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Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

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

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


Introduction


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

Jesse's Café American, Audacious Oligarchy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Robert Johnson noted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What exactly is neoliberal oligarchy ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All modern democracies should be viewed as oligarchies

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

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

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

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

Quiet coup

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

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

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

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

Becoming a Banana Republic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial oligarchy as an key part of modern neoliberal elite

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

As Adair Turner noted in The Consequences of Money Manager Capitalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finance is a form of modern warfare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The predatory nature of financial oligarchy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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


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[Sep 30, 2020] Angry Bear " The 2020 Presidential and Senate nowcast- not a good week for Biden

Sep 30, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. September 29, 2020 6:30 pm

    Yeah I think it was an okay week for Biden because we are one week closer to November 3. Not seeing any dramatic changes and there are very few undecideds. Barring something like either candidate dying of a stroke or heart attack, tonight is probably the MIC's last best chance to derail Biden's victory march and he has no control over it. If Biden does not stumble badly it is going to be very hard for the MIC to drag him down like he did with Hillary.

  2. Likbez , September 30, 2020 12:12 am

    Instead of those maps I would like to have a map that provides some level of understanding of positioning of key groups of the US neoliberal elite (one candidate, neutrality/both candidates as there is not real difference for them) in each state.

    We can probably distinguish between at least five key groups with distinct, albeit overlapping interests as for the future direction of the country (for example more or less neoliberal globalization, and the desirable level of hostility in relations with China)

    1. MIC
    1.1. Intelligence agencies
    1.2. Defense contractors
    1.3 Officer corp
    2.FIRE sector
    2.1 Large banks
    2.2 Insurance companies
    2.3.Credit card mafia
    3. Neo-liberal tech mafia
    3.1 Internet/social sites giants
    3.2 Software giants (actually intersects with 3.1 -- for example Microsoft is both)
    4. Traditional manufacturing
    4.1 Oil/gas
    4.2 Heavy machinery
    4.3 Chemical industry
    4.4. Big pharma
    4.5. Agro business
    5. Entertainment industry including MSM

    NOTE: I am not sure the MIC is pro-Trump and anti-Biden. Biden has a proven record as a staunch militarist and neocon, so why would they prefer one over another ? In 2016 key two intelligence agencies were definitely pro-Hillary (who was a known chickenhawk ) with NSA and DIA probably on the fence, but while intelligence agencies are important part of MIC they are not all MIC which is a much bigger and complex entity.

    But, for example, tech giants are firmly in neoliberal Dems camp and IMHO will stay in it. So they will definitly support Biden in 2020 and that will influence the voting results in state where they dominate political machinery.

    Other states are, for example, dominated by credit card and Insurance companies like Delaware with Biden often called a senator from MBNA. ( https://www.nationalreview.com/2008/08/senator-mbna-byron-york/ )

    Similar Lieberman was called a senator from General Dynamics, and Schumer -- from Goldman Sachs ( https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/why-did-chuck-schumer-hire-an-ex-goldman-sachs-lobbyist/ )

[Sep 28, 2020] Ruling class consists of two strata: (a) the highest stratum; and (b) second stratum. The highest stratum is the core of the ruling class but it could not sufficiently lead and direct the society unless the second stratum helps.

Sep 28, 2020 | dergipark.org.tr

Formation of the ruling classes has a close relation with the level of civilization and the type of society. Ruling class under every condition try to reproduce itself particularly by domination on political forces like power, wealth and the ruling class tends to be come hereditary. In fact, descents of ruling class members have a high life chances to have the traits necessary to be a ruling class member (Mosca 1939, pp. 60-61). In general, prior to democracy, membership of ruling class was not only de facto but also de jure. In democracy, de jure transfer of political possession to descendants of ruling class members impossible and not legitimized but it is now de facto.

According to Mosca, historically, ruling class try to justify its existence and policies by using some universal moral principles, superiority etc., lately, scientific theory and knowledge like Social Darwinism, division of labor is also employed for the same purposes. Mosca particularly rejects these two theses to use in political purposes. To Mosca, at a certain level of civilization, ruling classes do not justify their power exclusively by de facto possession of it, but try to find a moral and legal basis for it. This legal and moral basis or principles on which the power of the political class rests is called "political formula" by Mosca. The formula has a unique structure in all societies.

"lTjhe political formula must be based on the special beliefs and the strongest sentiments of the current social group or at least upon the beliefs and sentiments of the particular portion of that group which hold political preeminence"(Mosca 1939, p.71,72).

In fact ruling class like Pareto's elite strata consist of two strata: (a) the highest stratum; and (b) second stratum. The highest stratum is the core of the ruling class but it could not sufficiently lead and direct the society unless the second stratum helps. Second stratum is the larger than the higher stratum in number and has all the capacities of leadership in the country. Even autocratic systems do have it. Not only political but also any type of social organization needs the second stratum in order to be possible (Mosca 1939, p.404, 430).

The members of the ruling class are recruited almost entirely from the dominant, majority group in the society. If the society has a number of minorities and if this rule is not followed due to weaknesses of dominant group, political system can meet serious political crisis. The same thing occurs when there are considerable differences between in the culture, and in customs of the ruling class and subject classes (Mosca 1939, p.l05,106-7).

Weaknesses of dominant group in society and isolation of lower classes from the ruling classes can lead to political upheaval in the country and as a result of this upheaval subject classes' representatives can have places in the ruling class. Because when isolation takes place, another ruling class emerges among the subject classes that often hostile to the old ruling class (Mosca 1939, pp. 107- 8). Furthermore, due to reciprocal isolation of classes, the character of upper classes change, they become weak in bold and aggressiveness and richer in "soft" remissive individuals. On the same track, when there is fragmentation in the society, new groups form and each one of them makes up of its own leaders and followers. In fact, revolutions are another source of replacement of ruling class (Mosca 1939, p.163, 199).

When Mosca compares the political systems, he says that communist and socialist societies would beyond any doubt managed by officials and he sees these regimes as utopia. On democracy, he says, although gradual increase of universal suffrage, actual power has remained partly in wealthiest and the middle classes. At the same time, for Mosca, middle class is necessary for democracy, and when middle class declines, politic regimes in democratic countries turns to a plutocratic dictatorship, or bureaucratic dictatorship. (Mosca 1939, p.391).

According to Mosca, ruling class has a responsive character to social change in the society and there is a close relation between level of civilization and character of ruling classes. According to these two complementary proposition, it can be said that ruling class is subject of social change rather than actor of it. For example, change in division of labor from lower to higher and change in political force from military to wealth have changed the type of state from federal to bureaucratic state (Mosca 1939, p. 81, 83 ). There it seems that Mosca admits a linear social change in history, as opposite to Pareto.

As seen, Mosca's theory is basically based on organized minorities' superiority over unorganized majority. This organized minority consists of ruling class, but for Mosca it is not necessarily mean that always interest of ruling class and subject classes are different. To him ,in contrast they coincide many times. He saw the future of socialist system by saying that it will be governed by officials.

This feature of socialist system is well documented by Milovon Dijilas in his work: New Classes. But Mosca failed to see that one day, majority will also be able to organize. As C. W. Mills pointed put, democratic western societies have experienced important transformations: (1) from the organized minority and unorganized majority to relatively unorganized minority and organized majority, and (2) from the elite state to an organized state.( Mills 1965, pp. 161-162).

Therefore minorities and elites in today's society are less powerful than majorities. Elites have relatively lost their privileges, and more importantly, their monopoly over society.

[Sep 28, 2020] Peter Turchin Intra-Elite Competition- A Key Concept for Understanding the Dynamics of Complex Societies by Peter Turchin

Pictures removes. See the original for full text.
Notable quotes:
"... Elites are a small proportion of the population (on the order of 1 percent) who concentrate social power in their hands (see my previous post and especially its discussion in the comments that reveal the complex dimensions of this concept). In the United States, for example, they include (but are not limited to) elected politicians, top civil service bureaucrats, and the owners and managers of Fortune 500 companies (see Who Rules America? ). ..."
"... As individual elites retire, they are replaced from the pool of elite aspirants . There are always more elite aspirants than positions for them to occupy. Intra-elite competition is the process that sorts aspirants into successful elites and aspirants whose ambition to enter the elite ranks is frustrated. Competition among the elites occurs on multiple levels. ..."
"... Excessive elite competition, on the other hand, results in increasing social and political instability. The supply of power positions in a society is relatively, or even absolutely, inelastic. For example, there are only 435 U.S. Representatives, 100 Senators, and one President. A great expansion in the numbers of elite aspirants means that increasingly large numbers of them are frustrated, and some of those, the more ambitious and ruthless ones, turn into counter-elites . In other words, masses of frustrated elite aspirants become breeding grounds for radical groups and revolutionary movements. ..."
"... Intense intra-elite competition, however, leads to the rise of rival power networks, which increasingly subvert the rules of political engagement to get ahead of the opposition. Instead of competing on their own merits, or the merits of their political platforms, candidates increasingly rely on "dirty tricks" such as character assassination (and, in historical cases, literal assassination). As a result, excessive competition results in the unraveling of prosocial, cooperative norms (this is a general phenomenon that is not limited to political life). ..."
"... Because the supply of power positions is relatively inelastic, most of the action is on the demand side. Simply put, it is the excessive expansion of elite aspirant numbers (or "elite overproduction") that drives up intra-elite competition ..."
"... There are two main "pumps" producing aspirants for elite positions in America: education and wealth. On the education side, of particular importance are the law degree (for a political career) and the MBA (to climb the corporate ladder). Over the past four decades, according to the American Bar Association, the number of lawyers tripled from 400,000 to 1.2 million. The number of MBAs conferred by business schools over the same period grew six-fold (details in Ages of Discord ). ..."
"... It's contradictory to bemoan the spread of the 'neoliberal' ethos, and simultaneously talk about elite fragmentation. The evidence Turchin marshalls for elite fragmentation is basically the bimodal distribution of lawyers' incomes, and the degree of legislative polarisation. He ignores the much wider evidence of capitalist unity and concentration in support of 'neoliberal' policies. ..."
"... while elites have colluded to capture the political process we might not expect them to all agree on what to do with the political process once it has been captured. ..."
"... There is no intra-capitalist unity. Some elites shouldn't even be called capitalists because the monopoly power they seek completely eliminates the free market. Other elites who want to control the political process do want a free market. They are in conflict. ..."
"... The concept of "ecological overshoot and collapse" applies to human ecology too. We're certainly in overshoot, so some form of collapse is coming (even if a technological miracle occurred, like cheap energy from nuclear fusion, it would only postpone the day of reckoning). ..."
"... As to "intra-elite competition", it is well underway in much of the upper middle class and the 1%, according to the statistics documented by Peter Turchin above. But it is just revving up among the super-elites – the billionaire class, with Trump being the first really visible eruption. ..."
"... When an imperial economy can longer expand easily, all of Peter's dynamics come into play with greater force, not just the elite competition, but the increasing exploitation of the common people in order to maintain elite expansion. The latter has been going on since Reagan in the form of escalating economic inequality. = popular immiseration. ..."
"... I liked the intra-elite discussions in "Ages of Discord" and it made me an even more strident believer in term limits. At least moving people out of the Congress after eight years will "free up" some space for other elite aspirants. ..."
"... Political elites are the proxies PT uses as evidence for his theory, but as he himself says, "American power holders are wealth holders". And I believe the definition I have effectively used here, "owners of capital", is consistent with his concept of elites or magnates in Secular Cycles -- a book I admire tremendously. ..."
"... Your average Congressman is not as powerful today as he was 100 years ago. Cabinet members used to do something of substance and now act more like front men, while policy making is centralized in the White House. You have more and more aspirants for fewer and fewer positions of substance. That ramps up intensity of competition even more than just over-production of JDs and MBAs. ..."
"... Agreed, the overproduction of elites developed in parallel with the change in social norms that extolled competition and downplayed cooperation. But these two dynamics may be causally related -- it's not a pure coincidence that the two trends developed in parallel. ..."
"... It seems to me that one of the most important factors in intra-elite competition, is the degree of skill of the frustrated aspirants. If there are lots of people who want to be elite but can't crack the system to get in, that may not be a problem if those frustrated aspirants aren't particularly good at organization, motivation, leadership, etc. ..."
"... If, on the other hand, the frustrated aspirants are nearly as good at this sort of thing as those actually in power, and especially if they are better at it than the incumbents (who somehow through tradition or family connections or what-have-you remain on top), then you have a much better chance of the frustrated aspirants being able to kick up trouble. ..."
"... I wonder if any of the commentators here have considered that the [neoliberal] cabal now in power in the US (not elsewhere) are not in power to "take power" except for a temporary period. They don't want to run the federal government, they want to destroy it, except for the police state and the military. ..."
Dec 30, 2016 | peterturchin.com

elites , norms , social change , structural-demographic 72 Comments

Intra-elite competition is one of the most important factors explaining massive waves of social and political instability, which periodically afflict complex, state-level societies. This idea was proposed by Jack Goldstone nearly 30 years ago . Goldstone tested it empirically by analyzing the structural precursors of the English Civil War, the French Revolution, and seventeenth century's crises in Turkey and China. Other researchers (including Sergey Nefedov, Andrey Korotayev, and myself) extended Goldstone's theory and tested it in such different societies as Ancient Rome, Egypt, and Mesopotamia; medieval England, France, and China; the European revolutions of 1848 and the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917; and the Arab Spring uprisings. Closer to home, recent research indicates that the stability of modern democratic societies is also undermined by excessive competition among the elites (see Ages of Discord for a structural-demographic analysis of American history). Why is intra-elite competition such an important driver of instability?

Elites are a small proportion of the population (on the order of 1 percent) who concentrate social power in their hands (see my previous post and especially its discussion in the comments that reveal the complex dimensions of this concept). In the United States, for example, they include (but are not limited to) elected politicians, top civil service bureaucrats, and the owners and managers of Fortune 500 companies (see Who Rules America? ).

As individual elites retire, they are replaced from the pool of elite aspirants . There are always more elite aspirants than positions for them to occupy. Intra-elite competition is the process that sorts aspirants into successful elites and aspirants whose ambition to enter the elite ranks is frustrated. Competition among the elites occurs on multiple levels. Thus, lower-ranked elites (for example, state representatives) may also be aspirants for the next level (e.g., U.S. Congress), and so on, all the way up to POTUS.

Moderate intra-elite competition need not be harmful to an orderly and efficient functioning of the society; in fact, it's usually beneficial because it results in better-qualified candidates being selected. Additionally, competition can help weed out incompetent or corrupt office-holders. However, it is important to keep in mind that the social effects of elite competition depend critically on the norms and institutions that regulate it and channel it into such societally productive forms.

Excessive elite competition, on the other hand, results in increasing social and political instability. The supply of power positions in a society is relatively, or even absolutely, inelastic. For example, there are only 435 U.S. Representatives, 100 Senators, and one President. A great expansion in the numbers of elite aspirants means that increasingly large numbers of them are frustrated, and some of those, the more ambitious and ruthless ones, turn into counter-elites . In other words, masses of frustrated elite aspirants become breeding grounds for radical groups and revolutionary movements.

Another consequence of excessive competition among elite aspirants is its effect on the social norms regulating politically acceptable conduct. Norms are effective only as long as the majority follows them, and violators are punished. Maintaining such norms is the job for the elites themselves.

Intense intra-elite competition, however, leads to the rise of rival power networks, which increasingly subvert the rules of political engagement to get ahead of the opposition. Instead of competing on their own merits, or the merits of their political platforms, candidates increasingly rely on "dirty tricks" such as character assassination (and, in historical cases, literal assassination). As a result, excessive competition results in the unraveling of prosocial, cooperative norms (this is a general phenomenon that is not limited to political life).

