc | 83
Its about conditioning people that its the new normal. Anything goes, "do as thou wilt". So long as it serves the interests of our masters. With no fear that MSM or alt media can or will provide sustained or effective criticism, and the corruption of religious or secular morals among the population thanks to hollywoods cultural marxism/propaganda and corruption of christianity , they can get support among the people for just about anything. People can be made to believe anything. The past 100 years has proven that beyond all doubt. With all doubt now removed they can show their true colors and this will be accepted as the new normal.The problem with the US is most everyone in the US military, US citizenry, and US government believe their own Exceptionalism propaganda and act accordingly. Attacking the PMU units of the Iraqi army was certainly an unwise decision, but killing Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is an act of complete moronic insanity!Robert Snefjella , Jan 5 2020 0:22 utc | 121The United States launched a war of aggression, the supreme crime, upon Iraq in 2003, based on blatant lies, and are still there. Prior to that, they helped foment the war between Iraq and Iran, then attacked Iraq in 1991, and on top of the overt warfare there was the economic sanctions warfare. The death and maiming and poisoning of millions of Iraqis has been the American contribution to Iraq, over the last several decades. What for? How has this helped the United States? Or Europe? The main advocates for this supreme criminality has been the Israel lobby, Israel, and the supporters of Israel.
The American Apache helicopters are still buzzing around over Baghdad, dealing out terror and intimidation and death. The murder by the United States of yet more Iraqi soldiers and officials recently has been largely absent from the propaganda narratives. But could those be 'the final straw'?
As far as Trump's 52 target threat, this comes after the apparent please don't escalate and we'll make a deal - good cop-bad cop routine.
The 52 number was used to remind mind-controlled Americans that the evil Iranians outrageously took 52 Americans hostage. American's don't just take people hostage; they give them orange suits and torture them, unless they kill them. Apart from murdering and maiming by the millions, they even stage fictional killings, like Osama bin laden, to entertain the zombies, and stick out their chests, hand out medals and the like.
Jan 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
I am talking about the surveillance state that the American electorate has ignorantly accepted as necessary in order to keep us safe from terrorists.
Despite previous warning from whistleblowers like Russ Tice, Bill Binney, Ed Loomis and Kird Wiebe, no action to rein in the surveillance monster was taken until Edward Snowden absconded with the documents exposing the vast amount spying that the U.S. Government is doing to its own citizens. But even those weak efforts to supposedly rein in the NSA proved to be nothing more than mere window dressing.
The spying got worse. Just ask Donald Trump and the members of his campaign that were targeted first by the CIA and NSA and then by the FBI. Fundamental civil rights were trampled.
The real irony in all of this is that Barack Obama, as President, took credit for helping revise the laws in order to prevent the spying exposed by Edward Snowden. But under the Obama Administration, spying on political opponents--both real and perceived--escalated. We know for a fact that journalists, such as James Rosen and Sheryl Atkinson, were targets and their communications and computers attacked by the U.S. Government.
We know, thanks to a memo released by Judge Rosemary Collyer, that "FBI consultants" were making illegal searches of NSA material using the names of Donald Trump, his family and members of his campaign staff.
Some of this NSA material came courtesy of the Brits and their collection on U.S. targets. Some of this material came from the NSA's own collection and storage of all electronic communications and was obtained using a nifty NSA tool called XKEYSCORE. Listen to Ed Snowden's description. Also, take time to appreciate the irony that CNN and other journalists were actually trying to report real news. Now they are full blown apologists for the abuse of the intelligence collection tools.
Six years ago, former NSA Technical Director for Military and Geopolitical Issues, Bill Binney, and Russ Tice, a former NSA analyst, appeared on the PBS News Hour. Once again, they make very clear the enormous nature to the threat to our civil liberties.
Too bad Donald Trump did not listen to their warning.
Given the robust, wide ranging ability of the NSA to probe all communications by any person in the United States, it is remarkable that no real dirt on Donald Trump was ever uncovered. Had such information existed, it would be in the NSA's storage vaults in Utah and crooked CIA analysts under Brennan's direction would have found it and used it. But that did not happed. The best the intel folks could fabricate were the salacious claims attributed to reports ostensibly created by former British spy, Christopher Steele. Turns out that the titillating account that Trump hired hookers to perform coprophilia (could of been worse, coprophagia) was nothing more than idle bar talk.
What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.
Jan 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Tim E. , Dec 29 2019 4:45 utc | 59"I don't think there's any actual material reason that there should be any material wants anywhere on this planet, instead "only" political and managerial ones but that's because I believe (and I'm not an expert) one can add additional levels of safeguards -- both physical and administrative -- to existing or new nuclear power-plants and "burn" most of the byproducts into essentially new fuel thus buying humanity at least several thousands of years of time instead of for example chopping up large volumes of air and everything in it be it insects or birds.
We should already be in a post-scarcity world, no -isms required, only kindness and applied knowledge. So to me that will be our death sentence if that is the final outcome; too little kindness (towards all life), too little application and sharing of knowledge.
I don't know if that is inspiring or depressing or both :)"
I always find those thoughts scary - since you and I are both NOT Farmers - and depend upon those little people to supply us with the foodstuffs we need to survive.
It's GREAT to be a rocket scientist - but before a rocket scientist can exist - ya need Farmers.
Jay Hanson and Richard Duncan said it best:
Here is a synopsis of the behavioral loop described above:
Step 1. Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.
Step 2. Energy is always limited, and overshoot eventually leads to decreasing power available to some members of the group, with lower-ranking members suffering first.
Step 3. Diminishing power availability creates divisive subgroups within the original group. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals, who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain power.
Step 4. Violent social strife eventually occurs among subgroups who demand a greater share of the remaining power.
Step 5. The weakest subgroups (high or low rank) are either forced to disperse to a new territory, are killed, enslaved, or imprisoned.
Step 6. Go back to step 1.
The above loop was repeated countless thousands of times during the millions of years that we were evolving. This behavior is inherent in the architecture of our minds -- is entrained in our biological material -- and will be repeated until we go extinct. Carrying capacity will decline with each future iteration of the overshoot loop, and this will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.
Current models used to predict the end of the biosphere suggest that sometime between 0.5 billion to 1.5 billion years from now, land life as we know it will end on Earth due to the combination of CO2 starvation and increasing heat. It is this decisive end that biologists and planetary geologists have targeted for attention. However, all of their graphs reveal an equally disturbing finding: that global productivity will plummet from our time onward, and indeed, it already has been doing so for the last 300 million years.
It's impossible to know the details of how our rush to extinction will play itself out, but we do know that it is going to be hell for those who are unlucky to be alive at the time.
The Olduvai theory is defined by the ratio of world energy production and population. It states that the life expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years: 1930-2030. After more than a century of strong growth -- energy production per capita peaked in 1979. The Olduvai theory explains the 1979 peak and the subsequent decline. Moreover, it says that energy production per capita will fall to its 1930 value by 2030, thus giving Industrial Civilization a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years. This analysis predicts that the collapse will be strongly correlated with an 'epidemic' of permanent blackouts of high-voltage electric power networks -- worldwide.
Will Humans reach the Stars? I believe NOT - and that extinction is but a heart beat away. We are not a Peaceful species - amongst many others - but the Universe lives in Harmony.
Dec 26, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs , December 15, 2019 at 06:54 AMThe Decade in Retirement: Wealthy
Americans Moved Further Ahead
NYT - Mark Miller - Dec. 14
... In 2010, the economy was just beginning to recover from the worst recession and financial crisis in recent memory. The unemployment rate was high, the stock market was coming back and millions of workers were worried that their retirement plans were ruined.
Since then, a robust economic rebound has put some Americans back on solid footing for retirement, but progress has been uneven. Despite the gains made in employment, wage growth has only recently begun to recover -- and remained flat for older workers. Retirement wealth has accumulated almost exclusively among higher-income households, while middle- and lower-income households have only held steady or lost ground, Federal Reserve data shows.
Trends in Social Security and Medicare also are troubling. The value of Social Security benefits -- measured by the share of pre-retirement income they replace -- is falling, and the cost of Medicare is rising.
For members of the baby boomer and Gen X generations, the odds of success are mixed. The Employee Benefit Research Institute has developed a model that simulates the percentage of households likely to have adequate resources to meet retirement expenses, considering household savings, home equity and income from Social Security and pensions.
The model shows that the highest-income households have seen their odds of a successful retirement improve sharply during this decade, and have very high odds of success. Middle-income households, meanwhile, have seen some gains, but still have only 50-50 odds of success. And the lowest-income households have seen their retirement prospects diminish sharply -- among these boomers approaching retirement, their odds of success have fallen during the decade from 26 percent to 11 percent.
"Retirement prospects improved significantly for higher-income workers who were fortunate enough to work for employers that sponsor retirement plans," says Jack VanDerhei, the organization's research director.
Let's consider how the retirement landscape has changed during the decade now ending.
Retirement savings: Up for the affluent
The stock market bottomed out in March 2009 -- and it has more than quadrupled since then. Most retirement savers did not abandon equity markets during the crash, says Jean Young, senior research associate with the Vanguard Center for Investor Research. "Some did, but the vast majority stayed the course."
But the recovery has seen retirement wealth accumulate almost exclusively among affluent households that had access to workplace retirement plans and the means to make contributions. For example, Vanguard reports that the average balance for plan participants with incomes over $150,000 in 2018 was $193,130, compared with just $22,679 for workers with income of $30,000 to $50,000. ...
Dec 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Dec 24 2019 14:13 utc | 97Hierarchy ≠ class society.
There is nothing wrong with hierarchy in and of itself. After all, is seniority to mean nothing? Is demonstrated competence meaningless? Should an individual's efforts to build skill sets be treated as equivalent to the couch potato's efforts to build up an epic Body Mass Index (BMI)? Should notions of winners and losers be banned from athletic competitions and sporting events, along with any associated prizes? Everybody gets a trophy whether they run the race or not?
As I understand it there were plenty of routes through life in the Soviet Union in which people could distinguish themselves, perhaps more than in the West. There were plenty of ways to rise in society's hierarchy. None of those routes resulted in fabulous and opulent wealth, but if some did then the society would necessarily be able to afford fewer such routes.
The only problems with hierarchy in society is if the process of rising in it is corrupt (being born into wealth, for instance) or if the span between the bottom and the top of that hierarchy is larger than what the population considers fair.
juliania , Dec 24 2019 18:35 utc | 108William Gruff @ 97
"...The only problems with hierarchy in society is if the process of rising in it is corrupt (being born into wealth, for instance) or if the span between the bottom and the top of that hierarchy is larger than what the population considers fair."
That is true, the only problem being (for the lower classes) that by the time the gap becomes evident to all, mechanisms of 'law' and power (plus bread and circuses) have been set in place to prevent or repress the necessary changes from happening from below. This is evident to the US populace as the few who saw it coming and protested could not rouse enough support when it could have mattered. We looked and still look for helpers among the children of the hierarchs because those are the only ones who can work within the current system. So far, such are few, if they exist at all. But we saw with FDR it only takes one or two. (I don't know if you saw my previous post that finance was not the governmental powerhouse it has become in FDR's time. First they came for the legislators!!)
I still have hope that the system in the US will of its own weight become unweildly. There are already signs of that happening in the increasing inability of US powermongers to have their way on the world stage, and in their search for ephemeral 'boltholes'. And while they are still able to inflict harm on others and do so with reckless abandon, I do not believe they are ready to risk their own skins or those of their near and dear - or the fortunes they have staked everything to gain. My hope is that even that damaging ability will peter out as climate change necessities force a refocus on what actually threatens said skins and fortunes.
Dec 24, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Wen Tai , 2 days ago (edited)vincent lattuca , 1 day ago
Don't be fooled by these so called experts to dislodge the attention. Deep State is the International Bankers- US Military Industrial- Congressional Complex!!patrella bell , 1 day ago (edited)
The deep state killed JFK, RFK,MLK, it's not a bunch of civil servants.Arbjon Shehu , 5 days ago
Republicans could care less about how big did bureaucracy is as long as they get their tax breaks, loopholes and pay increase. They love to point the finger at big government while ciphering social assistance programs for the poor but increasing Military budget. That gives them power of Macho balls , screw the middle class and build up the army War chest.Publick Defendrr , 1 day ago (edited) div tabindex="0" rol
I like The Bravery of saying that!Deep state=Zionists Masons!Jane Self , 5 days ago
e="article"> Extraterrestrials from the Star System Zeta Reticuli are who Rules us ALL!! Watch everybody, you'll see! Oh, and the US Intelligence Agencies, the MSM , all of the Multi-Billionaires in the world (mostly in Hollywood, owners of Major Media Outlets and the owners of major private corp's with US Military Contracts), George Soros, The Clinton's, the "New" Establishment Demoncrat Party and of course all of the Major Banking Conglomerates!!Zakariye batalaale , 4 days ago
The Federal Reserve run the nations with tentacles into the news media and every corporation. Read Sen Louis McFadden 1934 speech to Congress. He was poisoned.BVKaronte , 3 days ago
The deep state is the people who control the Dollar.Abdel Hag , 22 hours ago
"It is his state of mind in a deep state of delusion" that is what it is.Rischa K Meador , 2 days ago
Lobbying is the deep state: Pushing an interest of a group against the interest of the general public and the state.Craig Hart , 3 days ago
Every single one of them were rude by talking over one another...Abner Rivera , 4 days ago
WHAT TANGLED WEBS THEY MAKE WHEN THEY LIE TO US...Scott Ewing , 4 days ago (edited)
Hear them all coughing all over each other. Demons.TONY Bee , 1 day ago
Research 'War is a Racket' by Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler. Research '7 Countries 5 Years Gen. wesley clark'. There's your 'deep state'.Terry Tater , 4 days ago
The REALITY is that they did not resign from the civil service.montydendron1 , 5 days ago
Would've been a good conversation if anybody knew what they were talking about lol. Reagan made the government weak and then gave elites enough money to buy it..M pua , 2 days ago
Ha ha, "Came for the beer, stayed for the fight"--- great debate. Always follow the money.
US was bankrupt and hijack its financial resources thru their cohorts lawmakers and politicians that was bought during election together with military. The kind of corrupt system america has.
Dec 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The President of the USofA has no power to turn this ship around. The seat of power is no longer residing in the hands of civilian/political actors prime ministers or presidents though they may be.Candidate Trump indicated very early on that he intended to withdraw from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he soon succumbed to his advisors and generals advice of increasing troop strength in 2017 as part of a surge strategy. This makes him no better or worse than his two predecessors who succumbed to the same kind of advice.
However Trump has recently restarted negotiations with the Taliban and has renewed his pledged to remove several thousand troops. "We're going down to 8,600 [from the 12,000 and 13,000 US troops now there] and then we make a determination from there as to what happens," Trump told Fox last August. "We're bringing it down." Of course the drawdown will be seen by the neocons as a unilateral concession to the Taliban. That shouldn't phase Trump. I think he plans to reannounce this withdrawal next month. DoD officials have said that the smaller US military presence will be largely focused on counterterrorism operations against groups like al Qaeda and IS, and that the military's ability to train and advise local Afghan forces will be reduced considerably. Sounds like they're still looking for a reason to stay.
Trump can break the cycle. He holds no ideological conviction for staying in Afghanistan. If he could get over his BDS (Bezos derangement syndrome), he could seize this Washington Post series, or at least the SIGAR lessons learned reports, and trumpet them through his twitter feed and helicopter talks. I believe he alone can generate a public cry for getting the hell out of Afghanistan and carry through with that action no matter how much his generals scream about it. But without a loud public outcry, especially from his base, Trump has no incentive to break the cycle. So all you deplorables better start hootin' and hollerin'. Hopefully enough SJWs will join you to pump up the volume.
Mathias Alexander , 23 December 2019 at 04:37 AMIf someone wanted to destabilize China,Russia and Central Asia the parts of Afghanistan America controls might be usefull for that.JMH , 23 December 2019 at 07:11 AMExcellent, right up to the last sentence. SJWs are mere tools of people like George Soros and have zero anti-war agenda nor do they care about America's manufacturing base ect.. In fact, many are chomping at the bit to join, what was once termed in the SST comments, the LGBTQ-C4ISR sect. I refer you to mayor Pete's exchange with Tulsi on the matter; he even invoked our sacred honor as a reason to stay the course in Afghanistan.Eric Newhill -> The Twisted Genius ... , 23 December 2019 at 03:38 PMTTG,Serge , 23 December 2019 at 07:35 AM
It's a shrinking cohort. For some of these types, their TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is actually causing them to side with the CIA and military. Enemy of my enemy.....and since there's no draft, they have no skin in that game.For the past 2-3 years many generals and politicians have been using the threat of ISKP as the new bogeyman for staying in Afghanistan. This threat is not wholly unfounded, a disproportionately large number of US airstrikes since 2015-2016 have been against ISKP in Nangarhar(remember the MOAB?) rather than against the Taliban. If my memory serves me correctly ISKP was responsible for every single US casualty in 2016-2017. In the past two months however ISKP has been collapsing in its erstwhile stronghold of Nangarhar, surrendering to the ANA rather than fall into the hands of the Taliba,à la Jowzjan in summer 2018. I was very surprised by the number of foreign fighters and their families to come out of there. We have the Taliban to thank for these two collapses.turcopolier , 23 December 2019 at 11:59 AMTTGThe Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 23 December 2019 at 01:40 PM
IMO American "exceptionalism" doomed our effort in Afghanistan Very few of us are set up mentally to accept the notion that other peoples are legitimately different from us and that they don't want to be like us and do things our way. I attribute this deformation on our part to the puritan heritage that you much admire. In your case your recent immigrant past seems to have immunized you from this deformation. As SF men we rightly fear and dread the attitudes of The Big Army, but, truth be told, it is we who are the outlier freaks in the context of American culture with its steamroller approach to just about everything.Ah yes, all that shining city on the hill stuff biting us in the ass once again. Like the Puritans, we seem to believe we alone are His chosen people and are utterly shocked that all others don't see this. In truth, Jesus probably sees our self righteous selves and our pilgrim forefathers much as he saw the Pharisees... a bunch of douche nozzles.
Dec 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Saker blog,
Readers at the international-news site South Front tend to be technologically far more knowledgeable about the internet than most people (including myself) are, and so their responses to a news-report that I did on December 17th, titled "Former NSA Tech Chief Says Mueller Report Was Based on CIA-Fabricated 'Evidence'" , explaining some technological details which enable a deeper understanding of how the CIA had perpetrated the 'Russiagate' hoax that Robert Mueller in his report as the U.S. Special Counsel had asserted to be a "Russiagate" fact (i.e., Mueller's allegations that the Russian Government had hacked computers of the Democratic National Committee). Especially informative there was this reader-comment, which comes from one of the world's leading experts on cyber technology, Luke Herbert-Hansen :
Luke Herbert-Hansen Peter Jennings
Well FAT may not [be] a common OS file system anymore, but it is still widely used on various removable media such as a USB sticks.
As everyone knows who has been closely following the most-reliable evidence regarding the question of how DNC emails had been copied and supplied to Wikileaks, there has been much credible, soundly-sourced, speculation that the DNC employee Seth Rich had physically copied the data from a computer there onto a thumb drive (or "USB stick"), which then was picked up in the U.S. by a Wikileaks agent, who physically delivered it to Julian Assange at London's Ecuadorean Embassy .
The great independent investigative journalist (virtually barred since 2007 from being published in the U.S. anymore), Seymour Hersh, personally investigated the records of the murder of Seth Rich , both at the Washington DC police and at the FBI, and this is from the transcript I had made of his statement in a Web-posted phone-call [my boldfaces for emphasis]:
(2:50-) At some time in late spring, which we're talking about in June 21st, I don't know, just late spring early summer, he makes contact with Wikileaks , that's in his computer, and he makes contact. Now, I have to be careful because I met Julian [Assange] in Europe ten twelve years [ago], I stay the fuck away from people like that. He has invited me and when I am in London, I always get a message, 'come see me at the Ecuadorean' [Embassy], and I am fucking not going there. I have enough trouble without getting photographed. He's under total surveillance by everybody.
They found, what he had done, he [Seth Rich] had submitted a series of documents, emails from DNC -- and, by the way, all this shit about the DNC, you know, was it a 'hack' or wasn't it a 'hack' -- whatever happened, it was the Democrats themselves wrote this shit, you know what I mean? All I know is that, he offered a sample , he sends a sample, you know, I am sure dozens of emails, and said ' I want money' . Later Wikileaks did get the password [SETH RICH DID SELL WIKILEAKS ACCESS INTO HIS COMPUTER.] He had a drop-box, a [password-]protected drop-box, which isn't hard to do. I mean you don't have to be a whiz at IT [information technology], he was not a dumb kid. They got access to the drop-box. This is all from the FBI report . He also let people know with whom he was dealing, I don't know how he dealt, I'll tell you all about Wikileaks in a second, with Wikileaks the mechanism, but according to the FBI report, he shared his box with a couple of friends, so 'If anything happens to me, it's not going to solve your problem', okay? I don't know what that means. But, anyway, Wikileaks got access. And, before he was killed, I can tell you right now, [Obama's CIA Director John] Brennan's an asshole. I've known all these people for years, Clapper is sort of a better guy but no rocket-scientist, the NSA guys are fuckin' morons, and the trouble with all those guys is, the only way they'll get hired by SAIC, is if they'll deliver some [government] contracts, it's the only reason they stayed in. With Trump, they're gone, they're going to live on their pension, they're not going to make it [to great wealth]. I've gotta to tell you, guys in that job, they don't want to live on their pension. They want to be on [corporate] boards like their [mumble] thousand bucks [cut].
I have somebody on the inside, you know I've been around a long time, somebody who will go and read a file for me, who, this person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he's a very high-level guy, he'll do a favor, you're just going to have to trust me, I have what they call in my business, long-form journalism, I have a narrative, of how that whole fucking thing began.
(5:50-) It's a Brennan operation. It was an American disinformation, and the fucking President, at one point when they even started telling the press -- they were back[ground]-briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, the fucking cocksucker Rogers, telling the press that we [they] even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it. All bullshit.
In other words, besides the information from Bill Binney, who was an NSA whistleblower who took early retirement so he wouldn't have to continue doing what people such as John Brennan demanded, Seymour Hersh there provided yet additional confirmation to this account from the also-early-retired whistleblowing UK Ambassador Craig Murray -- a close friend of Assange -- who claimed that he had "met" the person in DC who supplied the thumb drive (USB stick), which then was delivered (he didn't say how) to Assange :
Here is from my news-report on 6 January 2017 which confirms and documents that:
Murray received the Hillary-campaign information on September 24th. Little over a week later, on October 7th, Wikileaks published documents from the computer of Hillary's Campaign Chairman John Podesta, and politico announced it headlining " The most revealing Clinton campaign emails in WikiLeaks release" . That same day, Politico also bannered " Podesta: 'I'm not happy about being hacked by the Russians'," and the legend that 'Russia hacked the Clinton campaign' started immediately to compete in the day's 'news' stories, and diminish focus on, the contents of that information which had been 'hacked'.
However, the information from the DNC itself had been published much earlier, on July 22nd , and so this could not have come from the September 24th leak. Whether it came from the same person, or through the same courier (i.e., Murray), isn't yet known. [But it is now, from what Binney has just said , and the answer is "yes."] The Obama Administration has made no distinctions between those two data-dumps, but charges that all of the leaks from the Obama-Clinton-DNC conspiracy -- both the anti-Sanders campaign during the primaries, and the anti-Trump campaign during the general-election contest -- came from 'Russian hacking'. The reason why the emphasis is upon the anti-Trump portion is that the conspirators now are trying to smear Trump, not Sanders, and so to make this a national issue, instead of only an internal Democratic-Party issue. They are trying to de-legitimize Trump's Presidency -- and, at the same time, to advance Obama's aim for the U.S. ultimately to conquer Russia . The mutual hostility between Obama and Trump is intense, but Obama's hatred of Russia gives had Russia in his gunsights well before he, as a cunning politician, made political hay out of Mitt Romney's statement that "Russia, this is, without question America's number one geopolitical foe."added impetus to his post-Presidential campaign here. This Nobel Peace Prize winner
Only a fool trusts the U.S. government (and the U.S. 'news'media) after ' Saddam's WMD' (which despite all the lies to the contrary, didn't exist). Like Craig Murray said , "I used to be the head of the FCO unit that monitored Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and I know for certain, I can tell you, they knew there weren't any."
In my records, the politically progressive Craig Murray was the first individual to post to the Web a clear case that Russiagate was a U.S. Deep-State hoax: He headlined, on 31 December 2016, "Exit Obama in a Cloud of Disillusion, Delusion and Deceit" , and discussed the case which now is commonly called "Russiagate." In fact, I had never found any evidence that anything he has said was false, and -- especially considering the sheer number of his postings at his blog -- this was a remarkable record of truthfulness (100%), which is attained by very few journalists, none of whom are publishable in the United States. These reporters are too honest, and too careful about the quality of the documentation they cite, to be publishable in the United States. They refuse to intentionally deceive their readers; and, to the exact contrary, they take great care never to deceive them. (However, I unfortunately did finally see a posting from him that included some false allegations.)
Incidentally, my December 15th news-report, "Two Huge Suppressed News-Reports in a 3-Day Period Display Corrupt U.S.-&-Allied Mainstream Press" , shows how pervasive and deeply systemic this outright lying by the U.S.-and-allied press is.
As to whom the individuals are who are America's Deep State, that's discussed here . In other words: the operatives (such as mainstream American journalists) are only agents for those individuals -- they are not the Deep State itself. They can easily be replaced, but the Deep State is a far more deep-seated infection, in the American body-politic, and maybe cannot be removed, at all, without replacing the entire system. More-drastic measures than "reform" would therefore be needed, in order to eradicate the Deep State and restore whatever degree of democracy the United States formerly did have. (It's now a dictatorship . In fact, that's even been scientifically proven .) My research indicates that the Deep State took control of America starting on 26 July 1945 .
* * *
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .
Mar 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 23:55 240 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
The Syrian National News Agency headlined on February 26th, "Gold deal between United States and Daesh" (Daesh is ISIS) and reported that,
Information from local sources said that US army helicopters have already transported the gold bullions under cover of darkness on Sunday [February 24th], before transporting them to the United States.
The sources said that tens of tons that Daesh had been keeping in their last hotbed in al-Baghouz area in Deir Ezzor countryside have been handed to the Americans, adding up to other tons of gold that Americans have found in other hideouts for Daesh, making the total amount of gold taken by the Americans to the US around 50 tons, leaving only scraps for the SDF [Kurdish] militias that serve them [the US operation].
Recently, sources said that the area where Daesh leaders and members have barricaded themselves in, contains around 40 tons of gold and tens of millions of dollars.
Allegedly, "US occupation forces in the Syrian al-Jazeera area made a deal with Daesh terrorists, by which Washington gets tens of tons of gold that the terror organization had stolen, in exchange for providing safe passage for the terrorists and their leaders from the areas in Deir Ezzor where they are located."
ISIS was financing its operations largely by the theft of oil from the oil wells in the Deir Ezzor area, Syria's oil-producing region, and they transported and sold this stolen oil via their allied forces, through Turkey, which was one of those US allies trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government and install a Sunni fundamentalist regime that would be ruled from Riyadh (i.e., controlled by the Saud family) . This gold is the property of the Syrian Government, which owns all that oil and the oil wells, which ISIS had captured (stolen), and then sold. Thus, this gold is from sale of that stolen black-market oil, which was Syria's property.
The US Government claims to be anti-ISIS, but actually didn't even once bomb ISIS in Syria until Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, and the US had actually been secretly arming ISIS there so as to help ISIS and especially Al Qaeda (and the US was strongly protecting Al Qaeda in Syria ) to overthrow Syria's secular and non-sectarian Government. Thus, whereas Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, America (having become embarrassed) started bombing ISIS in Syria on 16 November 2015 . The US Government's excuse was "This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike." They pretended it was out of compassion -- not in order to extend for as long as possible ISIS's success in taking over territory in Syria. (And, under Trump, on the night of 2 March 2019, the US rained down upon ISIS in northeast Syria the excruciating and internationally banned white phosphorous to burn ISIS and its hostages alive, which Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had routinely done to burn alive the residents in Donetsk and other parts of eastern former Ukraine where voters had voted more than 90% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama's coup in Ukraine had replaced . It was a way to eliminate some of the most-undesired voters -- people who must never again be voting in a Ukrainian national election, not even if that region subsequently does become conquered by the post-coup, US-imposed, regime. The land there is wanted; its residents certainly are not wanted by the Obama-imposed regime.) America's line was: Russia just isn't as 'compassionate' as America. Zero Hedge aptly headlined "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" . Nobody exceeds the United States Government in sheer hypocrisy.
The US Government evidently thinks that the public are fools, idiots. America's allies seem to be constantly amazed at how successful that approach turns out to be.
Indeed, on 28 November 2012, Syria News headlined "Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Machinery in Broad Daylight" and presented video allegedly showing it (but unfortunately providing no authentication of the date and locale of that video).
Jihadists were recruited from throughout the world to fight against Syria's secular Government. Whereas ISIS was funded mainly by black-market sales of oil from conquered areas, the Al-Qaeda-led groups were mainly funded by the Sauds and other Arab royal families and their retinues, the rest of their aristocracy. On 13 December 2013, BBC headlined "Guide to the Syrian rebels" and opened "There are believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters." Except in the Kurdish areas in Syria's northeast, almost all of those fighters were being led by Al Qaeda's Syrian Branch, al-Nusra. Britain's Center on Religion & Politics headlined on 21 December 2015, "Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion" and reported: "If ISIS is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place." Almost all of those 65,000 were trained and are led by Syria's Al Qaeda (Nusra), which was protected by the US
In September 2016 a UK official "FINAL REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON COMBATING TERRORIST AND FOREIGN FIGHTER TRAVEL" asserted that, "Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined." Even just 25,000 (that official lowest estimate) was a sizable US proxy-army of religious fanatics to overthrow Syria's Government.