Death of Gaius Gracchus (François Topino-Lebrun) Source

Intra-elite competition, thus, has a nonlinear effect on social function: moderate levels are good, excessive levels are bad. What are the social forces leading to excessive competition?

Because the supply of power positions is relatively inelastic, most of the action is on the demand side. Simply put, it is the excessive expansion of elite aspirant numbers (or "elite overproduction") that drives up intra-elite competition. Let's again use the contemporary America as an example to illustrate this idea (although, I emphasize, similar social processes have operated in all complex large-scale human societies since they arose some 5,000 years ago).

There are two main "pumps" producing aspirants for elite positions in America: education and wealth. On the education side, of particular importance are the law degree (for a political career) and the MBA (to climb the corporate ladder). Over the past four decades, according to the American Bar Association, the number of lawyers tripled from 400,000 to 1.2 million. The number of MBAs conferred by business schools over the same period grew six-fold (details in Ages of Discord ).

On the wealth side we see a similar expansion of numbers, driven by growing inequality of income and wealth over the last 40 years. The proverbial "1 percent" becomes "2 percent", then "3 percent" For example, today there are five times as many households with wealth exceeding $10 million (in 1995 dollars), compared to 1980. Some of these wealth-holders give money to candidates, but others choose to run for political office themselves.

Elite overproduction in the US has already driven up the intensity of intra-elite competition. A reasonable proxy for escalating political competition here is the total cost of election for congressional races, which has grown (in inflation-adjusted dollars) from $2.4 billion in 1998 to $4.3 billion in 2016 ( Center for Responsive Politics ). Another clear sign is the unraveling of social norms regulating political discourse and process that has become glaringly obvious during the 2016 presidential election.

Analysis of past societies indicates that, if intra-elite competition is allowed to escalate, it will increasingly take more violent forms. A typical outcome of this process is a massive outbreak of political violence, often ending in a state collapse, a revolution, or a civil war (or all of the above).

... .. ..

72 Comments
  1. Gene Anderson December 30, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Works for China too. One can see two main sources: The Imperial family, which with vast-scale polygyny grew inordinately in a short time; and the examination system, producing more and more successful candidates over time (this was a problem mainly after Song greatly expanded the exams). The poor Imperial family deserves some pity–toward the end of a dynasty you had all these 13th cousins 10 times removed starving to death on the Russian frontier. (I exaggerate only slightly. By the end of the empire in 1911, there were tens of thousands of Imperial relatives.) Naturally the competition got pretty fierce late in the dynasties. When the empire thrived, the system could blot all these people up, and find places for them. When the empire was going down hill, or conflicted, it meant trouble.

  2. pseudoerasmus December 30, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I believe Peter Turchin is deeply mistaken about elite competition in modern societies. I repeat my comment on intra-elite competition from a previous post:

    In an agrarian society, elite wealth was based on land, more specifically, on extracting a fraction of the output of the commoners working the land. When there was a demographic crisis (land-labour ratio fell and immiseration set in), elite incomes fell, and elites sought to maintain their lifestyles by increasing the rate of extraction. But squeezing peasants even more when there's already a demographic crisis only exacerbates popular immiseration. At some point the only way for elites to increase, or even just preserve, their incomes was at the expense of other elites. Thus you have elite fragmentation and internecine competition. And thus sociopolitical instability. Makes a lot of sense. It fits a lot of historical cases.

    However, this theory makes no sense in modern industrial societies.

    (1) Wealth is no longer fixed in the long run. Modern economies reliably grow at 1-2% rates. Much of that growth is concentrated at the top, even when measured income inequality is relatively low. So the competitive pressure within elites is much less than in any agrarian society governed by Malthusian-Ricardian-Brennerian-Goldstone-Turchin cycles.

    (2) Besides, in a modern society, you need *more*, not less, intra-elite cooperation (a) in order to increase economic inequality; (b) in order for the elites to capture a greater share of the economic growth; (c) in order for capitalists reduce the bargaining power of labour; and (d) in order for elites to capture the state.

    In fact, politics in a modern society is a pretty small part of the field in which elites can play compared with anti-competitive practices -- i.e., collusion, mergers, monopolies, trusts, and other ways of reducing competition and concentrating power in the supply of goods and the demand for labour. These are all acts of elite cooperation. Capitalists are, right now, in unprecedented unity. They agree on unions, immigration, wages, trade, regulations, etc. That unity is necessary to generate the inequality in the first place.

    Therefore, state capture and rent-seeking are now *cooperative*: conspiracies to rig the rules and increase markups against the public interest require collusion. Owners of one mobile telephony operator don't have to clash with the owners of another mobile telephony operator: they can band together to lobby the government. Compared with the rise of monopoly concentration, elites wrangling over Trump or Brexit is a sideshow.

    Almost everybody who is concerned about rising inequality implicitly recognises this: from Krugman to Stiglitz to Milanovic to even Turchin's friends at Evonomics, they have argued that inequality stems in great measure from anti-competitive practises.

    It's contradictory to bemoan the spread of the 'neoliberal' ethos, and simultaneously talk about elite fragmentation. The evidence Turchin marshalls for elite fragmentation is basically the bimodal distribution of lawyers' incomes, and the degree of legislative polarisation. He ignores the much wider evidence of capitalist unity and concentration in support of 'neoliberal' policies.

    • Fernando E.Mora December 31, 2016 at 4:05 am

      I think you must read Fred Hirsch's "Social Limits to Growth" to understand the difference between the always possible growth in MATERIALl wealth and the (no-)growth of POSITIONAL wealth in which Peter's point can also be solidly (and perhaps more accurately) based.

      • pseudoerasmus December 31, 2016 at 8:16 am

        I would certainly agree that if economic growth were zero or negative, PT's elite competition theory might make more sense. Which is why I think SD theory is still quite applicable to many contemporary developing countries, such as those in the Arab world. Also, the collapse into civil wars in many African countries in the 1980s and 1990s was preceded by a large expansion of educated people at the same time economic growth more or less came to a halt.

    • Peter Turchin January 1, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      This comment requires a lengthier rebuttal, but for now just two points:

      1. In the blog post I specifically used the political elites to illustrate my major point. Your response, unfortunately, is a standard economic one that measures everything in money. As I said, I will probably have to write another post to explain why this is wrong-headed.

      2. Why do you assume that the "capitalist class" will be automatically able to cooperate to impose their will on the rest of the society? There is, after all, the problem of collective action.

      • Stephen Morris January 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        Speaking as a former investment banker involved in the privatisation of public assets – who has seen at first hand generations of politicians captured by business interests – I suggest that anyone with direct experience of this matter would realise that any collective action problem faced by the capitalist class in negligible in comparison which the collective action problem faced by citizens under the non-democratic system of purely "elective" goverrnment (i.e. "government-by-politicians').

      • pseudoerasmus January 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        Re #1 -- No, I do not measure everything in money, so please do not write a whole post as though that's what I argued. I said that elites now *collude* to capture the political process, which they do. They don't need to compete for political positions because they cooperate in capturing it. Goldman Sachs has access to the Treasury department whether the party in power is Republican or Democratic. (Besides, you also use some money proxies for intra-elite competition/cooperation: the distribution of lawyers' salaries, or the Great Merger Movement.)

        Re #2 -- I do not assume it. The evidence is overwhelming that concentration is increasing, markups are rising, monopoly power is expanding. All of that is evidence of intra-capitalist cooperation and unity.

      • pseudoerasmus January 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm

        Peter Turchin frequently cites the work of Martin Gilens, who has repeatedly shown that public policy largely reflects the preferences of the very richest of US society. That's not elite competition. That's elite cooperation in capturing of the political process. The problem with Turchin's framework is that he sees even modern societies through the Roman framework of Optimates v. Populares.

        • edwardturner January 2, 2017 at 11:52 am

          pseudoerasmus, I pretty much agree with what you say. However, while elites have colluded to capture the political process we might not expect them to all agree on what to do with the political process once it has been captured.

          There is no intra-capitalist unity. Some elites shouldn't even be called capitalists because the monopoly power they seek completely eliminates the free market. Other elites who want to control the political process do want a free market. They are in conflict.

          The common thread here is the presence of powerful elites who cooperate. Historically the monopoly power elites have cooperated without much resistence but the free market elites have begun to cooperate against them and have had success in the election of Donald Trump.

          If it is people power we want then the general trend will look like cooperation as whoever wins the conflict will be cooperating economic elites.

    • Steve Roth January 2, 2017 at 9:41 am

      I question whether there is a qualitative difference today. It's still about the claims embodied by "wealth," and the power those claims impart to wealthholders. The mechanisms are different, but the wealth/power relationships are pretty much the same.

      The crux, in my view, is concentration of wealth (hence power). Which has the virtue of being nicely quantifiable, in concept if not necessarily in practice.

      My favorite graph of this:

      http://www.asymptosis.com/household-net-worth-by-quintile-62-09-be-prepared-to-scroll.html

      As concentration increases and the "elite" gets smaller, the rope-ladder hanging down from the elite gets shorter and rattier. eg: The 90% were always excluded. Now the 2%-10% are. That change could result in a different type or intensity of social conflict.

      On the other hand that intra-"elite" competition might just be a by-product and analytical distraction. The elite vs "the rest" is the issue, and all we need to look at is the size of the elite. That could be nicely encapsulated in a "wealth concentration" metric.

      Problem is getting a consistent measure of that wealth concentration. Hell, the U.S. national accounts didn't even tally wealth until 2006, and still don't even touch on wealth distribution.

      http://evonomics.com/economists-dont-know-think-wealth-profits/

      Assembling such a (validly consistent) measure across historical societies would be tough. Atkinson, Wolff, Piketty&Co, etc. have managed over recent decades to assemble data on richer countries going back a century or so. Perhaps one could do similar for the Roman Empire, at least roughly? But across many societies and millennia? Tough.

      • pseudoerasmus January 2, 2017 at 10:39 am

        In agrarian societies, the wealth that conferred status -- land and state offices -- were fixed in the long run. In modern societies, the supply of status positions is not fixed and is in fact highly elastic.

        • Steve Roth January 2, 2017 at 11:10 am

          Yes the quantity of wealth was fixed. But I'm talking about the concentration of wealth and power. Compare a society in which the 1% has all the wealth and (real) power, compared to one where it's more broadly distributed among the 10%.

          IOW, whaddaya mean by "elite," buster?

          • >the supply of status positions is not fixed and is in fact highly elastic

          Totally agree. Increasing wealth does not mean that the quantity of status positions is increasing. The absolute or percentage count of "the elite" could shrink (wealth could concentrate) even as wealth increases.

          Increasing wealth might be presumed to give more entree to aspirants than a fixed-wealth scenario, but I just have no idea whether that is actually the case.

  3. Dick Burkhart December 30, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    You claim that "wealth is no longer fixed in the long run", yet that claim is the most fundamental fallacy of contemporary economics. "Limits-to-growth" is not a choice but a fact of science. Already the global economy is stagnating, mostly for this reason, and it is headed toward contraction sometime during the coming generation, despite all the hype about new technologies.

    The concept of "ecological overshoot and collapse" applies to human ecology too. We're certainly in overshoot, so some form of collapse is coming (even if a technological miracle occurred, like cheap energy from nuclear fusion, it would only postpone the day of reckoning).

    As to "intra-elite competition", it is well underway in much of the upper middle class and the 1%, according to the statistics documented by Peter Turchin above. But it is just revving up among the super-elites – the billionaire class, with Trump being the first really visible eruption. In fact, Donald Trump's election is the perfect example of how this competition plays out once it hits the main stage. So don't confuse tactical cooperation among increasingly greedy factions of the elites with the kind of yawning political fractures that are now opening up as unscrupulous opportunists like Trump discover that they can exploit a disgruntled part of the populace to "trump" the more conventional elites. And as "limits-to-growth" blocks the customary relief valve of expansion, then elite exploitation and popular revolt will increase until something there is some kind of show stopper.

      • Dick Burkhart December 30, 2016 at 8:29 pm

        Like most economists, you've got it totally backward: The non-material part is completely dependent on cheap resources, especially cheap, and compatible ecosystem conditions. Those resources only seem to disappear from the economy, because they are so cheap. But, as in the rest of nature, all that complexity comes from the surplus of energy and other resources.

        After all, we could not live without good air. Yet it costs nothing most of the time, so doesn't even enter into conventional economics.

        • pseudoerasmus December 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm

          Well, Dick Burkhart, as I said earlier, even if ecological exhaustion and collapse were coming, (a) that is not related to current economic problems; and (b) it's also not part of Peter Turchin's diagnosis.

          • Dick Burkhart December 31, 2016 at 9:19 pm

            In fact climate change is already taking an increasing economic toll – from extreme weather events, ocean acidification, desertification in some areas, etc. These costs could increase rapidly if certain tipping points are reached.

            But, yes, the larger immediate effects are coming from resource depletion, especially the peaking of conventional oil in 2006. Unconventional oil, like tar sands and fracked oil, is much more expensive, hence produces less wealth, less economic growth. Even much of the newer conventional oil is less productive, as it is often harder to find or requires tertiary methods of recovery. Similar dynamics apply to coal, natural gas, and many other resources, except that depletion may not be as far advanced as for oil. Economic growth has slowed dramatically even in China, despite their phony growth numbers, and I expect increasing political turmoil there, too, over the next decade or two.

            When an imperial economy can longer expand easily, all of Peter's dynamics come into play with greater force, not just the elite competition, but the increasing exploitation of the common people in order to maintain elite expansion. The latter has been going on since Reagan in the form of escalating economic inequality. = popular immiseration.

      • Paolo Ghirri December 31, 2016 at 2:34 pm

        "current problems have nothing to do with anything ecological or resource constraints."

        yes they have: for a pre industrial civilization what is vital is energy surplus, energy surplus that came from agriculture production. so as an example 18 have to work to produce food and 2 can live as soldier, priest and so on.

        for a industrial civilization energy surplus came from oil. from 1973 to 2016 the energy surplus pro-capita is falling: in a developed country the pro capita surplus now is 75% lower than in 1973.

        the gap is covered with debt. so in the short run we have: 1) energy price escalation (in real term the 2016 average oil price is the double of 2000) 2) agricultural stress: more frequent spike in food price, combined with food shortfall in the most vulnerable country (arab spring: food price in 2011 are 229% higher than the 2000-2004 average) 3) energy sprawl: investment in energy infrascructure will absorb rising proportion 4) economic stagnation: fail to recover from setbacks as robustly as it has in the past 5) inflation
        with the single exception of inflation (but if we check only necessary to live item i'm not so sure) all of the above features has already become firnly established in recent years, wich underlines the point that energy-surplus economy has reached its tipping point

  4. Terry Lowman December 30, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    The reason the elites cooperate is to get a leg up in the competition. It recently occurred to me that the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest families gives people a rank, a competitor. Without the list, one might be complacent with a mere $3 billion, but knowing others have tens of billions, makes you a "just ran". Better tune up your capitalist machine so you can outshine everyone else, right?

    • Peter Turchin January 1, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      The supply of "status" is by its nature inelastic. There is only one top person in anything, and only ten in the Top 10.

      • edwardturner January 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

        True but people who cannot be the king of general things will be happy to be known as the king of their specialism.

        The more specialisms that exist for people to get to the top of the more stable a society will be.

      • edwardturner January 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        you could say that the king of the military is the king of kings but in the age of nuclear buttons it's simply boring. you can't blow anything up without getting blown up yourself. you can use non-nuclear military power but non-nuclear power in the age we are living in only wins you the war, it doesn't win you the war and the peace. to win the peace today you need to be king of something other than the military.

  5. Rick Derris December 30, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I liked the intra-elite discussions in "Ages of Discord" and it made me an even more strident believer in term limits. At least moving people out of the Congress after eight years will "free up" some space for other elite aspirants. I don't care if your politics are on the side of Strom Thurmond or Ted Kennedy – both were in the Congress for far too long.

    Of course, term limits did nothing to keep a 2nd Cuomo out of the NY Governor's mansion, but at least it means we only have to watch one Cuomo on CNN.

  6. Rich December 31, 2016 at 1:09 am

    Pseudoerasmus, good arguments. The consolidation of money, as well as markets, is very large right now and it does seem like that would take coordination of an ownership class or at least similar lines of thinking among those elites. But, are we talking about a different set of elites? There may be different populations of elites: capitalist and political. Personally, I think the proxies Peter use describe a political elite population rather than a capitalist elite population. The two combine for many, but there may be distinct capitalist and political populations with each having distinct behavior patterns. The worrisome insight for me is that it's the political elites that end up bringing us to our knees.

    • pseudoerasmus December 31, 2016 at 7:43 am

      "Personally, I think the proxies Peter use describe a political elite population rather than a capitalist elite population.

      Political elites are the proxies PT uses as evidence for his theory, but as he himself says, "American power holders are wealth holders". And I believe the definition I have effectively used here, "owners of capital", is consistent with his concept of elites or magnates in Secular Cycles -- a book I admire tremendously.

      Note also that PT uses the Great Merger Movement in US history (1895-1905) as evidence of the beginnings of elite cooperation. Well, another wave of capital concentration has existed now for decades, since the 1980s.

      • Rich Howard December 31, 2016 at 4:40 pm

        Political elites may be more likely to be rich, but the rich is a larger population with only a fraction politically aspirant. PT'S model relates political aspirants to political breakdown. And because it works so well, in so many cases, it suggests there is a more universal social process at work than rich/poor, unemployment rates, too many weapons, resource depletion etc.

  7. Jason December 31, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I like the theory but isn't there more to the story. On one side you have elite aspirant overproduction. On the other side, you have increasing concentration of power -- the iron law of oligarchy (in the sense of this wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy )

    Your average Congressman is not as powerful today as he was 100 years ago. Cabinet members used to do something of substance and now act more like front men, while policy making is centralized in the White House. You have more and more aspirants for fewer and fewer positions of substance. That ramps up intensity of competition even more than just over-production of JDs and MBAs.

    Plus the barriers to entry for competition has lowered too. Now celebrities fight with JDs for political positions. Rap stars compete with MBAs for business tycoon success.

    At all levels of society, you have greater and greater competition for fewer and fewer rewards. Hyper-competition all around. Now perhaps the competition at the gateway to the elite is particularly important because elites are important, and failure to get in makes them the aspirants powerful disgruntled people, but I think the mechanism is more than just over-production of JDs and MBAs.

    I think it might have started as a well intentioned project to increase the quality of our elites by introducing competition and lowering barriers to entry. And at the the same time, increasing the rewards to winners (incentivizing max effort). Result though is brutal intra-elite fighting. Particularly in times of overall lowered growth.

    • Peter Turchin January 1, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      Agreed, the overproduction of elites developed in parallel with the change in social norms that extolled competition and downplayed cooperation. But these two dynamics may be causally related -- it's not a pure coincidence that the two trends developed in parallel.

  8. Ross Hartshorn December 31, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    One point I haven't seen discussed much is that the number of "powerful" positions is fixed, by law, but not unchangeable. For example, in the 19th century it was arguably more important to be a city councilman or state legislator than a Congressmen, because more actual decisions were being made at the city and state level and the percentage of the economy under the control of the federal government was smaller. If there is less federal largesse to distribute, then there is less power in helping to decide how it is distributed. It is somewhat analogous to why being a U.S. Senator now is more important than being a U.N. functionary; the United Nations may represent a larger domain, but it has a lot less control over that domain than a national government.

    Thus, one would expect that the more centralized control of a region is, the more intra-elite competition there will be, because there are fewer positions which really matter. A modern example of this might be that the transfer of power from national to European Union administration would result in more intra-elite competition. On the other hand, devolving power back down to a lower level would result in more positions that have some power, and less competition for each.

    • Jason January 1, 2017 at 12:49 am

      That's exactly what I was getting at too, Ross. The number of good positions available depends on the power gradient of the society. How much power is centralized vs distributed. The whole Iron Law of Oligarchy developed in recognition that over time, power tends to centralize, so it's not fixed by law and unchangeable for all time. It's not so much inequality between ordinary people and the elite, but among elites.

      Plus it ossifies, in that these enhanced elite positions are then passed out patrilineally, which results in fewer actual positions being open to aspirants.

      The net result is heightened competition for entry and promotion within the elite, with more and more of the victories happening by methods outside the norm, e.g. dirty tricks, patronage, fake news etc.

      This probably happens in all societies, but growth (creating more opportunities), wars (resetting the table), inefficiency (placating the failed aspirants with consolation prizes) keep internal collapse at bay. It's when you have a dynamic of High Inequality, Low Growth, High Efficiency / Lean, No Wars that Elite Competition starts getting out of hand.

      (I say this despite hating wars, but you can't argue with their effect on resetting the table. Hate bribes/corruption too, but things like congressional pork barrels kept congressman feeling important and in-line. Efficiency is also a self evident good, but that means no consolation prizes for failure. Growth may eventually run into limits due to carrying capacity of ecosystem .).

      To me, it resembles a game of musical chairs with too few chairs, and when the music is playing much too fast. As Chuck Prince famously said in the Global Financial Crisis: "As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance." Whether or not dancing is destructive, elites have to keep dancing to keep their chair.

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

      • Ross Hartshorn January 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        I also hate wars, but I am reminded of Mancur Olson's theory that nations recovering from a major disaster or a major military defeat usually have above-average growth for a few decades. The idea is that when, as with the South in the U.S. after the Civil War or with Germany and Japan after WWII, the elite in society have suffered a setback so severe that their hold on society is disrupted, there will be a period during which they are less able to set government policy in their favor rather than the collective welfare.

        SDT would have a somewhat different explanation of this. I agree with you that rapid growth would be another way to reduce the intra-elite competition; it seems the most likely explanation for the "missing" peak in non-governmental violence in the U.S. in the 1820's that Peter Turchin pointed out earlier.

        • Peter Turchin January 1, 2017 at 7:32 pm

          Historically, rapid growth coupled with equitable redistribution of its gains is typically associated with peaceful and internally stable periods. But you need both (growth and equity).

  9. Ross Hartshorn December 31, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    This idea is kind of half-formed, but I'll put it out there. It seems to me that one of the most important factors in intra-elite competition, is the degree of skill of the frustrated aspirants. If there are lots of people who want to be elite but can't crack the system to get in, that may not be a problem if those frustrated aspirants aren't particularly good at organization, motivation, leadership, etc.

    If, on the other hand, the frustrated aspirants are nearly as good at this sort of thing as those actually in power, and especially if they are better at it than the incumbents (who somehow through tradition or family connections or what-have-you remain on top), then you have a much better chance of the frustrated aspirants being able to kick up trouble.

    Of course, part of being good at leadership is getting the opportunity to practice, and a post-secondary education almost always includes some practice at a more professional set of social skills. But if the people getting spots in power remain better at political organization than the people who don't, it is less likely to result in disruption, I think. It seems that trouble would come when the ruling elite is either not especially good at leading (e.g. they inherited their position or bought their way in with somebody else's money), or they were good at leading in a previous time, and changes in society or technology have changed what skills are necessary for leadership.

    In all these cases, I think "good at leadership" would be a relative term, which is to say the current elite relative to the frustrated aspirants. How you could measure such skill, of course, is the key question about which I have as of yet nothing to say (I did say the idea was half-formed).

  10. steven t johnson January 1, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Although intra-elite competition and inter-elite competition are conceptually distinct, is that true in practice? Is Carlos Slim an intraelite competitor with Jeff Bezos, in the form of rivalry between the New York Times and the Washington Post? If this is interelite competition, how does structural-demographic theory address the issues of how external factors impinge on the cycle? (I'm a little shaky on how interior and exterior are defined in the first place. As for example, was there a cycle for Burgundy?)

    • Peter Turchin January 1, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Unlike "intra-elite competition", "inter-elite competition" is not a concept in SDT (and like you I would be hard put to think what it could refer to).

  11. edwardturner January 1, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    The supply of power positions in a society is relatively, or even absolutely, inelastic. For example, there are only 435 U.S. Representatives, 100 Senators, and one President.

    This is not quite true. The supply of power positions can be elastic to a point.

    How about the growth in number of CEOs and NGOs and the heads of INGOs over the last 50 years? So-called non-state actors have become powerful as they influence the law-making processes in a variety of ways.

    These big chiefs are positions of power and influence. In many cases, they call the shots and Presidents and Prime Ministers are only the PR guys.

    The US President is not the most powerful person in the world. He doesn't have the highest security clearance in the United States. He is not allowed to know everything.

    The idea the US President is the most powerful man is a claim based on a theory of how the US political system works in idealised sense, and on simple US nationalism.

    The fact that the supply of power positions is elastic – that there has been a flouresence of alternative power structures to the state hierarchy – suggests that wealth can to a degree put off or delay elite competition.

    It is only when the rug is pulled from under the alternative prestigious hierarchies and the state tries to dominate all on its own – that is when problems will begin. Keep the funding going, maintain non-state avenues for prestige and create even more, the fluoresence will continue.

    • edwardturner January 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      interested readers might like to read my report for Cliodynamics: Why Has the Number of International Non-Governmental Organizations Exploded since 1960?

      http://escholarship.org/uc/item/97p470sx

  12. Nikhil ns January 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    A point made in arthashastra, that fight among princes is more dangerous than fight among commoners. However, I wud like to ask what predictions are u unable to do. There is no real knowledge which doesnt admit what its limitations are, or admits inability to explain something. Even in physics, where humans have gained incredible knowledge, there is much to know. Also, on issue of religion, could one argue that but for christianity & islam world wud have devekped faster as information in math/science wud have gathered pace, exchanged between different lands easily.Thank you.

  13. Peter Turchin January 1, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Interesting that Arthashastra foresees a major message of the SDT.

    On the role of religion there are a lot of recent books from the cultural evolutionary perspective, including David Wilson, Ara Norenzayan, and Dominic Johnson (I might also mention my own Ultrasociety).

    • Dick Burkhart January 1, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Even direct democracy is not a cure-all. Here in Washington State, our initiative and referendum process has been corrupted at times by big money interests: First put together a sophisticated campaign around some catch phrases that will have popular support on a topic where the opposition, even if widespread, is likely to be diffuse. Then sneak in some coded language that privileges a wealthy special interest. Then use paid signature gatherers. Then assemble a massive advertising campaign, one that will outspend the likely opposition, maybe even by 10 to 1.

      Certain people get very good at this and quickly learn to sell their services to the highest bidder. The current master of such campaign here is a guy named Tim Eyman, and he has been quite successful. But some companies, like Costco, have done the same thing all by themselves.

      Moral: You need to get "money out of politics" in all ways, and it's a never ending battle until you've eliminated concentrated wealth and power itself.

    • Peter Turchin January 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Stephen Morris: you will find my response in an old post:

      http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/the-pipe-dream-of-anarcho-populism/

  14. Jason January 2, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Prof Turchin, is there any data on the Supply of Elite Positions in Historic Societies?

    It doesn't feel instinctively right that it's inelastic, but perhaps there's really the case. It feels slightly more likely to be right to say that it's capped somehow (inelastic as to upside, more elastic as to downside).

    But it seems like the sort of thing you should be able to answer with a History Database. Has there been any attempts to measure this?

    • Peter Turchin January 2, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      In fact, your are in luck, because we provide such statistics for a number of historical societies in Secular Cycles
      http://peterturchin.com/secular-cycles/

      Note, I didn't say it was inelastic. In most cases, it's relatively inelastic, so that the growth in the number of aspirants greatly overmatches the growth in the supply of the positions. Only in few instances the supply is absolutely inelastic (only one POTUS).

  15. Jonathan January 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Deficiencies in the concept of elite competition
    Let's start with the definition of elite: "small proportion of the population that concentrates power in their hands"
    His theory lacks an aspect that must be fundamental before even proceeding in a discussion on the "dynamics" of the elites and is that it is not able to explain in a satisfactory way the origin of the so-called "elites". According to its definition it seems that the elites are rather the manifestation of a particular phenomenon that is "concentration of power"; A phenomenon that manifests itself socially in the form of the so-called "elite", which hereafter I call the ruling class (I think it is a terminology in which we can all agree).
    But if we assume that the dominant classes are only a manifestation of the phenomenon of the concentration of power, our attention must first be fixed in that aspect so we try to break it down into its fundamental parts
    . Apparently the concept of power gives to understand the concept of dominion (some will have other words in mind but as surely they closely resemble the concept of domain I think that it suffices to refer us to this one) and we do not refer to any type of domain but to a domain Of social nature, a social domain. We will now say that this social domain manifests itself in the form of economic and political dominion, I think we will agree on this point.
    Now let us collect the fruits of these arguments. We have a different and more precise definition, which in no way invalidates the original, and we say: The ruling class is that small proportion of the population that concentrates economic and political dominion in their hands. I believe that we will agree that economic dominance is nothing but greater possession of capital and that political dominance is but a major influence on a state structure (the word "state" is used in a modern sense).
    Now we have: the ruling class is that small proportion of the population that concentrates the greatest possession of capital and the greatest influence within a state structure in their hands. The last part of " in your hands" is understood by what we can eliminate it and we have the following:
    The ruling class is that small proportion of the population that concentrates the greatest possession of capital and the greatest influence on a state structure.
    Now the possession of capital depends on its production or of the association with someone who produces capital. And it is revealed to us that the ruling class, apart from having influence in a state structure, needs to produce capital or be associated with someone who produces capital directly or indirectly.
    Thanks to this we see clearly that competition between elites is a competition for economic benefits and influence. Obviously the economic aspect is more significant than the aspect of influence. It follows that a fall in economic profits, ie a fall in capital production (a crisis), would directly or indirectly exacerbate the competition for greater economic benefits, that is, increase the number of aspirants to elitist . The competition of elites is not the cause of the crisis is one of the consequences of the crisis.

    • Jonathan January 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      I must make a small correction in my analysis. By capital I wanted to let you understand profit, so the use of that term in this argument is actually inappropriate because I wanted to use the word capital in a Marxist sense.

  16. Federico January 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Hello Dr Turchin, I was wondering if you are familiar with Richard Lachmann's "elite conflict theory". It is a verbal theory, but one that he has successfully used to explain fiscal crises, hegemonic cycles, and the rise of modern capitalist economies. What do you think about it?
    Best,
    Federico

  17. Shaun Bartone February 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I wonder if any of the commentators here have considered that the [neoliberal] cabal now in power in the US (not elsewhere) are not in power to "take power" except for a temporary period. They don't want to run the federal government, they want to destroy it, except for the police state and the military.

    They want to eliminate the EPA, vacate the State Dept and many other Depts, except for a few high-placed cronies, wipe all financial, labour, consumer and environmental regulations off the books; eliminate or reduce to a bare minimum federal health insurance, medicaid, medicare and Social Security, crush public education, privatize everything they can sell, and so on. They are not in power to "govern" but to destroy government. This is all being done with a fairly unified agenda: to free "the market" from any restrictions whatsoever, so that they -- global elites -- can make as much money as possible. It's a cabal of global corporations, militarists, Christian sovereign white supremacists, fossil fuel giants and bankers, and I think there's a high degree of cooperation for the agenda. The revolution is the cabal run by Trump/Bannon who are more extreme and ideological than any previous faction, who have no tolerance for compromise. They have an apocalyptic vision of grinding it all down to a bare minimum police state.