On 26 November 2015, the first of Russia's videos of Russia's bombing ISIS oil trucks headed into Turkey was bannered at a US military website "Russia Airstrike on ISIS Oil Tankers" , and exactly a month later, on 26 December 2015, Britain's Daily Express headlined "WATCH: Russian fighter jets smash ISIS oil tankers after spotting 12,000 at Turkish border" . This article, reporting around twelve thousand ISIS oil-tanker trucks heading into Turkey, opened: "The latest video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the tankers bunched together as they make their way along the road. They are then blasted by the fighter jet." The US military had nothing comparable to offer to its 'news'-media. Britain's Financial Times headlined on 14 October 2015, "Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists" . Only America's allies were involved in this commerce with ISIS -- no nation that supported Syria's Government was participating in this black market of stolen Syrian goods. So, it's now clear that a lot of that stolen oil was sold for gold as Syria's enemy-nations' means of buying that oil from ISIS. They'd purchase it from ISIS, but not from Syria's Government, the actual owner.
On 30 November 2015 Israel's business-news daily Globes News Service bannered "Israel has become the main buyer for oil from ISIS controlled territory, report" , and reported:
An estimated 20,000-40,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in ISIS controlled territory generating $1-1.5 million daily profit for the terrorist organization. The oil is extracted from Dir A-Zur in Syria and two fields in Iraq and transported to the Kurdish city of Zakhu in a triangle of land near the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Israeli and Turkish mediators come to the city and when prices are agreed, the oil is smuggled to the Turkish city of Silop marked as originating from Kurdish regions of Iraq and sold for $15-18 per barrel (WTI and Brent Crude currently sell for $41 and $45 per barrel) to the Israeli mediator, a man in his 50s with dual Greek-Israeli citizenship known as Dr. Farid. He transports the oil via several Turkish ports and then onto other ports, with Israel among the main destinations.
After all, Israel too wants to overthrow Syria's secular, non-sectarian Government, which would be replaced by rulers selected by the Saud family , who are the US Government's main international ally .
On 9 November 2014, when Turkey was still a crucial US ally trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government (and this was before the failed 15 July 2016 US-backed coup-attempt to overthrow and replace Turkey's Government so as to impose an outright US stooge), Turkey was perhaps ISIS's most crucial international backer . Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's leader, had received no diploma beyond k-12, and all of that schooling was in Sunni schools and based on the Quran . (He pretended, however, to have a university diploma.) On 15 July 2015, AWD News headlined "Turkish President's daughter heads a covert medical corps to help ISIS injured members" . On 2 December 2015, a Russian news-site headlined "Defense Ministry: Erdogan and his family are involved in the illegal supply of oil" ; so, the Erdogan family itself was religiously committed to ISIS's fighters against Syria, and they were key to the success of the US operation against Syrians -- theft from Syrians. The great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, who was personally acquainted with many of the leading political figures in Africa and the Middle East, headlined on 22 June 2014, "US Embassy in Ankara Headquarter for ISIS War on Iraq – Hariri Insider" , and he reported that the NATO-front the Atlantic Council had held a meeting in Turkey during 22-23 of November 2013 at which high officials of the US and allied governments agreed that they were going to take over Syria's oil, and that they even were threatening Iraq's Government for its not complying with their demands to cooperate on overthrowing Syria's Government. So, behind the scenes, this conquest of Syria was the clear aim by the US and all of its allies.
The US had done the same thing when it took over Ukraine by a brutal coup in February 2014 : It grabbed the gold. Iskra News in Russian reported, on 7 March 2014 , that "At 2 a.m. this morning ... an unmarked transport plane was on the runway at Borosipol Airport" near Kiev in the west, and that, "According to airport staff, before the plane came to the airport, four trucks and two Volkswagen minibuses arrived, all the truck license plates missing." This was as translated by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research headlining on 14 March, "Ukraine's Gold Reserves Secretly Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?" in which he noted that, when asked, "A spokesman for the New York Fed said simply, 'Any inquiry regarding gold accounts should be directed to the account holder.'" The load was said to be "more than 40 heavy boxes." Chossudovsky noted that, "The National Bank of Ukraine (Central Bank) estimated Ukraine's gold reserves in February to be worth $1.8 billion dollars." It was allegedly 36 tons. The US, according to Victoria Nuland ( Obama's detail-person overseeing the coup ) had invested around $5 billion in the coup. Was her installed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk cleaning out the nation's gold reserves in order to strip the nation so that the nation's steep indebtedness for Russian gas would never be repaid to Russia's oligarchs? Or was he doing it as a payoff for Nuland's having installed him? Or both? In any case: Russia was being squeezed by this fascist Ukrainian-American ploy.
On 14 November 2014, a Russian youtube headlined "In Ukraine, there is no more gold and currency reserves" and reported that there is "virtually no gold. There is a small amount of gold bars, but it's just 1%" of before the coup. Four days later, bannered "Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: 'There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault'" . From actually 42.3 tons just before the coup, it was now far less than one ton.
The Syria operation was about oil, gold, and guns. However, most of America's support was to Al-Qaeda-led jihadists, not to ISIS-jihadists. As the great independent investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported on 2 July 2017 :
"In December of last year while reporting on the battle of Aleppo as a correspondent for Bulgarian media I found and filmed 9 underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin. They were used by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria designated as a terrorist organization by the UN)."
The US had acquired weapons from around the world, and shipped them (and Gaytandzhieva's report even displayed the transit-documents) through a network of its embassies, into Syria, for Nusra-led forces inside Syria. Almost certainly, the US Government's central command center for the entire arms-smuggling operation was the world's largest embassy, which is America's embassy in Baghdad.
Furthermore, On 8 March 2013, Richard Spenser of Britain's Telegraph reported that Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper had reported that "3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November. The airlift of dated but effective Yugoslav-made weapons meets key concerns of the West, and especially Turkey and the United States, who want the rebels to be better armed to drive out the Assad regime."
Also, a September 2014 study by Conflict Armaments Research (CAR), titled "Islamic State Weapons in Iraq and Syria" , reported that not only east-European, but even US-made, weapons were being "captured from Islamic State forces" by Kurds who were working for the Americans, and that this was very puzzling and disturbing to those Kurds, who were risking their lives to fight against those jihadists.
In December 2017, CAR headlined "Weapons of the Islamic State" and reported that "this materiel was rapidly captured by IS forces, only to be deployed by the group against international coalition forces." The assumption made there was that the transfer of weapons to ISIS was all unintentional.
That report ignored contrary evidence, which I summed up on 2 September 2017 headlining "Russian TV Reports US Secretly Backing ISIS in Syria" , and reporting there also from the Turkish Government an admission that the US was working with Turkey to funnel surviving members of Iraq's ISIS into the Deir Ezzor part of Syria to help defeat Syria's Government in that crucial oil-producing region. Moreover, at least one member of the 'rebels' that the US was training at Al Tanf on Syria's Jordanian border had quit because his American trainers were secretly diverting some of their weapons to ISIS. Furthermore: why hadn't the US bombed Syrian ISIS before Russia entered the Syrian war on 30 September 2015? America talked lots about its supposed effort against ISIS, but why did US wait till 16 November 2015 before taking action, "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" ?
So, regardless of whether the US Government uses jihadists as its proxy-forces, or uses fascists as its proxy-forces, it grabs the gold -- and grabs the oil, and takes whatever else it can.
This is today's form of imperialism.
Grab what you can, and run. And call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption'. And the imperial regime's allies watch in amazement, as they take their respective cuts of the loot. That's the deal, and they call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world'. That's the way it works. International gangland. That's the reality, while most of the public think it's instead really "fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world." For example, as RT reported on Sunday , March 3rd, about John Bolton's effort at regime-change in Venezuela, Bolton said: "I'd like to see as broad a coalition as we can put together to replace Maduro, to replace the whole corrupt regime,' Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper." Trump's regime wants to bring clean and democratic government to the poor Venezuelans, just like Bush's did to the Iraqis, and Obama's did to the Libyans and to the Syrians and to the Ukrainians. And Trump, who pretends to oppose Obama's regime-change policies, alternately expands them and shrinks them. Though he's slightly different from Obama on domestic policies, he never, as the US President, condemns any of his predecessors' many coups and invasions, all of which were disasters for everybody except America's and allies' billionaires. They're all in on the take.
The American public were suckered into destroying Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2011-now, and so many other countries, and still haven't learned anything, other than to keep trusting the allegations of this lying and psychopathically vicious and super-aggressive Government and of its stenographic 'news'-media. When is enough finally enough ? Never? If not never, then when ? Or do most people never learn? Or maybe they don't really care. Perhaps that's the problem.
On March 4th, the Jerusalem Post bannered "IRAN AND TURKEY MEDIA PUSH CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUT US, ISIS: Claims pushed by Syrian regime media assert that US gave ISIS safe passage out of Baghuz in return for gold, a conspiracy picked up in Tehran and Ankara" , and simply assumed that it's false -- but provided no evidence to back their speculation up -- and they closed by asserting "The conspiracies, which are manufactured in Damascus, are disseminated to Iraq and Turkey, both of whom oppose US policy in eastern Syria." Why do people even subscribe to such 'news'-sources as that? The key facts are hidden, the speculation that's based on their own prejudices replaces whatever facts exist. Do the subscribers, to that, simply want to be deceived? Are most people that stupid?
Back on 21 December 2018, one of the US regime's top 'news'-media, the Washington Post, had headlined "Retreating ISIS army smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria" and reported that "the Islamic State is sitting on a mountain of stolen cash and gold that its leaders stashed away to finance terrorist operations." So, it's not as if there hadn't been prior reason to believe that some day some of the gold would be found after America's defeat in Syria. Maybe they just hadn't expected this to happen quite so soon. But the regime will find ways to hoodwink its public, in the future, just as it has in the past. Unless the public wises-up (if that's even possible).
Dec 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org
J_Garbo ,I suspected that Deep State has at least two opposing factions. The Realistists want him to break up the empire, turn back into a republic; the Delusionals want to extend the empire, continue to exploit and destroy the world. If so, the contradictions, reversals, incoherence make sense. IMO as I said.
Gary Weglarz ,I predict that all Western MSM will begin to accurately and vocally cover Mr. Binney's findings about this odious and treasonous U.S. government psyop at just about the exact time that -- "hell freezes over" -- as they say.
Jen ,They don't need to, they have Tony Blair's fellow Brit psycho Boris Johnson to go on autopilot and blame the Russians the moment something happens and just before London Met start their investigations.
Dec 20, 2019 | www.unz.com
Realist , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:17 pm GMT
The Year of Manufactured Hysteria
The purpose of manufactured hysteria in the US is to obfuscate the issues important to the Deep State like destroying the first amendment, renewing the 'Patriot' act, extremely increasing the war/hegemony budget, etc.
The unimportant internecine squabbles of the 'two parties' strengthens the false perception that there is a choice when voting.
Dec 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
All pretense of our country being a representative democracy @snoopydawg
is gone. Our
two partyuniparty government has completely turned its back on serving the needs of the vast majority of the people of this country, and of the wider world. Profit sits at the head of our government. The monikers "Fascist" and "Totalitarian" are apt descriptors of the direction of our current trajectory. A dystopian future surely awaits us on this beautiful, fragile and life sustaining planet that we are trashing with such abandon.
Other than that, things are going quite nicely. Nancy is wearing her power pants and fools are applauding.
Dec 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
It still amazes me... that people actually think impeachment accomplishes anything other than diverting attention from the Dems giving Trump everything he wants.
Impeachment without conviction means next to nothing.
The Senate will not convict. Trumps chances of being re-elected are continuing to improve as Democratic Party insiders work overtime to see to it that Bernie Sanders has to fight the Republican Party, a MSM that either dismisses or ignores his candidacy, AND the Democratic Party which has, once again, stacked the deck against him.
Dec 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
WoodsDweller on Wed, 12/18/2019 - 9:30pmhttps://www.rawstory.com/2019/12/trump-has-joined-the-losers-of-presiden...
... Never-Trump conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin released a scorching assessment ... "Even Trump knows he will be lumped in with the 'losers' in the presidential history rankings such as Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson," wrote Rubin. "Impeachment will define his presidency, dwarfing any other foreign or domestic action. No wonder he rages against a speaker he is powerless to stop. His worst nightmare is to be humiliated, and if not now, history certainly will regard him as a pitiful, damaged man utterly unfit for the role he won through a series of improbable events ... Just as Watergate figures ... were lionized as defenders of the Constitution, so too will Pelosi and House Democrats ... be among those admired for their lucidity, intellect and character. ... For every clownish, contemptible, screeching and dishonest House Republican, there is a sober, admirable, restrained and honest Democrat.
"No letter, no tweet, no Fox News spin can repair the reputations of Trump enablers," Rubin wrote. The right-wing media that cheered them on will, like outlets that rooted for Jim Crow and demonized Freedom Riders, be shunned by decent, freedom-loving people who reaffirm objective reality. The Republican Party will be known not as the Party of Lincoln but the Party of Trump, a quisling party that lost its bearings and its soul to defend an unhinged narcissist.
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Artful Dodger , Dec 19 2019 8:00 utc | 86The Trump Card was and is a masterstroke of scripting live, non-stop, divisive, politically paralytic distraction while the US oligarchy goes all-tard-in for private power.
Russ , Dec 19 2019 7:30 utc | 85Since the whole impeachment farce already has been a political loser for the idiot Democrats, they'd have to be doubly stupid to double down on political stupidity by obstructing the transmission to the Senate, when most Americans just want this crap to be over with.
Meanwhile the Senate Republicans, once they get the charges, would be stupid to do anything but vote them down immediately. Otherwise they'll become complicit in the odious circus and rightly incur their share of the political blame.
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Russ , Dec 18 2019 22:00 utc | 19Historically the ability of unelected, unaccountable, secretive bureaucracies (aka the "Deep State") to exercise their own policy without regard for the public or elected officials, often in defiance of these, has always been the hallmark of the destruction of democracy and incipient tyranny.
Today's Deep State most resembles the colonial administrations during the heyday of European imperialism. These too worked to run their own secret foreign policy, and to bring their power to bear on domestic policy as well.
Although both halves of the One-Party really want the effective tyranny of state and corporate bureaucracies, it's not surprising that it's the Democrats (along with the MSM) taking the lead in openly defending the tyrannical proposition that the CIA should be running its own foreign (and implicitly domestic) policy, and that the president should be just a figurehead which follows orders. That goes with the Democrats' more avowedly technocratic style, and it goes with the ratchet effect whereby it's usually Democrats which push the policy envelope toward ever greater inequality, ecocide and tyranny.
Now is a time of rising irredentism and the decline of all the ideas of globalization and technocracy, though the reality is likely to hang on for awhile. The whole Deep State-Zionist-Russia-Deranged-Trump-Deranged-MSM-social media censorship campaign is globalization trying to maintain its monopoly of ideas by force, since it knows it can never win in a free clash of ideas.
Impeachment, and the pro-bureaucracy anti-democracy campaign related to it, besides its more petty purposes (distraction from real social problems; forestalling Sanders), is the culmination of technocracy's attempted coup against a president who, even though he agrees with this cabal on all policy matters, is considered too unreliable, too undisciplined, too damn honest about the evil of the US empire. If they can take him down, they think they can restore the full business-as-usual status quo including the compliance of the rest of the world.
Since impeachment's going to fail, we can expect the system to try other ways.
james , Dec 19 2019 1:51 utc | 57hey b... i like your title - "How The Deep State Sunk The Democratic Party" ... could change it to" How the Deep State Sunk the USA" could work just as well...ptb , Dec 19 2019 2:07 utc | 62
Seven of the 11 security state representatives who had joined the Democrats in 2018 gave the impulse for impeachment.
is this intentional?? it sort of looks like it...
good quote from @ 26 lk - "The contradictions of US empire and global capitalism cannot be mitigated by either more liberal strategies or realist ones."@babyl-on 35
yes that is about right. The top power networks are all a tight mix of names from govt, MIC, and private equity (incl. top 2-3 investment banks). With the latter group naturally paying the salaries of the whole policy making ecosystem, and holding the positions that select future generations who will eventually take their place.
They want the security of knowing noone in the world will mess with them. This necessitates that noone in the world *can* mess with them. Pretty straightforward from there.
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Babyl-on , Dec 18 2019 23:21 utc | 35I would like to put forward my understanding of the "deep state" and see if I have any company.
In my view the deep state (the interagency consensus) is the hired help of the oligarchy, which infects the gov and occupies every key position of power(except president for the first time in over 75 years).
People are constantly saying the deep state wants this or it wants that and that is off the mark. The deep state follows the orders of the oligarchy it does not make policy or make independent decisions.
In effect, the CIA is nothing more or less than a secret army of the oligarchy.
The dems funded the wall, they gave the treasonous Trump another 100+ billion to do Putin's bidding with, the dems fast tracked 115 Trump judges (Bernie could have stopped it and did not) at least two nuclear treaties were abandoned and a third will be soon. The oligarchy and its empire laugh at all the pledbs caught up in their macabre pantomime covering the non-stop for 75 years slaughter of innocent people.
It should be clear who is in charge - the people who own the world run the world.
psychohistorian , Dec 18 2019 23:36 utc | 37I am moving my comment from the Open Thread where karlof1 had provided a link to the Trump/Pelosi letterpsychohistorian , Dec 18 2019 23:53 utc | 42
@ Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2019 17:53 utc | 131 with the Trump letter to Pelosi
Thanks for that.
I just read it and besides what you and others have said I was struck by the blame for the impeachment attempt being put on the "deranged and radical representatives of the far left"."
That sentence was then followed by one saying that the Dems are motivated by and living in fear of socialist primary challengers.
Think about that context in lieu of what many barflies here understand to be reality.
1. We live in a dictatorship of global private finance
2. The far left, if it exists, know that Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton bears no claim to anything left of fascism.
3. America use to have a socialist government, because that is what government is by definition, and still has, to a degree, a mixed economy of socialism and capitalism....(gawd I hate those terms anymore)
Those are just my first thoughts......My 2nd set of thoughts follow my first and those of other barflies comments and b's posting
1. Trump is giving the Dems cover to neuter the "socialist" candidates like Bernie and Tulsi
2. Trump is setting the stage for a new McCarthyism.
3. As Posted by: Babyl-on | Dec 18 2019 23:21 utc | 35 who wrote
In effect, the CIA is nothing more or less than a secret army of the oligarchy.
This true and goes for all of the Deep State
4. This impeachment shit show will continue to override any social discussion of domestic or foreign issues including the Depression that the US is clearly in....never having recovered from the Recession of 2008
5. This is what control of the narrative looks like......get out in front of the train, make lots of noise and carrying on to obfuscate reality.
And meanwhile the rest of the world is getting on with the evolution of a multi-polar world.....while America and Americans are being thrown under the bus in a managed Shock Doctrine event.
Kratoklastes , says: December 12, 2019 at 3:42 am GMT
Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com
started by an unemployed Englishman named Eliot Higgins
Good on him – being able to create a thing that rises to such prominence in such a short space of time speaks volumes about this Higgins guy's entrepreneurial ability. And if he wasn't mobbed-up to begin with, he sure as fuck is now – which is a double- mitzvah (for him).
If he did so starting from being unemployed, then anybody who turned down a job application from the guy must be kicking themselves. (' Unemployed ' is obviously used pejoratively in the blockquote; 'Englishman' is purely-descriptive).
Also, the entire article accepts Bernays' conclusion, but disagrees as to which objectives should be pursued.
Bernays' conclusions are hardly controversial: most people are gullible imbeciles . It's not clear to me how much more empirical evidence we need before that becomes just a thing that everyone with an IQ above 115 accepts.
So the question then becomes " OK, now what? ".
As usual, the right answer is " Depends " – and not just for those with bladder control problems.
If you want to do things that are just , exploiting gullible imbeciles would appear to violate the playing conditions. It would be hors jeu ; not done; just not cricket .
As the Laconian famously said . " IF ."
For those for whom the 'if' condition returns 'false', it does very little to bleat about how awful they are. You're not going to cause a little switch in their brain to flick on (or off?), whereupon they realise the error of their ways and make a conscious decision to leave the gullible imbeciles unexploited.
It's even unlikely to affect their victims (remember, they're imbeciles) – because otherwise some infra-marginal imbeciles would have to process their way through quite a bit of cognitive dissonance, and they're not wired for introspection (or processing).
So the sole real purpose (apart from κάθαρσις catharsis ) is prophylaxis (προ + φύλαξις – guarding ). Both good enough aims obviously the writer is the one who gets the cathartic benefit, but who is going to be on heightened alert as a result of this Cassandra -ish jeremiad -ing?
Non-imbeciles don't need it; imbeciles won't benefit.
Here's the thing: the gullible imbeciles are going to be exploited by someone .
This is something that people of my persuasion struggle with. It boils down to the following:
Let's assume that a reprehensible thing exists already, and is unlikely to be overthrown by my opposition to it. Should I just participate and line my pockets?
The resources used are going to be used whether I participate or not, so it may as well be me who gets them. After all, I will put them to moral uses – and while inside, I can do things that are contrary to the interests of the reprehensible thing.
There is no satisfactory counter-argument to that line of reasoning, and yet I reject it.
Then again: I was dropped on my head as an infant, so YMMV.
Feb 23, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca
Breakaway MPs hope that smearing Corbyn will obscure the fact that they are remnants of an old political order bankrupt of ideasThe announcement by seven MPs from the UK Labour Party on Monday that they were breaking away and creating a new parliamentary faction marked the biggest internal upheaval in a British political party in nearly 40 years, when the SDP split from Labour.
On Wednesday, they were joined by an eighth Labour MP, Joan Ryan , and three Conservative MPs. There are predictions more will follow.
With the UK teetering on the brink of crashing out of the European Union with no deal on Brexit, the founders of the so-called Independent Group made reference to their opposition to Brexit.
The chief concern cited for the split by the eight Labour MPs, though, was a supposed "anti-semitism crisis" in the party.
The breakaway faction seemingly agrees that anti-Semitism has become so endemic in the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader more than three years ago that they were left with no choice but to quit.
Corbyn, it should be noted, is the first leader of a major British party to explicitly prioritize the rights of Palestinians over Israel's continuing belligerent occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Luciana Berger (image on the right), a Jewish MP who has highlighted what she sees as an anti-Semitism problem under Corbyn, led the charge, stating at the Independent Group's launch that she had reached "the sickening conclusion " that Labour was "institutionally racist".
She and her allies claim she has been hounded out of the party by "anti-semitic bullying". Berger has suffered online abuse and death threats from a young neo-Nazi who was jailed for two years in 2016. There have been other incidences of abuse and other sentences, including a 27-month jail term for John Nimmo , a right-wing extremist who referred to Berger as "Jewish scum" and signed his messages, "your friend, the Nazi".
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, the former Labour MP said the Independent Group would provide the Jewish community with a " political home that they, like much of the rest of the country, are now looking for".
In a plea to keep the party together, deputy leader Tom Watson issued a video in which he criticised his own party for being too slow to tackle anti-Semitism. The situation "poses a test" for Labour, he said, adding: "Do we respond with simple condemnation, or do we try and reach out beyond our comfort zone and prevent others from following?"
Ruth Smeeth , another Jewish Labour MP who may yet join a later wave of departures, was reported to have broken down in tears at a parliamentary party meeting following the split, as she called for tougher action on anti-semitism.
Two days later, as she split from Labour, Ryan accused the party of being "infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism".
Hatred claims undercut
The timing of the defections was strange, occurring shortly after the Labour leadership revealed the findings of an investigation into complaints of anti-semitism in the party. These were the very complaints that MPs such as Berger have been citing as proof of the party's "institutional racism".
And yet, the report decisively undercut their claims – not only of endemic anti-semitism in Labour, but of any significant problem at all.
That echoed an earlier report by the Commons home affairs committee, which found there was "no reliable, empirical evidence " that Labour had more of an anti-semitism problem than any other British political party.
Nonetheless, the facts seem to be playing little or no part in influencing the anti-semitism narrative. This latest report was thus almost entirely ignored by Corbyn's opponents and by the mainstream media.
It is, therefore, worth briefly examining what the Labour Party's investigation discovered.
Over the previous 10 months, 673 complaints had been filed against Labour members over alleged anti-semitic behaviour, many based on online comments. In a third of those cases, insufficient evidence had been produced.
The 453 other allegations represented 0.08 percent of the 540,000-strong Labour membership. Hardly "endemic" or "institutional", it seems.
There is the possibility past outbursts have been part of this investigation. Intemperate language flared especially in 2014 – before Corbyn became leader – when Israel launched a military operation on Gaza that killed large numbers of Palestinian civilians, including many hundreds of children.
Certainly, it is unclear how many of those reportedly anti-semitic comments concern not prejudice towards Jews, but rather outspoken criticism of the state of Israel, which was redefined as anti-semitic last year by Labour, under severe pressure from MPs such as Berger and Ryan and Jewish lobby groups, such as the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement.Britain's Witchfinders Are Ready to Burn Jeremy Corbyn
Seven of the 11 examples of anti-semitism associated with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition adopted by Labour concern Israel. That includes describing Israel as a "racist endeavour", even though Israel passed a basic law last year stripping the fifth of its population who are not Jewish of any right to self-determination, formally creating two classes of citizen.
Illustrating the problem Labour has created for itself as a result, some of the most high-profile suspensions and expulsions have actually targeted Jewish members of the party who identify as anti-Zionist – that is, they consider Israel a racist state. They include T ony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni, Glyn Secker and Cyril Chilson .
Another Jewish member, Moshe Machover , a professor emeritus at the University of London, had to be reinstated after a huge outcry among members at his treatment by the party.
Alan Maddison , who has been conducting statistical research on anti-semitism for a pro-Corbyn Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Labour, put the 0.08 percent figure into its wider social and political context this week.
He quoted the findings of a large survey of anti-semitic attitudes published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in 2017. It found that 30 percent of respondents from various walks of society agreed with one or more of eight anti-semitic views, ranging from stereotypes such as "Jews think they are better than other people" to Holocaust denial.
However, lead researcher Daniel Staetsky concluded that in most cases, this was evidence of unthinking prejudice rather than conscious bigotry. Four-fifths of those who exhibited a degree of anti-semitism also agreed with at least one positive statement about Jewish people.
This appears to be the main problem among the tiny number of Labour Party members identified in complaints, and is reflected in the predominance of warnings about conduct rather than expulsions and suspensions.
Another of the institute's findings poses a particular problem for Corbyn's opponents, who argue that the Labour leader has imported anti-semitism into the party by attracting the "hard left". Since he was elected, Labour membership has rocketed.
Even if it were true that Corbyn and his supporters are on the far-left – a highly questionable assumption, made superficially plausible only because Labour moved to the centre-right under Tony Blair in the late 1990s – the institute's research pulls the rug out from under Corbyn's critics.
It discovered that across the political spectrum, conscious hatred of Jews was very low, and that it was exhibited in equal measure from the "very left-wing" to the "fairly right-wing". The only exception, as one might expect, was on the "very right-wing", where virulent anti-semitism was much more prevalent.
That finding was confirmed last week by surveys that showed a significant rise in violent, anti-semitic attacks across Europe as far-right parties make inroads in many member states. A Guardian report noted that the "figures show an overwhelming majority of violence against Jews is perpetrated by far-right supporters".
Supporters of overseas war
So what is the basis for concerns about the Labour Party being mired in supposed "institutional anti-semitism" since it moved from the centre to the left under Corbyn, when the figures and political trends demonstrate nothing of the sort?
A clue may be found in the wider political worldview of the eight MPs who have broken from Labour.
All but two are listed as supporters of the parliamentary "Labour Friends of Israel" (LFI) faction. Further, Berger is a former director of that staunchly pro-Israel lobby group, and Ryan is its current chair, a position the group says she will hold onto, despite no longer being a Labour MP.
So extreme are the LFI's views on Israel that it sought to exonerate Israel of a massacre last year, in which its snipers shot dead many dozens of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza in a single day. Faced with a social media backlash, it quietly took down the posts .
The eight MPs' voting records – except for Gavin Shuker, for whom the picture is mixed – show them holding consistently hawkish foreign policy positions that are deeply antithetical to Corbyn's approach to international relations.
They either "almost always" or "generally" backed "combat operations overseas"; those who were MPs at the time supported the 2003 Iraq war; and they all opposed subsequent investigations into the Iraq war.
Committed Friends of Israel
In one sense, the breakaway group's support for Labour Friends of Israel may not be surprising, and indicates why Corbyn is facing such widespread trouble from within his own party. Dozens of Labour MPs are members of the group, including Tom Watson and Ruth Smeeth.
Smeeth, one of those at the forefront of accusing Corbyn of fostering anti-semitism in Labour, is also a former public affairs director of BICOM, another stridently pro-Israel lobby group .
None of these MPs were concerned enough with the LFI's continuing vocal support for Israel as it has shifted to the far-right under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have stepped down from the group.
'Wrong kind of Jews'
Anti-semitism has taken centre stage in the manoeuvring against Corbyn, despite there being no evidence of significant hatred against Jews in the party. Increasingly, it seems, tangible abuse of Jews is of little interest unless it can be related to Corbyn.
The markedly selective interest in anti-semitism in the Corbyn context among the breakaway MPs and supposed anti-semitism watchdogs has been starkly on show for some time.
Notably, none expressed concern at the media mauling of a left-wing, satirical Jewish group called Jewdas when Corbyn was widely attacked for meeting "the wrong kind of Jews". In fact, leading Labour figures, including the Jewish Labour Movement, joined in the abuse .
And increasingly in this febrile atmosphere, there has been an ever-greater indulgence of the "right kind of anti-semitism" – when it is directed at Corbyn supporters.
A troubling illustration was provided on the TV show Good Morning Britain this week, when Tom Bower was invited on to discuss his new unauthorised biography of Corbyn, in which he accuses him of anti-semitism. The hosts looked on demurely as Bower, a Jewish journalist, defamed fellow Jewish journalist Michael Segalov as a " self-hating Jew " for defending Corbyn on the show.
Revenge of the Blairites
So what is the significance of the fact that the Labour MPs who have been most outspoken in criticising Corbyn – those who helped organise a 2016 leadership challenge against him, and those who are now rumoured to be considering joining the breakaway faction – are heavily represented on the list of MPs supporting LFI?
For them, it seems, vigorous support for Israel is not only a key foreign policy matter, but a marker of their political priorities and worldview – one that starkly clashes with the views of Corbyn and a majority of the Labour membership.
Anti-semitism has turned out to be the most useful – and damaging – weapon to wield against the Labour leader for a variety of reasons close to the hearts of the holdouts from the Blair era, who still dominate the parliamentary party and parts of the Labour bureaucracy.
Perhaps most obviously, the Blairite wing of the party is still primarily loyal to a notion that Britain should at all costs maintain its transatlantic alliance with the United States in foreign policy matters. Israel is a key issue for those on both sides of the Atlantic who see that state as a projection of Western power into the oil-rich Middle East and romanticise Israel as a guarantor of Western values in a "barbaric" region.
Corbyn's prioritising of Palestinian rights threatens to overturn a core imperial value to which the Blairites cling.
Tarred and feathered
But it goes further. Anti-semitism has become a useful stand-in for the deep differences in a domestic political culture between the Blairites, on one hand, and Corbyn and the wider membership, on the other.
A focus on anti-semitism avoids the right-wing MPs having to admit much wider grievances with Corbyn's Labour that would probably play far less well not only with Labour members, but with the broader British electorate.
As well as their enthusiasm for foreign wars, the Blairites support the enrichment of a narrow neo-liberal elite, are ambivalent about austerity policies, and are reticent at returning key utilities to public ownership. All of this can be neatly evaded and veiled by talking up anti-semitism.
But the utility of anti-semitism as a weapon with which to beat Corbyn and his supporters – however unfairly – runs deeper still.
The Blairites view allegations of anti-Jewish racism as a trump card. Calling someone an anti-semite rapidly closes down all debate and rational thought. It isolates, then tars and feathers its targets. No one wants to be seen to be associated with an anti-semite, let alone defend them.
Weak hand exposed
That is one reason why anti-semitism smears have been so maliciously effective against anti-Zionist Jews in the party and used with barely a murmur of protest – or in most cases, even recognition that Jews are being suspended and expelled for opposing Israel's racist policies towards Palestinians.
This is a revival of the vile "self-hating Jew" trope that Israel and its defenders concocted decades ago to intimidate Jewish critics.
The Blairites in Labour, joined by the ruling Conservative Party, the mainstream media and pro-Israel lobby groups, have selected anti-semitism as the terrain on which to try to destroy a Corbyn-led Labour Party, because it is a battlefield in which the left stands no hope of getting a fair hearing – or any hearing at all.
But paradoxically, the Labour breakaway group may have inadvertently exposed the weakness of its hand. The eight MPs have indicated that they will not run in by-elections, and for good reason: it is highly unlikely they would stand a chance of winning in any of their current constituencies outside the Labour Party.
Their decision will also spur moves to begin deselecting those Labour MPs who are openly trying to sabotage the party – and the members' wishes – from within.
That may finally lead to a clearing out of the parliamentary baggage left behind from the Blair era, and allow Labour to begin rebuilding itself as a party ready to deal with the political, social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: www.jonathan-cook.net He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Dec 09, 2019 | www.wsj.com
Enthusiasm over entrepreneurship is now found in every corner of society -- even, apparently, within the federal bureaucracy. Witness after witness in last month's House impeachment inquiry hearings referred to "the interagency," an off-the-books informal government organization that we now know has enormous power to set and execute American foreign policy.
The first to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, State Department official George Kent, seemed to conceive of the interagency as the definitive source of foreign-policy consensus. That Mr. Trump's alleged decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine deviated from that consensus was, for Mr. Kent, prima facie evidence that it was misguided.Next up, Ambassador William Taylor told the committee that it was the "unanimous opinion of every level of interagency discussion" that the aid should be resumed without delay. Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official, gave the game away by admitting how upset she was that Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, had established an "alternative" approach to helping Kyiv. "We have a robust interagency process that deals with Ukraine," she said.
What is the interagency, and why should its views guide the conduct of American diplomatic and national-security professionals? The Constitution grants the president the power to set defense and diplomatic policy. Where did this interagency come from?
I first heard of the interagency in Baghdad in 2009. I was there as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation to Iraq. As a U.S. Army general briefed us on how the war was being fought, he spoke of the interagency as the source of the strategy he was executing. Naively, I asked why he wasn't operating according to orders from his military superiors or the secretary of defense.How Did Adam Schiff Get Devin Nunes's Phone Records? How did Adam Schiff get Devin Nunes's phone records?
firstname.lastname@example.org Created with sketchtool.
He explained that American war-fighting was being guided by a "whole of government" philosophy. Incredibly, he explained that the war couldn't be won without, among other agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor. Iraq needed economic expansion, modern farming, business statistics, new hospitals, a working court system and workplace regulations. The strategy framed by the interagency was nothing less than a yearslong engagement in nation building -- precisely what President George W. Bush had rejected in his 2000 campaign.
Interagency cooperative agreements have been around for decades. The Justice Department, for example, has opioid-interdiction programs that require it to work with the Department of Homeland Security. Today a dictionary of more than 12,500 official terms exists to guide bureaucrats in writing interagency contracts that repurpose federal funds appropriated to various executive departments. Often these interdepartmental initiatives devised by bureaucrats are unknown to Congress. It's hard to imagine that the legislative branch wouldn't object to these arrangements, if only it were aware of them.
When the war on terror opened, with all the secret activity it required, professional cadres in the diplomatic corps, the military and the nation's many intelligence agencies were able to transform interagency cooperative agreements that had existed since the Cold War into a de facto agency -- a largely informal and virtual bureaucracy -- with the assumed power, if need be, to determine and execute a foreign policy at odds with the intent of the president and Congress.
Last month's testimony before the Intelligence Committee shed light on this club whose members are a permanent shadow government credentialed by family histories, elite schools and unique career experiences. This common pedigree informs their perspective of how America should relate to the world. The dogmatists of the interagency seem to share a common discomfort with a president who probably couldn't describe the doctrine of soft power, doesn't desire to be the center of attention at Davos, and wouldn't know that Francis Fukuyama once decided that history was over.
The impeachment hearings will have served a useful purpose if all they do is demonstrate that a cabal of unelected officials are fashioning profound aspects of U.S. foreign policy on their own motion. No statutes anticipate that the president or Congress will delegate such authority to a secret working group formed largely at the initiation of entrepreneurial bureaucrats, notwithstanding that they may be area experts, experienced in diplomatic and military affairs, and motivated by what they see as the best interests of the country.
However the impeachment drama plays out, Congress has cause to enact comprehensive legislation akin to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which created more-efficient structures and transparent processes in the Defense Department. Americans deserve to know who really is responsible for making the nation's foreign policy. The interagency, if it is to exist, should have a chairman appointed by the president, and its decisions, much like the once-secret minutes of the Federal Reserve, should be published, with limited and necessary exceptions, for all to see.
Mr. Schramm is a university professor at Syracuse. His most recent book is "Burn the Business Plan."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs , December 06, 2019 at 06:22 AMImpeach the presidentJohnH -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 06, 2019 at 08:34 AM
Boston Globe - editorial - December 5
From the founding of this country, the power of the president was understood to have limits. Indeed, the Founders would never have written an impeachment clause into the Constitution if they did not foresee scenarios where their descendants might need to remove an elected president before the end of his term in order to protect the American people and the nation.
The question before the country now is whether President Trump's misconduct is severe enough that Congress should exercise that impeachment power, less than a year before the 2020 election. The results of the House Intelligence Committee inquiry, released to the public on Tuesday, make clear that the answer is an urgent yes. Not only has the president abused his power by trying to extort a foreign country to meddle in US politics, but he also has endangered the integrity of the election itself. He has also obstructed the congressional investigation into his conduct, a precedent that will lead to a permanent diminution of congressional power if allowed to stand.
The evidence that Trump is a threat to the constitutional system is more than sufficient, and a slate of legal scholars who testified on Wednesday made clear that Trump's actions are just the sort of presidential behavior the Founders had in mind when they devised the recourse of impeachment. The decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment is warranted.
Much of the information in the Intelligence Committee report, which was based on witness interviews, documents, telephone records, and public statements by administration officials, was already known to the public. The cohesive narrative that emerges, though, is worse than the sum of its parts. This year, the president and subordinates acting at his behest repeatedly tried to pressure a foreign country, Ukraine, into taking steps to help the president's reelection. That was, by itself, an outrageous betrayal: In his dealings with foreign states, the president has an obligation to represent America's interests, not his own.
But the president also betrayed the US taxpayer to advance that corrupt agenda. In order to pressure Ukraine into acceding to his request, Trump's administration held up $391 million in aid allocated by Congress. In other words, he demanded a bribe in the form of political favors in exchange for an official act -- the textbook definition of corruption. The fact that the money was ultimately paid, after a whistle-blower complained, is immaterial: The act of withholding taxpayer money to support a personal political goal was an impermissible abuse of the president's power.
Withholding the money also sabotaged American foreign policy. The United States provides military aid to Ukraine to protect the country from Russian aggression. Ensuring that fragile young democracy does not fall under Moscow's sway is a key US policy goal, and one that the president put at risk for his personal benefit. He has shown the world that he is willing to corrupt the American policy agenda for purposes of political gain, which will cast suspicion on the motivations of the United States abroad if Congress does not act.
To top off his misconduct, after Congress got wind of the scheme and started the impeachment inquiry, the Trump administration refused to comply with subpoenas, instructed witnesses not to testify, and intimidated witnesses who did. That ought to form the basis of an article of impeachment. When the president obstructs justice and fails to respect the power of Congress, it strikes at the heart of the separation of powers and will hobble future oversight of presidents of all parties.
Impeachment does not require a crime. The Constitution entrusts Congress with the impeachment power in order to protect Americans from a president who is betraying their interests. And it is very much in Americans' interests to maintain checks and balances in the federal government; to have a foreign policy that the world can trust is based on our national interest instead of the president's personal needs; to control federal spending through their elected representatives; to vote in fair elections untainted by foreign interference. For generations, Americans have enjoyed those privileges. What's at stake now is whether we will keep them. The facts show that the president has threatened this country's core values and the integrity of our democracy. Congress now has a duty to future generations to impeach him.How can Trump have sabotaged American foreign policy, when he has full responsibility and authority to set it?likbez -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 07, 2019 at 01:27 AM
IMO this impeachment is partly about Trump personally asking a foreign country for help against a domestic political opponent. But it is mostly about geopolitics and the national security bureaucracy's need for US world domination.
Just listen to the impeachment testimony--most of it is whining about Trump's failure to follow the 'interagency' policies of the deep state."Impeachment does not require a crime."
Stalin would approve that. And if so, what is the difference between impeachment and a show trial, Moscow trials style? The majority can eliminate political rivals, if it wishes so, right? This was how Bolsheviks were thinking in 30th. Of course, those backward Soviets used "British spy" charge instead modern, sophisticated "Putin's stooge" charge, but still ;-)
The facts show that the president has threatened this country's core values and the integrity of our democracy.
This is just low level Soviet-style propaganda: "Beacon of democracy" and "Hope of all progressive mankind" cliché. My impression is that the train left the station long ago, especially as for democracy. Probably in 1963. The reality is a nasty struggle of corrupt political clans. Which involves intelligence agencies dirty tricks. BTW, how do you like that fact that Corporate Democrats converted themselves in intelligence agencies' cheerleading squad?
In short Boston Globe editors do not want that their audience understand the situation, in which the county have found itself. They just want to brainwash this audience (with impunity)
And both Corporate Dems and opposing them Republican are afraid to discuss the real issues facing the country, such as loss of manufacturing, loss of good middle class jobs (fake labor statistics covers the fact the most new jobs are temps/contractors and McJobs), rampant militarism with Afghan war lasting decades, neocon dominance in foreign policy which led to increase of country debt to level that might soon be unsustainable.
Both enjoy impeachment Kabuki theater. With Trump probably enjoying this theatre the most: if they just censure him, he wins, if charges go to Senate, he wins big.
Can you imagine result for Corporate Dems of Schiff (with his contacts with Ciaramella ) , or Hunter Biden (who was just a mule to get money to Biden's family for his father illegal lobbing) testifying in Senate under oath.
The truth is that they are all criminals (with many being war criminals.) So Beria statement "Show me the man and I'll find you the crime" is fully applicable. That really is something that has survived the Soviet Union and has arrived in the good old USA.
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 02, 2019 at 03:32 AMYeah, who needs politics when you have the deep state running everything anyway :<)JohnH -> kurt... , December 02, 2019 at 06:58 PMComplacency certainly allowed Obama to do virtually nothing during his final seven years. Fortunately the complacency got reduced due to the 2016 election, else Obama would have pushed through TPP.
During the Obama years the mantra was, "Don't worry, be happy." And the elites were happy. The rest of us, not so much, which is why we got Trump.
Dec 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com
linda galella , November 19, 2019"This may be our last chance to act to hold the man accountable..."Menkaure , November 21, 2019
Well, that was "A Warning", for sure! The anonymous author of this tell all, Trump outter, goes on to proclaim "we must look deeper at the roots of the present disorder, which is why I have written this book."
Based on his/hers opening salvo, I proceeded with an open mind and hoped a first hand accounting of events would give me something more, something new, something unbiased...after reading every single word, I'm not sure what to think any more.
"A Warning", by Anonymous, is a well written political volume that speaks clearly, and authoritatively concerning the events that take place in the White House and with our president, Donald J. Trump. They have avoided all the histrionics that fill the tomes offered by most of the media members. There's plenty of passion and urgency behind what's being said it's just not crazed which for me, lends it an air of veracity. I'm settled for 60% of the discourse.
By chapter 5 my opinion of the author's recanting about the details of the POTUS's daily events has begun to become suspect and I'm starting to get that feeling that something is "off". I read on trying to keep my open mind, feelings at bay. It's not easy because the stories being told are starting to take on a schoolyard tenor such as: listing snippets of twitter tweets (only the "bad"parts), highlighting his inadequacies as a statesman/politician (DJT never claimed to be more than a businessman). It's not wrong to mention these things, it's the spirit in how it's done and the vacuum.
This is about the time that anonymous' logic becomes unfounded, for me; a Venn diagraming dilemma of if-then, WHAT?
Positing that POTUS has such a weakness for strong men that he would make egregious blunders of national security, as well as waffle on business and finance issues just doesn't make sense. Sorry. If for no other reason than his sheer business acumen, I'm rejecting this premise. Yes, he blunders on with lack of finesse in the deportment and statesman columns but...nope.
"A Warning" continues on pretty much in this manner, more and more juvenile until we end up firmly in the land of snark with chapter seven and "The Apologists" where the author in his anonymity proclaims how we can identify the various flavors of apologists, all they think and feel and all they need to do-to get , be and do better; presumptuous, IMHO. I'm sure snark wasn't the intended goal but it's how I arrived, for me.
All things considered, the writing and publishing are excellent. For the first half of the book, I was impressed with the author's ability to detail the story, taking the high road. The road got lonely along the way and anonymous veered to the access road, never joining yellow journalism highway to deliver "A Warning" 📚Half-Hearted EpiphanyAmazon Customer , November 19, 2019
A lot of reviewers are saying "It's nothing we didn't already know," and at first, that was my conclusion as well: there's no bombshells here. But upon reflection, there actually is something that we didn't know. It answered a mystery that has perplexed me for the better part of 3 years, albeit I don't think the author knows it themselves. The million dollar question: how could anyone with any morality, dignity, patriotism, or merely a sense of self-preservation work in the Trump administration? 'A Warning' is not any kind of explosive insider expose on the workings of the current White House. It's far too vague and generalized, avoiding specifics on nearly every topic to the point of exasperation. What this book is, is an attempt by the author to justify their bad, and it must be said, weak choices. It's both a sub-conscious excuse and apology for what's clear the author has still not fully come to terms with themselves. Between the lines, you can almost see him/her trying to work it out, never quite grasping his/her own moral weakness in enabling a man they know to be dangerously incompetent. Everybody, anybody, who has ever worked for somebody else has faced this dilemma at some point in their career: when the boss is bad; you either stay for self-serving reasons (like your finances) or you make a stand before the boss damages the whole enterprise. The author is trying to make a stand, and failing at it. The alarming aspect in this instance, is the stakes are so much higher, the highest, in fact. This is a book written by somebody deep in denial, attempting to work it out but not quite willing, yet, to look themselves directly in the mirror. Chapter 7, "Apologists," is the most telling. The author is not just explaining the motivations of his/her co-participants, but is unwittingly addressing their self as well. Perhaps the most important question here, is WHO does Anonymous think they are "Warning?" at this point? For the Never-Trumpers this is all old news. For the Ever-Trumpers, they're never going to read anything unapproved by their Dear Leader. For those on the fence (if there are any) they're comatose and aren't capable of comprehension. This wasn't written for anybody but the author's own conscience, and even at that, it hedges, dances around itself, and avoids mirrors.Discusses what is already known about Trump with little in the way of solutions.joel wing , November 22, 2019
The book tells readers what is already known and readily apparent about Donald Trump: his lack of empathy and curiousity, his volatility and impetuousness, his vengeful nature, the long-lasting damage he is doing to the country's institutions and norms.
The book does not delve into much, if any, new territory that has not been previously reported. Mentions of specific administration members and their individual actions are sparing and go little beyond general notions that many intitially thought Trump would turn his behavior around, are continually dumbfounded by him, try behind the scenes to keep the wheels of government on the road and fail due to his ADD, vanity, and pettiness, and that all know they are expendible to him.
The author devotes quite a bit of time discussing historical Greek democratic philosophy and examples to compare to the current situation. While interesting, it only serves to put Trump's personality and failings into yet another historical context which would surprise nobody who has paid any attention to this administration, government, politics, law, or history.
One of the largest problems with the author's arguments and solutions is that it ultimately lack individual courage. The author takes time to discuss the passengers aboard Flight 93 that fought back against the hijackers on 9/11. He/she even ends the book with the famous last words of one of the passengers who fought back: " Let's roll." While we do not know the identity of the author, his or her actions in publishing this book are not the same. The actions of passengers deciding to fight back against hijackers was not anonymous. They did not fail to show their faces. They met the danger head-on and with full knowledge of the consequences of failure. They did not try to leave it to others. The author gives the coda that the general public needs to wake up and do something, but then does not get in the aisle with the rest of the passengers to fight back. While the author's explanation of remaining anonymous is logical (that the message is more important than the messenger), the author ultimately falls prey to one of the flaws of everyone else who serves Trump: that he/she is not willing to speak truth directly to power regardless of the horrific consequences of not doing so. Former Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Justin Amash have made many of the same philosophical and logical points as the author regarding Trump's damaging actions publicly, to their own political demise. The reader cannot help but wonder if the author is still in the administration taking daily part in the passivity of those who know better but will not say it to Trump's face.
The book offers much in the way of problems but little in the way of solutions. The author suggests Americans be engaged in civics and politics at local and state levels. The author suggests that we find the political middle and return to civility. The author does not posit how the reader should, given such a dire warning, convince the many people to change course, who: 1) see what Trump really is and actually like it, 2) have been completely fooled about who Trump really is but will not respond to facts, logic, and/or self-interest, and 3) hold power to do something about Trump (i.e.: 53 Republican Senators) but remain passive due to a variety of personal, social, political, or economic factors.
Ultimately, the book puts forth an important analysis of Trump, the sycophants that surround him, and the damage he continues to do. But it doesn't come with the gravity of someone who is willing to risk his/her own skin in order to try to save the country that he/she seems to hold so dear. The message would mean more if the author was willing to risk all like the passengers of Flight 93.Disappointing Repeats major faults w/Trump without adding any new detailsE.M. Tennessen , November 21, 2019
A Warning by Anonymous who claims to be a senior Trump administration official comes on the heal of previous tell all books such as Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury and Bob Woodward's Fear. Unfortunately, if one read those books or has paid attention to the news there is nothing really new in A Warning, which outlines the argument against the Trump presidency.
Anonymous' argument is that Trump is unfit for the presidency and most be voted out of office in the next election. The author's complaints are well known. The president knows nothing about how the government, the economy or foreign policy works which leads to endless problems as he makes pronouncements, Tweets, or asks his staff to do things that can't be done, and sometimes might even be illegal. He contemplated telling the National Guard that was deployed to the border with Mexico to shoot people trying to enter illegally as a deterrent. Trump isn't inquisitive, doesn't read, and is an avid consumer of conspiracy theories. Trump for example is so adverse to reading and has such a short attention span that his staff has been reduced to briefing him with just one graphic or one slide that represents one main issue, and to repeat that point over and over in the hopes that it will sink in with the chief executive. Many times that fails. Instead, Trump's main sources of information are cable news and a variety of conspiracy theories he hears or makes up himself. The president's language is divisive. Trump revels in smack talking, and one of his favorite times is to go to rallies where he can unleash a new line against his opponents. He enjoys being a rabble rouser and inciting his followers. The president came into office with a diverse cabinet of generals, politicians, and businessmen, but most of them have left. Not only that, but some of them were willing to stand up to the president and tell him things he didn't want to hear. The author considers himself part of this group. Now Trump is surrounded by people that only tell him what he wants to hear. All together that has led the White House into one crisis after another. Trump Tweets he wanted out of Syria without telling any of his staff beforehand. The White House had outlined a $2 trillion infrastructure bill with the Democrats, but then Trump got mad watching cable TV before a planned meeting and walked away from the deal. The author has one great characterization at an end of a chapter where he says the government is like one of Trump's companies. It's badly managed, a sociopath is at its head, there is infighting, lawsuits, debt, shady deals, and everything is focused upon the owner rather than the customers.
Anonymous does make one new argument you rarely hear, and that is Trump is not a conservative. He starts off with the fact that Trump has changed his party affiliation several times. He also has violated many of the hall marks of conservatism such as free trade, fiscal responsibility, and cutting the size of the federal government. Trump for example, has created a huge budget deficit with his tax cuts while continuing to increase public spending.
Again, the problem with the book isn't the message, it's just that his has all been said before. I was at least expecting some interesting stories to go along with this laundry list of faults, but was disappointed by the lack of them. In the end, if this is the first book you're thinking of reading about Trump you will get the main arguments against his presidency. If you've been following Trump and his faults, then there's little to see here.Familiar info in a new packageDalkasChris , November 22, 2019
"A Warning" confirms with additional anecdotes what we already know--useful if you don't want to go all over the web for "all the news" about the White House's inner workings and the President's behavior. It's well-written but would have been more compelling if the op-eds, snark and name-calling had been edited out. Clearly, not written (but possibly edited) by someone with a journalism background. The chapter on "character" was the most valuable as it serves as a reminder of what we are looking for in a leader of our country, or any leader, in fact--someone with integrity, honesty, service-minded, respectful of others, clear-thinking, etc. It's clear from what's written here that if the President is re-elected, it says more about our nation than it does about a 73-year-old man who clearly has attention deficit disorder, possibly a reading disability, and absolutely no experience with statecraft. (Nor does he care. I don't know what's worse.) I'm sure this book will become a part of our interesting historical record!Don't BotherWorld Traveller , November 22, 2019
I purchased this book (against my better judgment) because I thought maybe the insights in this book would be enlightening. But I wish I hadn't spent the money. First, most of what was related in these pages, other than the opinion parts, were already well known through media, especially The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as other other media outlets.
Second, anyone paying attention would have anticipated Trump's actions. What made me want to vomit after finishing this book was the realization that the Republican party doesn't care and will continue to support Trump, regardless of the evidence that he is not fit to serve and the author despite issuing this "warning", doesn't have the guts or the patriotism to come out of the shadows.
I also take issue with the author's portrayal of "never Trumpers" as crazed haters. That's the farthest from the truth. Many of us recognized early on that Trump is agrifter and a liar and an unscrupulous opportunist. We are not crazed; we are sounding the alarm! We are sensible patriots who love our country and our Constitution, who do not want to see our discourse redown into tribal factions and, possibly, into civil war (hopefully, if such does occur it will be cyber rather than armed conflict).
Every single day we are asked to ignore what our eyes can clearly see and what our ears can clearly hear and our brains can easily deduce in order to allow Trump's reality to proceed unquestioned. He doesn't understand he is not a monarch and his children are not heirs to the throne. The lies are non-stop and getting worse and the people surrounding him, including the author, are doing NOTHING to reign him in.
Last, we are in the midst of an impeachment inquiry. I've read every deposition that has been released and watched every minute of direct testimony during the hearings. It is without contest that Trump attempted to extort and bribe Ukraine in order to have the newly inaugurated president of Ukraine announce an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden's involvement with Burisma. Sondland made it abundantly clear that no such actual investigation would be necessary, just the announcement of an investigation to tarnish Joe Biden's reputation and electoral standing. Trump's act was sleazy and wrong and illegal (check the statute about soliciting foreign involvement in domestic elections).
I'm infuriated by the author's insinuation that we who oppose such actions by any president are somehow deranged. The writer seems to think that impeachment and removal from office for such dirty tricks involving a foreign government should be somehow, beyond the pale for a civilized society. NO! Trump has obviously abused his office and put an ally in danger by withholding funding HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO WITHHOLD, according to our Constitution. The author seems to think we should just cover our eyes to these transgressions and wait until the next election to vote Trump out.
What about all of the damage Trump can perpetrate on our democracy and on our foreign policy. He has done so much damage alrready, how can we allow him another year and keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't get worse? Also, since Trump was obviously trying to influence our upcoming elections with his dirty dealings, how can we allow him to remain in office knowing that he will do anything to cheat to win?
We anti-Trumpers (not never-Trumpers) are constantly accused of trying to perpetuate a "coup" by trying to remove Trump from office via either impeachment or through the 25th. That would only be true if Hilllary Clinton was installed in Trump's place. But If Trump leaves office before his first term is up, Mike Pence will assume the duties of president, not HRC. -- certainly not a "coup" to anyone who has half a brain and understands how our system works. It would still be a Republican administration and there would still be a Republican Senate. Certainly NOT a coup, just a Constitutional succession of the next in.line.
With regard to restoring a "climate of truth", that is impossible so long as alternative media (including FOX) exists. We Americans used to share a truth courtesy of the likes of Walter Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley and others. Now, there's "left" media and a "right" media and they both exist in their own realities. We no longer share the same reality. If we no.longer share the same immutable facts and truths, then how can we work out our differences and our needs so we can all come to a consensus?
This book left me feeling angry and afraid for the future of my country, especially because people like the "anomynous" author doesn't take his citizenship and patriotism a step forward and tell what he knows on the record.
Don't waste your money. The author is a coward and should never profit from his lack of courage.Should Have Remained an Op EdUh How How How , November 22, 2019
This is not a very good book . I say this even though I was so looking forward to it , even buying it in pre-publication. On the publication date, I woke up early and started to read it, only to find it repetitious and general in nature.
Trump is described as amoral, indifferent, inattentive and impulsive – repeatedly. But with little background. The author is afraid of being identified as such so he deletes specific information that may later identify him. High ranking officials are identified as "high ranking officials". Important meetings are identified as "important meetings".
I did not read the original article that led to the book but It feels like the author took the article and padded it into a book. Disappointing: a waste of time; a waste of money.Self-aggrandizing, short on new info, long on whining written by a coward
I am a critic of this Administration.
First off, I really enjoyed the author's listing of every sleazy thing Trump has ever done (none of which are new or even greatly detailed), followed by snarky quips about Democrats taking power with too much zeal to investigate. That's the kind of 'logic' we are looking at here. The argument is that there is a lawless criminal in the White House but it's better to whine about him in print than do anything about it.
Secondly, there is no new information in this book. There is nothing here I have not heard before. There are no damning conversations or dramatic revelations. This book packages up the reporting of every news agency to date and just vomits it out at us. We've heard this all before. We had the author's level of indignation three years ago. We came to these conclusions three years ago. It is insulting that the author presents this material with a 'ta-daaa!' It's a scam.
Thirdly, Trump does what he does because weasels like the author of this 'book' let him. No matter what justifications this guy has for himself, he is still nothing but an enabler, and is complicit in the actions of this Administration. The author spends most of the book whining about the things Trump has done, takes no responsibility for anything, and does a LOT of "CYA." (cover your butt).
This is a 'nothing-burger.'
Dec 04, 2019 | www.wsws.org
On September 5, 2018, the New York Times published an op-ed by a "senior official" in the White House, entitled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."
The anonymous author of the piece revealed that "many of the senior officials in [Trump's] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." The "adults in the room," he claimed, are leading a "two-track presidency."
In that op-ed, he revealed that "there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president."
In other words, members of the executive branch had discussed a coup to remove a sitting president, which they pulled back from only because "no one wanted" a "constitutional crisis."
One year later, the same unnamed official, whose identity is known to the Times , has published a book elaborating on themes elucidated in the editorial. A Warning is currently #1 on the New York Times ' nonfiction bestseller list.
The author, "Anonymous," has been publicly identified as Guy Snodgrass, the US Navy commander who served as the communications secretary for the Department of Defense under Gen. James Mattis. Posting a report of his alleged authorship on Twitter, Snodgrass cryptically mused, "the swirl continues."
If the allegation is true, it would have ominous implications. It would mean that the New York Times gave the military an opportunity to denounce a president as "amoral," "impetuous," "petty" and "ineffective," and to all but advocate his removal via unconstitutional means.
Notably, Snodgrass claims to be the author of perhaps the most important military document produced under the Trump administration, the unclassified summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which declared that "Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."
We do not know whether Snodgrass is the author of A Warning , but the themes of the National Defense Strategy document are consistent with the emphasis of the book.
A Warning makes one thing abundantly clear: the "Resistance" to Trump's policies within the state, which is the basis of the Democrats' opposition to him, centers on claims that Trump is insufficiently aggressive in defending and expanding America's imperial interests against Russia and China.Cmdr. Guy M. Snodgrass is shown in this Defense Department photograph in Japan in 2016. MATTHEW C. DUNCKER/U.S. NAVY
A Warning argues that "America's dominant role on the international stage is at risk today," but Trump is "not positioning us to strengthen our empire of liberty." It continues: "Instead, he's left the empire's flank vulnerable to power-hungry competitors" with his "isolationist, what's-in-it-for-me attitude toward the world."