[Sep 25, 2020] Secret Report Exposes CIA's Brennan Overruled Dissenting Analysts Who Concluded Russia Favored Hillary by Paul Sperry

When intelligence honchos became politicians the shadow of Lavrentiy Beria emerge behind them. while politization of FBI create political police like Gestapo, politization of CIA is much more serious and dangerous. It creates really tight control over the country by shadow intelligence agency. In a sense CIA and the cornerstone of the "deep state"
Sep 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com,

Former CIA Director John Brennan personally edited a crucial section of the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and assigned a political ally to take a lead role in writing it after career analysts disputed Brennan's take that Russian leader Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump clinch the White House, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials who have seen classified materials detailing Brennan's role in drafting the document.

John Brennan, left, with Robert Mueller in 2013: The CIA director's explosive conclusion in the ICA helped justify continuing Trump-Russia "collusion" investigations, notably Mueller's probe as special counsel. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The explosive conclusion Brennan inserted into the report was used to help justify continuing the Trump-Russia "collusion" investigation, which had been launched by the FBI in 2016. It was picked up after the election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who in the end found no proof that Trump or his campaign conspired with Moscow.

The Obama administration publicly released a declassified version of the report -- known as the "Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections (ICA)" -- just two weeks before Trump took office, casting a cloud of suspicion over his presidency. Democrats and national media have cited the report to suggest Russia influenced the 2016 outcome and warn that Putin is likely meddling again to reelect Trump.

The ICA is a key focus of U.S. Attorney John Durham's ongoing investigation into the origins of the "collusion" probe. He wants to know if the intelligence findings were juiced for political purposes.

RealClearInvestigations has learned that one of the CIA operatives who helped Brennan draft the ICA, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, financially supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign and is a close colleague of Eric Ciaramella, identified last year by RCI as the Democratic national security "whistleblower" whose complaint led to Trump's impeachment, ending in Senate acquittal in January.

John Durham: He is said to be using the long-hidden report on the drafting of the ICA as a road map in his investigation of whether the Obama administration politicized intelligence. Department of Justice via AP

me title=

The two officials said Brennan, who openly supported Clinton during the campaign, excluded conflicting evidence about Putin's motives from the report , despite objections from some intelligence analysts who argued Putin counted on Clinton winning the election and viewed Trump as a "wild card."

The dissenting analysts found that Moscow preferred Clinton because it judged she would work with its leaders, whereas it worried Trump would be too unpredictable. As secretary of state, Clinton tried to "reset" relations with Moscow to move them to a more positive and cooperative stage, while Trump campaigned on expanding the U.S. military, which Moscow perceived as a threat.

These same analysts argued the Kremlin was generally trying to sow discord and disrupt the American democratic process during the 2016 election cycle. They also noted that Russia tried to interfere in the 2008 and 2012 races, many years before Trump threw his hat in the ring.

"They complained Brennan took a thesis [that Putin supported Trump] and decided he was going to ignore dissenting data and exaggerate the importance of that conclusion, even though they said it didn't have any real substance behind it," said a senior U.S intelligence official who participated in a 2018 review of the spycraft behind the assessment, which President Obama ordered after the 2016 election.

He elaborated that the analysts said they also came under political pressure to back Brennan's judgment that Putin personally ordered "active measures" against the Clinton campaign to throw the election to Trump, even though the underlying intelligence was "weak."

Adam Schiff: Soon after the Democrat took control of the House Intelligence Committee, its review of the drafting of the intelligence community assessment was classified and locked in a Capitol basement safe. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The review, conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, culminated in a lengthy report that was classified and locked in a Capitol basement safe soon after Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff took control of the committee in January 2019.

The official said the committee spent more than 1,200 hours reviewing the ICA and interviewing analysts involved in crafting it, including the chief of Brennan's so-called "fusion cell," which was the interagency analytical group Obama's top spook stood up to look into Russian influence operations during the 2016 election.

Durham is said to be using the long-hidden report, which runs 50-plus pages, as a road map in his investigation of whether the Obama administration politicized intelligence while targeting the Trump campaign and presidential transition in an unprecedented investigation involving wiretapping and other secret surveillance.

The special prosecutor recently interviewed Brennan for several hours at CIA headquarters after obtaining his emails, call logs and other documents from the agency. Durham has also quizzed analysts and supervisors who worked on the ICA.

A spokesman for Brennan said that, according to Durham, he is not the target of a criminal investigation and "only a witness to events that are under review." Durham's office did not respond to requests for comment.

The senior intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said former senior CIA political analyst Kendall-Taylor was a key member of the team that worked on the ICA. A Brennan protégé, she donated hundreds of dollars to Clinton's 2016 campaign, federal records show. In June, she gave $250 to the Biden Victory Fund.

Andrea Kendall-Taylor: A Brennan protégé, she donated hundreds of dollars to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, and recently defended the ICA in a "60 Minutes" interview . "60 Minutes"/YouTube

Kendall-Taylor and Ciaramella entered the CIA as junior analysts around the same time and worked the Russia beat together at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. From 2015 to 2018, Kendall-Taylor was detailed to the National Intelligence Council, where she was deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia. Ciaramella succeeded her in that position at NIC, a unit of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that oversees the CIA and the other intelligence agencies.

It's not clear if Ciaramella also played a role in the drafting of the January 2017 assessment. He was working in the White House as a CIA detailee at the time. The CIA declined comment.

Kendall-Taylor did not respond to requests for comment, but she recently defended the ICA as a national security expert in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview on Russia's election activities, arguing it was a slam-dunk case "based on a large body of evidence that demonstrated not only what Russia was doing, but also its intent. And it's based on a number of different sources, collected human intelligence, technical intelligence."

But the secret congressional review details how the ICA, which was hastily put together over 30 days at the direction of Obama intelligence czar James Clapper, did not follow longstanding rules for crafting such assessments. It was not farmed out to other key intelligence agencies for their input, and did not include an annex for dissent, among other extraordinary departures from past tradecraft.

Eric Ciaramella: The Democratic national security "whistleblower," whose complaint led to President Trump's impeachment, was a close colleague of Kendall-Taylor. It's not clear if Ciaramella also played a role in the drafting of the January 2017 assessment. whitehouse.gov

It did, however, include a two-page annex summarizing allegations from a dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. His claim that Putin had personally ordered cyberattacks on the Clinton campaign to help Trump win happened to echo the key finding of the ICA that Brennan supported. Brennan had briefed Democratic senators about allegations from the dossier on Capitol Hill.

"Some of the FBI source's [Steele's] reporting is consistent with the judgment in the assessment," stated the appended summary, which the two intelligence sources say was written by Brennan loyalists.

"The FBI source claimed, for example, that Putin ordered the influence effort with the aim of defeating Secretary Clinton, whom Putin 'feared and hated.' "

Steele's reporting has since been discredited by the Justice Department's inspector general as rumor-based opposition research on Trump paid for by the Clinton campaign. Several allegations have been debunked, even by Steele's own primary source, who confessed to the FBI that he ginned the rumors up with some of his Russian drinking buddies to earn money from Steele.

Former FBI Director James Comey told the Justice Department's watchdog that the Steele material, which he referred to as the "Crown material," was incorporated with the ICA because it was "corroborative of the central thesis of the assessment "The IC analysts found it credible on its face," Comey said.

Christopher Steele: His dossier allegations were summarized in a two-page annex to the ICA, but dissenting views about the Kremlin's favoring Hillary Clinton over Trump were excluded. Victoria Jones/PA via AP

The officials who have read the secret congressional report on the ICA dispute that. They say a number of analysts objected to including the dossier, arguing it was political innuendo and not sound intelligence.

"The staff report makes it fairly clear the assessment was politicized and skewed to discredit Trump's election," said the second U.S. intelligence source, who also requested anonymity.

Kendall-Taylor denied any political bias factored into the intelligence.

"To suggest that there was political interference in that process is ridiculous," she recently told NBC News.

Her boss during the ICA's drafting was CIA officer Julia Gurganus. Clapper tasked Gurganus, then detailed to NIC as its national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia, with coordinating the production of the ICA with Kendall-Taylor.

They, in turn, worked closely with NIC's cybersecurity expert Vinh Nguyen, who had been consulting with Democratic National Committee cybersecurity contractor CrowdStrike to gather intelligence on the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer system. (CrowdStrike's president has testified he couldn't say for sure Russian intelligence stole DNC emails, according to recently declassified transcripts.)

Durham's investigators have focused on people who worked at NIC during the drafting of the ICA, according to recent published reports.

No Input From CIA's 'Russia House'

The senior official who identified Kendall-Taylor said Brennan did not seek input from experts from CIA's so-called Russia House, a department within Langley officially called the Center for Europe and Eurasia, before arriving at the conclusion that Putin meddled in the election to benefit Trump.

"It was not an intelligence assessment. It was not coordinated in the [intelligence] community or even with experts in Russia House," the official said. "It was just a small group of people selected and driven by Brennan himself and Brennan did the editing."

The official noted that National Security Agency analysts also dissented from the conclusion that Putin personally sought to tilt the scale for Trump. One of only three agencies from the 17-agency intelligence community invited to participate in the ICA, the NSA had a lower level of confidence than the CIA and FBI, specifically on that bombshell conclusion.

The official said the NSA's departure was significant because the agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas. Yet it could not corroborate Brennan's preferred conclusion through its signals intelligence. Former NSA Director Michael Rogers, who has testified that the conclusion about Putin and Trump "didn't have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources," reportedly has been cooperating with Durham's probe.

The second senior intelligence official, who has read a draft of the still-classified House Intelligence Committee review, confirmed that career intelligence analysts complained that the ICA was tightly controlled and manipulated by Brennan, who previously worked in the Obama White House.

N

Brennan's tight control over the process of drafting the ICA belies public claims the assessment reflected the "consensus of the entire intelligence community." His unilateral role also raises doubts about the objectivity of the intelligence.

In his defense, Brennan has pointed to a recent Senate Intelligence Committee report that found "no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community's conclusions."

"The ICA correctly found the Russians interfered in our 2016 election to hurt Secretary Clinton and help the candidacy of Donald Trump," argued committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.

"Our review of the highly classified ICA and underlying intelligence found that this and other conclusions were well-supported," Warner added.

"There is certainly no reason to doubt that the Russians' success in 2016 is leading them to try again in 2020, and we must not be caught unprepared."

Brennan, ex-Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and ex-national intelligence director James Clapper, interviewed by Nicolle Wallace of MSNBC, right, at a 2018 Aspen Instutute event. Aspen Institute

However, the report completely blacks out a review of the underlying evidence to support the Brennan-inserted conclusion, including an entire section labeled "Putin Ordered Campaign to Influence U.S. Election." Still, it suggests elsewhere that conclusions are supported by intelligence with "varying substantiation" and with "differing confidence levels." It also notes "concerns about the use of specific sources."

Adding to doubts, the committee relied heavily on the closed-door testimony of former Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, a close Brennan ally who met with Brennan and his "fusion team" at the White House before and after the election. The extent of Monaco's role in the ICA is unclear.

Brennan last week pledged he would cooperate with two other Senate committees investigating the origins of the Russia "collusion" investigation. The Senate judiciary and governmental affairs panels recently gained authority to subpoena Brennan and other witnesses to testify.

Several Republican lawmakers and former Trump officials are clamoring for the declassification and release of the secret House staff report on the ICA.

"It's dynamite," said former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz, who reviewed the staff report while serving as chief of staff to then-National Security Adviser John Bolton.

"There are things in there that people don't know," he told RCI.

"It will change the dynamic of our understanding of Russian meddling in the election."

However, according to the intelligence official who worked on the ICA review, Brennan ensured that it would be next to impossible to declassify his sourcing for the key judgment on Putin. He said Brennan hid all sources and references to the underlying intelligence behind a highly sensitive and compartmented wall of classification.

He explained that he and Clapper created two classified versions of the ICA – a highly restricted Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information version that reveals the sourcing, and a more accessible Top Secret version that omits details about the sourcing.

Unless the classification of compartmented findings can be downgraded, access to Brennan's questionable sourcing will remain highly restricted, leaving the underlying evidence conveniently opaque, the official said.

[Sep 20, 2020] Wray Is Wrong as FBI Director

That's naive take. Wary knows quite a bit about Antifa. Most probably the key people are iether FBI agents or informants. The problem is that he find Antifa activities politically useful. That's why he does not want to shut it down. This again put FBI in the role of kingmaker, like under Comey.
Also don't forget that Brennan faction of CIA is still in power and that means the "deep state" still is in control like was the case during Mueller investigation.
Sep 20, 2020 | townhall.com

In May of 2017, President Trump did the right thing and fired FBI Director James Comey, the individual at the center of the attempt to overturn the 2016 election results. Comey orchestrated the spying efforts on President Trump and his campaign, which included the FBI improperly applying for four separate Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrants to eavesdrop on campaign aide Carter Page. He also authorized a politically motivated investigation into Lt. General Michael Flynn and encouraged the entrapment of Flynn by his FBI agents in an infamous White House interview.

Clearly, Comey was a disastrous FBI Director; however, the President made a terrible choice when he replaced him with Christopher Wray, a bureaucrat who has not reformed the agency in any meaningful way. He also seems to be incapable of identifying the real threats that are facing the country.

In testimony on Thursday before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray made a series of remarkable claims. He stated that Antifa is not a group but is more of "an ideology or maybe a movement." He also refused to identify Chinese efforts to interrupt the 2020 election and again focused attention on activities from Russia.

With these remarks, Wray is doing the bidding of the Democrats and following their talking points. Regarding Antifa violence, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), claimed it was a "myth."

me title=

CARTOONS | MICHAEL RAMIREZ VIEW CARTOON

Nadler has been in his congressional cocoon for too long. Antifa has been active for several years, but since the death of George Floyd on May 25, it has intensified its activities around the country. Millions of Americans have seen the frequent and disturbing video footage of rioting and looting throughout the country. According to U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), "there have been more than 550 declared riots, many stoked by extremists, Antifa and the BLM (Black Lives Matter) organization."

In his comments to Wray at the committee meeting, Crenshaw also noted the rioters have done an extensive amount of damage. He stated that "between one and two billion dollars of insurance claims will be paid out. That doesn't come close to measuring the actual and true damage to people's lives, not even close."

Crenshaw is right as many of our urban areas, such as New York, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland among others have been devastated by a series of violent protests. In the past few months, scores of monuments have been destroyed, and significant damage has been done to businesses and public buildings. The group has also attacked innocent civilians and targeted police officers. As Crenshaw asserted in this rebuttal to Wray, Antifa matches the definition of a domestic terrorist organization.


[Aug 29, 2020] The fact that a delusional two faction of neoliberal "ruling class" are at war portend bad for Rupublic

Aug 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , Aug 28 2020 12:05 utc | 179

Well, I read all the way through.

In my US youth we trained with .30 cal Simi auto rifles at public school, and had also at public school, rifle teams that used .22 target rifles.

Wally was the only white guy on the teams (there were several schools)...

The racial stuff was all there, but so also was an intact industrial plant... a fella couldn't walk down the street without stumbling into a job.

Welder, fitter, fabricator, assembly line work, foundries and forges and shipyards and mines were running double shifts and the unions were strong...even rich people were afraid to cross a picketline...

and the income tax was about 75%...

In a long and adventurous life slumming 'round I have been threatened with guns dozens of time...Every Time a cop was holding the gun, with "one up the spout" (it's "policy") and finger on the trigger. Not once was there an arrest. Not once. Beatdachitoutta, well, several times, kidnapped too, but never actually arrested. Actually pretty much a boyscout. And white. Yes, the cops are azzhones, like Dylan said, the cops doaneed you and man they expect the same.

I think the "problem" with the views here @ MoA in regard the "civil war" lies in fundamental assumptions.