The allegations continue:
The president lacks a cogent agenda for dealing with these rivals because he doesn't recognize them as long-term threats. He only sees near-term deals. "Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically But that doesn't mean they are bad," the president said in one interview
What he doesn't see, especially with China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, is that their governments are programmed to oppose us
The United States is taking its eye off the ball with China, and our national response has been ad hoc and indecisive under President Trump. We have no serious plan to safeguard our "empire of liberty" against China's rise. There is only the ever-changing negotiating positions of a grifter in chief, which will not be enough to win what is fast becoming the next Cold War. President Trump is myopically focused on trade with China, which is only part of the picture
In a July 2018 interview, the president was asked to name America's biggest global adversary. He didn't lead the list with China, which is stealing American innovation at a scale never before seen in history, or Russia, which is working to tear our country apart.
And on and on.
In response to such concerns, the writer makes clear that sections of this staff were contemplating an extra-constitutional coup to replace Trump by declaring the American president mad and therefore "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," in the words of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, which outlines presidential succession in the case of a presidential disability.
A back-of-the-envelope "whip count" was conducted of officials who were most concerned about the deteriorating situation. Names of cabinet-level officials were placed on a mental list. These were folks who, in the worst case scenario, would be amenable to huddling discreetly in order to assess how bad the situation was getting I froze when I first heard someone suggest that we might be getting into "Twenty-fifth territory."
Among the figures noted in the press as possibly amenable to such an endeavor were former Defense Secretary Mattis, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly and former National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster.
The writer describes what the removal of the president via the 25th Amendment would look like:
Removal of the president by his own cabinet would be perceived as a coup. The end result would be unrest in the United States the likes of which we haven't seen since maybe the Civil War. Millions would not accept the outcome, perhaps including the president himself, and many would take to the streets on both sides. Violence would be almost inevitable.
If Trump is "removed from office and he refuses to go He will not exit quietly -- or easily It is why at many turns he suggests 'coups' are afoot and a 'civil war' is in the offing."
One does not know whether the author has really had a change of heart about overthrowing the American government in a coup, or, if he is a military person, he fears a court martial for treason. In any event, he concludes, "In a democracy we don't overthrow our leaders when they're underperforming. That's for third-rate banana republics and police states."
After only three paragraphs weighing in on the merits of the impeachment proceeding, the author concludes, "One option -- and one option only -- stands above the rest as the ultimate way to hold Trump accountable" -- to unseat him in the 2020 election.
Politically, the author appears to be an anti-Trump Republican. He urges his "fellow Republicans" to vote for a centrist Democrat if one is nominated--as long as the candidate is not a "socialist."
Two "warnings" are to be drawn from this book:
First is the enormous crisis of democracy in the United States, which has degenerated to the point where cabinet officials, most of whom are or were military officers, abetted by the media, discuss a coup as a legitimate means to resolve policy differences. The president, meanwhile, repeatedly threatens to say in office past the two-term constitutional limit, and effectively asserts unlimited and dictatorial executive powers.
While the threat posed by Trump to democratic rights is immense, no one who opposes war and attacks on democratic rights can have anything to do with the aims and intentions of the author of this book. Behind his pilfered, cobbled-together quotations -- he calls Plato an American historian -- and his ridiculous attempt at gravitas, he is a bloodthirsty advocate of imperialist war.
The Democrats, who have upheld this man and people like him as the "adults in the room" and the antipode to Trump, are infected with the same poison.
The struggle to remove Trump and to hold him to account for his real crimes will have nothing to do with people such as "Anonymous," or the Democratic impeachment campaign that is totally aligned with his pro-war agenda.
Dec 04, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
'A Warning: A manifesto of the pro-war "Resistance" in the American state ' Andre Damon, 4 December 2019 , wsws.org
On September 5, 2018 , the New York Times published an op-ed by a "senior official" in the White House, entitled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."
The anonymous author of the piece revealed that "many of the senior officials in [Trump's] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." The "adults in the room," he claimed, are leading a "two-track presidency."
In that op-ed, he revealed that "there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president."
One year later , the same unnamed official, whose identity is known to the Times, has published a book elaborating on themes elucidated in the editorial. A Warning is currently #1 on the New York Times ' nonfiction bestseller list.
The author, "Anonymous," has been publicly identified as Guy Snodgrass, the US Navy commander who served as the communications secretary for the Department of Defense under Gen. James Mattis. Posting a report of his alleged authorship on Twitter, Snodgrass cryptically mused, "the swirl continues."
If the allegation is true, it would have ominous implications. It would mean that the New York Times gave the military an opportunity to denounce a president as "amoral," "impetuous," "petty" and "ineffective," and to all but advocate his removal via unconstitutional means.
Notably, Snodgrass claims to be the author of perhaps the most important military document produced under the Trump administration, the unclassified summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which declared that "Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."
We do not know whether Snodgrass is the author of A Warning, but the themes of the National Defense Strategy document are consistent with the emphasis of the book.
A Warning makes one thing abundantly clear: the "Resistance" to Trump's policies within the state, which is the basis of the Democrats' opposition to him, centers on claims that Trump is insufficiently aggressive in defending and expanding America's imperial interests against Russia and China."
The Democrats, who have upheld this man and people like him as the "adults in the room" and the antipode to Trump, are infected with the same poison.
The struggle to remove Trump and to hold him to account for his real crimes will have nothing to do with people such as "Anonymous," or the Democratic impeachment campaign that is totally aligned with his pro-war agenda."
and another 20 inches of text. you'll also remember that the NYT published a whispered rumor last year that 'military insiders' were saying privately that DT really meant to leave NATO, which was nonsense. that rumor led to the infamous 'defense of NATO act', which every senator vote for, and almost all of the house (3 didn't vote, conveniently.)
Fran Macadam , , March 15, 2019 at 1:52 pm
Mar 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The college bribery scandal reveals an ugly truth: our society is unjust, dominated by a small elite. Actress Lori Loughlin, who has been implicated in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock The most destructive and pervasive myth in America today is that we live in a meritocracy. Our elites, so the myth goes, earned their places at Yale and Harvard, on Wall Street and in Washington -- not because of the accident of their birth, but because they are better, stronger, and smarter than the rest of us. Therefore, they think, they've "earned" their places in the halls of power and "deserve" to lead.
The fervor with which so many believe this enables elites to lord over those worse off than they are. On we slumber, believing that we live in a country that values justice, instead of working towards a more equitable and authentically meritocratic society.Take the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. On Tuesday, the FBI and federal prosecutors announced that 50 people had been charged in, as Sports Illustrated put it , "a nationwide college admissions scheme that used bribes to help potential students cheat on college entrance exams or to pose as potential athletic recruits to get admitted to high-profile universities." Thirty-three parents, nine collegiate coaches, two SAT/ACT exam administrators, an exam proctor, and a college athletics administrator were among those charged. The man who allegedly ran the scheme, William Rick Singer, pled guilty to four charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice.
As part of the scam, parents would "donate" money to a fake charity run by Singer. The funds would then be laundered to either pay off an SAT or ACT administrator to take the exams or bribe an employee in college athletics to name the rich, non-athlete children as recruits. Virtually every scenario relied on multiple layers of corruption, all of which eventually allowed wealthy students to masquerade as "deserving" of the merit-based college slots they paid up to half a million dollars to "qualify" for.
Cheating. Bribery. Lying. The wealthy and privileged buying what was reserved for the deserving. It's all there on vivid display. Modern American society has become increasingly and banally corrupt , both in the ways in which "justice" is meted out and in who is allowed to access elite education and the power that comes with it.
The U.S. is now a country where corruption is rampant and money buys both access and outcomes. We pretend to be better than Russia and other oligarchies, but we too are dominated by a rich and powerful elite.
The average American citizen has very little power, as a 2014 study by Princeton University found. The research reviewed 1,779 public policy questions asked between 1981 and 2002 and the responses by different income levels and interest groups; then calculated the likelihood that certain policies would be adopted.What they found came as no surprise: How to Fix College Admissions
A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favor) is adopted only about 18 percent of the time, while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favor) is adopted about 45% of the time.
That's in stark contrast with policies favored by average Americans:
When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.
The conclusion of the study? We live in an oligarchy:
our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. [T]he preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.
The belief in the myth of merit hurts the smart kid with great grades who aced his SATs but was still rejected from Yale and Harvard. It hurts talented athletes who have worked their tails off for so many years. It hurts parents who have committed hundreds of school nights and weekends to their children. It hurts HR departments that believe degrees from Ivy League schools mean that graduates are qualified. It hurts all of us who buy into the great myth that America is a democratic meritocracy and that we can achieve whatever we want if only we're willing to expend blood, toil, sweat, and tears.
At least in an outright class system like the British Houses of Lords and Commons, there is not this farcical playacting of equal opportunity. The elites, with their privilege and titles, know the reason they are there and feel some sense of obligation to those less well off than they are. At the very least, they do not engage in the ritual pretense of "deserving" what they "earned" -- quite unlike those who descend on Washington, D.C. believing that they really are better than their compatriots in flyover country.
All societies engage in myth-making about themselves. But the myth of meritocracy may be our most pervasive and destructive belief -- and it mirrors the myth that anything like "justice" is served up in our courts.
Remember the Dupont heir who received no prison time after being convicted for raping his three-year-old daughter because the judge ruled that six-foot-four Robert Richards "wouldn't fare well in prison"? Or the more recent case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who had connections to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and faced a 53-page federal indictment for sex-trafficking over two dozens underage girls ? He received instead a sweetheart deal that concealed the extent of his crimes. Rather than the federal life imprisonment term he was facing, Epstein is currently on house arrest after receiving only 13 months in county jail. The lead prosecutor in that case had previously been reprimanded by a federal judge in another underage sex crimes case for concealing victim information, the Miami Herald reports .
While the rich are able to escape consequences for even the most horrific of crimes , the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Approximately 7 million people were under some form of correctional control by the end of 2011, including 2.2 million who were detained in federal, state, and local prisons and jails. One in every 10 black men in his thirties is in prison or jail, and one out of three black men born in 2001 can expect to go to prison in their lifetimes.
While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed . There are big racial disparities in charging, sentencing, plea bargaining, and executions, Department of Justice reviews have concluded, and black and brown people are disproportionately found to be innocent after landing on death row. The poor and disadvantaged thereby become grist for a system that cares nothing for them.
Despite all this evidence, most Americans embrace a version of the Calvinist beliefs promulgated by their forebears, believing that the elect deserve their status. We remain confident that when our children apply to college or are questioned by police , they will receive just and fair outcomes. If our neighbors' and friends' kids do not, then we assure ourselves that it is they who are at fault, not the system.
The result has been a gaping chasm through our society. Lives are destroyed because, rather than working for real merit-based systems and justice, we worship at the altar of false promises offered by our institutions. Instead we should be rolling up our sleeves and seeing Operation Varsity Blues for what it is: a call to action.
Barbara Boland is the former weekend editor of the Washington Examiner . Her work has been featured on Fox News, the Drudge Report, HotAir.com, RealClearDefense, RealClearPolitics, and elsewhere. She's the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General Patton in World War II. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .
MORE FROM THIS AUTHORThe GOP's Laughable Call for a Balanced Budget AmendmentCongress's "One Spending Bill to Rule Them All" is a Debt-Fueled DisgraceHide 11 comments 11 Responses to The Myth of American Meritocracy
Collin March 15, 2019 at 1:46 pmIf conservatives are going to dance the graves of Aunt Beckie, the backlash is going to be big. Sure this is a 'scandal' but it seems these parents weren't rich enough to bribe their kids in college the right way, like Trumps and Kushner, and probably slightly duped into going along with this scheme. (It appears the government got the ring leader to call all defendants to get evidence they participated in a crime.)
Just wait until the mug shot of Aunt Beckie is on the internet and Olivia Jade does 60 minutes doing teary eyed interview of how much she loves her mother. And how many parents are stress that their kids will struggle in the global competitive economy.
I fully recall the days of getting government computing contracts. Once a certain threshold was reached, you discovered you had to hire a "lobbyist," and give him a significant amount of money to dole out to various gatekeepers in the bureaucracy for your contracts to be approved. That was the end of our government contracts, and the end was hastened by the reaction to trying to complain about it.prodigalson , , March 15, 2019 at 1:56 pm
Great article, well done. More of this please TAC.Kurt Gayle , , March 15, 2019 at 2:17 pm
Thank you, Barbara Boland, for "The Myth of American Meritocracy" and for linking ("Related Articles" box) to the 2012 "The Myth of American Meritocracy" by Ron Unz, then publisher of the American Conservative.Kurt Gayle , , March 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm
The 26,000-word Ron Unz research masterpiece was the opening salvo in the nation-wide discussion that ultimately led to the federal court case nearing resolution in Boston.
"The Myth of American Meritocracy -- How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?" by Ron Unz, The American Conservative, Nov 28, 2012:
Barbara Boland "While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed."JeffK , , March 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm
Ms. Boland: According to the US Department of Justice, African Americans [13 per cent of the population] accounted for 52.5% of all homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008.
I agree with prodigalson. This is the type of article that TAC should uphold as a 'gold standard'. One reason I read, and comment on, TAC is that it offers thought provoking, and sometimes contrarian, articles (although the constant harping on transgender BS gets annoying).Mike N in MA , , March 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
America has always been somewhat corrupt. But, to borrow a phrase, wealth corrupts, and uber wealth corrupts absolutely.
As Warren Buffet says "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning".
I have said it before, and I will say it again. During the next severe financial recession, if the rich are protected and coddled and everybody else is left to fend for themselves the ARs will come out of the closets when the sheriff comes to take the house or the pickup truck. My sense is that average Americans have had enough.
Imagine if the digital transfer of money was abolished. Imagine if everybody had to have their money in a local bank instead of on an account in one of the major banks. Imagine if Americans saw, day after day, armored vehicles showing up at local banks to offload sacks of currency that went to only a few individual accounts.
Instead, the elites get their financial statements showing an ever increasing pile of cash at their disposal. They see it, but nobody else does. But, if everybody physically saw the river of wealth flowing to the elites, I believe things would change. Fast. Right now this transfer of wealth is all digital, hidden from the view of 99.99% of Americans. And the elites, the banking industry, and the wealth management cabal prefer it that way.
You said it sister. Great article.BDavi52 , , March 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
I am amazed by the media coverage of this scandal. Was anyone actually under the impression that college admissions were on the level before these Hollywood bozos were caught red handed?
What total silliness!Sid Finster , , March 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm
No, the meritocracy is not dead; it's not even dying. It is, in fact, alive and well and the absolute best alternative to any other method used to separate wheat from chaff, cream from milk, diamonds from rust.
What else is there that is even half as good?
Are merit-based systems perfect? Heck, no. They've never been perfect; they will never be perfect. They are administered by people and people are flawed. Not just flawed in the way Singer, and Huffman are flawed (and those individuals are not simply flawed, they're corrupt) but flawed in the everyday kind of sense. Yes, we all have tendencies, biases, preferences that will -- inevitably -- leak into our selection process, no matter how objectively strict the process may be structured, no matter how rigorously fair we try to be.
So the fact that -- as with most things -- we can find a trace of corruption here that fact is meaningless. We can find evidence of human corruption, venality, greed, sloth, lust, envy (all of the 7 Deadly Sins) pretty much everywhere. But if we look at the 20M students enrolled in college, the vast majority are successfully & fairly admitted through merit-based filtering systems (which are more or less rigorous) which have been in place forever.
Ms. Boland tells us (with a straight face, no less) that "The U.S. is now a country where corruption is rampant and money buys both access and outcomes." But what does that even mean?
Certainly money can buy access and certainly money can buy outcomes. But that's what money does. She might as well assert that money can buy goods and services, and lions and tigers and bears -- oh my! Of course it can. Equally networks can 'buy' access and outcomes (if my best friend is working as the manager for Adele, I'm betting he could probably arrange my meeting Adele). Equally success & fame can buy access and outcomes. I'm betting Adele can probably arrange a meeting with Gwen Stefani .and both can arrange a meeting with Tom Brady. So what? Does the fact that money can be used to purchase goods & services mean money or the use of money is corrupt or morally degenerate? No, of course not. In truth, we all leverage what we have (whatever that may be) to get what we want. That's how life works. But the fact that we all do that does not mean we are all corrupt.
But yes, corruption does exist and can usually be found, in trace amounts -- as I said -- pretty much everywhere.
So is it rampant? Can I buy my way into the NBA or the NFL? If I go to Clark Hunt and give him $20M and tell him I want to play QB for the Chiefs, will he let me? Can I buy my way into the CEO's position at General Electric, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sprint, Verizon, General Motors, Toyota or any of the Fortune 500? Heck, can I even buy my way into the Governor's mansion? To become the Mayor of Chicago? Or the Police Commissioner? No -- these things are not possible. But what I can buy is my presence on the media stage.
What happens after cannot be purchased.
So no, by any measure, corruption is not rampant. And though many things are, in fact, for sale -- not everything is. And no matter how much money I give anyone, I'm never gonna QB the Chiefs or play for the Lakers.
She tells us, "we are dominated by a rich and powerful elite." No, we're not. Most of us live our lives making the choices we want to make, given the means that each of us has, without any interference from any so-called "elite". The "elite" didn't tell me where to go to school, or where to get a job, or how to do my job, or when to have kids, or what loaf of bread to buy, or what brand of beer tastes best, or where to go on the family vacation. No one did. The elite obviously did not tell us who to vote for in the last presidential election.
Of course one of the problems with the "it's the fault of the elite" is the weight given institutions by people like Ms.Boland. "Oh, lordy, the Elite used their dominating power to get a brainless twit of a daughter into USC". Now if my kid were cheated out of a position at USC because the Twit got in, I'd be upset but beyond that who really cares if a Twit gets an undergraduate degree from USC or Yale .or Harvard .or wherever. Some of the brightest people I've known earned their degrees at Easter PolyTechnic U (some don't even have college degrees -- oh, the horror!); some of the stupidest have Ivy League credentials. So what?
Only if you care about the exclusivity of such a relatively meaningless thing as a degree from USC, does gaming the exclusivity matter.
She ends with the exhortation: "The result has been a gaping chasm through our society. Lives are destroyed because, rather than working for real merit-based systems and justice, we worship at the altar of false promises offered by our institutions. Instead we should be rolling up our sleeves and seeing Operation Varsity Blues for what it is: a call to action."
To do what, exactly?
Toss the baby and the bathwater? Substitute lottery selection for merit? Flip a coin? What?
Again the very best method is and always will be merit-based. That is the incentive which drives all of us: the hope that if we work hard enough and do well enough, that we will succeed. Anything else is just a lie.
Yes, we can root out this piece of corruption. Yes, we can build better and more rigorously fair systems. But in the end, merit is the only game in town. Far better to roll-up our sleeves and simply buckle down, Winsocki. There isn't anything better.
Gee, and people wonder why the rubes think that the system is gamed, why the dogs no longer want to eat the dog food.Jim Jatras , , March 15, 2019 at 3:22 pm
"While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed. There are big racial disparities in charging, sentencing, plea bargaining, and executions, Department of Justice reviews have concluded, and black and brown people are disproportionately found to be innocent after landing on death row. The poor and disadvantaged thereby become grist for a system that cares nothing for them."Pam , , March 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm
So to what degree are these "disparities" "disproportionate" in light of actual criminal behavior? To be "proportionate," would we expect criminal behavior to correlate exactly to racial, ethnic, sex, and age demographics of society as a whole?
Put another way, if you are a victim of a violent crime in America, what are the odds your assailant is, say, an elderly, Asian female? Approximately zero.
Conversely, what are the odds your assailant is a young, black male? Rather high, and if you yourself are a young, black male, approaching 100 percent.
Mostly thumbs up to this article. But why you gotta pick on Calvinism at the end? Anyway, your understanding of Calvinism is entirely upside down. Calvinists believe they are elect by divine grace, and salvation is something given by God through Jesus, which means you can't earn it and you most assuredly don't deserve it. Calvinism also teaches that all people are made in the image of God and worthy of respect, regardless of class or status. There's no "version" of Calvinism that teaches what you claim.
Dec 28, 2016 | www.unz.com
November 28, 2012 | The American Conservative •Just before the Labor Day weekend, a front page New York Times story broke the news of the largest cheating scandal in Harvard University history, in which nearly half the students taking a Government course on the role of Congress had plagiarized or otherwise illegally collaborated on their final exam.  Each year, Harvard admits just 1600 freshmen while almost 125 Harvard students now face possible suspension over this single incident. A Harvard dean described the situation as "unprecedented."
But should we really be so surprised at this behavior among the students at America's most prestigious academic institution? In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America's most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students. Indeed, the early success of Facebook was largely due to the powerful imprimatur it enjoyed from its exclusive availability first only at Harvard and later restricted to just the Ivy League.
During this period, we have witnessed a huge national decline in well-paid middle class jobs in the manufacturing sector and other sources of employment for those lacking college degrees, with median American wages having been stagnant or declining for the last forty years. Meanwhile, there has been an astonishing concentration of wealth at the top, with America's richest 1 percent now possessing nearly as much net wealth as the bottom 95 percent. 
This situation, sometimes described as a "winner take all society," leaves families desperate to maximize the chances that their children will reach the winners' circle, rather than risk failure and poverty or even merely a spot in the rapidly deteriorating middle class. And the best single means of becoming such an economic winner is to gain admission to a top university, which provides an easy ticket to the wealth of Wall Street or similar venues, whose leading firms increasingly restrict their hiring to graduates of the Ivy League or a tiny handful of other top colleges.  On the other side, finance remains the favored employment choice for Harvard, Yale or Princeton students after the diplomas are handed out. The Battle for Elite College Admissions
As a direct consequence, the war over college admissions has become astonishingly fierce, with many middle- or upper-middle class families investing quantities of time and money that would have seemed unimaginable a generation or more ago, leading to an all-against-all arms race that immiserates the student and exhausts the parents. The absurd parental efforts of an Amy Chua, as recounted in her 2010 bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother , were simply a much more extreme version of widespread behavior among her peer-group, which is why her story resonated so deeply among our educated elites. Over the last thirty years, America's test-prep companies have grown from almost nothing into a $5 billion annual industry, allowing the affluent to provide an admissions edge to their less able children. Similarly, the enormous annual tuition of $35,000 charged by elite private schools such as Dalton or Exeter is less for a superior high school education than for the hope of a greatly increased chance to enter the Ivy League. 
Many New York City parents even go to enormous efforts to enroll their children in the best possible pre-Kindergarten program, seeking early placement on the educational conveyer belt which eventually leads to Harvard.  Others cut corners in a more direct fashion, as revealed in the huge SAT cheating rings recently uncovered in affluent New York suburbs, in which students were paid thousands of dollars to take SAT exams for their wealthier but dimmer classmates. 
But given such massive social and economic value now concentrated in a Harvard or Yale degree, the tiny handful of elite admissions gatekeepers enjoy enormous, almost unprecedented power to shape the leadership of our society by allocating their supply of thick envelopes. Even billionaires, media barons, and U.S. Senators may weigh their words and actions more carefully as their children approach college age. And if such power is used to select our future elites in a corrupt manner, perhaps the inevitable result is the selection of corrupt elites, with terrible consequences for America. Thus, the huge Harvard cheating scandal, and perhaps also the endless series of financial, business, and political scandals which have rocked our country over the last decade or more, even while our national economy has stagnated.
Just a few years ago Pulitzer Prize-winning former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Golden published The Price of Admission , a devastating account of the corrupt admissions practices at so many of our leading universities, in which every sort of non-academic or financial factor plays a role in privileging the privileged and thereby squeezing out those high-ability, hard-working students who lack any special hook.
In one particularly egregious case, a wealthy New Jersey real estate developer, later sent to Federal prison on political corruption charges, paid Harvard $2.5 million to help ensure admission of his completely under-qualified son.  When we consider that Harvard's existing endowment was then at $15 billion and earning almost $7 million each day in investment earnings, we see that a culture of financial corruption has developed an absurd illogic of its own, in which senior Harvard administrators sell their university's honor for just a few hours worth of its regular annual income, the equivalent of a Harvard instructor raising a grade for a hundred dollars in cash.
An admissions system based on non-academic factors often amounting to institutionalized venality would seem strange or even unthinkable among the top universities of most other advanced nations in Europe or Asia, though such practices are widespread in much of the corrupt Third World. The notion of a wealthy family buying their son his entrance into the Grandes Ecoles of France or the top Japanese universities would be an absurdity, and the academic rectitude of Europe's Nordic or Germanic nations is even more severe, with those far more egalitarian societies anyway tending to deemphasize university rankings.
EliteCommInc., November 28, 2012 at 11:09 am GMT •EliteCommInc. November 28, 2012 at 11:21 am GMT
Well, legacy programs are alive and well. According to the read, here's the problem:
"The research certainly supports the widespread perception that non-academic factors play a major role in the process, including athletic ability and "legacy" status. But as we saw earlier, even more significant are racial factors, with black ancestry being worth the equivalent of 310 points, Hispanics gaining 130 points, and Asian students being penalized by 140 points, all relative to white applicants on the 1600 point Math and Reading SAT scale."
These arbitrary point systems while well intended are not a reflection of AA design. School lawyers in a race not be penalized for past practices, implemented their own versions of AA programs. The numbers are easy to challenge because they aren't based on tangible or narrow principles. It's weakneses are almost laughable. Because there redal goal was to thwart any real challenge that institutions were idle in addressing past acts of discrimination. To boost their diversity issues, asians were heavily recruited. Since AA has been in place a lot of faulty measures were egaged in: Quotas for quotas sake. Good for PR, lousy for AA and issues it was designed to address.
I think the statistical data hides a very important factor and practice. Most jews in this country are white as such , and as such only needed to change their names and hide behaviors as a strategy of surviving the entrance gauntlet. That segregation created a black collegiate system with it's own set of elite qualifiers demonstrates that this model isn't limited to the Ivy league.
That an elite system is devised and practiced in members of a certain club networks so as to maintain their elite status, networks and control, this is a human practice. And it once served as something to achieve. It was thought that the avenues of becoming an elite were there if one wanted to strive for it. Hard work, honesty, persistence, results . . . should yield X.
And while I am not as focused on the poverty ve wealth dynamic. this century has revealed something very disappointing that you address. That the elites have done a very poor job of leading the ship of state, while still remaining in leadership belies such a bold hypocrisy in accountability, it's jarring. The article could actually be titled: "The Myth of the Best and the Brightest."
I don't think it's just some vindictive intent. and while Americans have always known and to an extent accepted that for upper income citizens, normal was not the same as normal on the street. Fairness, was not the same jn practice nor sentiment. What may becoming increasing intolerant has been the obvious lack of accountability among elites. TARP looked like the elites looking out for each other as opposed the ship of state. I have read three books on the financials and they do not paint a pretty portrait of Ivy League leadership as to ethics, cheating, lying, covering up, and shamelessly passing the buck. I will be reading this again I am sure.
It's sad to think that we may be seeing te passing of an era. in which one aspired to be an elite not soley for their wealth, but the model they provided od leadership real or imagined. Perhaps, it passed long ago, and we are all not just noticing.
I appreciated you conclusions, not sure that I am comfortable with some of the solutions.Russell Seitz November 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm GMT •
Since I still hanker to be an elite in some manner, It is interesting to note my rather subdued response to the cheating. Sadly, this too may be an open secret of standard fair - and that is very very sad. And disappointing. Angering even.Sean Gillhoolley November 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm GMT •
The shifting social demography of deans, house masters and admissions committees may be a more important metric than the composition of the student body, as it determines the shape of the curriculum, and the underlying culture of the university as a legacy in itself.
If Ron harrows the literary journals of the Jackson era with equal diligence. he may well turn up an essay or two expressing deep shock at Unitarians admitting too many of the Lord's preterite sheep to Harvard, or lamenting the rise of Methodism at Yale and the College of New Jersey.Rob in CT November 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm GMT •
Harvard is a university, much like Princeton and Yale, that continues based on its reputation, something that was earned in the past. When the present catches up to them people will regard them as nepotistic cauldrons of corruption.
Look at the financial disaster that befell the USA and much of the globe back in 2008. Its genesis can be found in the clever minds of those coming out of their business schools (and, oddly enough, their Physics programs as well).
They are teaching the elite how to drain all value from American companies, as the rich plan their move to China, the new land of opportunity. When 1% of the population controls such a huge portion of the wealth, patriotism becomes a loadstone to them. The elite are global. Places like Harvard cater to them, help train them to rule the world .but first they must remake it.• Replies: @Part White, Part Native I agree, common people would never think of derivatives , nor make loans based on speculationBryan November 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm GMT •
First, I appreciated the length and depth of your article.
Having said that, to boil it down to its essence:
Subconcious bias/groupthink + affirmative action/diversity focus + corruption + innumeracy = student bodies at elite institutions that are wildly skewed vis-a-vis both: 1) the ethnic makeup of the general population; and 2) the makeup of our top-performing students.
Since these institutions are pipelines to power, this matters.
I rather doubt that wage stagnation (which appears to have begun in ~1970) can be pinned on this – that part stuck out, because there are far more plausible causes. To the extent you're merely arguing that our elite failed to counter the trend, ok, but I'm not sure a "better" elite would have either. The trend, after all, favored the elite.
Anyway, I find your case is plausible.
Your inner/outer circle hybrid option is interesting. One (perhaps minor) thing jumps out at me: kids talk. The innies are going to figure out who they are and who the outies are. The outies might have their arrogance tempered, but the innies? I suspect they'd be even *more* arrogant than such folks are now (all the more so because they'd have better justification for their arrogance), but I could be wrong.
Perhaps more significantly, this:
But if it were explicitly known that the vast majority of Harvard students had merely been winners in the application lottery, top businesses would begin to cast a much wider net in their employment outreach, and while the average Harvard student would probably be academically stronger than the average graduate of a state college, the gap would no longer be seen as so enormous, with individuals being judged more on their own merits and actual achievements
Is a very good reason for Harvard, et al. to resist the idea. I think you're right that this would be a good thing for the country, but it would be bad for Harvard. I think the odds of convincing Harvard to do it out of the goodness of their administrators hearts is unlikely. You are basically asking them to purposefully damage their brand.
All in all, I think you're on to something here. I have my quibbles (the wage stagnation thing, and the graph with Chinese vs USA per capita growth come on, apples and oranges there!), but overall I think I agree that your proposal is likely superior to the status quo.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm GMT •
Don't forget the mess one finds after they ARE admitted to these schools. I dropped out of Columbia University in 2010.
You can "make it" on an Ivy-league campus if you are a conservative-Republican-type with all the rich country-club connections that liberals use to stereotype.
Or you can succeed if you are a poor or working-class type who is willing to toe the Affirmative Action party line and be a good "progressive" Democrat (Obama stickers, "Gay Pride" celebrations, etc.)
If you come from a poor or working-class background and are religious, or culturally conservative or libertarian in any way, you might as well save your time and money. You're not welcome, period. And if you're a military veteran you WILL be actively persecuted, no matter what the news reports claim.
It sucks. Getting accepted to Columbia was a dream come true for me. The reality broke my heart.Scott McConnell November 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm GMT •
Regarding the overrepresentation of Jewish students compared to their actual academic merit, I think the author overstates the role bias (subjective, or otherwise) plays in this:
1) , a likely explanation is that Jewish applicants are a step ahead in knowing how to "play the admissions game." They therefore constitute a good percentage of applicants that admission committees view as "the total package." (at least a higher percentage than scores alone would yield). Obviously money and connections plays a role in them knowing to say precisely what adcoms want to hear, but in any case, at the end of the day, if adcoms are looking for applicants with >1400 SATs, "meaningful" life experiences/accomplishments, and a personal statement that can weave it all together into a compelling narrative, the middle-upper-class east coast Jewish applicant probably constitutes a good percentage of such "total package" applicants. I will concede however that this explanation only works in explaining the prevalence of jews vs. whites in general. With respect to Asians, however, since they are likely being actively and purposefully discriminated against by adcoms, having the "complete package" would be less helpful to them.
2) Another factor is that, regardless of ethnicity, alumni children get a boost and since in the previous generation Jewish applicants were the highest achieving academic group, many of these lesser qualified jews admitted are children of alumni.
3) That ivy colleges care more about strong verbal scores than mathematics (i.e., they prefer 800V 700M over 700V 800M), and Jewish applicants make up a higher proportion of the high verbal score breakdowns.
4) Last, and perhaps more importantly we do not really know the extent of Jewish representation compared to their academic merit. Unlike admitted Asian applicants, who we know, on average, score higher than white applicants, we have no similar numbers of Jewish applicants. The PSAT numbers are helpful, but hardly dispositive considering those aren't the scores colleges use in making their decision information.HAR November 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm GMT
@Bryan– Getting accepted to Columbia was a dream come true for me. The reality broke my heart.
I'm touched by this. I've spent tons of time at Columbia, a generation ago -- and my background fit fine -- the kind of WASP background Jews found exotic and interesting. But I can see your point, sad to say. There are other great schools -- Fordham, where my wife went to law school at night, has incredible esprit de corps - and probably, person for person, has as many lawyers doing good and interesting work as Columbia.KXB November 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm GMT •
"There are other great schools–Fordham, where my wife went to law school at night, has incredible esprit de corps - and probably, person for person, has as many lawyers doing good and interesting work as Columbia."
Someone doesn't know much about the legal market.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm GMT •
"Tiffany was also rejected by all her other prestigious college choices, including Yale, Penn, Duke, and Wellsley, an outcome which greatly surprised and disappointed her immigrant father.88″
In the fall of 1990, my parents had me apply to 10 colleges. I had the profile of many Indian kids at the time – ranked in the top 10 of the class, editor of school paper, Boy Scouts. SAT scores could have been better, but still strong. Over 700 in all achievement tests save Bio, which was 670.
Rejected by 5 schools, waitlisted by 3, accepted into 2 – one of them the state univ.
One of my classmates, whose family was from Thailand, wound up in the same predicament as me. His response, "Basketball was designed to keep the Asian man down."
The one black kid in our group – got into MIT, dropped out after one year because he could not hack it. The kid from our school who should have gone, from an Italian-American family, and among the few who did not embrace the guido culture, went to Rennsealer instead, and had professional success after.a November 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm GMT •
As a University of Chicago alum, I infer that by avoiding the label "elite" on such a nifty chart we can be accurately categorized as "meritocratic" by The American Conservative.
Then again, this article doesn't even purport to ask why elite universities might be in the business of EDUCATING a wider population of students, or how that education takes place.
Perhaps, by ensuring that "the best" students are not concentrated in only 8 universities is why the depth and quality of America's education system remains the envy of the world.Weighty Commentary November 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm GMT •
In my high school, there were roughly 15 of us who had been advanced two years ahead in math. Of those, 10 were Jewish; only two of them had a 'Jewish' last name. In my graduate school class, half (7) are Jewish. None has a 'Jewish' last name. So I'm pretty dubious of the counting method that you use.
Also, it's clear that there are Asian quotas at these schools, but it's not clear that Intel Science Fairs, etc, are the best way to estimate what level of talent Asians have relative to other groups.
I was curious so I google High School Poetry Competition, High School Constitution Competition, High School Debating Competition. None of the winners here seem to have an especially high Asian quotient. So maybe a non-technical (liberal arts) university would settle on ~25-30% instead of ~40% asian? And perhaps a (small) part of the problem is a preponderance of Asian applicants excelling in technical fields, leading to competition against each other rather than the general population? Just wonderin'Adam November 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm GMT •
Regarding the declining Jewish achievement, it looks like it can be primarily explained through demographics: "Intermarriage rates have risen from roughly 6% in 1950 to approximately 40–50% in the year 2000. This, in combination with the comparatively low birthrate in the Jewish community, has led to a 5% decline in the Jewish population of the United States in the 1990s."
Jewish surnames don't mean what they used to. And intermarriage rates are lowest among the low-performing and highly prolific Orthodox.
Jewish birth rates have been falling faster than the white population, especially for the non-Orthodox:
"In contrast to the ongoing trends of assimilation, some communities within American Jewry, such as Orthodox Jews, have significantly higher birth rates and lower intermarriage rates, and are growing rapidly. The proportion of Jewish synagogue members who were Orthodox rose from 11% in 1971 to 21% in 2000, while the overall Jewish community declined in number.  In 2000, there were 360,000 so-called "ultra-orthodox" (Haredi) Jews in USA (7.2%). The figure for 2006 is estimated at 468,000 (9.4%)."
"a very low fertility rate of 1.9, of which 1.4 will be raised as Jews (2.15 is replacement rate)"
"As against the overall average of 1.86 children per Jewish woman, an informed estimate gives figures ranging upward from 3.3 children in "modern Orthodox" families to 6.6 in Haredi or "ultra-Orthodox" families to a whopping 7.9 in families of Hasidim."
These statistics would suggest that half or more of Jewish children are being born into these lower-performing groups. Given their very low intermarriage rates, a huge portion of the secular, Reform, and Conservative Jews must be intermarrying (more than half if the aggregate 43% intermarriage figure is right). And the high-performing groups may now be around 1 child per woman or lower, and worse for the youngest generation.
So a collapse in Jewish representation in youth science prizes can be mostly explained by the collapse of the distinct non-Orthodox Jewish youth.
Incidentally, intermarriage also produces people with Jewish ancestry who get classified as gentiles using last names or self-identification, reducing Jewish-gentile gaps by bringing up nominal gentile scores at the same time as nominal-Jewish scores are lowered.Bryan November 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm GMT •
The center of power in this country being located in the Northeast is nothing new. Whether it be in it's Ivy League schools or the ownership of natural resources located in other regions, particularly the South, the Northeast has always had a disproportionate share of influence in the power structures, particularly political and financial, of this nation. This is one of the reasons the definition of "white" when reviewing ethnicity is so laughably inaccurate. There is a huge difference in opportunity between WASP or Jewish in the Northeast, for instance, and those of Scots Irish ancestory in the mountain south. Hopefully statistical analysis such as this can break open that stranglehold, especially as it is directly impacting a minority group in a negative fashion. Doing this exercise using say, white Baptists compared to other white subgroups, while maybe equally valid in the results, would be seen as racist by the very Ivy League system that is essentially practicing a form of racism.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm GMT •
Scott, thanks for your words of commiseration.
Yeah, my ultimate goal was to attend law school, and a big part of the heartbreak for me–or heartburn, the more cynical would call it–was seeing how skewed and absurd the admissions process to law school is.
I have no doubt that I could have eventually entered into a "top tier" law school, and that was a dream of mine also. I met with admissions officers from Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Fordham, etc. I was encouraged. I had the grades and background for it.
But–and I'm really not trying to sound corny 0r self-important here–what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? I really don't feel that I'm exaggerating when I say that that's exactly how it felt to me.
The best experience I had while In New York was working as an after-school programs administrator for P.S. 136, but that was only because of the kids. They'll be old and bitter and cynical soon enough.
At one point it occurred to me that I should have just started claiming "Black" as my ethnicity when I first started attending college as an adult. I never attended high-school so it couldn't have been disproved. I'm part Sicilian so I could pass for 1/4 African-American. Then I would have received the preference toward admission that, say, Michael Jordan's kids or Barack Obama's kids will receive when they claim their Ivy-league diplomas. I should have hid the "white privilege" I've enjoyed as the son of a fisherman and a waitress from one of the most economically-depressed states in America.
The bottom line is that those colleges are political brainwashing centers for a country I no longer believe in. I arrived on campus in 2009 and I'm not joking at all when I say I was actively persecuted for being a veteran and a conservative who was not drinking the Obama Kool-aid. Some big fat African-American lady, a back-room "administrator" for Columbia, straight-up threw my VA benefits certification in the garbage, so my money got delayed by almost two months. I had no idea what was going on. I had a wife and children to support.
The fact that technology has enabled us to sit here in real-time and correspond back-and-forth about the state of things doesn't really change the state of things. They are irredeemable. This country is broke and broken.
If Abraham Lincoln were born today in America he would wind up like "Uncle Teardrop" from Winter's Bone. Back then, in order to be an attorney, you simply studied law and starting trying cases. If you were good at it then you were accepted and became a lawyer. Today, something has been lost. There is no fixing it. I don't want to waste my time trying to help by being "productive" to the new tower of Babel or pretending to contribute.TM says: • Website November 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm GMT •
Perhaps only one thing you left out, which is especially important with regard to Jewish enrollment and applications at Ivy leagues, and other schools as well.
Jewish high school graduates actively look out for campuses with large Jewish populations, where they feel more comfortable.
I don't know the figures, but I believe Dartmouth, for example, has a much smaller Jewish population than Columbia, and it will stay that way because of a positive feedback loop. (i.e. Jews would rather be at Columbia than Dartmouth, or sometimes even rather be at NYU than Dartmouth). This explains some of the difference among different schools (and not solely better admission standards).
This is also especially relevant to your random lottery idea, which will inevitably lead to certain schools being overwhelmingly Asian, others being overwhelmingly Jewish, etc., because the percentage of applicants from every ethnicity is different in every school. This will necessarily eliminate any diversity which may or may not have existed until now.Luke Lea November 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm GMT •
I like the lottery admissions idea a lot but the real remedy for the US education system would be to abandon the absurd elite cult altogether. There is not a shred of evidence that graduates of so-called elite institutions make good leaders. Many of them are responsible for the economic crash and some of them have brought us the disaster of the Bush presidency.
Many better functioning countries – Germany, the Scandinavians – do not have elite higher education systems. When I enrolled to University in Germany, I showed up at the enrollment office the summer before the academic year started, filled out a form (1), and provided a certified copy of my Abitur certificate proving that I was academically competent to attend University. I never wasted a minute on any of the admissions games that American middle class teenagers and their parents are subjected to. It would surely have hurt my sense of dignity to be forced to jump through all these absurd and arbitrary hoops.
Americans, due to their ignorance of everything happening outside their borders, have no clue that a system in which a person is judged by what "school" they attended is everything but normal. It is part of the reason for American dysfunction.Jack November 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm GMT •
Since they are the pool from which tomorrow's governing elites will be chosen, I'd much rather see Ivy League student bodies which reflected the full ethnic and geographic diversity of the US. Right now rural and small town Americans and those of Catholic and Protestant descent who live in the South and Mid-West - roughly half the population - are woefully under-represented, which explains why their economic interests have been neglected over the last forty years. We live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic representative democracy and our policy-making elites must reflect that diversity. Else the country will come apart.
Thus I recommend 'affirmative action for all' in our elite liberal arts colleges and universities (though not our technical schools). Student bodies should be represent 'the best and the brightest' of every ethnic group and geographical area of the country. Then the old school ties will truly knit our society together in a way that is simply not happening today.
A side benefit - and I mean this seriously - is that our second and third tier colleges and universities would be improved by an influx of Asian and Ashkenazi students (even though the very best would still go to Harvard).Pat Boyle November 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm GMT •
I believe that this article raises – and then inappropriately immediately dismisses – the simplest and most likely reason for the over-representation of Jewish students at Ivy League Schools in the face of their declining bulk academic performance:
They apply to those schools in vastly disproportionate numbers.
Without actual data on the ethnicity of the applicants to these and other schools, we simply cannot rule out this simple and likely explanation.
It is quite clear that a large current of Jewish American culture places a great emphasis on elite college attendance, and among elite colleges, specifically values the Ivy League and its particular cache as opposed to other elite institutions such as MIT. Also, elite Jewish American culture, moreso than elite Asian American culture, encourages children to go far away from home for college, considering such a thing almost a right of passage, while other ethnic groups tend to encourage children to remain closer. A high performing Asian student from, say, California, is much more likely to face familial pressure to stay close to home for undergrad (Berkeley, UCLA, etc) than a high performing Jewish student from the same high school, who will likely be encouraged by his or her family to apply to many universities "back east".
Without being able to systematically compare – with real data – the ethnicities of the applicants to those offered admission, these conclusions simply cannot be accepted.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm GMT •
Different expectations for different races should worry traditional Americans.
If we become comfortable with different academic standards for Asians will we soon be expected to apply different laws to them also? Will we apply different laws or at least different interpretations of the same laws to blacks?
The association of East Asians with CalTech is now as strong as the association of blacks with violent crime. Can not race conscious jurisprudence be far behind?
Around a millenium ago in England it mattered to the court if you were a commoner or a noble. Nobles could exercise 'high justice' with impunity. They were held to different standards. Their testimony counted for more in court. The law was class concious.
Then we had centuries of reform. We had 'Common Law'. By the time of our revolution the idea that all were equal before the law was a very American kind of idea. We were proud that unlike England we did not have a class system.
Today we seem to be on the threshold of a similar sytem of privileges and rights based on race. Let me give an example. If there were a domestic riot of somekind and a breakdown of public order, the authorities might very well impose a cufew. That makes good sense for black male teens but makes little or no sense for elderly Chinese women. I can envision a time when we have race specific policies for curfews and similar measures.
It seems to be starting in schools. It could be that the idea of equality before the law was an idea that only flourished between the fifteenth century and the twenty first.Kelly November 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm GMT
"But filling out a few very simple forms and having their test scores and grades scores automatically forwarded to a list of possible universities would give them at least the same chance in the lottery as any other applicant whose academic skills were adequate."
They get a lot of applications. I am guessing they chuck about 1/2 or more due to the application being incomplete, the applicant did not follow instructions, the application was sloppy, or just obviously poor grades/test scores. The interview and perhaps the essay and recommendations are necessary to chuck weirdos and psychopaths you do not want sitting next to King Fahd Jr. So the "byzantine" application process is actually necessary to reduce the number of applicants to be evaluated.Anonymous November 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm GMT •
I have a friend who went to Stanford with me in the early 80s. She has two sons who recently applied to Stanford. The older son had slightly better grades and test scores. The younger son is gay. Guess which one got in?FN November 28, 2012 at 11:44 pm GMT •
If you were in Columbia's GS school, (or even if you were CC/SEAS/Barnard) you ought to reach out to some of on-campus and alumni veteran's groups. They can help you maneuver through the school. (I know there's one that meets at a cafe on 122 and Broadway) CU can be a lonely and forbidding place for anyone and that goes double for GSers and quadruple for veterans.
You ought to give it another go. Especially if you aren't going somewhere else that's better. Reach out to your deans and make a fuss. No one in the bureaucracy wants to help but you can force them to their job.Ben K November 29, 2012 at 12:24 am GMT •
Mr. Unz, the issues of jewish/gentile intermarriage and the significance of jewish-looking names do indeed merit more consideration than they were given in this otherwise very enlightening article.
What would the percentage of jews in Ivy-League universities look like if the methodology used to determine the percentage of jewish NMS semifinalists were applied to the list of Ivy League students (or some available approximation of it)?Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 12:28 am GMT •
For background: I'm an Asian-American who worked briefly in legacy admissions at an Ivy and another non-Ivy top-tier, both while in school (work-study) and as an alum on related committees.
Mendy Finkel's observations are spot on. Re: her 1st point, personal "presentation" or "branding" is often overlooked by Asian applicants. An admission officer at another Ivy joked they drew straws to assign "Night of a 1000 Lee's", so accomplished-but-indistinguishable was that group.
A few points on the Asian analysis:
1. I think this analysis would benefit from expanding beyond HYP/Ivies when considering the broader meritocracy issue. Many Asians esteem technical-leaning schools over academically-comparable liberal arts ones, even if the student isn't a science major. When I was in college in the 90′s, most Asian parents would favor a Carnegie Mellon or Hopkins over Brown, Columbia or Dartmouth (though HYP, of course, had its magnetic appeal). The enrollment percentages reflect this, and while some of this is changing, this is a fairly persistent pattern.
2. Fundraising is crucial. The Harvard Class of '77 example isn't the most telling kind of number. In my experience, Jewish alumni provide a critical mass in both the day-to-day fundraising and the resultant dollars. And they play a key role, both as givers and getters, in the signature capital campaign commitments (univ hospitals, research centers, etc.). This isn't unique to Jewish Ivy alumni; Catholic alumni of ND or Georgetown provide similar support. But it isn't clear what the future overall Asian commitment to the Ivy "culture of fundraising" will be, which will continue to be a net negative in admissions.
Sidenote: While Asians greatly value the particular civic good, they are uneasy with it being so hinged to an opaque private sector, in this case, philanthropy. That distinction, blown out a bit, speaks to some of the Republican "Asian gap".
3. I would not place too much weight on NMS comparisons between Asians and Jews. In my experience, most Asians treat the PSAT seriously, but many established Jews do not – the potential scholarship money isn't a factor, "NMS semifinalist" isn't an admissions distinction, and as Mendy highlighted, colleges don't see the scores.
On a different note, while the "weight" of an Ivy degree is significant, it's prestige is largely concentrated in the Northeast and among some overseas. In terms of facilitating access and mobility, a USC degree might serve you better in SoCal, as would an SMU one in TX.
And like J Harlan, I also hope the recent monopoly of Harvard and Yale grads in the presidency will end. No doubt, places like Whittier College, Southwest Texas State Teachers' College, and Eureka College gave earlier presidents valuable perspectives and experience that informed their governing.
But thank you, Ron, for a great provocative piece. Very well worth the read.M_Young November 29, 2012 at 1:46 am GMT •
Hey Ron, your next article should be on the military academies, and all those legacies that go back to the Revolutionary War. How do you get into the French military academy, and do the cadets trace their family history back to the soldiers of Napoleon or Charles Martel or whatever?Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 4:04 am GMT •
"Thus, there appears to be no evidence for racial bias against Asians, even excluding the race-neutral impact of athletic recruitment, legacy admissions, and geographical diversity."
Yes, at UCLA, at least up to 2004, Asian and white admits had nearly identical SATs and GPAs.
Further, it just isn't the case that Asians are so spectacular as people seem to think. Their average on the SAT Verbal is slightly less than whites, their average on SAT Writing is slightly more. Only in math do they have a significant advantage, 59 points or .59 standard deviation. Total advantage is about .2 over the three tests. Assuming that Harvard or Yale admit students at +3 standard deviations overall, and plugging the relative group quantiles +(3, 2.8) into a normal distribution, we get that .14% of white kids would get admitted, versus .26% of Asian kids. Or, 1.85 Asian kids for every one white kid.
But, last year 4.25 times as many whites as Asians took the SAT, so there still should be about 2.28 times as many white kids being admitted as Asians (4.25/1.85).
On GPA, whites and Asians are also pretty similar on average, 3.52 for Asians who took the SAT, 3.45 for whites who took the SAT. So that shouldn't be much of a factor.Todd November 29, 2012 at 5:49 am GMT •
I am a Cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point and generally pretty familiar with trans-national Academy admissions processes. There's an excellent comparative study of worldwide military academy admissions that was done in the late '90′s you might find interesting (IIRC it was done by a group in the NATO Defence College) and I think you will find that although soldiers are often proud of their family histories to a fault, it is not what controls entrance to the officer corps in most countries.
"Legacy" is definitely meaningless in US Military Academy admissions, although can be very helpful in the separate process of securing a political appointment to attend the Academy once accepted for admission and in an Army career. West Point is not comparable to the Ivy League schools in the country, because (ironically) the admissions department that makes those comparisons lets in an inordinate number of unqualified candidates and ensures our student body includes a wide range of candidates, from people who are unquestionably "Ivy League material" to those who don't have the intellect to hack it at any "elite" institution.
Prior the changes in admissions policies and JFK ordering an doubling of the size of the Corps of Cadets in the '60′s, we didn't have this problem. But, I digress. My point is, the Academy admissions system is very meritocratic.Interesting November 29, 2012 at 7:02 am GMT •
Thank you for the great article.
I am a Jewish alum of UPenn, and graduated in the late 90s. That puts me almost a generation ago, which may be before the supposed Jewish decline you write about. I was in an 80%+ Jewish fraternity, and at least 2/3 of my overall network of friends at Penn was also Jewish. As was mentioned earlier, I have serious qualms with your methods for counting Jews based upon last name.
Based upon my admittedly non-scientific sample, the percentage of us who had traditionally Jewish last names was well under half and closer to 25%. My own last name is German, and you would never know I am Jewish based solely upon my name (nor would you based upon the surname of 3/4 of my grandparents, despite my family being 100% Jewish with no intermarriages until my sister).
By contrast, Asians are much easier to identify based upon name. You may overcount certain names like Lee that are also Caucasian, but it is highly unlikely that you will miss any Asian students when your criterion is last name.
Admittedly I skimmed parts of the article, but were other criterion used to more accurately identify the groups?A Jew November 29, 2012 at 7:44 am GMT •
The Jewish presence is definitely understated by just looking at surnames. As is the American Indian.
My maternal grandfather was Ashkenazi and his wife was 1/2 Ashkenazi and 1/4 Apache. He changed his name to a Scots surname that matched his red hair so as to get ahead as a business man in 20s due to KKK and anti-German feelings at the time. Their kids had two PHDs and a Masters between them despite their parents running a very blue collar firm.
My surname comes from my dad and its a Scottish surname although he was 1/4 Cherokee. On that side we are members of the FF of Virignia. Altogether I am more Jewish and American Indian than anything else yet would be classified as white. I could easily claim to be
Jewish or Indian on admissions forms. I always selected white. I was NMSF.
Both my sister and I have kids. Her husband is a full blood Indian with a common English surname. One of my nieces made NMSF and another might. My sisters kids do not think of themselves as any race and check other.
My wife is 1/4 Indian and 3/4 English. My kids are young yet one has tested to an IQ in the 150s.
Once you get West of the Appalachians, there are a lot of mutts in the non-gentile whites. A lot of Jews and American Indians Anglicized themselves a generation or two ago and they are lumped into that group – as well as occupy the top percentile academically.Leon November 29, 2012 at 10:24 am GMT •
Interesting article with parts I would agree with but also tinged with bias and conclusions that I would argue are not fully supported by the data.
I think more analysis is needed to confirm your conclusions. As others have mentioned there may be problems with your analysis of NMS scores. I think graduate admissions and achievements especially in the math and sciences would be a better measure of intellectual performance.
Now, I didn't attend an Ivy League school, instead a public university, mainly because I couldn't afford it or so I thought. I was also a NMS finalist.
But I always was of the opinion that except for the most exceptional students admission to the Ivies was based on the wealth of your family and as you mentioned there are quite a few affluent Jews so I imagine they do have a leg up. Harvard's endowment isn't as large as it is by accident.
It is interesting that you didn't discuss the stats for Stanford.
Lastly, I think your solution is wrong. The pure meritocracy is the only fair solution. Admissions should be based upon the entrance exams like in Asia and Europe.
There are plenty of options for those who don't want to compete and if the Asians dominate admissions at the top schools so be it.
Hopefully, all of this will be mute point n a few years as online education options become more popular with Universities specializing in graduate education and research.Weighty Commentary November 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm GMT
Ron Unz on Asians (ie Asian Americans): "many of them impoverished immigrant families"
Why do you twice repeat this assertion. Asians are the wealthiest race and most of the wealthiest ethnic groups tracked by the Census Bureau, which includes immigrants.
A potentially bigger issue completely ignored by your article is how do colleges differentiate between 'foreign' students (overwhelmingly Asian) and American students. Many students being counted as "Asian American" are in reality wealthy and elite foreign "parachute kids" (an Asian term), dropped onto the generous American education system or into boarding schools to study for US entrance exams, qualify for resident tuition rates and scholarships, and to compete for "American" admissions slots, not for the usually limited 'foreign' admission slots.
Probably people from non-Asian countries are pulling the same stunt, but it seems likely dominated by Asians. And expect many more with the passage of the various "Dream Acts"
So American kids must compete with the offspring of all the worlds corrupt elite for what should be opportunities for US Americans.
New York PSAT data:
In New York Asian-Americans make up 9.5%, whites 50.4%, Latinos 18.3% and African-Americans 15.7%.
California PSAT data:
In California Asian-Americans make up 19.7% of PSAT takers, and whites make up 31.9%, with 37% Latino and 5.7% African-American.Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm GMT •nooffensebut says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment November 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm GMT •
Am I the only one that finds the comparison of Asians (a race) to Jews (a religion) as basis for a case of discrimination completely flawed? I got in at Harvard and don't remember them even asking me what my religion was.
The value of diversity is absolutely key. I have a bunch of very good Asian friends and I love them dearly, but I don't believe a place like CalTech with its 40% demographics cannot truly claim to be a diverse place any more.Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm GMT •
Regarding the SAT, we do know more than just differences of averages between whites and Asians. We have some years of score distributions . As recently as 1992, 1.2% of whites and 5.1% of Asians scored between 750 and 800 on the math subtest. As recently as 1985, 0.20% of whites and 0.26% of Asians scored in that range on the verbal/critical reading subtest.
On a different form of the writing subtest than is currently used, 5.0% of whites and 3.0% of Asians scored greater than 60 in 1985. We also know that, as the white-Asian average verbal/critical reading gap shrank to almost nothing and the average math gap grew in Asians' favor, the standard deviations on both for Asians have been much higher than every other group but have stayed relatively unchanged and have become, in fact, slightly lower than in 1985.
Therefore, Asians probably greatly increased their share of top performers.Rob Schacter November 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm GMT •
@Milton F.: "Perhaps, by ensuring that "the best" students are not concentrated in only 8 universities is why the depth and quality of America's education system remains the envy of the world."
Hardly. America's education system is "the envy" because of the ability for minorities to get placement into better schools, not solely for the education they receive. Only a very select few institutions are envied for their education primarily, 90% of the colleges and universities across the country are sub-standard education providers, same with high schools.
I would imagine you're an educator at some level, more than likely, at one of the sub-standard colleges or even perhaps a high school teacher. You're attempting to be defensive of the American education system, when in reality, you're looking at the world through rose colored glasses. Working from within the system, rather than from the private sector looking back, gives you extreme tunnel vision. That, coupled with the average "closed mindedness" of educators in America is a dangerous approach to advancing the structure of the American education system. You and those like you ARE the problem and should be taken out of the equation as quickly as possible. Please retire ASAP or find another career.Anonymous says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm GMT •
Aside from the complete lack of actual ivy league admission data on jewish applicants, a big problem with unz's "jewish affirmative action" claim is how difficult such a policy would be to carry out in complete secrecy.
Now, it would be one thing if Unz was claiming that jews are being admitted with similar numbers to non-jewish whites, but in close cases, admissions staff tend to favor jewish applicants. But he goes much further than that. Unz is claiming that jews, as a group, are being admitted with lower SAT scores than non-jewish whites. Not only that, but this policy is being carried out by virtually every single ivy league college and it has been going on for years. Moreover, this preference is so pervasive, that it allows jews to gain admissions at many times the rate that merit alone would yield, ultimately resulting in entering classes that are over 20% Jewish.
If a preference this deep, consistent and widespread indeed exists, there is no way it could be the result of subjective bias or intentional tribal favoritism on the part of individual decision makers. It would have to be an official, yet unstated, admissions policy in every ivy league school. Over the years, dozens (if not hundreds) of admission staff across the various ivy league colleges would be engaging in this policy, without a single peep ever leaking through about Jewish applicants getting in with subpar SAT scores. We hear insider reports all the time about one group is favored or discriminated against (we even have such an insider account in this comment thread), but we hear nothing about the largest admission preference of them all.
Remember, admissions staffs usually include other ethnic minorities. I couldn't imagine them not wondering why jews need to be given such a big boost so that they make up almost a quarter of the entering class. Even if every member of every admissions committee were Jewish liberals, it would still be almost impossible to keep this under wraps.
Obviously, I have never seen actual admission numbers for Jewish applicants, so I could be wrong, and there could in fact be an unbreakable wall of secrecy regarding the largest and most pervasive affirmative action practice in the country. Or, perhaps, the ivy league application pool contains a disproportionate amount of high scoring jewish applicants.Julia November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm GMT •
As some who is Jewish from the former Soviet Union, and who was denied even to take an entrance exam to a Moscow college, I am saddened to see that American educational admission process looks more and more "Soviet" nowadays. Kids are denied opportunities because of their ethnic or social background, in a supposedly free and fair country!
But this is just a tip of the iceberg. The American groupthink of political correctness, lowest common denominator, and political posturing toward various political/ethnic/religious/sexual orientation groups is rotting this country inside out.
Worse things are yet to come.Ben K November 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm GMT •
"Similarly, Jews were over one-quarter of the top students in the Physics Olympiad from 1986 to 1997, but have fallen to just 5 percent over the last decade, a result which must surely send Richard Feynman spinning in his grave."