Simply try assuming that the US has ended, what you're seeing is denouement. Then forget about it...it's like chemistry, and "da fat's in da fire". Outcome is backed in. Like the corpse rotting back to it's constituent chemistry.

Igor Panarin's prediction, and also Deagle's prediction, may well be the proximate situation when the reaction bombe cools off.

The fact that a delusional "ruling class" is at war with itself as well as the common people stands as strong evidence...

[Aug 24, 2020] The link between political instability and inequality

Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

Schinzy Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:21 AM

Modelling political instability is the subject of cliodynamcs, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliodynamics . The graph on that page seems to link political instability with inequality. My suspicion is that it is also linked to scarcity.

[Aug 23, 2020] Unconstrained Economic-Elite Domination under neoliberalism

Aug 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

james charles , says: Next New Comment August 23, 2020 at 11:12 am GMT

Hands up those who think the election will only have a 'marginal' effect?

"Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page

Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics -- which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism -- offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism. "

https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

[Aug 23, 2020] Glitzy Convention Conceals Neoliberal Tyranny that both parties support by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian ..."
Aug 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Here are a few takeaways from the Democratic Convention:

The Democrats are running on the same platform they ran on in 2016. The Democrats put style above substance, flashy optics above ideas or issues. The Democrats think that hollow tributes to "diversity" and "inclusion" will win the election. The Democrats have abandoned white, working class voters opting instead for people of color. The Democrats have learned nothing from Hillary Clinton's defeat in 2016.

In 2016, Democrat front-runner, Hillary Clinton lost the election because she failed to see her support was eroding in the key Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won all three states with a measly 77, 651 votes total. All three states were expected to go Democrat but flipped to the GOP due to Clinton's support for free trade and immigration policies that cost jobs and imposed unwelcome demographic changes on the working people of those states. The Democrats and Hillary have never accepted the factual version of how the election was lost. Instead, they fabricated a conspiracy theory about Trump colluding with Russia. Although the Mueller Report proved that the claims of meddling were baseless, Clinton and the Dems continue to trot them out at every opportunity. On Tuesday at the convention, Hillary again reiterated the lie that Trump stole the election. She said:

"Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are. Remember: Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take it from me. We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can't sneak or steal his way to victory."

The determination on the part of the Democrats to mischaracterize what actually happened in the election is not a trivial matter. It suggests that deception is central to their governing style. Party leaders do not think their supporters are entitled to know the truth but rather believe that events must be shaped in a way that best serves their overall political interests. For Democrats, lying is not a personal failing, but an opportunity for enhancing their grip on power. This is from an article in The Guardian:

"Donald Trump's electoral college victory rests on the shoulders of more than 200 so-called "pivot counties" across the US. That is, counties that voted for Barack Obama only four years earlier. The most decisive of these swings occurred in Pennsylvania's Luzerne county, nestled in the north-east part of the state There, voters gave Trump a nearly 20-point victory after going for Obama by almost 5% in 2012. But Trump's win in Luzerne was also noteworthy for its magnitude. His 26,000 vote plurality in Luzerne comprised almost three-fifths of his plurality in the state as a whole, and with it Pennsylvania's 20 coveted electoral votes ." (" The Forgotten review: Ben Bradlee Jr delivers 2020 lessons for Democrats" , The Guardian )

Critical battleground states tilted in Trump's favor because Democratic policies had decimated their communities and eviscerated their standard of living. Author Ben Bradlee Jr. explains this phenom in his book "The Forgotten" which should be required reading at the DNC. Here's a clip from the review at the Guardian:

"The Forgotten documents the ravages of deindustrialization, lost jobs, crime and drugs. It captures the sense of displacement tied to a changing and less monochromatic America. Once upon a time, Luzerne was home to coal and textiles, dominated by Protestants from Wales and Catholics from Ireland and continental Europe. Not any more. Luzerne is poorer and smaller, for many a less recognizable place. Not surprisingly, immigration and Nafta come in for constant criticism. " (The Guardian)

This is the real reason Hillary was defeated. Russia had nothing to do with it. The Dems abandoned the white working-class people who had always voted for them and began to cobble together their Rainbow coalition. When Hillary denounced these people as "Deplorables", it forced more of them to join Trump team. The rest is history. Here's more from the same article:

"In the absence of a recession, however, the party stands to face the same electoral map it did in 2016. In fact, Ohio now looks an even tougher nut to crack. Much as the Democratic base loathes the president, reality cannot be wished away. Luzerne would be a good place for the party to start addressing this reality. " ( The Guardian )

The point we're trying to make is that the effectiveness of the Democrat Convention can only be measured in terms of its impact on potential voters. So, why have the Dems shrugged off any effort to reach out to the people who could help them win?

It's not that complicated. The Dems are merely abandoning the people who, they believe, will leave anyway as their globalist economic agenda becomes more apparent putting more downward pressure on overall living standards. It's worth noting, that when Obama left office in 2016, this process was already well-underway. According to a Gallup poll, 71 percent of the people said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going. (in Obama's last year.) Only 27 percent said they're satisfied. So, even though Obama's personal approval ratings remained high, his handling of the economy was extremely unpopular. (except on Wall Street, of course.)

During this same period, the PEW Research Center conducted a survey titled: "Campaign Exposes Fissures Over Issues, Values and How Life Has Changed in the U.S" which showed why Trump was steadily gaining on Hillary. Here are a few excerpts from the report:

"Among GOP voters, fully 75% of those who support Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination say life for people like them has gotten worse "

"GOP voters who support Trump also stand out for their pessimism about the nation's economy and their own financial situations: 48% rate current economic conditions in the U.S. as "poor.

"Within the GOP, anger at government is heavily concentrated among Trump supporters – 50% say they are angry at government "

"Among Republicans, a majority of those who back Trump (61%) view the system as unfair among Trump supporters, 67% say trade agreements are bad thing "

"Half of Trump supporters (50%) say they are angry at the federal government . Anger at government – and politics – is much more pronounced among Trump backers than among supporters of any other presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat " (" Campaign Exposes Fissures Over Issues, Values and How Life Has Changed in the U.S ", PEW Research Center)

So, a higher percentage of Trump supporters think they are getting screwed-over by an unfair system. They think "free trade" only benefits the rich, they think the government is unresponsive to their needs, they think the system is rigged, and they're really, really mad.

So, which speaker at the Democrat Convention addressed the concerns or complaints of white working-class people who now almost-universally harbor these same feelings??

No one, because no one in the Democrat party plans to do anything about these issues, in fact, just the opposite. Now that the Dems have been subsumed by Wall Street and their big globalist donors, things are going to get dramatically worse for working people who will see a vicious attack on essential social services and programs as soon as the election is over. The massive build-up of debt– by mainly Democrat Governors who deliberately drove their states into bankruptcy at the behest of Fauci's Vaccine Gestapo– will now be met by a growing demand for austerity on a scale unlike anything we've experienced in the last century. The country is being prepared for an excruciating restructuring that will create a permanent underclass that will provide an endless source of sweatshop labor for the multinational carpetbaggers. Those jobs will likely go to members of the Dems rainbow coalition while white, working class people in America's heartland –with their strong sense of patriotism– will be seen as a potential threat to the emerging new order.

It's clear that the Dems anticipate resistance to their plan by the contemptible way they have branded struggling workers as "white nationalists" and "racists". But is it true or are the Democrats and their deep-pocket allies preemptively denigrating these people and supporting BLM rioters to head-off growing resistance to their strategy of total control through widespread mayhem, decimation of the economy and extermination of the American middle class? Author CJ Hopkins summed it up like this in a recent article at The Unz Review:

"What we are experiencing is not the "return of fascism." It is the global capitalist empire restoring order, putting down the populist insurgency that took them by surprise in 2016.

The White Black Nationalist Color Revolution, the fake apocalyptic plague, all the insanity of 2020 it has been in the pipeline all along. It has been since the moment Trump won the election. No, it is not about Trump, the man. It has never been about Trump, the man

GloboCap needs to crush Donald Trump not because he is a threat to the empire , but because he became a symbol of populist resistance to global capitalism and its increasingly aggressive "woke" ideology . It is this populist resistance to its ideology that GloboCap is determined to crush, no matter how much social chaos and destruction it unleashes in the process.. ." (" The White Black Nationalist Color Revolution" , CJ Hopkins, The Unz Review )

Bingo. It is the "populist resistance to global capitalism" that is the defacto enemy of the Party elite, the same elites who conspired with senior-level members of the Intelligence Community, the FBI, the DOJ and the Obama White House to spy on the Trump Campaign, infiltrate the presidential transition, and to try to topple the elected government. And while the coup plotters have still not been brought to justice, they are now within spitting distance of their ultimate objective, which is seizing executive power and using it to crush the fledgling opposition, impose a one-party system of government, and transform America into a corporate superstate ruled by Global Capital. Here's a clip from an article by Gary D. Barnett at Lew Rockwell:

"By the end of this next planned phase of the 'virus' scare, a global reset of the world economy will be ready to launch. This reset will be mammoth in scope, as everything we have known will be restructured. Those out of work in the final stage will most likely stay out of work, pushing the dependency state to new levels sought by the ruling class. Controlling the population will be a key component of the plan, including population size, birth rates, movement, and personal contact among individuals. The elimination of normal human interaction is sought, and this is only the beginning . The ultimate goal is total control, and every tool in the box of the tyrants will be used to gain that control. Restraint by the ruling class will be non-existent, as this staged reset is now going forward at a very accelerated pace." ( "The Economic Insanity of This Coronavirus Pandemic Plot and the Coming Global Reset ", Lew Rockwell )

The coup plotters have chosen the candidates they want to carry out the next phase of their operation. All they need now is to win the election.

[Aug 21, 2020] The deep state "beef" with Trump is that he's rocking the boat

Aug 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

He [Bezos] and people like him are more concerned with maintaining the Dollar as reserve currency in order to facilitate the continued sell-out of Americans for cheap foreign manufactured goods, technology sells to China, and their own personal enrichment.

"The theory that refuses to die is that the US, as the country with "the" global reserve currency, "must have" a large trade deficit with the rest of the world."
https://www.sgtreport.com/2019/07/and-the-us-dollars-status-as-global-reserve-currency/

In both cases, the "beef" with Trump is that he's rocking the boat -- both in terms of his criticism of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama wars for Israel and the Petrodollar, and in terms of the America First noises he's made. While he's proven to be a fairly reliable Zionist stooge (although he hasn't started any new wars in the Mideast, and been more of a placeholder), he's edging a little too close to America First (with his domestic rhetoric and some of his policies) for comfort.

[Aug 19, 2020] People vs money: oligarchy almost always wins

Notable quotes:
"... Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves? ..."
"... How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise. ..."
"... The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways. ..."
"... It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty. ..."
"... The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

apacheman -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 23:32

Excuse me?

Huge numbers of people who disagree with me and don't share my particular beliefs are not sociopaths, nothing would stop them from running or holding office, and I've no problem with that.

Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves?

THAT I'm not ok with, are you?

DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 21:12
How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise.
HauptmannGurski -> Aseoria , 7 Jul 2018 20:26
I know, and Bush I was head of the CIA. Strange that one matters and the other does not.
Sisyphus2 -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 20:05
Love this line: "the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people."

The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways.

Aseoria -> ildfluer , 7 Jul 2018 19:52
Do you think the interpreters might turn out to be agents, or perhaps even assassins, from other governments? Or maybe everybody will be knocked out with fentanyl gas at dinner. In the dining room.
Aseoria -> consumerx , 7 Jul 2018 19:47
Typical Good-Cop Bad-Cop from here in the vaunted "Two-Party" system of the USA gov
Janaka77 -> petersview , 7 Jul 2018 19:05
I like the way the Republic of Ireland puts strict restrictions on political spending for their elections - including their presidential elections.
apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 19:02
1. It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty.

The alternative, continuing to allow unlimited wealth accumulation will ultimately destroy democracy and end in a dictatorship nearly impossible to remove without massive casualties. Is that preferable to trying to control the behavior of wealth addicts? Make no mistake: billionaires are addicts, their uncontrollable addiction to more is an extreme form of hoarding dysfunction, one that, like all uncontrolled addictions, has had disastrous consequences for everyone but them.

3. Fewer Representatives means you are concentrating power rather than dispersing it. More means smaller districts, which in turn means more accountability, not less. As it stands now, Congresscritters can safely ignore the wishes of the public, because when someone "represents" nearly a million citizens, it means they actually represent only themselves. If taken in conjunction with item #2, more citizens would be invested in the political process and far more likely to pay attention.

4. The Hare test is a standard written exam that is difficult to cheat. Getting caught at cheating or attempting to cheat would mark one automatically as a sociopath. The latest studies of brain structures show that sociopaths have physically different brains, and those physical differences are detectable. Brain activity as shown by fMRI also clearly marks a sociopath from a normal, since while they can fake emotional responses very well, their brain activity shows their true lack of response to emotionally charged images, words, etc. Using a three-layer test, written>fMRI>genetic should be robust enough to correctly identify most. The stakes are too huge to risk a set of sociopaths and their lackeys control of the machinery of government. The genetic test is the most likely to give problematic results, but if the written is failed, the fMRI would then be done to confirm or reject the written results, while the genetics would be a supplementary confirmation. Widespread genetic testing of politicians and would-bes would undoubtedly advance research and understanding dramatically.

When you do even a casual cost-benefit study, the answer is clear: test them. Ask yourself: is the thwarting of an individual's potential career in politics really that great a cost compared to preventing unknowingly electing a sociopath who could destabilize the entire world?

Janaka77 -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 18:55

Another big difference of course is a little thing called the law.

Are you under the impression the British don't have rule of law? Their elected representatives make their laws, not their ceremonial royal family. Their royal family's job is to abide by the same laws as every other UK citizen, stay out of politics and promote British tourism and gossip magazines.

Janaka77 -> Ben Groetsch , 7 Jul 2018 18:15

The United States is actually a federal republic, not a democracy.

The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people.

WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 17:57

If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.


We will never beat China at manufacturing cheap and efficient products using human labor. Robotic labor maybe, but that might not happen for a decade or more at least--if they or another country doesn't beat us to retooling our factories.
Labor and manufacturing will never return in the US--unless we have another world war we win, in which all global production is again concentrated in the US because the rest of the worlds factories are bombed to rubble. Besides, they have the most central location for manufacturing in the world and a cheap source of endless labor.

What they don't have is innovation, tech and freedom to try products out on a free market. We are squandering those advantages in the US when we cut education and limit college education to the masses.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:48

The system is not crooked,

Are Americans the most immoral people on earth? I don't think so. Do we have the strictest code of laws on earth? I don't think so either. Yet we have the highest incarceration rate on earth. Higher than authoritarian countries like China & Russia.

This alone should tell you something is wrong with our system. Never mind the stats about differing average sentences depending on race & wealth.

WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:42
Doubt implies a reason behind the wrong, where uncertainty implies an unknowing trait--a mystery behind the wrong.

The right, what with all its fake news scams, deep state BS and witch hunt propaganda, is uncertainty at best, a mystery of sorts--it provides us with a conspiracy that can neither be proved or unproven--an enigma.

Doubt, about if Russia meddled in the US election in collusion with the president or at the least his advisors, surely implies something is wrong, especially in the face of criminal charges, doubt is inherent and well intentioned, but not always true and can be proven false in the face of doubt.