Actually, Richard Feynman famously rejected genetic explanations of Jewish achievement (whether he was right or wrong to do so is another story), and aggressively resisted any attempts to list him as a "Jewish scientist" or "Jewish Nobel Prize winner." I am sure he would not cared in the slightest bit how many Jews were participating in the Physics Olympiad, as long as the quality of the students' work continued to be excellent. Here is a letter he wrote to a woman seeking to include him in a book about Jewish achievement in the sciences.
Dear Miss Levitan:
In your letter you express the theory that people of Jewish origin have inherited their valuable hereditary elements from their people. It is quite certain that many things are inherited but it is evil and dangerous to maintain, in these days of little knowledge of these matters, that there is a true Jewish race or specific Jewish hereditary character. Many races as well as cultural influences of men of all kinds have mixed into any man. To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory.
Such theoretical views were used by Hitler. Surely you cannot maintain on the one hand that certain valuable elements can be inherited from the "Jewish people," and deny that other elements which other people may find annoying or worse are not inherited by these same "people." Nor could you then deny that elements that others would consider valuable could be the main virtue of an "Aryan" inheritance.
It is the lesson of the last war not to think of people as having special inherited attributes simply because they are born from particular parents, but to try to teach these "valuable" elements to all men because all men can learn, no matter what their race.
It is the combination of characteristics of the culture of any father and his father plus the learning and ideas and influences of people of all races and backgrounds which make me what I am, good or bad. I appreciate the valuable (and the negative) elements of my background but I feel it to be bad taste and an insult to other peoples to call attention in any direct way to that one element in my composition.
At almost thirteen I dropped out of Sunday school just before confirmation because of differences in religious views but mainly because I suddenly saw that the picture of Jewish history that we were learning, of a marvelous and talented people surrounded by dull and evil strangers was far from the truth. The error of anti-Semitism is not that the Jews are not really bad after all, but that evil, stupidity and grossness is not a monopoly of the Jewish people but a universal characteristic of mankind in general. Most non-Jewish people in America today have understood that. The error of pro-Semitism is not that the Jewish people or Jewish heritage is not really good, but rather the error is that intelligence, good will, and kindness is not, thank God, a monopoly of the Jewish people but a universal characteristic of mankind in general.
Therefore you see at thirteen I was not only converted to other religious views but I also stopped believing that the Jewish people are in any way "the chosen people." This is my other reason for requesting not to be included in your work.
I am expecting that you will respect my wishes.
Richard FeynmanEric Rasmusen November 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm GMT •
@Rob Schacter – your last point is basically spot-on. The Ivies are fairly unique in the high proportion of Jewish applicants. History, geographical bias, and self-selection all play a role. I think the overall preference distortion is probably not as wide as Unz claims, but you will see similar tilts at Stanford, Northwestern, etc. that reflect different preference distortions.
@Leon, two quick points.
1st – the census tracks by household, which generally overestimates Asian wealth. Many families have three generations and extended members living in one household (this reflects that many of them work together in a small family business).
2nd – most of the time, it's clear in the application (the HS, personal info, other residency info, etc.) which Asian applicants are Asian-American and which are "Parachute Kids". But the numbers are much smaller than one might think, and the implication depends on the school.
At Ivies, parachute kids (both Asian and not) tend to compete with each other in the application pool, and aren't substantially informing the broader admissions thesis in this article. I'm not saying that's right, just saying it's less material than we might think.
They more likely skew the admissions equation in great-but-not-rich liberal arts colleges (like Grinnell) and top public universities (like UCLA), which are both having budget crises and need full fare students, parachute or not. And for the publics, this includes adding more higher-tuition, out-of-state students, which further complicates assertions of just whose opportunities are being lost.
I will bring this back to fundraising and finances again, because the broader point is about who is stewarding and creating access: so long as top universities are essentially run as self-invested feedback loops, and position and resource themselves accordingly (and other universities have to compete with them), we will continue to see large, persistent discrepancies in who can participate.David in Cali November 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm GMT •
When I applied to Harvard College back in 1976, I was proud of my application essay. In it, I proposed that the US used the Israeli army as a proxy, just as the Russians were using the Cuban army at the time.
Alas, I wasn't admitted (I did get into Yale, which didn't require free-form essay like that).
This, of course, illustrates the point that coming from an Application Hell instead of from central Illinois helps a student know how to write applications. It also illustrates what might help explain the mystery of high Jewish admissions: political bias. Jews are savvier about knowing what admissions officers like to hear (including the black and Latino ones, who as a previous commentor said aren't likely to be pro-semite). They are also politically more liberal, and so don't have to fake it. And their families are more likely to read the New York Times and thus have the right "social graces" as we might call them, of this age.
It would be interesting to know how well "true WASPS" do in admissions. This could perhaps be estimated by counting Slavic and Italian names, or Puritan New England last names. I would expect this group to do almost as well as Jews (not quite as well, because their ability would be in the lower end of the Legacy group).
David in Cali November 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm GMT
The missing variable in this analysis is income/class. While Unz states that many elite colleges have the resources to fund every student's education, and in fact practice need-blind admissions, the student bodies are skewed towards the very highest percentile of the income and wealth distribution. SAT scores may also scale with parents' income as well.
Tuition and fees at these schools have nearly doubled relative to inflation in the last 25-30 years, and with home prices in desirable neighborhoods showing their own hyper-inflationary behavior over the past couple of decades (~15 yrs, especially), the income necessary to pay for these schools without burdening either the student or parents with a lot of debt has been pushed towards the top decile of earners. A big chunk of the upper middle class has been priced out. This could hit Asian professionals who may be self made harder than other groups like Jews who may be the second or third generation of relative affluence, and would thus have advantages in having less debt when starting their families and careers and be less burdened in financing their homes. Would be curious to see the same analysis if $$ could be controlled.
I would also like to add that I am a late '80′s graduate of Wesleyan who ceased his modest but annual financial contribution to the school after reading The Gatekeepers.
Rebecca November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm GMT
If I had a penny for every Jewish American I met (including myself) whose first and last name gave no indication of his religion or ethnicity, I'd be rich. Oh–and my brother and I have four Ivy League degrees between us.
Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm GMT •Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm GMT •
I almost clicked on a different link the instance I came across the word "elite" , but curiosity forced my hand.
Just yesterday my mom was remarking how my cousin had gotten into MIT with an SAT score far below what I scored, and she finished by adding that I should have applied to an ivy-league college after high school. I as always, reminded her, I'm too "black for ivy games".
I always worked hard in school, participated in olympiads and symposiums, and was a star athlete. When it came to applying for college I found myself startled when forced to "quantify" my achievements in an "application package". I did not do or engage in these activities solely to boost my chances of gaining admission into some elite college over similarly-hardworking Henry Wang or Jess Steinberg. I did these things because I loved doing them.
Sports after class was almost a relaxation activity for me. Participating in math olympiads was a way for me to get a scoop on advanced mathematics. Participating in science symposiums was a chance for me to start applying my theoretical education to solve practical problems.
The moment I realized I would have to kneel down before some admissions officer and "present my case", outlining my "blackness", athleticism, hard work, curiosity, and academic ability, in that specific order I should point, in order to have a fighting chance at getting admitted; is the moment all my "black rage" came out in an internal explosion of rebellion and disapproval of "elite colleges".
I instead applied to a college that was blind to all of the above factors. I am a firm believer that hard work and demonstrated ability always win out in the end. I've come across, come up against is a better way to put it, Ivy-league competition in college competitions and applications for co-ops and internships, and despite my lack of "eliteness" I am confident that my sheer ability and track record will put me in the "interview candidate" pool.
Finally, my opinion is: let elite schools keep doing what they are doing. It isn't a problem at all, the "elite" tag has long lost its meaning.
Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 11:34 pm GMT •
The difficulty with using Jewish sounding last names to identify Jewish students works poorly in two ways today. Not only, as others have pointed out, do many Jews not have Jewish sounding last names, but there are those, my grandson for example, who have identifiably Jewish last names and not much in the way of Jewish background.
Anon November 29, 2012 at 11:50 pm GMT •
Interesting reading. The article opens a deceptively simple statistical window into a poorly understood process - a window which I would guess even the key participants have never looked through. I especially appreciated the insights provided by the author's examination of Asian surname-frequencies and their over-representation in NMS databases.
Though this is a long and meticulously argued piece, it would have benefited from a more thorough discussion of the statistical share of legacies and athletic scholarships in elite admissions.
Perhaps, though, it would be better to focus on increasing meritocracy in the broader society, which would inevitably lead to some discounting of the value of educational credentials issued by these less than meritocratic private institutions.
It is precisely because the broader society is also in many key respects non-meritocratic that the non-meritocratic admissions practices of elite institutions are sustainable.
Allan November 30, 2012 at 3:00 am GMT •
Despite the very long and detailed argument, the writer's interpretation of a pro-Jewish admissions bias at Ivy-league schools is worryingly flawed.
First, he uses two very different methods of counting Jews: name recognition for counting various "objective" measures such as NMS semifinalists and Hillel stats for those admitted to Harvard. The first is most likely an underestimate while the latter very possibly inflated (in both cases especially due to the very large numbers of partially-Jewish students, in the many interpretations that has). I wonder how much of his argument would just go away if he simply counted the number of Jews in Harvard using the same method he used to count their numbers in the other cases. Would that really be hard to do?
Second, he overlooks the obvious two sources that can lead to such Asian/Jewish relative gaps in admissions. The first is the different groups' different focus on Science/Math vs. on Writing/Culture. It is very possible that in recent years most Asians emphasize the former while Jews the latter, which would be the natural explanation to the Caltech vs Harvard racial composition (as well as to the other stats). The second is related but different and it is the different group's bias in applications: the same cultural anecdotes would explain why Asians would favor applying to Caltech and Jews to Harvard. A natural interpretation of the data would be that Jews have learned to optimize for whatever criteria the Ivy leagues are using and the Asians are doing so for the Caltech criteria.
Most strange is the author's interpretation of how a pro-Jewish bias in admissions is actually put into effect: the application packets do not have the data of whether the applicant is Jewish or not, and I doubt that most admission officers figure it out in most cases. While it could be possible for admissions officers to have a bias for or against various types of characteristics that they see in the data in front of them (say Asian/Black/White or political activity), a systematic bias on unobserved data is a much more difficult proposition to make. Indeed the author becomes rather confused here combining the low education level of admissions officers, that they are "liberal arts or ethnic-studies majors" (really?), that they are "progressive", and that there sometimes is corruption, all together presumably leading to a bias in favor of Jews?
Finally, the author's suggestion for changing admittance criteria is down-right bizarre for a conservative: The proposal is a centralized solution that he aims to force upon the various private universities, each who can only loose from implementing it.
Despite the long detailed (but extremely flawed) article, I am afraid that it is more a reflection of the author's biases than of admissions biases.
WG November 30, 2012 at 11:53 am GMT •
Both the article and the comments are illuminating. My takeaways:
1) Affirmative action in favor of blacks and Hispanics is acknowledged.
2) Admissions officers in the Ivy League appear to limit Asian admissions somewhat relative to the numbers of qualified applicants.
3) They may also admit somewhat more Jewish applicants than would be warranted relative to their comparative academic qualifications. The degree to which this is true is muddled by the difficulty of identifying Jews by surnames, by extensive intermarriage, by changing demographics within the Jewish population, by geographic factors, and by the propensity to apply in the first place.
4) (My major takeaway.) White Protestants and Catholics are almost certainly the sole groups that are greatly under-represented relative to their qualifications as well as to raw population percentages.
5) This is due partly to subtle or open discrimination.
6) I would hypothesize that a great many of the white Protestants and Catholics who are admitted are legacies, star athletes, and the progeny of celebrities in entertainment, media, politics, and high finance. White Protestant or Catholic applicants, especially from the hinterlands, who don't fit one of these special categories–though they must be a very large component of Mr Unz's pool of top talent–are out of luck.
7) And everyone seems to think this is just fine.
The inner and outer ring idea seems to me an excellent one, though the likelihood of it happening is next to nil, both because some groups would lose disproportionate access and because the schools' imprimatur would be diminished in
The larger point, made by several respondents, is that far too many institutions place far too much weight on the credentials conferred by a small group of screening institutions. The great advantage of the American system is not that it is meritocratic, either objectively or subjectively. It is that it is–or was–Protean in its flexibility. One could rise through luck or effort or brains, with credentials or without them, early in life or after false starts and setbacks. And there were regional elites or local elites rather than, as we increasingly see, a single, homogenized national elite. Success or its equivalent wasn't something institutionally conferred.
The result of the meritocratic process is that we are making a race of arrogant, entitled overlords, extremely skilled at the aggressive and assertive arts required to gain admission to, and to succeed in, a few similar and ideologically skewed universities and colleges; and who spend the remainder of their lives congratulating each other, bestowing themselves on the populace, and destroying the country.
No wonder we are where we are.
candid_observer November 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm GMT •
This article is the product of careful and thoughtful research, and it identifies a problem hiding in plain sight. As a society, we have invested great trust in higher education as a transformative institution. It is clear that we have been too trusting.
That the admissions policies of elite universities are meritocratic is hardly the only wrong idea that Americans have about higher education. Blind faith in higher education has left too many people with largely worthless degrees and crushing student-loan debt.
Of course, the problems don't end with undergraduate education. The "100 reasons NOT to go to grad school" blog offers some depressing reading:
The higher education establishment has failed to address so many longstanding internal structural problems that it's hard to imagine that much will change anytime soon.
candid_observer November 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm GMT •
Jack above makes the following point:
"I believe that this article raises – and then inappropriately immediately dismisses – the simplest and most likely reason for the over-representation of Jewish students at Ivy League Schools in the face of their declining bulk academic performance:
They apply to those schools in vastly disproportionate numbers."
Here's the problem with that point. What Ron Unz demonstrates, quite effectively, is that today's Jews simply don't measure up to either their Asian or their White Gentile counterparts in terms of actual performance when they get into, say, Harvard. The quite massive difference in the proportions of those groups who get into Phi Beta Kappa renders this quite undeniable. What is almost certain is that policies that favored Asians and White Gentiles over the current crop of Jewish students would create a class of higher caliber in terms of academic performance.
If indeed it's true that Jews apply to Harvard in greater numbers, then, if the desire is to produce a class with the greatest academic potential, some appropriate way of correcting for the consequent distortion should be introduced. Certainly when it comes to Asians, college admissions committees have found their ways of reducing the numbers of Asians admitted, despite their intense interest in the Ivies.
Howard November 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm GMT •
One way of understanding Unz's results here might be not so much that today's Jewish student is far less inclined to hard academic work than those of yesteryear, but rather that others - White Gentiles and Asians - have simply caught up in terms of motivation to get into elite schools and perform to the best of their abilities.
Certainly among members of the upper middle class, there has been great, and likely increasing, emphasis in recent years on the importance of an elite education and strong academic performance for ultimate success. This might well produce a much stronger class of students at the upper end applying to the Ivies.
It may be that not only the Asians, but upper middle class White Gentiles, are "The New Jews".
Daniel November 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm GMT •
I don't always agree with, Mr. Unz, but his expositions are always provocative and informative. As far as the criticisms of his data set go, he openly admits that they are less than ideal. However, the variances are so large that the margin of error can be excused. Jews are 40 TIMES more likely to be admitted to Harvard than Gentile whites. Asians are 10 times more likely. Of course, it could be possible that Jews, because of higher average IQs, actually produce 40 times as many members in the upper reaches of the cognitive elite.
Given Richard Lynn's various IQ studies of Jews and the relative preponderance of non-Jewish and Jewish whites in the population, however, whites ought to have a 7 to 1 representation vis-a-vis Jews in Ivy League institutions, assuming the IQ cutoff is 130. Their numbers are roughly equivalent instead.
Because Ivy League admissions have been a hotbed of ethnic nepotism in the past, it seems that special care should be taken to avoid these improprieties (or the appearance thereof) in the future. But no such safeguards have been put in place. David Brooks has also struck the alarm about the tendency of elites to shut down meritocratic institutions once they have gained a foothold: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/opinion/brooks-why-our-elites-stink.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
Clannish as the WASPs may have been, they were dedicated enough to ideals of fairness and equality that they opened the doors for their own dispossession. I predict that a new Asian elite will eventually eclipse our Jewish elite. Discrimination and repression can restrain a vigorously ascendant people but for so long. When they do, it will be interesting to see if this Asian cohort clings to its longstanding Confucian meritocratic traditions, embodied in the Chinese gaokao or if it too will succumb to the temptation, ever present in a multiethnic polity, of preferring ethnic kinsmen over others.
Does anyone know how a minority such as the Uighurs fares in terms of elite Chinese university admissions?
Nick November 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm GMT •
This may sound like special-pleading, but it's not clear that full-scale IQ measures are meaningful when assessing and predicting Jewish performance. Jewish deficits on g-loaded spatial reasoning task may reflect specific visuo-spatial deficits and not deficits in g. As far as I know, no one doubts that the average Jewish VIQ is at least 112 (and possibly over 120). This score may explain jewish representation which seems to exceed what would be projected by their full-scale iq scores. Despite PIQ's correllation to mathematical ability in most populations, we ought also remember that, at least on the WAIS, it is the VIQ scale that includes the only directly mathematical subtest. We should also note that Jewish mathematicians seem to use little visualization in their reasoning (cf. Seligman
That said, I basically agree that Jews are, by and large, coasting. American Jews want their children to play hockey and join 'greek life' and stuff, not sit in libraries . It's sad for those of us who value the ivory tower, but understandable given their stigmatiziation as a nerdish people.
Alex November 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm GMT •
I wonder if it would be at all possible to assess the political biases of admissions counselors at these schools by assessing the rates at which applicants from red states are admitted to the elite universities. I suppose you would have to know how many applied, and those data aren't likely to exist in the public domain.
Ben K November 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm GMT •
One major flaw with this article's method of determining Jewish representation: distinctive Jewish surnames in no way make up all Jewish surnames. Distinctive Jewish surnames happen to be held by only 10-12% of all American Jews. In fact, the third most common American Jewish surname after Cohen and Levy is Miller. Mr. Unz' methodology does not speak well for itself, given that he's comparing a limited set of last names against a far more carefully scrutinized estimate.
I'm not suggesting his estimate of national merit scholars and the like is off by a full 90%, but he's still ending up with a significant undercount, possibly close to half. That would still mean Jews may be "wrongfully" over-represented are many top colleges and universities, but the disproportion is nowhere near as nefarious as he would suggest.
candid_observer November 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm GMT •
@Nick – the "red state" application and admission rates isn't useful data.
Short answer: There are many reasons for this, but basically, historical momentum and comfort play a much bigger role in where kids apply than we think. I assure you, far more top Nebraska HS seniors want to be a Cornhusker than a Crimson, even though many would find a very receptive consideration and financial aid package.
Long answer: 1st, although this article and discussion have been framed in broad racial/cultural terms, the mechanics of college admissions are mostly local and a bit like athletic recruiting – coverage (and cultivation) of specific regions and districts, "X" high school historically deliver "X" kinds of candidates, etc. So to the degree we may see broader trends noted in the article and discussion, some of that is rooted at the HS level and lower.
2nd, in "red states", most Ivy applicants come from the few blue or neutral districts. E.g.: the only 2 Utah HS's that consistently have applicants to my Ivy alma mater are in areas that largely mirror other high-income, Dem-leaning areas nationwide rather than the rest of Utah.
3rd, but, with some variation among the schools, the Ivy student body is more politically balanced than usually assumed. Remember, most students are upper-income, Northeastern suburban and those counties' Dem/Rep ratio is often closer to 55/45 than 80/20.
But to wrap up, ideology plays a negligible role in admissions generally (there's always an exception); they have other fish to fry (see below).
@soren in Goldman's post ( http://bit.ly/TrbJSB ) and other commenters here:
"Quota against Asians" is not entirely wrong, but it's too strong because it implies the forward intent is about limiting their numbers.
Put another way, Unz believes the Ivies are failing their meritocractic mission by over-admitting a group that is neither disadvantaged nor has highest technical credentials; and this comes at the expense of a group that is more often disadvantaged and with higher technical credentials. The Ivies would likely reply, "well, we define 'meritocractic mission' differently".
That may be a legitimate counter, but it's also what needs more expansion and sunlight.
But Unz' analysis has a broader causation vs correlation gap. Just because admissions is essentially zero-sum doesn't mean every large discrepancy in it is, even after allowing for soft biases. I've mentioned these earlier in passing, but here are just a couple other factors of note:Admissions is accountable for selection AND marketing and matriculation – these are not always complementary forces. Essentially, you want to maximize both the number and distribution (racial, geographic, types of accomplishment, etc.) of qualified applicants, but also the number you can safely turn down but without discouraging future applications, upsetting certain stakeholders (specific schools, admissions counselors/consultants, etc.) or "harming" any data in the US News rankings. And you have a very finite time to do this, and – not just your competition, but the entire sector – is essentially doing this at the same time. You can see how an admissions process would develop certain biases over time to limit risks in an unpredictable, high volume market, even if rarely intended to target a specific group. Ivy fixation (but especially around HYP) is particularly concentrated in the Northeast – a sample from several top HS' across America (public and private) would show much larger application and matriculation variations among their top students than would be assumed from Unz's thesis. Different Ivies have different competitors/peers, which influences their diversity breakdowns – to some degree, they all co-compete, but just as often don't. E.g.: Princeton often overlaps with Georgetown and Duke, Columbia with NYU and Cooper Union, Cornell with SUNY honors programs because it has some "in state" public colleges, etc.
There's much more, of course, but returning to Unz's ethnographic thesis, I have this anecdote: we have two friends in finance, whose families think much of their success. The 1st is Asian, went to Carnegie Mellon, and is a big bank's trading CTO; the 2nd is Jewish, went to Wharton, and is in private equity.
Put another way, while both families shared a pretty specific vision of success, they differed a lot in the execution. The upper echelon of universities, and the kinds of elite-level mobility they offer, are much more varied than even 25 years ago. While the relative role of HYP in our country, and their soft biases in admission, are "true enough" to merit discussion, it's probably not the discussion that was in this article.
Bud Wood November 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm GMT •
While you may have a point as to the difficulty in some cases of identifying a Jewish surname, the most important thing methodologically is that the criteria be performed uniformly if one is comparing Jewish representation today vs. that of other periods. I can't think, for example, of any reason that Cohens or Levys or Golds should be any less well represented today as opposed to many years ago if indeed there has not been an underlying shift in numbers of Jews in the relevant categories. (Nor, for that matter, should issues like intermarriage affect the numbers much here - for every mother whose maiden name is Cohen who marries a non-Jew with a non-Jewish surname, and whose half Jewish child will be counted as non-Jewish, there is, on average, going to be a man named Cohen who will marry a non-Jew, and whose half Jewish child will be counted as Jewish.)
Neil Schipper December 1, 2012 at 4:54 am GMT •
One might suppose that all this "inequity" and "discrimination" matters if we're keeping score. However, seems to me that too much emphasis is typically placed on equality whereas real criteria in productive and satisfying lives are neglected. Kind'a like some people wanting bragging rights as much, if not more, than wanting positive reality.
I guess I just went about my way and lived a pretty god life (so far). Who knows?; maybe those "bragging rights" are meaningful.
Grad – Stanford Elec Engrg.
Alex December 1, 2012 at 6:12 am GMT •
Thought provoking article.
Ditto to many comments about the "last name problem", even if its correction weakens but doesn't invalidate the argument. (One imagines, chillingly, a new sub-field: "Jewish last name theory", seeking to determine proportionalities of classic names validated against member/donor lists of synagogues and other Jewish organizations.)
Regarding the 20% inner ring suggestion, it suffers from its harsh transition. Consider a randomized derating scheme: a random number between some lower bound (say 0.90) and 1.00 is applied to each score on the ranked applicant list.
The added noise provides warmth to a cold test scores list. Such an approach nicely captures the directive: "study hard, but it's not all about the grades".
By adjusting the lower bound, you can get whatever degree of representativeness relative to the application base you want.
That it's a "just a number" (rather than a complex subjectivity-laden labyrinth incessantly hacked at by consultants) could allow interesting conversations about how it could relate to the "top 1% / bottom 50%" wealth ratio. The feedback loop wants closure.
Anonymous December 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm GMT •
You missed my point, candid. A relatively small proportion of Jews, intermarried or otherwise, have distinctive Jewish names. I didn't make that 10-12% figure up. It's been cited in numerous local Jewish population studies and is used in part (but certainly far from whole) to help estimate those populations. It's also been significantly dragged down over the years as the Jewish population (and hence the surname pool) has diversified, not just from intermarriage, but in-migration from groups who often lack "distinctive Jewish surnames" such as Jews from the former Soviet Union. Consider also that for obvious reasons, Hillel, which maintains Jewish centers on most campus, has an incentive to over-report by a bit. Jewish populations on college campuses in the distant past were easier to gather, given that it was far less un-PC to simply point blank inquire what religious background applicants came from.
Again, I'm not saying there isn't a downward trend in Jewish representation among high achievers (which, even if one were to accept Unz's figures, Jews would still be triple relative to were they "should" be). But Unz has made a pretty significant oversight in doing his calculations. That may happen to further suit his personal agenda, but it's not reality.
conatus December 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm GMT •
This is interesting, but I suspect mostly bogus, based on your not having a decent algorithm for discovering if someone's Jewish.
I'm not sure what exact mechanism you're using to decide if a name is Jewish, but I'm certain it wouldn't have caught anyone, including myself, in my father's side of the family (Sephardic Jews from Turkey with Turkish surnames), nor my wife's family, an Ellis Island Anglo name. Or probably most of the people in her family. And certainly watching for "Levi, Cohen and Gold*" isn't going to do anything.
And none of us have even intermarried!
Andrew says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm GMT
Isn't the point about Jewish over representation in the Ivy League about absolute numbers?
Yes the Jewish demographic has a higher IQ at 115 to the Goyishe Kop 100 but Jewish people are only 2% of the population so you have 6 million Jewish people vying with 200 million white Goys for admission to the Ivy League and future control of the levers of power. That is a 33 times larger Bell curve so the right tail of the Goys' Bell curve is still much larger than the Jewish Bell curve at IQ levels of 130 and 145, supposedly there are seven times more Goys with IQs of 130 and over 4 times more Goys with IQs of 145. So why the equality of representation, one to one, Jewish to white Goy in the Ivy Leagues?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-phu-quoc-nguyen/asian-american-students_b_2173993.html I hope everyone can participate in gaining admittance and everyone can improve the system legally. Real repair is needed.
Amanda December 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm GMT •Scott Locklin says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm GMT
Russell K. Nieli on study by Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford (mentioned by Unz):
"When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low."
Having worked with folks from all manner of "elite" and not so elite schools in a technical field, the main conclusion I was able to draw was folks who went to "elite" colleges had a greater degree of entitlement. And that's it.
Shlomo December 2, 2012 at 4:27 am GMT •Anonymous December 2, 2012 at 5:22 am GMT •
If all of the author's suspicions are correct, the most noteworthy takeaway would be that Jewish applicants have absolutely no idea that they are being given preferential treatment when applying to Ivys.
Not that they think they are being discriminated against or anything, but no Jewish high school student or their parents think they have any kind of advantage, let alone such a huge one. Someone should tell all these Jews that they don't need to be so anxious!
Also, I know this is purely anecdotal but having gone to an ivy and knowing the numbers of dozens of other Jews who have also gone, I don't think I have ever witnessed a "surprise" acceptance, where someone got in with a score under the median.
Anonymous December 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm GMT
I don't doubt for a minute that it's increasingly difficult for Asian students to get into so-called "elite" universities. Having grown up in that community, I know a lot of people who were pressured into applying at Harvard and Yale but ended up *gasp* going to a very good local school. My sarcasm aside, we can't really deny that having Harvard on your CV can virtually guarantee a ticket to success, regardless of whether or not you were just a C student. It happens.
But what worries me about that is the fact that I know very well how hard Asian families tend to push their children. They do, after all, have one of the highest suicide rates and that's here in the US. If by some means the Asian population at elite universities is being controlled, as I suspect it is, that's only going to make tiger mothers push their children even harder. That's not necessarily a good thing for the child's psyche, so instead of writing a novel here, I'll simply give you this link. Since the author brought up the subject of Amy Chua and her book, I think it's a pretty fitting explanation of the fears I have for my friends and their children if this trend is allowed to continue.
to respond to Alice Zindagi
Asian American does not have higher suicide rate.
Anonymous says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm GMT •Michael O'Hearn says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm GMT •
As a former admissions staff person at Princeton, I always sigh when I read articles on elite college admissions processes which build cases on data analysis but which fail to consult with admissions experts on the interpretation of that data.
I am neither an expert in sociology, nor am I a statistician, but I have sat in that chair, reading thousands of essays, and I have a few observations:The most selective part of any college's admissions process is the part where students themselves decides whether or not to apply. Without data on the actual applicant sets, it is, at the least, misleading to attribute incongruities between the overall population's racial/ethnic/income/what-have-you characteristics and the student bodies' make-ups entirely to the admission decisions. The reality is that there is always a struggle in the admission offices to compensate for the inequities that the applicant pool itself delivers to their doorsteps. An experienced admission officer can tell you that applicants from cultures where academics and education are highly valued, and where the emphasis on a single test is quite high, will generally present with very high SAT scores. Race does not seem to be correlated, but immigrant status from such a culture is highly correlated. (This may partially explain Unz's observation of a "decline" in Jewish scores, although I also do not believe that the surname tool for determining which scores are "Jewish" holds much water.) One of the reasons that such students often fare less well in holistic application processes is that the same culture that produces the work ethic and study skills which benefit SAT performance and GPA can also suppress activities and achievement outside of the academic arena. Therefore, to say that these students are being discriminated against because of race is a huge assumption. The true questions is whether the students with higher test scores are presenting activity, leadership and community contributions comparable to other parts of the applicant pool which are "overrepresented". All of these articles seem to miss the point that a freshman class is a fixed size pie chart. Any piece that shrinks or grows will impact the other slices. My first thought upon reading Unz' argument that the Asian slice shrank was, "What other pieces were forced to grow?" Forced growth in another slice of the class is the more likely culprit for this effect, much more likely than the idea that all of the Ivies are systematically discriminating against the latest victim. I could go on and on, but will spare you! My last note is to educate Mr. Unz on what an "Assistant Director" is in college admissions. Generally that position is equivalent to a Senior Admission Officer (one step up from entry level Admission Officer), while the head of the office might be the Dean and the next step down from that would be Associate Deans (not Assistant Directors). So while Michelle Hernandez was an Assistant Director, she was not the second in charge of Admissions, as your article implies. A minor distinction, but one which is important to point out so that her expertise and experience, as well as my own, as AN Assistant Director of Admission at Princeton, are not overstated.
A last personal note: During Princeton's four month reading season, I worked 7 days a week, usually for about 14 hours a day, in order to give the fullest, most human and considerate reading of each and every applicant that I could give. I am sure that the admission profession has its share of incompetents, corruptible people and just plain jerks, and apparently some of us are not intelligent enough to judge the superior applicants . . . . But most of us did it for love of the kids at that age (they are all superstars!), for love of our alma maters and what they did for us, and because we believed in the fairness of our process and the dignity with which we tried to do it.
The sheer numbers of applicants and the fatigue of the long winters lend themselves to making poor jokes such as the "Night of 1000 Lee's", but a good dean of admission will police such disrespect, and encourage the staff, as mine did, to read the last applicant of the day with the same effort, energy and attention paid to the first. We admission folk have our honor, despite being underpaid and playing in a no-win game with regard to media coverage of our activities. I am happy to be able to speak up for the integrity of my former colleagues and the rest of the profession.
Michael O'Hearn says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 3, 2012 at 3:09 am GMT
My own position has always been strongly in the former camp, supporting meritocracy over diversity in elite admissions.
When these Ivy League institutions were first begun in the colonial period, they were not strictly speaking meritocratic. The prevailing idea was that Christocentric education is the right way to go, both from an eschatological and a temporal perspective, and the central focus was on building and strengthening family ties. The Catholic institutions of higher learning took on the vital role of preserving Church tradition from apostolic times and were thus more egalitarian and universalist. The results went far beyond all expectations.
Nothing lasts forever. Your premise misses the essential point that the economy is for man and not vice-versa.
Perhaps this should have been titled The Reality of American Mediocrity ?
Janet Mertz December 4, 2012 at 12:56 am GMT •mannning December 4, 2012 at 6:28 am GMT •
Many of the statements in this article relating to Jews are rather misleading: for while the Hillel data regarding percentage of students who self-identify as Jews may be fairly accurate, the numbers the author cites based upon "likely Jewish names" are a gross under-count of the real numbers, leading to the appearance of a large disparity between the two which, in reality, does not exist. The reason for the under-count is that a large percentage of American Jews have either Anglicized their family name or intermarried, resulting in their being mistaken for non-Hispanic whites. Thus, one ends up with incorrect statements such as "since 2000, the percentage (of Jewish Putnam Fellows) has dropped to under 10 percent, without a single likely Jewish name in the last seven years". The reality is that Jews, by Hillel's definition of self-identified students, have continued to be prominent among the Putnam Fellows, US IMO team members, and high scorers in the USA Mathematical Olympiad. I have published a careful analysis of the true ethnic/racial composition of the very top-performing students in these math competitions from recent years (see, Andreescu et al. Notices of the AMS 2008; http://www.ams.org/notices/200810/fea-gallian.pdf ). For example, Daniel Kane, a Putnam Fellow in 2002-2006, is 100% of Jewish ancestry; his family name had been Cohen before it was changed. Brian Lawrence was a Putnam Fellow in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011; his mother is Jewish. Furthermore, many of the non-Jewish Putnam Fellows in recent years are Eastern European or East-Asian foreigners who matriculated to college in the US; they were not US citizen non-Jewish whites or Asian-Americans, respectively. Rather, my data indicate that in recent years both Jews and Asians have been 10- to 20-over-represented in proportion to their percentage of the US population among the students who excel at the highest level in these math competitions. The authors conclusions based upon data from other types of competitions is likely similarly flawed.
Eric Rasmusen December 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm GMT •
The title of this piece captured me to read what it was all about. What was discussed was admissions into elite colleges as the only focus on "meritocracy" in America. That leaves the tail of the distribution of high IQ people in America, minus those that make it into elite colleges, to be ignored, especially those that managed to be admitted to Cal Tech, or MIT, or a number of other universities where significant intellectual power is admitted and fostered. this seems to further the meme that only the elite graduates run the nation. They may have an early advantage through connections, but I believe that the Fortune 400 CEO's are fairly evenly spread across the university world.
MEH 0910 December 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm GMT •
A couple more thoughts:
(1) Jews are better at verbal IQ, Asians at math. Your measures are all math. That woudl be OK if all else were equal across time, but especially because Jews care a lot about admissions to Ivies, what we'd expect is that with growing Asian competition in math/science, Jews would give up and focus their energy on drama/writing/service. I wonder if Jewish kids are doing worse in music competitions too? Or rather- not even entering any more.
(2) For college numbers, adjustment for US/foreign is essential. How many Asians at Yale are foreign? It could well be that Asian-Americans are far more under-represented than it seems, because they face quota competition from a billion Chinese and a billion Indians. Cal Tech might show the same result as the Ivies.
(3) A separate but interesting study would be of humanities and science PhD programs. Different things are going on there, and the contrast with undergrads and with each other might be interseting.biaknabato December 6, 2012 at 12:59 am GMT •
Half Sigma wrote about this Ron Unz article :
I also learned that Jews are no longer as prominent in math and science achievement, and that's not surprising to me at all, because everyone in the elite knows that STEM is for Asians and middle-class kids. Jewish parents have learned that colleges value sports and "leadership" activities more than raw academic achievement and nerdy activities like math olympiads, and that the most prestigious careers are value transference activities which don't require science or high-level math.
You should re-read my critique of Amy Chua's parenting advice . Jews have figured out that's crappy advice for 21st century America.Eric Rasmusen December 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm GMT •
The higher representation of Jews in the Ivies compared to Asians who have better average academic records compared to Jews (applicants that is ) in the Ivies is due to the greater eligibility of Jews for preferences of every kind in the Ivies. In a typical Ivy school like Harvard, at least 60% of the freshman class will disappear because of the vast system of preferences that exists. There is no doubt that there is racial animus involved despite the denials of the Ivies and other private universities despite the constant denials involved like that of Rosovsky who happens to be a historian by training. Jews are classified as white in this country, hence there would presumably greater affinity for them among the white Board of Trustees and the adcom staff. This is in contrast to Asians who do not share the same culture or body physiogonomy as whites do.
I had read the Unz article and the Andrew Goldman response to it. I just do not agree with Unz with his solutions to this problem. First of all private schools are not going to give legacy preferences and other kinds of preferences for the simple reason that it provides a revenue stream. Harvard is nothing but a business just like your Starbucks or Mcdonald's on the corner.
Around the world private universities regarded as nothing but the dumping ground of the children of the wealthy, the famous and those with connections who cannot compete with others with regards to their talent and ability regardless of what anyone will say from abroad about the private universities in their own country. Bottomline is in other countries , the privates simply do not get the top students in the country, the top public school does. People in other countries will simply look askance at the nonsensical admissions process of the Ivies and other private schools, the system that the Ivies use for admission does not produce more creative people contrary to its claims.
The Goldman response has more to do with the humanities versus math . My simple response to Andrew Goldman would be this : a grade of A in Korean history is different from a grade of A in Jewish history, it is like comparing kiwis and bananas. The fast and decisive way of dealing with this problem is simply to deprive private schools of every single cent of tax money that practices legacy preferences and other kinds repugnant preferences be it for student aid or for research and I had been saying that for a long time. I would like to comment on the many points that had been raised here but I have no time.Anonymous December 8, 2012 at 12:29 am GMT •
The solution to a lot of problems would be transparency. I'd love to see the admissions and grade data of even one major university. Public universities should be required to post publicly the names, SAT scores, and transcripts of every student. Allowing such posting should be a requirement for admission.
The public could then investigate further if, for example, it turned out that children of state senators had lower SAT scores. Scholars could then analyze the effect of diversity on student performance.
Of course, already many public universities (including my own, Indiana), post the salaries of their professors on the web, and I haven't seen much analysis or muckraking come out of that.Anonymous says: • Website December 9, 2012 at 12:44 am GMT
One factor hinted at in the article, but really needing to be addressed is the "school" that is being attended.
By this, I mean, you need philosophy students to keep the philosophy department going. When I was in college 20 years ago, I was a humanities major. I took 1 class in 4 years with an Asian American student. 1 class. When I walked through the business building, it was about 50% Asian.
Could Asian-American students only wanting to go to Harvard to go into business, science, or math be skewing those numbers? I don't know, but it's just a thought to put out there.
You are preaching to the choir! I blog on this extensively on my Asian Blog: JadeLuckClub. This has been going on for the last 30 years or more! All my posts are here under Don't ID as Asian When Applying to College:
http://jadeluckclub.com/category/asian-in-america/dont-id-as-asian-when-applying-to-college/biaknabato December 12, 2012 at 7:42 am GMT •
All private schools basically practice legacy prefrences and other kinds of preferences and this practice has been going on in the Ivies since time immemorial. The income revenue from these gallery of preferences will certainly not encourage the Ivies to give them up.
In many countries around the world, private universiites are basically the dumping ground for the children of the wealthy , the famous and the well connected who could not get into the top public university of their choice in their own country. This no different from the Ivies in this country where these Ivies and other private universities are just a corral or holding pen for the children of the wealthy, the famous and the well connected and the famous who could not compete with others based on their won talent or ability.
Abroad you have basically 3 choices if you could not get into the top public university of that country , they are:
- Go to a less competetive public university
- Go to a private university
- or go abroad to schools like the Ivies or in other countries where the entrance requirements to a public or private university are less competetive compared to the top public universities in your own home country.
You can easily tell a top student from another country, he is the guy who is studying in this country under a government scholarship ( unless of course it was wrangled through corruption ). the one who is studying here through his own funds or through private means is likely to be the one who is a reject from the top public university in his own country. That is how life works.
I am generally satisfied with the data that Ron provided about Jews compared to Asians where Jews are lagging behind Asians at least in grades and SAT scores in the high school level, from the data I had seen posted by specialized schools in NY like Stuy , Bronx Sci, Brook Tech, Lowell (Frisco ) etc.
Ron is correct in asserting that the Ivies little represents the top students in this country. Compare UCLA and for example. For the fall 2011 entering freshman class at UCLA , there were 2391 domestic students at UCLA compared to 1148 at Harvard who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT and there were 439 domestic students who scored a perfect 800 in the Math portion of the SAT at UCLA, more than Harvard or MIT certainly. For the fall 2012 freshman classs at UCLA the figure was 2409 and 447 respectively.
We can devise a freshman class that will use only income, SATS,grades as a basis of admissions that will have many top students like UCLA has using only algorithms.
The central test of fairness in any admissions system is to ask this simple question. Was there anyone admitted under that system admitted over someone else who was denied admission and with better grades and SAT scores and poorer ? If the answer is in the affirmative, then that system is unfair , if it is in the negative then the system is fair.Anonymous December 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm GMT •biaknabato December 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm GMT •
I like the comments from Chales Hale. (Nov. 30, 2012) He says: "Welcome to China". It said all in three words. All of these have been experienced in China. They said there is no new things under the sun. History are nothing but repeated, China with its 5000 years experienced them all.biaknabato December 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm GMT •
I meant that there were 439 domestic students in the fall 2011 freshman class at UCLA and 447 domestic students in the fall 2012 freshman class at UCLA who scored a perfect score of 800 in the Math portion of the SAT. In either case it is bigger than what Harvard or MIT has got.
In fact for the fall 2011 of the entire UC system there were more students in the the freshman class of the entire UC system who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT than the entire fall 2011 freshman of the Ivy League (Cornell not included since it is both a public and a private school )'
As I mentioned earlier there were 2409 domestic students in the fall 2012 UCLA freshman class who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT. We know that Harvard had only 1148 domestic students in its fall 2011 freshman class who scored above 700 in the Math portion of the SAT, why would Harvard ever want to have that many top students like Berkeley or UCLA have ? The answer to that is simple , it has to do with money. For every additional student that Harvard will enroll it would mean money being taken out of the endowment .
Since the endowment needs constant replenishment. Where would these replenishment funds come from ? From legacies,from the children of the wealthy and the famous etc. of course . It would mean more legacy admits, more children of the wealthy admitted etc.
That would mean that the admission rate at Harvard will rise, the mean SAT score of the entering class will be no different from the mean SAT scores of the entering freshman classes of Boston University and Boston College
down the road. With rising admission rates and lower mean SAT scores for the entering freshman class that prospect will not prove appetizing or appealing to the applicant pool.
Harvard ranks only 8th after Penn State in the production of undergrads who eventually get Doctorates in Science and Engineering. Of course Berkeley has the bragging rights for that kind of attribute.Been there December 13, 2012 at 5:32 am GMT •
In the scenario I had outlined above, it would mean that the mean SAT score of the Harvard freshman class will actually go down if it tried to increase the size of its freshman class and that kind of prospect ia unpalatable to Harvard and that is the reason as to why it wants to maintain its current " air of exclusivity ".
There is another way of looking at the quality of the Harvard student body. The ACM ICPC computer programming competition is regarded as the best known college competition among students around the world , it is a grueling programming marathon for 2 or 3 days presumably. Teams from universities around the world vie to win the contest that is dubbed the "Battle of the Brains " What is arguably sad is that Ivy schools, Stanford and other private schools teams fielded in the finals of the competition are basically composed of foreign students or foreign born students and foreign born coaches.
The University of Southern California team in this competition in its finals section was made up of nothing but foreign Chinese students and a Chinese coach. The USC team won the Southern California competition to win a slot in the finals. Apparently they could not find a domestic student who could fill the bill. However the USC team was roundly beaten by teams from China and Asia,Russia and Eastern Europe. The last time a US team won this competition was in 1999 by Harvey Mudd, ever since the US had gone downhill in the competition with the competition being dominated by China and Asia and by countries from Eastern Europe and Russia. Well I guess USC's strategy was trying to fight fire with fire (Chinese students studying in the US versus Chinese students from the Mainland ), and it failed.Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm GMT •
Thank you Mr. Unz for scratching the surface of the various forms of corruption surrounding elite college admissions. I hope that your next article further discusses the Harvard Price (and Yale Price and Brown Price etc). The recent press surrounding the Hong Kong couple suing the person they had retained to pave their children's way into Harvard indicates the extent of the problem. This Hong Kong couple just were not savvy enough to lay their money down where it would produce results.
Additionally, a discussion of how at least some North Eastern private schools facilitate the corrupt process would be illuminating.
Finally, a more thorough discussion of whether the Asian students being admitted are US residents or nationals or whether they are foreign citizens would also be worth while and reveal. I suspect, an even lower admit percentage for US resident citizens of Asian ethnicity.
For these schools to state that their acceptances are need blind is patently untrue and further complicates the admissions process for students who are naive enough to believe that. These schools should come clean and just say that after the development admits and the wealthy legacy admits spots are purchased, the remaining few admits are handed out in a need blind fashion remembering that many of admit pools will already be filled by the development and wealthy legacy admits resulting in extraordinarily low rates for certain non-URM type candidates (I estimate in the 1% range).Larry Long says: • Website December 14, 2012 at 4:33 am GMT •
"By contrast, a similarly overwhelming domination by a tiny segment of America's current population, one which is completely misaligned in all these respects, seems far less inherently stable, especially when the institutional roots of such domination have continually increased despite the collapse of the supposedly meritocratic justification. This does not seem like a recipe for a healthy and successful society, nor one which will even long survive in anything like its current form."
I completely agree that it is not healthy for one tiny segment of our population to basically hold all the key positions in every major industry in this country. If Asians or Blacks (who look foreign) all of a sudden ran education, media, government, and finance in this country, there would be uproar and resistance. But because Jewish people look like the majority (whites), they've risen to the top without the masses noticing.
But Jewish people consider themselves a minority just like blacks and Asians. They have a tribal mentality that causes stronger ethnic nepotism than most other minority groups. And they can get away with it because no one can say anything to them lest they be branded "jew-hunters" or "anti-semists."
The question is, "where do we go from here?" True race-blind meritocracy will never be instituted on a grand scale in this country both in education and in the work force. One group currently controls most industries and the only way this country will see more balance is if other groups take more control. But if one group already controls them all and controls succession plans, how will there ever be more balance?Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm GMT
If Jews become presidents or regents of universities, that's a credit to their ability. Nothing sinister there.
But when Jews (or anyone) buy into an institution to create the 'Goldman School of Business', or when they give large donations, that is not a credit to anyone's ability and there may well be something sinister there.
It is no secret that corporations and individuals look for influence, if not control, in return for cash. The same thinking can easily affect admissions policy.
It's always the same. In spite of all the jingoism about "democracy" and "freedoms" and the "free market capitalist system", the trail of money obfuscates and corrupts. It is still very true that whoever pays the piper, calls the tune. And naive to believe otherwise.
How recent was it that Princeton cancelled its anti-Semitism classes for lack of participation, and at least one Jewish organisation was screaming that Princeton would never get another penny from any Jew, ever.
That is close to absolute control of a curriculum. I give you money, and you teach what I want you to teach.
How far is that from I give you money and you admit whom I want you to admit? Or from I give you money and you hire whom I want?
A university that is properly funded by the government – "the people" – doesn't have these issues because there is nothing you can buy.
Operating educational institutions as a business, just like charities and health care, will always produce this kind of corruption.
Two other points:
1. It occurred to me that the lowly-paid underachiever admissions officers might well have been mostly Jewish, and hired for that reason, and that in itself could skew the results in a desired manner.
2. I think this is a serious criticism of the othewise excellent article:
At the end, Ron Unz wants us to believe that a $30-billion institution, the finest of its kind in the world, the envy of the known universe and beyond, the prime educator of the world's most prime elites, completely abandons its entire admissions procedures, without oversight or supervision, to a bunch of dim-witted losers of "poor human quality" who will now choose the entire next generation of the nation's elites. And may even take cash payments to do so.
Come on. Who are you kidding? Even McDonald's is smarter than this.Anonymous December 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm GMT
Some of the comments suggest major problems with estimating who is Jewish. But the authors information is underpinned by data collected by Jewish pressure groups for the purpose of ensuring the gravy train keeps flowing. It's either their numbers, or the numbers are consistent with their numbers.Achaean December 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm GMT
This article, to me, is shocking and groundbreaking. I don't think anyone has gone this in-depth into this biased and un-meritocratic system. This is real analysis based on real numbers.
Why is this not getting more coverage in the media? Why are people so afraid to talk about this?
There is an excellent analysis of this article at The Occidental Observer by Kevin MacDonald, "Ron Unz on the Illusory American Meritocracy". The MSM is ignoring Unz's article for obvious reasons.tomo December 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm GMT •
I don't know if there's any truth behind the idea that Japanese Americans have become lazy relative to their Korean and Chinese counterparts. I've grew up in Southern California, a part of the country with a relatively high percentage of Japanese Americans, yet I've know very few other Japanese Americans in my life. I can recall one Japanese American classmate in jr. high, and one Japanese classmate in my high school (who returned to Japan upon graduating). Even at the UC school I attended for undergrad, I was always the only Japanese person in the every class, and the Japanese Student Association, already meager in numbers, was almost entirely made up of Japanese International students who were only here for school.
If, in fact, 1% of California is made up of Japanese Americans, I suspect they are an aging population. I also think many 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese Americans are only partially Japanese, since, out of necessity, Japanese Americans have a very high rate of out marriage.Anonymous December 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm GMT •Lynn December 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm GMT •
The carefully researched article makes a strong case that there is some discrimination against Asian-Americans at the Ivy League schools.
On the other hand, I don't see how a percentage of 40-60% Asian-Americans at the selective UC schools, even given the higher percentage of Asian-Americans in California, does not perhaps reflect reverse discrimation, or at least affirmative action on their behalf. To be sure one way or the other, we would have to see their test scores AND GPA, apparently the criteria that the UC schools use for admission, considered as well in the normalization of this statistical data.Titanium Dragon December 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm GMT •
The replies to date make some good points but also reflect precisely the biases pointed out in the article as likely causing the discussed distortions.
1) use of name data in achievement vs use of Hillel data for Ivy admits: definitely an issue but is this only one of the measures used in this study. Focusing only on this obscures the fact that Jewish enrollment as measured over time by Hillel numbers (apples to apples) increased significantly over the past decade while the percent of Jewish high school age students relative to other groups declined. One explanation for this surge could be that Jewish students became even more academically successful than they have been in the past. The achievement data using Jewish surnames is used to assess this thesis in the absence of other better data. Rejecting the surname achievement data still leaves a huge enrollment surge over time in Jewish attendance at the Ivies relative to their percentage of the population.
2) many comments accept that the numbers show disproportionate acceptance and enrollment growth but simply then go on to assert that Jewish students really are smarter (absolutely or in gaming the system) relying on anecdotal evidence that is not at all compelling. All definitions of "smarter" contain value judgments". Back in the '20s the argument was that the Ivies should rely more on objective testing to remove bias against the then high testing Jewish students; now the writers argue conveniently wthat the new subjective tests that are applied to disproportionately admit Jewish students over higher scoring Asians and non-Jewish Caucasians are better measures. In both cases, there is still an issue of using a set of factors that disproportionately favors one group. In all such cases of significant disproportionate admits, the choice of the factors used to definemmerit and their application should be carefully evaluated for bias. The burden of proof should shift to those defending the status quo in this situation. In any event, it is clear that given the large applicant pool, there is no shortage of non-Jewish caucasians and Asians who are fully qualified, so if the desire was there for a balanced entering class, the students are available to make it happen
3) the numbers don't break down admissions between men and women. When my child was an athletic recruit to Harvard, we received an ethnic breakdown of the prior year's entering class. I was surprised to discover that the Caucasian population skewed heavily male and the non-white/Asian population skewed heavily female. It seemed that Harvard achieved most of its ethnic diversity that year by admitting female URMs, which made being a Caucasian female the single most underrepresented group relative to its percentage in the school age population. I'm curious if this was an anomaly or another element of bias in the admissions process.
I will note that there is one flaw in this whole argument, and that flaw is thus:
Harvard and Yale aren't the best universities in the country. As someone who went to Vanderbilt, I knew people who had been to those universities, and their evaluation was that they were no better – and perhaps actually worse – than Vanderbilt, which is "merely" a top 25 university.
While there is a great deal of, shall we say, "insider trading" amongst graduates of those universities, in actuality they aren't actually the best universities in the country today. That honor probably goes to MIT and Caltech, which you note are far more meritocratic. But most of the other best universities are probably very close in overall level, and some of them might have a lot of advantages over those top flight universities.
Or to put it simply, the Ivy League ain't what it used to be. Yeah, it includes some of the best universities in the country, but there are numerous non-Ivy League universities that are probably on par with them. This may indeed be in part a consequence of some of what you have described in the article, as well as a sense of complacency.
I suspect that in twenty or thirty years a lot of Ivy League graduates are going to feel a lot less entitled simply because there has been an expansion of the top while they weren't paying attention.Anonymous December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am GMT •McRoss December 22, 2012 at 12:49 am GMT •
I'm against the Ivies going up to 30-50% Asian but I'm also against the over-representation of a tiny minority group. This country is going to go downhill if we continue to let one group skirt a fair application process just because they possess money and influence. Who will stand up for fairness and equality?Anonymous December 22, 2012 at 4:11 am GMT •
Many of those commenting above don't seem to be picking up on Unz's evidence of bias against white Gentiles, which by meritocratic measures is far worse than the bias against Asian Americans.
A drop of 70 PERCENT??? What's going on? Why is so much of the discussion that this article has spawned focused only on Asian Americans and (secondarily) Jews?Anonymous December 25, 2012 at 3:22 am GMT •
National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are chosen based on per-state percentiles.
What this means is that NMS semifinalist numbers would be skewed _against_ a high-performing demographic group to the extent that group's demographics concentrate geographically. Mr. Unz acknowledges that geographical skewing of Jewish populations is huge. However, he ignores its effect on the NMS semifinalist numbers he uses as a proxy for academic performance on a _national_ level to predict equitable distributions at _national_ universities.
Please somebody explain to me how this oversight isn't fatal to his argumentsAnonymous December 25, 2012 at 9:12 am GMT •
Surely the author must be aware that approximately half the children with "Jewish" names are not fully Jewish. Over half of the marriages west of the Mississippi are reportedly mixed. Many non-Jews have last names that start with "Gold". Just these two facts make the entire analysis ridiculous. Hillel does not keep statistics on how Jewish a student is, while many of Levys and Cohens are not actually Jewish. What would we call Amy Chua's daughters? Jewish or Asian? It is therefore impossible to tease out in a multi-racial society who is who.
I am an elementary school teacher at a Title One school in northern California. I supported your "English for the Children" initiative when it was introduced.
However, the law of unintended consequences has kicked in, and what exists now is not at all what you (or anyone else, for that matter) had intended.
The school day was not lengthened to create a time slot for English language instruction. Instead, history and science classes were elbowed aside to make way for mediocre English language instruction. These usually worthless classes have crowded out valuable core academic instruction for English language learners.
To make matters worse, while English language learners are in ESL classes, no academic instruction in science or history can be given to "regular" students because that would lead to issues of "academic inequity." In other words, if the Hispanic kids are missing out on history, the black kids have to miss out on it, too.
As a teacher, I hope you will once again consider bringing your considerable talents to focus on the education of low-income minority children in California.
Shelly MooreAnonymous December 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm GMT •Anonymous December 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm GMT •
Fascinating and disturbing article.
Could it be that the goal of financial, rather than academic, achievement, makes many young people uninterested in competing in the science and math competitions sought out by the Asian students? I wonder about the different percentages of applicants to medical school versus law or business.
I must also add that I am surprised that the author used the word "data" as singular, rather than plural. Shouldn't he be stating that the data ARE, not IS; or SHOW, not SHOWS.Anonymous says: • Website December 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm GMT •
The author perhaps pays an incredible amount of attention to those with strengths in STEM fields (Science, technology, engineering, and math), even though the proportion of all native-born white students majoring in these fields has plummetted in recent decades. That means that he overlooks a shift in what kinds of training is considered "prestigious," and that this might be reflected in the pursuits of students in high school. Perhaps there is a movement away from Jewish students' focus on Math Olympiad because they are in no way interested in majoring in math or engineering fields, instead preferring economics or business. Is that the fault of the students, or of the rewards system that corporate America has set up?
Jobs in STEM fields pay considerably less than do jobs in numerous professions - investment banking and law. So that is why ~ 40% of the Harvard graduating class - including many of its Jewish students - pursue that route. But to rely on various assessments of math/science/computing as the measure of intelligence fails to incorporate how the rewards structure in our society has changed over time.
I teach at an Ivy League university, and believe that many of the authors' arguments have merit, but there are also many weaknesses in his argument. He sneers at Steinberg and the other sociologists he cites for not quite getting how society has changed - but he clearly doesn' tunderstand how other aspects of our society have changed. Many of our most talented undergrads have no desire to pursue careers in STEM fields. Entrance into STEM jobs even among those who majored in those fields is low, and there is very high attrition from those fields, among both men and women. Young adults and young professionals are voting with their feet. While our society might be better off with more Caltech grads and students interested in creating our way to a better future rather than pursuing riches on wall street, one cannot fault students for seeking to maximize their returns on their expensive education. That's the system we have presented them with, at considerable cost to the students and their families.
Personally, what I found profoundly disturbing is not the overrepresentation of Jewish students or the large presence of Asians who feel they are discriminated against, but the fact that Ivy League schools have not managed to increase their representation of Blacks for the last 3 decades. We all compete for the same talent pool. And until the K-12 system is improved, Black representation won't increase without others screaming favoritism. The other groups - high performing Asians, middle class Jews - will do fine, even if they don't get into Ivy League schools but have to "settle" for elite private schools. But if the Ivy Leagues are the pathway to prestige and power, than we're not broadening our power base enough to adequately reprewsent the demographic shifts reshaping our nation. more focus on that, please.Dismalist December 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm GMT •
I've been an SAT tutor for a long time in West Los Angeles (a heavily Asian city), and I feel that at least some of Asians' over-representation in SAT scores and NMS finalists is due to Asian parents putting massive time and money into driving their children's success in those very statistics.
In my experience, Asian parents are more likely than other parents to attempt to ramrod their kids through test prep in order to increase their scores. For example, the few students I've ever had preparing for the PSAT - most students prepare only for the SAT - were all Asian.
Naturally, because it's so strange to be preparing for what is supposed to be a practice test, I asked these parents why their 9th or 10th grade child was in this class, and the answer was that they wanted to do well on the PSAT because of its use in the NMS! Similarly, many Asian immigrants send their children to "cram school" every day after regular school lets out (and I myself have taught SAT at one of these institutions), essentially having their students tutored in every academic subject year-round from early in elementary school.
Because whites are unlikely to do this, it would seem to me that the resulting Asian academic achievement is analogous to baseball players who use steroids having better stats than baseball players who do not.
It seems reasonable that the "merit" in "meritocracy" need not be based solely on test scores and grades, and that therefore a race-based quota system is not the only conclusion that one can draw from a decrease in the attendance rate of hard-driving test-preppers. Maybe the university didn't want to fill its dorms with grade-grubbers who are never seen because they're holed up in the library 20 hours a day, and grade-grubbers just happen to be over-represented in the Asian population?
Unz's piece analyzes only the data that lead up to college - when the Asian parents' academic influence over their children is absolute - whereas the Ivy League schools he criticizes are most concerned with what their students do during and after college. Is the kid who went to cram school his entire life as likely to join student organizations? To continue practicing his four instruments once his mom isn't forcing him to take lessons 4 days a week? To start companies and give money to his university? Or did he just peak early because his parents were working him so hard in order to get him into that college?
That's an article I'd like to read.Anonymous December 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm GMT •
The analysis is a tour de force!