Byron Delaney -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:00
At one time the US was agrarian and one could subsist via bartering. Consider reliance on for-profit healthcare, transportation systems, debt, credit cards, landlords, grocery stores, and the lack of any ability to subsist without statewide and nationwide infrastructure. Right now, people in the US already die prematurely if they can't afford healthcare. Many are homeless. And this is when things are better than ever? What will happen here is what happened in Europe during WWII. People will suffer, and they will be forced to adopt socialist practices (like the EU does today). People in Europe really did starve to death, and people in India, Africa, and other countries are starving and dying today. China doles out food rations because they practice communism. That's why they have cheap, efficient labor that serves to manufacture products for US consumers. Communism and socialism help American corporations big time.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 16:51
Citizens United is a First Amendment decision. Which part of the First Amendment do you want moot? What gives any government the right to decide which assemblies of citizens have no free speech rights?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:47
Doubt is everybody's political currency.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 16:46
You are aware, I imagine, that the US can adjust its money supply to adapt to circumstances? We can feed ourselves. We have our own power sources. We can improvise, adapt, and overcome. Prices go up and down. No big deal. Scaring people for political gain doesn't have the clout it onvce did.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> tjt77 , 7 Jul 2018 16:40
Are you opposed to people deciding who moves across their nation's borders?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Elephantmoth , 7 Jul 2018 16:38
Open Secrets Top Donors, Organizations.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 16:35
Too many virtue signalers seem to think that only the innocent are ever convicted.
The system is not crooked, but if you can set up a better one that doesn't bankrupt every community, have at it.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:29
You really, really, really like screaming racist, don't you? And slide in a Godwin. Wow. The concept that black pastors would be negatively impacted by financial attacks on their churches never ever occurred to you, did it? You get off on pretending to care about people that you have no direct, routine connection to. How virtuous of you. Wouldn't deliberately harming black churches make you the racist storm trooper?
Byron Delaney -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:08
Violence will break out when credit cards stop working. Can't even imagine what will happen if people are starving. No problem in a socialistic country like Finland, but a big problem here. My guess is that Trump knows the economy is hanging by a thread, so needs to create an alternate reason (trade wars). Or he figures he might as well have a trade war if it's all going to pieces anyway. Of course China manufactures just about everything for the US. If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.
WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:49
Don't forget as the Trump trade war heats up and China decides to sell off US bonds en-masse (they own 1.17 trillion in US debt). That's gonna put a hurt on the already low US dollar and could send inflation soaring. China could also devalue its currency and increase the trade deficit. Combine those with all the things you've pointed out and you've got financial troubles the likes of which no large government has ever dealt with in human history.
Starving people--China can handle in droves; not so much the US. We're talking nasty violence if that kinda stuff happens here.
Melty Clock -> happylittledebunkera , 7 Jul 2018 15:43
True, but the POTUS is a head of state and the PM is not, so there's a limit to how far we should take comparisons.
WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 15:05
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:02
Occupy Wall Street began due to income inequality when the worst effects of the Great Recession were being felt by the population. Wealth inequality has only increased since then.


Right now, the population is held at bay because the media and politicians claim that the economy is so incredibly hot it's overheating. But we know that's a lie. For one, the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people. This year, 401(k) plans have returned almost nothing (or are going negative). This was also the case in 2016. Savings accounts have returned almost nothing for the last decade (they should be providing approximately 5% interest).

The worker participation rate today is 3.2% below what it was in 2008 (during the Great Recession). The US population, meanwhile, has increased by approximately 24,321,000. That's a 7.68% increase. The labor force has increased by 5% during this time (unemployment rate was relatively similar, 5.6% vs 4%). From June 2008 to June 2018, the labor force increased by approximately 8 million. However, if the worker participation rate was the same now as it was then, there would be approximately 8 million more people in the labor force. If you add 8 million people to the current number of people who are counted as unemployed by the BLS, the unemployment rate is approximately 9%. This is about as high as the unemployment rate got during the depths of the Great Recession, right when Occupy Wall Street was born.

Now, OK, sure, the economy has REPLACED lost jobs, but it has not ADDED jobs for the last decade. The unemployment rate is false. It should be at least 8%. There's many millions of Americans who do not have steady, gainful employment - or any employment - and they are not counted.
The billionaires and their bought politicians are responsible for fixing this. They can fix it and should fix it. Otherwise, the economy and their profits are going to fall off a giant cliff any day now. The next recession has basically already begun, but it can still be alleviated. If things continue as they are, unemployment could be 16% by 2020, with the U6 measure approaching or exceeding 25%. If stocks drop enough, people may starve to death.

kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 14:11
Who supported Citizen's United? All cons and republicans

Who supports campaign finance reform and legislation that would make Cititzen's United moot? Democrats and progressives

Really tired of the false equivalencies. Republicans are now the polar opposite of Democrats in policy and principles. Vote Blue this November and get rid of the republicans; every single one of them. It can be done if people get out and vote.

memo10 -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 14:10
1. Anything is possible but I don't think this is practical. The rich can just cheat on the definition of ownership, pass it around between family members, offshore it, sink it into their businesses in token ways, etc. When you try to take wealth (power) away from the most powerful people in the country they will start devoting SERIOUS resources to getting around it.

3. I'm not saying we need fewer people doing congress's job in total. But we should be electing fewer of them, and letting those fewer people do more hiring/delegating. The way things are now, most of the public only knows much about the president. Everyone else is mostly just a vote for a party. But if the country only voted for 50 Congressmen in total - or even fewer - then we would all have a more careful eye on them. We would know them better and see them more individually. They would have less pressure to toe the party line all the time.

4. As long as there's a written test then it will get cheated. Right now the testing is rarely given and the specific consequences don't determine powerful people's careers. Make it a widespread & important thing and people will learn to cheat it.
The genetic + fMRI research is interesting but the whole thing opens up serious cans of worms. We're talking about DQ'ing somebody from an important career based partially on the results of a genetic screening for a character trait. That's a dangerous business for our whole society to get into. Although I do realize the payoff for this specific instance would be very big.

apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 13:34
1. Why do you think that? Using teams of forensic accountants and outlawing secret accounts would go a long way towards increasing enforceability. But you are viewing it as a legal problem rather than a cultural problem. If an effective propaganda campaign aimed on one level at the public and another level at the billionaires, it could work. Many billionaires are already committed to returning their fortunes to the economy (mostly after they are dead, true). Convince a few and the rest will follow. Give them the lure of claiming the title of the richest who ever were and some would be eager for that place in history.

Anything can be done if the will is there.

2. Income taxes are just a portion of the federal revenues, ~47%. Corporate taxes, parkland fees, excise taxes, ~18% taken together and Social Security make up the rest. Revenues would increase as taxpayers topped off step amounts to keep control. The beauty of it is that Congress would see very clearly where the nation's priorities were. Any politician trying to raise fines so that they had more money under their control would soon find themselves out of office. Unpopular programs would have to be financed out of the 18%, and that would likely make them increase corporate taxes. But most importantly, it would cut the power of politicians and decrease the effectiveness of lobbyists.

3. Actually, we have too few, not too many. The work of governance suffers because there is too much to be done and too few to do it. Spreading the workload and assigning responsibility areas would increase efficiency. Most importantly though, it would break up the oligarchic duopoly that keeps a stranglehold on the nation's politics, and bring more third party candidates into office giving Congress a more diverse culture by adding viewpoints based on other things than business interests.

4. Actually, advances in fMRI equipment and procedures, along with genetics and written testing can prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not someone is a sociopath, do some research and you'l see it is true. False positives in any testing regime are always an issue, but tens of millions of workers submit to drug tests to qualify for their jobs, and their jobs don't usually run the risk of plunging the world into war, economic or environmental disasters. False positives are common in the workplace and cost many thousands their jobs.

And there's an easy way to prove you aren't really a sociopath: be honest, don't lie, and genuinely care about people...things sociopaths cannot do over time.

Seriously, it is a societal safety issue that demands to be done, protecting the few against false positives means opening the floodgates for the many sociopaths who seek power over others.

WillisFitnurbut -> ConBrio , 7 Jul 2018 13:25
Not just eliminate--alter and add to it, but since it takes 2/3 majority of the house and senate to amend the constitution--it's not an easy feat--that's why there has only been 17 amendments altogether and two of them are there to cancel each other out!
You see, the beauty behind the National Popular Vote Bill is that it's done on a state by state basis and will only work when the required 270 electoral votes are gained with the bill--this means all voters would have their votes tallied in a presidential election and it eliminates swing states with a winner takes all approach. The electoral college and state control of elections are preserved and every one is happy.
I feel like you've not read up on any of this even though I provide a link. 12 of these bills have been enacted into state law already, comprising of 172 electoral votes and 3,112 legislative sponsors. That's more than halfway there.
To continue to say that changing the way we vote by altering the EC is a fantasy is in itself a fantasy because obviously it is gaining traction across the country.
tjt77 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 12:51
Which 'side' do you imagine I'm on Mike ? FYI.. Im not a member of any tribe especially regarding the republican or democrat parties... you may have noticed that as part of the progress towards a globalized economy, 'Money' now has open borders...but the restrictions of movement for people are growing as nationalism rises and wealth and the power it yields, becomes ever more concentrated in fewer hands...this is a dangerous precedent and history repeats if lessons of the past are not learned.
I can well recall when humanity and the ability of the individual to attain freedom and liberty based upon the merit of the individual was once celebrated.
What really irks me and causes me to voice my opinion on this forum, ( thank you Guardian for your continued efforts at informing us all and especially for promoting participation) is how easily people are duped .. when 'others' can easily see that they are being lied to. My parents fought for freedom and liberty against vicious tyranny in Europe and paid a HUGE price..by the time the scales had tipped the balance towards fascism, it was far too late for anything other than all out war... the fact that they survived the required sacrifice to pitch in to protect democracy, and the freedom and liberty which comes with it, still seems miraculous..
Gary Daily , 7 Jul 2018 12:20
Billionaires on the left should put some of that money into paying for and distributing subscriptions to newspapers and magazines which live up to the standards of professional journalism. These papers should be made available, free, at high schools, colleges, libraries, and commercial centers of loitering and "neighborly" discussions. May I suggest the NYT, WP, The Guardian, and The Economist.
ConBrio -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 12:16
The "fact" that there have been 700 attempts to eliminate it should tell you that in all likelihood the The Electoral College will continue.

Whether or not a group of states can effectively circumvent the Constitution is an open question.

aquacalc -> ghstwrtrx7 , 7 Jul 2018 12:01
"What the country sorely needs is a new constitution."

No thanks! The Founders were quite a bit more intelligent than the current national 'brain trust' -- on the both sides of the Aisle -- that would be charged with writing a new Constitution.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:48

A defense attorney once told me that his job was one of the toughest out there because an astonishing percentage of defendants are guilty as charged.

That's true. But it doesn't excuse the crooked system whatsoever. It doesn't make the innocent poor people any less innocent.

Dorthy Boatman -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 11:36
Since when have politicians and rich people ever followed the law? And what recourse would that be exactly?
WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:17
I like how you immediately expose your racism, right out of the gate. Haven't you got a storm trooper meeting to head out to soon?
Elephantmoth -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:14
Sorry I forgot the link: http://www.http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/318177-lobbyings-top-50-whos-spending-big
Sisyphus2 -> NYbill13 , 7 Jul 2018 10:41
Back to the days of Dickens, workhouses, indentured slaves, etc.

[Aug 19, 2020] People who strive for "democracy" have two choice and that most common is "managed democracy" on behalf of neoliberal financial oligarchy, which strip mining your "resources"

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

G. Poulin , says: December 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm GMT

So if propaganda is so easy and effective, remind me again why democracy is such a great idea?
El Dato , says: December 12, 2019 at 6:00 am GMT
@G. Poulin You have two choices:

1) Democracy with a population that is at least minimally engaged and angrily stays that way (including removing powerful special interests from premises with pitchforks)
2) Being "managed" on behalf of various power centers. This can be liveable or can turn into strip mining of your "resources".

Sadly, there is no algorithm that allows you to detect whether your are engaged or are being engaged on behalf of others. That would be easy. But one should start with a minimal state, hard money and the sons of the upper crust on the front lines and forbidden from taking office in government.

That being said, this article is a bit meandering. Came for Bellingcat but was confused.

Who presented the Emmy Award to the film makers, but none other than the rebel journalist Chris Hedges.

Maximum Clown World.

Johan , says: December 12, 2019 at 11:49 pm GMT
@El Dato "1) Democracy with a population that is at least minimally engaged and angrily stays that way (including removing powerful special interests from premises with pitchforks)"

There are no revolutions by means of pitchforks in a democracy, everything is weakened by compromise, false promises, infiltration, manipulation, etc. You cannot stay angry all the time too, it is very bad for your health, it needs to be short and intense to be effective, which is exactly what democracy prevents.
Democracy turns you into a petted animal.

[Aug 19, 2020] GOP Donors Vs. GOP Voters

Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

From J.D. Vance's appearance last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight Vance has just said that the donor elites of the GOP are out of touch with the party's base. More:

CARLSON: But more broadly, what you are saying, I think is, that the Democratic Party understands what it is and who it represents and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters, but the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.

VANCE: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, look at who the Democratic Party is and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Most of the times, I disagree with them. But I at least admire that they recognize who their voters are and they actually just as raw cynical politics do a lot of things to serve those voters.

Now, look at who Republican voters increasingly are. They are people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They are disproportionately folks who want to have more children. They are people who want to have more single earner families. They are people who don't necessarily want to go to college but they want to work in an economy where if you play by the rules, you can you actually support a family on one income.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Have Republicans done anything for those people really in the last 15 or 20 years? I think can you point to some policies of the Trump administration. Certainly, instinctively, I think the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks. But at the end of the day, the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are.

Now, the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters much.

CARLSON: Well, that's it. So I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there is a substantial block within it, it's this unstable coalition, all of these groups have nothing in common, but the one thing they have in common is the Democratic Party will protect them.

VANCE: Yes.

CARLSON: You criticize a block of Democratic Voters and they are on you like a wounded wombat. They will bite you. The Republicans, watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement, "Yes, these people should be attacked."

VANCE: Yes, that's absolutely right. I mean, if you talk to people who spent their lives in D.C. I know you live in D.C.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: I've spent a lot of my life here. The people who spend their time in D.C. who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think tanks, now this isn't true of everybody, but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days.

[Aug 19, 2020] Some Shocking Facts on the Concentration of Ownership of the US Economy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction. ..."
"... In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). ..."
"... In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies. ..."
"... A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2). ..."
"... Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4). ..."
May 19, 2019 | russia-insider.com

A close-knit oligarchy controls all major corporations. Monopolization of ownership in US economy fast approaching Soviet levels

Starting with Ronald Reagan's presidency, the US government willingly decided to ignore the anti-trust laws so that corporations would have free rein to set up monopolies. With each successive president the monopolistic concentration of business and shareholding in America has grown precipitously eventually to reach the monstrous levels of the present day.

Today's level of monopolistic concentration is of such unprecedented levels that we may without hesitation designate the US economy as a giant oligopoly. From economic power follows political power, therefore the economic oligopoly translates into a political oligarchy. (It seems, though, that the transformation has rather gone the other way around, a ferocious set of oligarchs have consolidated their economic and political power beginning from the turn of the twentieth century). The conclusion that the US is an oligarchy finds support in a 2014 by a Princeton University study.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction.

In a later report, we will demonstrate how all sectors of the US economy have fallen prey to monopolization and how the corporate oligopoly has been set up across the country. This post essentially serves as an appendix to that future report by providing the shocking details of the concentration of corporate ownership.

Apart from illustrating the monopolization at the level of shareholding of the major investors and corporations, we will in a follow-up post take a somewhat closer look at one particularly fatal aspect of this phenomenon, namely the consolidation of media (posted simultaneously with the present one) in the hands of absurdly few oligarch corporations. In there, we will discuss the monopolies of the tech giants and their ownership concentration together with the traditional media because they rightfully belong to the same category directly restricting speech and the distribution of opinions in society.