However, the remedies considered are not. It is silly to believe that all abilities can be distilled into a small set of numbers, and anyway, no one knows what abilities will succeed in marketplaces. The source of the problem is the lack of competition in education, including higher education, a situation written in stone by current accreditation procedures. The solution to the problem is entry. Remember Brandeis U? With sufficient competition, colleges could take whomever they pleased, on whatever grounds, and everyone would get a chance.Anonymous December 26, 2012 at 12:18 am GMT •
Concerning the drop in non-Jewish white enrollment:
I am a recent graduate of a top public high school, where I was a NMS, individual state champion in Academic Decathlon, perfect ACT score, National AP Scholar, etc. etc. Many of my friends – almost exclusively white and Asian – had similar backgrounds and were eminently qualified for Ivy. None of us even applied Ivy, let alone considered going there. Why? At $60,000/yr, the cost is simply not worth it, since none of us would have been offered anything close to substantial financial aid and our parents were unable/unwilling to fully fund our educations. Meanwhile, my Asian friends applied to as many Ivies as they could because it was understood that (a) their parents would foot the bill if they got in or (b) they would take on a large debt load in order to do it.
This article discounts financial self-selection, which (at least based on my own, anecdotal evidence) is more prevalent than we tend to think.Simon December 26, 2012 at 2:35 am GMT •
- The author ignores the role that class plays in setting kids up for success. At one point he notes, "Given that Asians accounted for just 1.5 percent of the population in 1980 and often lived in relatively impoverished immigrant families. . ." When I was at Harvard in the mid-1980s, there were two distinct groups of Asian students: children of doctors, academics, scientists and businesspeople who came from educated families in China, Korea and Vietnam, and therefore grew up with both strong educational values and parental resources to push them; and a much smaller group of kids from Chinatown and Southeast Asian communities, whose parents were usually working class and uneducated. The second group were at a severe disadvantage to the first, who were able to claim "diversity" without really having to suffer for it.
- I would expect you'd see the same difference among higher-caste educated South Asian Brahmins and Indians from middle and lower castes or from places like Guyana. It is ridiculous to put South Asians and East Asians in the same category as "Asian." They have different cultural traditions and immigration histories. Ask any Indian parent what race they are and they'll answer "Caucasian." Grouping them without any kind of assessment of how they might be different undermines the credibility of the author.
- The takeaway is not that affirmative action is damaging opportunities for whites, but that whites are losing against Asians. The percentage of Hispanic and Black students at leading schools is still tiny. Hence, if invisible quotas for Asians are lifted, there will be far fewer white students at these schools. This isn't because of any conspiracy, but because white students are scoring lower than the competition on the relevant entry requirements. I would love to see an article in this publication titled, "Why White Students Are Deficient." How about some more writing about "The White Student Achievement Gap?"Anonymous December 26, 2012 at 2:42 am GMT •
As parents of 2 HYP grads, We can tell you from experience that Asian students are not under-represented in the Ivies today. (In fact, I think they are slightly over represented, for the same reasons and stats the author cited).
True, if one looks at stats, such as SAT, scientific competition awards etc, it seems to imply that a +35% enrollment of Asian students is warranted. However, these indicators are just a small part of a "holistc" approach in predicting the success of a candidate not only in the next 4 years, but the individual's success in life and be able to impact and contribute to society later.
I have seen candidates of Asian background, who score almost full mark in SAT but was less than satisfactory in all other aspects of being a potential achiever in life.
Granted, if one wants to be an achiever in science and technology, by all means go with Caltech and MIT. But if one wants an real "education" and be a leader later on in life, one has to have other qualities as well (skin color is NOT one of them). Of course, history, and current cultural and political climate may influence the assessment of such qualities because it is highly subjective. (Is is unfair to pick a pleasant looking candidate over a lesser one, if the rest are the same?)
That is why an interview with the candidates is a good way to assess a potential applicant. I always encourage my children to conduct interviews locally for their alma mater.
I just hope that the Ivies do not use this holistic approach to practice quota policies.
Oh btw I am Asian.
SAnonymous December 26, 2012 at 2:53 am GMT •
Here's a quote from a friend just today about this related topic: "Just like the Catholic church in the middle ages recruited the smartest peasants in order to forestall revolutionary potential, and to learn mind bending religious dogma to befuddle the remaining peasants, current practice is much the same. To twist Billy Clinton's mantra, "its the economy stupid", No ,"its the co opted brains"! "
We can substitute economics dogma to the befuddlement mix. The bottom line is every ruling elite has co-opted the top 1%-5% of high wage earners, to make the pyramid work. Sociology writing is all over this. Veblen, Weber, etc. We can see this little group created everywhere minerals or natural resources are coveted by private empires.
The universities are doing exactly what they are supposed to do to protect the interests of the Trustees and Donors who run them for a reason. They are a tool of, not a cause of, the inequality and over-concentration. It is interesting how the story goes into hairsplitting and comparing Asians to others, etc. But, the real story is a well understood sociology story. This article explains why Napoleon established free public education after the French Revolution.Anonymous December 26, 2012 at 4:19 am GMT
This is a fascinating article. So much data. So many inferences. It's hardly surprising to any parent of high school students that college admissions are only marginally meritocratic. Whether that's a good a thing or a bad thing is an open question. I think meritocracy has a place in college admissions. But not the only place. Consider athletics, which are themselves almost exclusively meritocratic. Only the best among the best are offered Division I scholarships. The same, I think, applies to engineering schools, the physical sciences, and (to a lesser degree), elite law schools. It also applies to auto-mechanics, plumbers, and electricians. Regarding the humanities (a field in which I hold a PhD), not so much. I think Unz's beef is less with admissions policies per se (which I agree are mind-bogglingly opaque) than with the status of elite institutions. I also think, and I may be wrong, that Unz appears heading down the Bobby Fisher highway, intimating that those pesky Jews are
America never promised success through merit or equality. That is the American "dream." America promises freedom of religious belief and the right to carry a gun.Anonymous says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm GMT •Anonymous says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 27, 2012 at 4:48 am GMT •
This is a fascinating and extremely important article which I am very eager to discuss privately with the author, having spent my whole life in higher education, albeit with a unique perspective. I was flabbergasted the findings about Jewish and non-Jewish white representation, and intrigued, all the more so since my own ancestry is evenly divided between those two groups. I do want to make one criticism, however of something the author said about the 1950s which I do not think is correct.
At one point in the article the author makes the claim that the breakdown of Ivy League Jewish quotas in the 1950s reflected the power of Jews in the media and Hollywood. The statistics he gives about their representation there may be correct, but the inference, I believe, is unsustainable. The Proquest historical database includes the Washington Post, New York Times, and many other major newspapers. I did a search for "Harvard AND Jewish AND quota" for the whole period 1945-65 and it turned up only 20 articles, not one of which specifically addressed the issue of Jewish quotas at Harvard and other Ivy League schools. The powerful Jews of that era had reached their positions by downplaying their origins–often including changes in their last names–and they were not about to use their positions overtly on behalf of their ethnic group. (This could be, incidentally, another parallel with today's Asians.) Those quotas were broken down, in my opinion, because of a general emphasis on real equality among Americans in those decades, which also produced the civil rights movement. The Second World War had been fought on those principles.
I could not agree more that the admissions policies of the last 30 years have produced a pathetic and self-centered elite that has done little if any good for the country as a whole.Jordan December 27, 2012 at 5:12 am GMT •
It is really refreshing to see in print what we all know by experience, but I have to wonder out loud, what is our higher purpose? Surely, you have a largely goal than merely exposing corruption in the academy. Lastly, I have to wonder out loud, how would the predicament of the working class fit into your analysis? I thank you for this scathing indictment of higher ed that has the potential to offer us a chillingly sobering assessment.Anonymous December 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm GMT •
This is why we need to reinstate a robust estate tax or "death tax" as conservatives derisively call it. To break the aristocracy described in this article. No less than Alexis de Tocqueville said that the estate tax is what made America great and created a meritocracy (which now is weaker and riddled with loopholes, thus the decline of America). Aristocracies dominated Europe for centuries because they did not tax the inheritance.Peter December 28, 2012 at 3:37 am GMT •
The day when I learned so many Chinese ruling class' offspring are either alumni or current students of Harvard (the latest example being Bo GuaGua), it was clear to me Harvard's admission process is corrupt. How would any ivy college determine "leadership" quality? Does growing up in a leader's family give you more innate leadership skills? Harvard obviously thinks so.
Therefore, it's not surprising that Ron said the following on this subject. " so many sons and daughters of top Chinese leaders attend college in the West ..while our own corrupt admissions practices get them an easy spot at Harvard or Stanford, sitting side by side with the children of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush." I hope world peace will be obtained within reach in this approach.
The chilling factor is a hardworking Chinese immigrant's child in the U.S. would have less chance of getting into ivies than these children of privileged.
It was also very disappointing to see another Asian parent whose children are HYP alumni saying too many Asians in ivies, despite the overwhelming evidence showing otherwise.Anonymous December 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm GMT •
Perhaps it's to be expected given the length of the article (over 22,000 words), but so many of the objections and "oversights" raised in the comments are in fact dealt with – in detail and with a great deal of respect – by Unz in the article itself.
For example, this:
National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are chosen based on per-state percentiles.
What this means is that NMS semifinalist numbers would be skewed _against_ a high-performing demographic group to the extent that group's demographics concentrate geographically. Mr. Unz acknowledges that geographical skewing of Jewish populations is huge. However, he ignores its effect on the NMS semifinalist numbers he uses as a proxy for academic performance on a _national_ level to predict equitable distributions at _national_ universities.
Please somebody explain to me how this oversight isn't fatal to his argument
because geographical skewing of Asian populations is also huge, yet we don't witness the same patterning in admissions data pertaining to Asian students. As the article states: "Geographical diversity would certainly hurt Asian chances since nearly half their population lives in just the three states of California, New York, and Texas."
Unz goes on to note: "Both groups [Jews and Asians] are highly urbanized, generally affluent, and geographically concentrated within a few states, so the 'diversity' factors considered above would hardly seem to apply; yet Jews seem to fare much better at the admissions office."
So there's your answer.
And aside from the fact that your "basic question" has a very simple answer, it's just ludicrous in any case to suggest that the validity of the entire article rests on a single data point.Anonymous December 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm GMT •
There is no doubt this is more of a political issue than the academic one. If only merit is considered then asian american would constitute as much as 50% of the student population in elite universities. Politically and socially this is not a desired outcome. Rationale for affirmative action for the african americans and hispanics is same – leaving a large population is in elite institution is not desired, it smacks of segregation.
But the core issue remains unsolved. Affirmative action resulted in higher representation but not the competitiveness of the blacks. I am afraid whites are going the similar path.Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 2:31 am GMT •
Anyone famliar with sociology and the research on social stratification knows that meritocracy is a myth; for example, if one's parents are in the bottom decile of the the income scale, the child has only a 3% chance to reach the top decile in his or her lifetime. In fact, in contrast to the Horatio Alger ideology, the U.S. has lower rates of upward mobility than almost any other developed country. Social classses exist and they tend to reproduce themselves.
The rigid class structure of the the U.S. is one of the reasons I support progressive taxation; wealth may not always be inherited, but life outcomes are largely determined by the class position of one's parents. In this manner, it is also a myth to believe that wealth is an individual creation;most financially successful individuals have enjoyed the benefits of class privilege: good and safe schools, two-parent families, tutors, and perhaps most important of all, high expecatations and positive peer socialization (Unz never mentions the importants of peeer groups, which data show exert a strong causal unfluence on academic performance).
And I would challenge Unz's assertion that many high-performing Asians come from impovershed backgrounds: many of them may undereport their income as small business owners. I believe that Asian success derives not only from their class background but their culture in which the parents have authority and the success of the child is crucual to the honor of the family. As they assimilate to the more individualist American ethos, I predict that their academic success will level off just as it has with Jews.Rosell December 29, 2012 at 8:00 am GMT •
1. HYP are private universities: the success of their alumni verifies the astuteness of their admissions policies.
2. Mr. Unz equates "merit" with "academic". I wonder how many CalTech undergrads would be, or were, admitted, to HYP (and vice-versa).
3. I would like ethnic or racial stats on, for several examples, class officers, first chair musicians*, job holders, actors^, team captains, and other equally valuable (in the sense of contributing to an entering freshman class) high-school pursuits.*By 17, I had been a union trombonist for three years; at Princeton, I played in the concert band, the marching band, the concert orchestra, several jazz ensembles, and the Triangle Club orchestra.^A high school classmate was John Lithgow, the superb Hollywood character actor. Harvard gave him a full scholarship – and they should have.Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm GMT •
What if we were one homogeneous ethnic group? What dynamic would we set up then?
I suggest taking the top 20% on straight merit, based on SAT scores, whether they crammed for them or not, and take the next 50% from the economically poorest of the qualified applicants (1500 – 1600 on the SAT?) by straight ethnicity percentages to directly reflect population diversity, and 30% at random to promote some humility, and try that for 20 years and see what effects are produced in the quality of our economic and political leadership. And of course, keep them all in the dark as to how they actually got admitted.
Maybe one effect is that more non-ivy league schools will be tapped by the top recruiters.Anonymous December 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm GMT •
"Surely the author must be aware that approximately half the children with "Jewish" names are not fully Jewish. Over half of the marriages west of the Mississippi are reportedly mixed. Many non-Jews have last names that start with "Gold". Just these two facts make the entire analysis ridiculous. Hillel does not keep statistics on how Jewish a student is, while many of Levys and Cohens are not actually Jewish. What would we call Amy Chua's daughters? Jewish or Asian? It is therefore impossible to tease out in a multi-racial society who is who."
Well, there are several arguments to be made. First, unless you are advocating that there has been a mass adoption of words like "Gold" in non-Jewish last names these past 10, 15 years, that argument sinks like a stone. Second, by selecting for specifically Jewish last names, intermarriage can be minimized but not eliminated. How many kids with the lastname "Goldstein" was a non-Jew in the last NMS? Not likely a lot of them.
Intermarriage can account for some fog, but not all, not by a longshot. Your entire argument reeks of bitter defensiveness. You have to come to grips that Jews have become like the old WASPs, rich, not too clever anymore, and blocking the path forward for brighter, underrepresented groups.
Sucks to be you.Jewess December 30, 2012 at 2:02 am GMT •
With all due respect, I was worried that I would get an answer that lazily points to the part of the essay that glosses over this point (which mind you I had combed through carefully before posting my question). However, I was hoping that in response someone might respond who had thought a little more carefully about the statistical fallacy in Unz's essay: that far-reaching statements about nation-wide academic performance can be drawn directly from per-state-percentiles.
Yes, Asian Americans, like Jews, have concentrations. But their geographical distributions differ. Yes, it might be possible that upon careful analysis of relative distributions of populations and NMS semifinalists in each state Unz might be able to draw a robust comparison: he might even come up with the same answer. The point that I made is that he doesn't even try.
Given the lengths Unz goes to calculate and re-calculate figures _based_on_ the assumption of _equal_ geographic distributions among Asians and Jews, it is - and I stand by this - a disservice to the reader that no effort (beyond hand-waving) is made to quantitatively show the assumption is at all justified.Anonymous January 2, 2013 at 2:49 am GMT •
The statistical analysis used in this article is flawed. The author uses last names to identify the religion (or birth heritage) of NMS semifinalists? Are you serious? My son was a (recent) National Merit Finalist and graduated from an ivy league university. His mother is Jewish; his father is not, thus he has a decidedly WASP surname and according to the author's methods he would have been classified as WASP. With the growing numbers of interfaith and mixed-race children how can anyone draw conclusions about race and religion in the meritocracy or even "IQ" argument? Anecdotally, my son reported that nearly half his classmates at his ivy league were at least one-quarter Jewish (one or more parents or one grandparent). To use last names (in lieu of actual demographic data) to make the conclusion that Jews are being admitted to ivies at higher rates than similarly qualified Asians is irresponsible.Anonymous January 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm GMT •
Essentially, the leftist forces in this country are trying to put the squeeze on white gentiles from both directions.
Affirmative action for underachieving minorities to take the place of white applicants.
Meritocracy for highly achieving Asians to push down white applicants, while never mentioning that full meritocracy would push out other minorities as well (that's not politically correct).
The whole thing has become more about political narrative than actual concern for justice. I want you to know that as an Asian man who graduated from Brown, I sympathize with you.Anonymous January 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm GMT •
Very interesting article. The case that East Asian students are significantly underrepresented and Jewish students overrepresented at Ivy League schools is persuasive, although not dispositive. The most glaring flaw in the analysis is the heavy reliance on performance on the PSAT (the discussion of the winners of the various Olympiad and Putnam contests has little informational value relevant to admissions, since those winners are the outliers on the tail of the distribution), which is a test that can be prepped for quite easily. Another flaw is the reliance on last names to determine ethnicity, which I doubt works well for Jews, although it probably works reasonably well for East Asians.
Unfortunately, the article is also peppered with (very) thinly supported (and implausible) claims like Asians are better at visuospatial skills, worse at verbal skills, and that the situation is reversed for Jews. This kind of claim strikes me as racial gobbledygook, and at least anecdotally belied if one considers the overrepresentation of Jews among elite chess players, both in the US and worldwide.
In any event, the fundamental point is that the PSAT (as is the case with all standardized tests) is a fixed target that can be studied for. Whether one chooses to put in 100s of hours studying for the PSAT is not, and should not be, the only criterion used for admissions.
I find the relative percentage of East Asians and Jews at schools like MIT (and also Caltech and Berkeley, although obviously those are in part distorted by the heavy concentration of East Asians in California) as compared to HYP as strong evidence that the admissions process at HYP advantages Jews and disadvantages East Asians.
I suspect, though, that the advantages Jews enjoy in the admissions process are unconscious and unintentional, whereas the disadvantages suffered by East Asians are quite conscious and intentional.Anonymous says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment January 21, 2013 at 5:03 am GMT •
The graph entitled "Asians Age 18-21 and Elite College Enrollment Trends, 1990-2011″ is misleading. It contrasts percentage of enrolled Asian students vs. the total number of the eligible Asian applicants. Therefore, it led to a flawed argument when comfusing number vs. percentage . For proof, if a similar graph of Hispanic student percentage vs. eligible applicants were drawn, it would appear that they were discriminated against as well. So would be the Black!Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 1:21 am GMT •
well, even a fair and objective admission criteria can have devastating consequences. here at IIT, we admit about 1 in 100. this has the same effect on student ethics, career options and so on. in fact, even worse, since IIT is an engineering college, the very definition of engineering in India has now distorted as serving international finance or distant masters in a globalized world. our own development problems remain unattended.
also, the above is a part of the current trend of knowledge concentration, i.e., a belief that only a few universities can impart us "true" knowledge or conduct "true" research.
regs, milind.Thos. January 27, 2013 at 3:39 am GMT
This is a very valuable article. It deals with a subject that has received too little attention. I believe that cultural bias in many cases outweighs the racial bias in the selection program. Time and again, I have seen young people with great potential being selected against because they are culturally different from what the selectors are looking for (often people who are like them culturally). The article's mentioning that students who participated in R.O.T.C., F.F.A. and/or 4H are often passed over is a good illustration.
It was interesting to note that the girl who wrote an essay on how she dealt with being caught in a drug violation found acceptance. I suspect that a student with similar academic qualifications who wrote an essay on the negative aspects of drug use would not be so lucky.
LMMJF January 29, 2013 at 10:36 am GMT •
comes news that Yale President Levin's successor will be Peter Salovey, tending to confirm Unz's observations regarding the grossly disproportionate number of Jewish presidents at Ivy League schools.Raymond February 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm GMT •
All very interesting but I am among the National Merit Scholars from California who has a not obviously Jewish name despite having two Jewish parents. It was changed in the 1950s due to anti-Semitism and an urge to assimilate. A lot of other names can be German or Jewish for example. I suspect in light of that and intermarriage cases where the mom is Jewish and the dad is not, not to mention a lot of Russian names, you may be undercounting Jews among other things. Although to be fair, you are probably also undercounting some half-Asians given most of those marriages have a white husband and Asian wife.Anonymous February 8, 2013 at 4:47 am GMT •
I'm an Asian HYP grad. I applaud this article for being so extremely well researched and insightful. It's an excellent indictment of the arbitrariness and cultural favoritism concentrated in the hands of a very small group of unqualified and ideologically driven admissions officers. And I hasten to add that I am a liberal Democratic, an avid Obama supporter, and a strong proponent of correcting income inequality and combating discrimination in the workplace.
To me, the most compelling exhibit was the one towards the end which showed the % relative representation of enrolled students to highly-qualified students (I wish the article labeled the exhibits). This chart shows that in the Ivies, which administer highly subjective admission criteria, Jews are overrepresented by 3-4x, but in the California schools and MIT, which administer more objective criteria, Jews are overrepresented by only 0-50%, a range that can easily be explained by methodology or randomness.
This single exhibit is unequivocal evidence to me of systematic bias in the Ivy League selection process, with Jews as the primary beneficiary. I tend to agree with the author this this bias is unlikely to be explicit, but likely the result of cultural favoritism, with a decision-making body that is heavily Jewish tending to favor the activities, accomplishments, personalities, etc. of Jewish applicants.
The author has effectively endorsed one of the core tenets of modern liberalism – that human beings tend to favor people who look and act like themselves. It's why institutions dominated by white males tend to have pro-white male biases. The only twist here is that the decision-making body in this instance (Ivy League admissions committees) is white-Jewish, not white-Gentile.
So if you're a liberal like me, let's acknowledge that everyone is racist and sexist toward their own group, and what we have here is Jews favoring Jews. We can say that without being anti-semitic, just like we can say that men favor men without being anti-male, or whites favor whites without being anti-white.Anonymous February 14, 2013 at 12:29 am GMT •
Just some puzzling statistics: In p. 32, second paragraph, it is mentioned "The Asian ratio is 63% slightly above the white ratio of 61 percent", then in the third paragraph "However, if we separate out the Jewish students, their
ratio turns out to be 435 percent, while the residual ratio for non-Jewish whites drops to just 28 percent, less than half of even the Asian figure", leading to the conclusion that "As a consequence, Asians appear under-represented relative to Jews by a factor of seven, while non-Jewish whites are by far the most under-represented group of all". Not very clear on the analysis!
Let me try to make a guess on the calculation of this statistics ratio: Assume that all groups in NMS will apply, with mA=Asians, mJ=Jews, mW=Whites be the respective numbers in NMS. Suppose that nA, nJ, and nW are those Asians, Jews, and Whites finally admitted. Then if the statistics ratio for G means ((nG)/(mG))/(mG/mNMS), where mNMS is the total number in the NMS, then the ratio will amplify the admission rate (nG/mG) by (mNMS/mG) times and becomes very large or very small for small group size. For example, for a single person group, being admitted will give a ratio as large as mNMS, and a zero for not being admitted. Why can this ratio be used for comparing under-representation between different groups?Al February 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm GMT •
Very well. Loved the fact that the author put a lot into reseaching this piece. But i would like to know how many asians who manage to attend this ivy schools end up as nobel leaurets and professors?? This demonstrates the driving force behind the testscore prowess of the asians-financial motivation. The author talks about asians being under-represented in the ivies but even though they manage to attend then what?? do they eventually become eintiens and great nobel leurets or great cheese players. Also what is the stats like for asian poets, novelist, actors.etc Pls focus should be given on improving other non-ivy schools since we have a lots of high SAT test scores than high running universities.Fred February 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm GMT •
Look at Nobel prizes, field medals and all kind of prizes and awards that recognize lifetime original academic contributions. Not many asians there yet. Perfect grades or SAT scores does not guarantee creativity, original thinking, intelectual curiosity or leadership. The problem is that those things are hard to measure and very easy to fake in an application.Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm GMT •
Loved all the research in the article and I am on board with the idea that moving in the tiger mother direction will kill creativity in young people. And I agree with the observation that our country's top leadership since 1970 or so has been underwhelming and dishonest especially in the financial services industry which draws almost entirely from the Ivies.
However, I am not so convinced that the over representation of Jewish students in the Ivy league is created by intentional bias on the part of Jewish professors or administrators at these institutions. Is it possible that admissions officers select Jewish applicants at such a high rate because they are more likely to actually attend? Once a family of four's income exceeds $160k the net price calculation for a year at Harvard jumps up pretty quickly. By the time you hit annual income of $200k you are looking at $43k/yr or $172k for 4 years. And at the lower income levels, even if a family has to pay just $15k a year, how will they do that if they are struggling to make it as it is? Do they want/does their student want to graduate with $60k worth of debt? Why not choose a great scholarship offer from a state university to pay nothing at all or go to community college for 2 years and then on to the state public institution?
There are many options for top students who can compete at the Ivy level. If I am an admissions officer looking to fill slots left over after minority admissions (ones poor enough to get the education for free and thus to say yes), legacies, athletic recruits, and the few super special candidates, wouldn't I choose those most likely to take me up on the admissions offer and protect my yield number? Might an easy way to get this done be to consult a demographic tool showing net worth by zip code? And to stack the yield odds a little more in my favor might I also choose families with Jewish appearing last names knowing they would be extremely likely to accept my offer since I obviously have recent history to show me that these families say yes to our prices? I think this is a much more plausible explanation then assuming some secret quota in force at these schools.
I am a conservative but I cannot believe Jewish liberals would go that far just to ensure more Jewish liberals attend their institutions or to keep conservative white non Jewish middle income students out. Dollars and cents and the perception a yield number conveys about the desirability of a school are what is at work here in my humble opinion.Anonymous March 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm GMT •
There is a very simple solution. There is no legal definition of race. Simply check the "Negro" (or "African-American" or whatever it is called today) box on the application form. You don't look it? Neither do many others, because your ancestry is really mixed. This may get you in. It won't hurt your chances, which are essentially zero before you check that box. At the very least, it will make it harder for the bigots in the admissions office to exercise their bigotry.Doom March 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm GMT •
"Look at Nobel prizes, field medals and all kind of prizes and awards that recognize lifetime original academic contributions. Not many asians there yet. Perfect grades or SAT scores does not guarantee creativity, original thinking, intelectual curiosity or leadership. The problem is that those things are hard to measure and very easy to fake in an application."
Last year, 75% of Ph.D candidates where foreign born, most of which were either Indian or Chinese. You should rely on statistics that are more current and relevant.Anonymous March 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm GMT •
Wow, another article on how corrupt higher eduation is.
Folks, open your eyes a bit. Online education is growing massively; sharing this growth are websites that write academic papers (even Ph.D. theses) on demands .these websites in toto have nearly as many customers as there are online students.
Harvard is unusual in that they actually banned students for cheating. Every investigation of cheating on campus shows it exists on a massive scale, and reports of half or more of a class cheating are quite common in the news.
The reason for this is simple: administrators care about retention, nothing else. Faculty have long since gotten the message. I've taught in higher education for nearly 25 years now, and I've seen many faculty punished for catching cheaters; not once has there been any reward.
Over 90% of remedial students fail to get a 2-year degree in three years, yet administration sees no issue with talking them into loans that will keep them in debt forever. Admin sees no issue with exploiting the vulnerable for personal gain, of course.
Here's what higher education is today: desperate people take out loans to go to college. They use the money to pay the tuition, and they use the money to buy academic papers because they really aren't there for college, they're there for the checks. Their courses are graded by poorly paid faculty (mostly adjuncts), again paid by those checks. The facutly are watched over by administrators to make sure there is no integrity to the system and again, admin is paid by those checks (in fact, most of the tuition money goes to administrators).
Hmm, what part of this could be changed that would put integrity back into the system?Bobby March 13, 2013 at 1:57 am GMT •
I think your sources who claim to be familiar with China are very wrong concerning entrance into Chinese universities, especially those so-called upper tier unis. It is well known amongst most Chinese students who take the gaokao, the all-or-nothing university entrance examination, bribes, guanxi (connections) and just being local, are often better indicators of who will be accepted.• Replies: @KA Same and some more in India.
In India it is politics of the gutter. Someone can get to medical school and engineering school even if he or she did not qualify,if scored say 3 points out of 1000 points as long as he or she belonged to lower caste of Hindu. The minimum requirements they have to fulfill is to pass the school leaving examinations with science subjects .A passing level is all that matters . The process then continues (in further education -master , training, post doctoral, and in job and in promotion)
While upper caste Hindu or Christian or Muslim may not be allowed despite scoring 999 out of 1000. It is possible and has happened.
Unfortunately the lower caste has not progressed much. Upper caste Hindus have misused this on many occasions and continue to do do by selling themselves as lower caste with legal loopholes .Muslim or Christians can't do that for they can't claim to be HinduThom March 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm GMT •
Ron Unz is a brilliant man. He created software that made him rich, and has written articles on all kinds of subjects. But apparently, Ron shares a problem with a very tiny number of humanity. Ron is one of those oddball characters, that, no matter where the truth leads him, he simply has to express it, regardless of political correctness. He did this in California with the debate on English,etc.
Compared to the administrators of these Ivy League Institutions, Ron is a mental giant, not even near being in the same class as these supposedly important but in reality, worthless beurocrats.Anonymous March 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm GMT •
If ten million Gentile whites and Asians changed their surname to Kaplan, Levy, Golden, Goldstein, Goldman, it obviously would throw a monkey wrench into the process of ethnic favoritism.
To paraphrase Unz - the "shared group biases" of Ivy League college admission officers that have "extreme flexibility and subjectivity", does harm white Gentiles and Asians, but only because the process lacks objective, meritocratic decision making, and in its place is a vile form of corrupt cronyism and favoritism.Michael N Moore March 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm GMT •
An Asian speaking here, I agree that America isn't a meritocracy, but has it ever been? It seems like this article's falling for the oldest trick in the book - looking back at the "good old days". I'd argue that now more than ever, the barrier to entry is lower than ever, and that every individual can rise to the occasion and innovate for the better. Places like Exeter (my alma mater) aren't just playgrounds for the rich - I'm not extremely wealthy, and neither were my classmates. Most of us were even on financial aid. Don't just point fingers at institutions to account for shortcomings - if you had the stroke of fortune to be born in a nation with such opportunity, with hard work and CREATIVITY and INNOVATION, anything is possible.
Has anyone thought about why the test-prep business has expanded so much? It's to feed into the very same system that you're complaining about. Be the change you wish to see in the world, not a victim of it. To many of the Asians out there, I'd say get over your 4.0 GPA and 2400 SAT score and be unique for once.
To put Unz's findings in social and historical perspective, it is important to understand where Jewish academics come from. The Eastern European Jews who immigrated to Northeast US in the Twentieth Century ran into an immigrant world dominated by Catholics and particularly Irish Catholics. The Irish, who were as "hungry" as the Jews got control over government and its ancillary economic benefits. I wasn't there at the time, but I