In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). To achieve these goals, it has been crucial for the oligarchs to control and direct the narrative on economy and war, on all public discourse on social affairs. By seizing the media, the oligarchs have created a monstrous propaganda machine, which controls the opinions of the majority of the US population.

We use the words 'monopoly,' 'monopolies,' and 'monopolization' in a broad sense and subsume under these concepts all kinds of market dominance be it by one company or two or a small number of companies, that is, oligopolies. At the end of the analysis, it is not of great importance how many corporations share in the market dominance, rather what counts is the death of competition and the position enabling market abuse, either through absolute dominance, collusion, or by a de facto extinction of normal market competition. Therefore we use the term 'monopolization' to describe the process of reaching a critical level of non-competition on a market. Correspondingly, we may denote 'monopoly companies' two corporations of a duopoly or several of an oligopoly.

Horizontal shareholding – the cementation of the oligarchy

One especially perfidious aspect of this concentration of ownership is that the same few institutional investors have acquired undisputable control of the leading corporations in practically all the most important sectors of industry. The situation when one or several investors own controlling or significant shares of the top corporations in a given industry (business sector) is referred to as horizontal shareholding . (*1). In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies.

A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2).

Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4).

Blackrock had as of 2016 $6.2 trillion worth of assets under management, Vanguard $5.1 trillion, whereas State Street has dropped to a distant third with only $1 trillion in assets. This compares with a total market capitalization of US stocks according to Russell 3000 of $30 trillion at end of 2017 (From 2016 to 2017, the Big Three has of course also put on assets).Blackrock and Vanguard would then alone own more than one-third of all US publicly listed shares.

From an expanded sample that includes the 3,000 largest publicly listed corporations (Russell 3000 index), institutions owned (2016) about 78% of the equity .

The speed of concentration the US economy in the hands of institutions has been incredible. Still back in 1950s, their share of the equity was 10%, by 1980 it was 30% after which the concentration has rapidly grown to the present day approximately 80%. (*5). Another study puts the present (2016) stock market capitalization held by institutional investors at 70%. (*6). (The slight difference can possibly be explained by variations in the samples of companies included).

As a result of taking into account the common ownership at investor level, it emerges that the US economy is yet much more monopolized than it was previously thought when the focus had been on the operational business corporation alone detached from their owners. (*7).

The Oligarch owners assert their control

Apologists for monopolies have argued that the institutional investors who manage passive capital are passive in their own conduct as shareholders as well. (*8). Even if that would be true it would come with vastly detrimental consequences for the economy as that would mean that in effect there would be no shareholder control at all and the corporate executives would manage the companies exclusively with their own short-term benefits in mind, inevitably leading to corruption and the loss of the common benefits businesses on a normally functioning competitive market would bring.

In fact, there seems to have been a period in the US economy – before the rapid monopolization of the last decade -when such passive investors had relinquished control to the executives. (*9). But with the emergence of the Big Three investors and the astonishing concentration of ownership that does not seem to hold water any longer. (*10). In fact, there need not be any speculation about the matter as the monopolist owners are quite candid about their ways. For example, BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink sends out an annual guiding letter to his subject, practically to all the largest firms of the US and increasingly also Europe and the rest of the West. In his pastoral, the CEO shares his view of the global conditions affecting business prospects and calls for companies to adjust their strategies accordingly.

The investor will eventually review the management's strategic plans for compliance with the guidelines. Effectively, the BlackRock CEO has in this way assumed the role of a giant central planner, rather like the Gosplan, the central planning agency of the Soviet command economy.

The 2019 letter (referenced above) contains this striking passage, which should quell all doubts about the extent to which BlackRock exercises its powers:

"As we seek to build long-term value for our clients through engagement, our aim is not to micromanage a company's operations. Instead, our primary focus is to ensure board accountability for creating long-term value. However, a long-term approach should not be confused with an infinitely patient one. When BlackRock does not see progress despite ongoing engagement, or companies are insufficiently responsive to our efforts to protect our clients' long-term economic interests, we do not hesitate to exercise our right to vote against incumbent directors or misaligned executive compensation."

Considering the striking facts rendered above, we should bear in mind that the establishment of this virtually absolute oligarch ownership over all the largest corporations of the United States is a relatively new phenomenon. We should therefore expect that the centralized control and centralized planning will rapidly grow in extent as the power is asserted and methods are refined.

Most of the capital of those institutional investors consists of so-called passive capital, that is, such cases of investments where the investor has no intention of trying to achieve any kind of control of the companies it invests in, the only motivation being to achieve as high as possible a yield. In the overwhelming majority of the cases the funds flow into the major institutional investors, which invest the money at their will in any corporations. The original investors do not retain any control of the institutional investors, and do not expect it either. Technically the institutional investors like BlackRock and Vanguard act as fiduciary asset managers. But here's the rub, while the people who commit their assets to the funds may be considered as passive investors, the institutional investors who employ those funds are most certainly not.

Cross-ownership of oligarch corporations

To make matters yet worse, it must be kept in mind that the oligopolistic investors in turn are frequently cross-owned by each other. (*11). In fact, there is no transparent way of discovering who in fact controls the major institutional investors.

One of the major institutional investors, Vanguard is ghost owned insofar as it does not have any owners at all in the traditional sense of the concept. The company claims that it is owned by the multiple funds that it has itself set up and which it manages. This is how the company puts it on their home page : "At Vanguard, there are no outside owners, and therefore, no conflicting loyalties. The company is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their shareholders -- including you, if you're a Vanguard fund investor." At the end of the analysis, it would then seem that Vanguard is owned by Vanguard itself, certainly nobody should swallow the charade that those funds stuffed with passive investor money would exercise any ownership control over the superstructure Vanguard. We therefore assume that there is some group of people (other than the company directors) that have retained the actual control of Vanguard behind the scenes (perhaps through one or a few of the funds). In fact, we believe that all three (BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard) are tightly controlled by a group of US oligarchs (or more widely transatlantic oligarchs), who prefer not to brandish their power. It is beyond the scope of this study and our means to investigate this hypothesis, but whatever, it is bad enough that as a proven fact these three investor corporations wield this control over most of the American economy. We also know that the three act in concert wherever they hold shares. (*12).

Now, let's see who are the formal owners of these institutional investors

In considering these ownership charts, please, bear in mind that we have not consistently examined to what degree the real control of one or another company has been arranged through a scheme of issuing different classes of shares, where a special class of shares give vastly more voting rights than the ordinary shares. One source asserts that 355 of the companies in the Russell index consisting of the 3000 largest corporations employ such a dual voting-class structure, or 11.8% of all major corporations.

We have mostly relied on www.stockzoa.com for the shareholder data. However, this and other sources tend to list only the so-called institutional investors while omitting corporate insiders and other individuals. (We have no idea why such strange practice is employed

[Aug 19, 2020] Smash the Oligarchy by JOSIAH LIPPINCOTT

Oligarchy owns the USA political system and tune it to their needs. Proliferation of NGO is one such trick that favor oligarchy.
That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense—and it yields results. In April, Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn’t quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high.
Notable quotes:
"... Non-profit activity lets super-elites broker political power tax-free, reshaping the world according to their designs. ..."
"... The American tax code makes all of this possible. It greases the skids for the wealthy to use their fortunes to augment their political power. The 501(c)(3) designation makes all donations, of whatever size, to charitable nonprofits immune from taxation. ..."
"... For the super-wealthy, political power comes tax-free. ..."
"... No one ever elected Bill Gates to anything. His wealth, and not the democratic process, is the only reason he has an outsized voice in shaping coronavirus policy. The man who couldn't keep viruses out of Windows now wants to vaccinate the planet. That isn't an unreasonable goal for a man of his wealth, either. Gates's foundation is the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, providing some 10 percent of its funds . That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April , Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high . ..."
"... Eliminating the tax exemption for charitable giving would make it simple to heavily tax the capital gains that drive the wealth of America's richest one thousand people. One could also leave the exemption in place for most Americans (those with a net worth under $100 million), while making larger gifts, especially those over a billion dollars, taxable at extremely high rates close to 100%. Bill Gates wants to give a billion dollars to his foundation? Great. But he should pay a steep fee to the American people to purchase that kind of power. ..."
"... There is nothing socialist in these or similar tax proposals. We are not making an abstract commentary on whether having a billion dollars is "moral." These are simply prudential measures to put the people back in charge of their own country. Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy. ..."
"... An America governed by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and George Soros will be -- arguably, already is -- a disaster for the middle class and everyday Americans. Cracking down on their "selfless" philanthropy, combined with antitrust enforcement and higher progressive tax rates, is a key way for Americans to leverage the power of the ballot box against the power of the banker's vault. ..."
"... The rotting edifice that is the United States is coming down one way or another. Just accept it. ..."
"... I would end tax exempt status for organizations. When everyone pays taxes we all become better stewards of how that money is used. ..."
"... To think both Mr. Dreher and Mr. Van Buren just recently posted about the superwealthy leaving the big cities, citing as the main reasons the Covid thing on the one hand, and "excessively high" income taxes on the other. Most comments that followed were in the line of "that's what happens when you let socialists run things" and "stop giving money to the poor, then they'll work and get rich." And here we have someone proposing more and higher taxes on the wealthy to bust their political nuts. ..."
"... It's an interesting proposal, but it seems that if you're worried about super-elites brokering political power tax-free, you might focus on direct brokering of political power. For example, we could pass a law requiring full disclosure of all sources of funding for any political advertising. ..."
Aug 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Non-profit activity lets super-elites broker political power tax-free, reshaping the world according to their designs.

America's super-wealthy have too much power. A republican regime based on the consent of the governed cannot survive when a few hands control too large a sum of money and too much human capital. A dominion of monopolists spells ruin for the common man.

The Federal Reserve calculates that, at present, America's total household wealth equals $104 trillion . Of that, $3.4 trillion belongs to America's 600 billionaires alone. Put another way, 3% of the nation's wealth belongs to 0.0002% of the population. Those 600 names control twice as much wealth as the least wealthy 170 million Americans combined . This is a problem. Economic power means political power. In an era of mass media, it has never been easier to manufacture public opinion and to manipulate the citizenry.

Look no further than the consensus view of Fortune 500 companies as to the virtues of Black Lives Matter. That movement's incredible cultural reach is, in large part, a function of its cachet among American elites. In 2016, the Ford Foundation began a Black-Led Movement Fund to funnel $100 million into racial and social justice causes. George Soros' Open Society Foundation immediately poured in $33 million in grants.

Soros and company received a massive return on investment. The shift leftward on issues of racial and social justice in the last four years has been nothing short of remarkable. Net public support for BLM , at minus 5 percent in 2018, has surged to plus 28 percent in 2020. The New York Times estimates that some 15 to 26 million Americans participated in recent protests over George Floyd's death.

And the money keeps flowing. In the last three months, hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into social and racial justice causes. Sony Music Group , the NFL , Warner Music Group , and Comcast all have promised gifts in excess of $100 million. MacKenzie Bezos has promised more than a billion dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other racial and social justice organizations. Yet, as scholars like Heather MacDonald have pointed out -- America's justice system is not racist. Disquieting anecdotes and wrenching videos blasted across cyberspace are not the whole of, or even representative of, our reality. But well-heeled media and activism campaigns can change the perception. That's what matters.

The American tax code makes all of this possible. It greases the skids for the wealthy to use their fortunes to augment their political power. The 501(c)(3) designation makes all donations, of whatever size, to charitable nonprofits immune from taxation.

A man can only eat so much filet mignon in one lifetime. He can only drive so many Lamborghinis and vacation in so many French chalets. At a certain point, the longing for material pleasures gives way to a longing for honor and power. What a super-elite really wants is to be remembered for "changing the world." The tax code makes the purchasing of such honors even easier than buying fast cars and luxury homes.

For the super-wealthy, political power comes tax-free.

No one ever elected Bill Gates to anything. His wealth, and not the democratic process, is the only reason he has an outsized voice in shaping coronavirus policy. The man who couldn't keep viruses out of Windows now wants to vaccinate the planet. That isn't an unreasonable goal for a man of his wealth, either. Gates's foundation is the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, providing some 10 percent of its funds . That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April , Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high .

No one ever voted on those lockdowns, either. Like the mask-wearing mandates, they were instituted by executive fiat. The experts , many of them funded through donations given by tech billionaires like Gates , campaigned for policies that radically altered the basic structure of society. Here lies the danger of billionaire power. Without adequate checks and balances, the super-wealthy can skirt the normal political process, working behind the scenes to make policies that the people never even have a chance to debate or vote on.

A republic cannot be governed this way. America needs to bring its current crop of oligarchs to heel. That starts with constraining their ability to commandeer their massive personal fortunes to shape policy. Technically, the 501(c)(3) designation prevents political activities by tax-exempt charities. Those rules apply only to political campaigning and lobbying, however. They say nothing about funding legal battles or shaping specific policies indirectly through research and grants. America's universities, think tanks, and advocacy organizations are nearly universally considered tax-exempt nonprofits. Only a fool would believe they are not political.

One solution to the nonprofit problem to simply get rid of the charitable exemption all together. If there is no loophole, it can't be exploited by the mega-wealthy. Most Americans' charitable giving wouldn't be affected. The average American gives between $2,000 and $3,000 per year . That is well under the $24,800 standard tax deduction for married couples. Ninety percent of taxpayers have no reason to use a line-item deduction. Such a change likely wouldn't affect wealthy givers either. In 2014 , the average high-income American (defined as making more than $200,000 per year or having a million dollars in assets) gave an average of $68,000 to charity, and in 2018 93 percent said their giving had nothing to do with tax breaks.

Eliminating the tax exemption for charitable giving would make it simple to heavily tax the capital gains that drive the wealth of America's richest one thousand people. One could also leave the exemption in place for most Americans (those with a net worth under $100 million), while making larger gifts, especially those over a billion dollars, taxable at extremely high rates close to 100%. Bill Gates wants to give a billion dollars to his foundation? Great. But he should pay a steep fee to the American people to purchase that kind of power.

There is nothing socialist in these or similar tax proposals. We are not making an abstract commentary on whether having a billion dollars is "moral." These are simply prudential measures to put the people back in charge of their own country. Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy.

Incentives to make more money are generally good. The libertarians are mostly right -- people are usually better judges of how to spend and use their resources than the government.

But not always. The libertarian account does not adequately recognize man's political nature. We need law and order. We need a regime where elections matter and the opinions of the people actually shape policy. Contract law, borders, and taxes are all necessary to human flourishing, but all impede the total and unrestricted movement of labor and money. At the very top of the wealth pyramid, concentrated economic power always turns into political power. An economic policy that doesn't recognize that fact will create an untouchable class that controls both the market and the regime. There's nothing freeing about that outcome.

An America governed by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and George Soros will be -- arguably, already is -- a disaster for the middle class and everyday Americans. Cracking down on their "selfless" philanthropy, combined with antitrust enforcement and higher progressive tax rates, is a key way for Americans to leverage the power of the ballot box against the power of the banker's vault.

Josiah Lippincott is a former Marine officer and current Master's student at the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College.


Kent13 hours ago

I'd like to thank the author for actually discussing policy proposals that actually make sense. That's a rarity on TAC. However, he needs to keep a couple of things in mind:

1. You can't just say something isn't socialist on a conservative website. Conservatives have been conditioned for decades to believe that anything the GOP considers to be bad is called by the name "socialism". And taxes are bad. Therefore socialist. To bring any nuance to that word will be devastating to long-term conservative ability to argue points.

2. This proposal won't just hurt the ability of left-leaning tech giants, but also right-leaning oil and defense industry barons. A double-edged sword.

AlexanderHistory X12 hours ago

This is an interesting idea that might have had a shot, big maybe, 50 plus years ago. America is too far gone to fix with political changes, not that you could make any major changes like this in the current political environment.

The rotting edifice that is the United States is coming down one way or another. Just accept it.

joeo12 hours ago

I would end tax exempt status for organizations. When everyone pays taxes we all become better stewards of how that money is used.

bumbershoot joeo10 hours ago

Certainly! Just so long as the word "organizations" encompasses churches as well, I think lots of people on all sides of the political spectrum would agree.

Ted joeo10 hours ago

Starting with the Roman Catholic Church.

YT14 joeo7 hours ago • edited

Complicated argument. Basically, charitable people will always give charity, even from taxed income. However, if people give charity from taxed income, the state can no longer control what the institutions given money do with that money as long as salaries and surplus are taxed.

YT1412 hours ago • edited

Interesting proposal. Removing tax deduction should of course throw IRS out of monitoring charitable giving. So less power to Lois Lerner and colleagues.

Woland11 hours ago

To think both Mr. Dreher and Mr. Van Buren just recently posted about the superwealthy leaving the big cities, citing as the main reasons the Covid thing on the one hand, and "excessively high" income taxes on the other. Most comments that followed were in the line of "that's what happens when you let socialists run things" and "stop giving money to the poor, then they'll work and get rich." And here we have someone proposing more and higher taxes on the wealthy to bust their political nuts.

Note that the author carefully left out any mention of conservative megadonors shaping public policy. Must be the quiet part, to avoid tarring and feathering by his own side.

bumbershoot10 hours ago
Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy.

It certainly never has been one before, but we on the left welcome this new appreciation of the perils of growing inequality.

Now all you have to do is convince the entire Republican Party that this isn't "socialism." Good luck!

AdmBenson10 hours ago

Say you like the game of Monopoly so much that you want it to last longer than the few hours it takes for one player to dominate and beat the others. Well, you could replace $200 as you pass Go with progessive taxation on income, assets, or a combination thereof. If you do it right, you can make the game last into perpetuity by ensuring that the dominance of any one player is only temporary.

gnt8 hours ago • edited

It's an interesting proposal, but it seems that if you're worried about super-elites brokering political power tax-free, you might focus on direct brokering of political power. For example, we could pass a law requiring full disclosure of all sources of funding for any political advertising.

If we wanted to be aggressive, we could even pass a constitutional amendment to specify that corporations are not people. It seems odd to worry about the political power exercised by institutions with no direct control over politics, and ignore the institution whose purpose is politics.

Another approach to deal with the direct influence of the super-elite would be to make lobbying expenses no longer tax deductible. I'm sure you could find support for that.

YT14 gnt7 hours ago

You are aware that this way IRS will lose control? Lois Lerner will be able no more to go after conservative non-profits?

Pete Barbeaux4 hours ago

This is the 5th TAC article since May to take something word-for-word from a Bernie Sanders-esque Leftist platform and call it something "Conservatives" want. GTFOOH.

GeorgeMarshall653 hours ago

Mr. Lippincott: That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April, Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high.

So the argument here is that the experts were not going to call for a lockdown, but Mr. Gates' outsized influence made them do it? The experts weren't going to do it anyway? Did that outsized influence extend to every other country in the world which imposed lockdowns? Was there a secret communique between Mr. Gates and the NBA so they suspended their season in mid-March? In the US, CA, Clark Cty in NV, Illinois, Kansas City, MA, MI, NY, OR, and WI all began lockdowns in March. Around the world, 80 countries began lockdowns in March. No matter what Mr. Gates said, lockdowns were deemed to be appropriate. Plus, Mr. Lippincott admits that Mr. Gates' proposal was not followed. In terms of "massive tech firms making out like bandits" v small businesses, might that have anything to do with their value?

L RNY2 hours ago

I very much agree with this article and I think we need another Teddy Roosevelt Monopoly (oligarchy) buster but much has changed in the 100 years since Teddy Roosevelt was President. The first thing that comes to mind is that the aristocracy was mostly protestant and the business class was mostly domestic with high tariffs keeping foreign competitors out so we could break up these companies without a foreign country purchasing them and possibly creating a national security risk.

Today's aristocracy is much more diverse. Its more Jewish and it has much more minority representation from African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, etc so that creates the first problem in breaking up a monopoly or an oligarchy which would be the accusation of targeting minorities for discrimination. The second problem is that many of the aristocratic class in the US consider themselves global citizens and have dual citizenship. They can live anywhere anytime they choose so if you target them the way say Cuomo and DiBlasio and Newsom do then they will leave. Third problem is our global society particularly the digital / virtual society. If you break that up without safeguards then you will only be inviting foreign ownership then you will have a national security issue and even less influence.

The biggest problem is the NGOs, nonprofits that the rich set up to usurp the government on various issues from immigration to gender identity to politics. These NGO nonprofits arent your harmless community soup kitchen doing good works. The anarchy, arson, looting, rioting in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NYC, Baltimore these are paid for by NGO nonprofits and they have the money to threaten local government, state government and federal government. Trump was 100% correct when he started to tax college endowments but he didnt go far enough. The tax laws have to be rewritten with a very strict and narrow interpretation of what exactly constitutes the public good and is deserving on non-profit status. If you say education then I will say you are correct but endowments are an investment vehicle under the umbrella of an educational nonprofit. Thats like a nonprofit hospital buying a mutual fund company or a mine or a manufacturing plan and claiming its non-profit. For me its relatively simple unless someone has a some other way. If you look at the non-profit community good...what are the budgets for say hospitals, schools, orphanages, retirement homes, etc. Put monetary limits on nonprofits which can vary depending on industry and the rest is taxed at a high rate. We simply cannot have NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) using a nonprofit status to bring down a country's financial system, over-throwing a country, financing civil strife and civil war, usurping the government on things like immigration, etc.

[Aug 19, 2020] Why the Superrich Keep Getting Richer by Grace Blakeley

Aug 19, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

July 25, 2020

Billionaires like Jeff Bezos aren't obscenely wealthy because they work harder than everyone else or they're more innovative. They're obscenely wealthy because their corporate empires drain society's resources -- and we'd all be better off without them.

This week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw the largest single-day increase in wealth ever recorded for any individual. In just one day, his fortune increased by $13 billion. On current trends, he is on track to become the world's first trillionaire by 2026.Those on the right wing of politics argue that extreme wealth is a function of hard work, creativity, and innovation that benefits society. But wealth and income inequality have increased dramatically in most advanced economies in recent years. The richest of the rich are much wealthier today than they were several decades ago, but it is not clear that they are working any harder.

Mainstream economists make a more nuanced version of this argument. They claim that the dramatic increase in income inequality has been driven by the dynamics of globalization and the rise of "superstars." Firms and corporate executives are now competing in a global market for capital and talent, so the rewards at the top are much higher -- even as competition also constrains wages for many toward the bottom end of the distribution.

According to this view, high levels of inequality are a reward for high productivity. The most productive firms will attract more investment than their less productive counterparts, and their managers, who are performing a much more complex job than those managing smaller firms, will be rewarded accordingly.

Read also: Sat. Jan. 25 Global Day of Protest - The People of the World Say: No War With Iran!

But here again the narrative runs aground on contact with reality. Productivity has not risen alongside inequality in recent years. In fact, in the United States and the UK productivity has flatlined since the financial crisis -- and in the United States, it has been declining since the turn of the century.

There is another explanation for the huge profits of the world's largest corporations and the huge fortunes of the superrich. Not higher productivity. Not simply globalization. But rising global market power.

Many of the world's largest tech companies have become global oligopolies and domestic monopolies. Globalization has played a role here, of course -- many domestic firms simply can't compete with global multinationals. But these firms also use their relative size to push down wages, avoid taxes, and gouge their suppliers, as well as lobbying governments to provide them with preferential treatment.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon are a case in point. Amazon has become America's largest company through anticompetitive practices that have landed it in trouble with the European Union's competition authorities. The working practices in its warehouses are notoriously appalling . And a study from last year revealed Amazon to be one of the world's most "aggressive tax avoiders."

Part of the reason Amazon has to work so hard to maintain its monopoly position is that its business model relies on network effects that only obtain at a certain scale. Tech companies like Amazon make money by monopolizing and then selling the data generated from the transactions on their sites.

The more people who sign up, the more data is generated; and the more data generated, the more useful this data is for those analyzing it. The monetization of this data is what generates most of Amazon's returns: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most profitable part of the business by some distance.

Read also: What Really Worries South Koreans: Trump

Far from representing its social utility, Amazon's market value -- and Bezos' personal wealth -- reflects its market power. And the rising market power of a small number of larger firms has actually reduced productivity. This concentration has also constrained investment and wage growth as these firms simply don't have to compete for labor, nor are they forced to innovate in order to outcompete their rivals.

In fact, they're much more likely to use their profits to buy back their own shares, or to acquire other firms that will increase their market share and give them access to more data. Amazon's recent acquisition of grocery store Whole Foods is likely to be the first of many such moves by tech companies. Rather than the Darwinian logic of compete or die, the tech companies face a different imperative: expand or die.

States are supporting this logic with exceptionally loose monetary policy. Low interest rates make it very easy for large companies to borrow to fund mergers and acquisitions. And quantitative easing -- unleashed on an unprecedented scale to tackle the pandemic -- has simply served to raise equity prices, especially for the big tech companies.

As more areas of our lives become subject to the power of big tech, the fortunes of people like Bezos will continue to mount. Their rising wealth will not represent a reward for innovation or job creation, but for their market power, which has allowed them to increase the exploitation of their workforces, gouge suppliers, and avoid taxes.

The only real way to tackle these inequities is to democratize the ownership of the means of production, and begin to hand the key decisions in our economy back to the people. But you would expect that even social democrats, who won't pursue transformative policies, could get behind measures such as a wealth tax.

Read also: L'Eurogroupe maintient la Grèce sous le joug de la dette illégitime

"Building back better" after the pandemic will be impossible without such a tax -- and the vast majority of both Labour and Conservative voters support such an approach, according to a recent poll. And yet it appears that Labour's leadership are retreating from the idea.

In an interview the other day, I was asked why we should care about Jeff Bezos's wealth if it makes everyone else better off. But the extreme inequalities generated by modern capitalism are making obvious something that Marxists have known for decades: the superrich generate their wealth at the expense of workers, the planet, and society as a whole.

In a rational and fair society, the vast resources of a tiny elite would be put to use solving our social problems.

[Aug 19, 2020] The pendulum swings back to sensible taxation rates for the ultra wealthy

Wishful thinking. The neoliberal oligarchy is in conrol of all political power centers. Looks like neoliberal ideas became completely discredited. Even Krugman abandoned them.
Notable quotes:
"... In the age of AI the US needs a grand rebuilding of our infrastructure including electrical grids, bridges, highways, mass transit systems, and conversion to renewable energy. ..."
"... Elizabeth Warren showed her chops years ago when she was a guest on Bill Moyer's PBS show, and I've been a fan ever since. But - we don't just need more of Teddy Roosevelt - we need a good dose of Franklin Roosevelt, too ..."
"... In Senator Warren we finally have a politician who understands the difference between wealth and income and is willing to start taxing wealth. This is especially important as the truly wealthy receive very little of their money in the form of income and are therefore taxed on far less than they are actually worth. This only serves to exacerbate our inequality problem. ..."
"... Extreme income inequality is damaging to social capital and to public health - and thus in the long run to sustainable prosperity. The American epidemic of depression, opioid abuse and suicide is is correlated with the acceleration of income inequality. ..."
"... Finally, Senator Warren's proposal seems like an acceleration of the estate tax. ..."
"... Having worked in trusts and estates law for decades, I suspect that this proposal will invite use of the same techniques used by estate planners, lawyers, and accountants to drive down the fair market value of assets. Her proposal may work, if it is ever enacted, but the devil, as usual, will be in the details. This is a very complex concept, simple as it may seem at first blush. That is not an argument for not trying, but for being very careful in the implementation, beginning with the statutory language. ..."
"... This tax will require staffing up the IRS and that will require dems control over both houses of Congress as the GOPers have defunded the IRS. ..."
"... Pretax income concentration at the top increased starting in the 1980s as a direct result of the large reductions in the top marginal income tax rates. ..."
"... Even if a 70% top marginal tax rate did not raise a penny more in tax revenue it would still be justified on the grounds of preventing extreme concentration of wealth and income. Recent economic research has shown that in a purely capitalistic society in which there is no taxation nor redistribution all wealth in the whole society will ultimately be owned by a single household. https://voxeu.org/article/what-would-wealth-distribution-look-without-redistribution ..."
"... I applaud Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for espousing Teddy an Franklin Roosevelt's ideas about reducing the concentration of 90% of wealth in the upper 1/10th of 1 per cent (0.1%). That is the situation which can lead to major social unrest, widespread crime, and ultimately, civil war as happened in England in the 17th century, in Russia in 1917, and in the French Revolution that beheaded Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - along with thousands of other members of the nobility. ..."
"... "wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans almost equal to that of the bottom 90 percent combined." The corrupt neoliberalism of the 1% is unsustainable but is reflective of a downward spiral of decline. While we experience continuous political campaigning the U.S. is, in reality, a criminal and corrupt corporate state enriching the 1% and masquerading as a democracy, an Inverted Totalitarianism. ..."
"... Great. The pendulum swings back to sensible taxation rates for the ultra wealthy. Hard to feel sorry for hedge fund managers. I can just see Sean Hannity railing against it now. He would have to cough up. ..."
"... Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing. Her Accountable Capitalism Act also addresses the root causes of inequality, although some critics have stated that it would lead to the semi-nationalization of business. ..."
Feb 04, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
Grindelwald Boston Mass Jan. 29

@Horsepower the tax bill has, as predicted by almost everyone but the GOP lawmakers, caused the deficit to balloon. Currently, the resulting debt must be paid by the descendents of all of us but the ultra-wealthy. The alternative to that approach, openly proposed by the GOP, was to take away vital services from most of us, like medical care, public education, and retirement support. I'm surprised that you don't find those things "consequential to the life of most Americans".

Doug Johnston Chapel Hill, NC Jan. 29

There is no reason -- economic, social or moral -- why anyone needs a personal fortune above $500 million dollars.

Eddie Cohen M.D ecohen2 . com Poway, California Jan. 29

In the age of AI the US needs a grand rebuilding of our infrastructure including electrical grids, bridges, highways, mass transit systems, and conversion to renewable energy.

It also needs a medical care system that provides a high level of to all of our citizens including the poor and those with pre-existing conditions. What better down payment on these costly necessities than a tax on the ultra rich.

Mary Ann Seattle, WA Jan. 29

Elizabeth Warren showed her chops years ago when she was a guest on Bill Moyer's PBS show, and I've been a fan ever since. But - we don't just need more of Teddy Roosevelt - we need a good dose of Franklin Roosevelt, too.

Given where this country is at, taxing the uber-rich alone isn't going to be enough to solve our problems. We need a jobs program - good, family wage jobs - that have been chipped away at for decades by both automation and off-shoring.

Taxing will help fund much needed gov't infrastructure problems, but it's purchasing power that drives the economy - and we can't have one without a vibrant middle class that's actually making and doing stuff. Since the Clinton years, the USA has spawned a bloated investor class, making a lot of money shuffling paper, but what do they produce that drives this country forward? Our infrastructure is fast becoming 3rd world.

John Murphysboro, IL Jan. 29

In Senator Warren we finally have a politician who understands the difference between wealth and income and is willing to start taxing wealth. This is especially important as the truly wealthy receive very little of their money in the form of income and are therefore taxed on far less than they are actually worth. This only serves to exacerbate our inequality problem. The big banks, in particular, are very worried about what would happen should Warren become president. Like that other Roosevelt - Franklin - she welcomes their hatred. Good for her.

Barry Fogel Lexington, MA Jan. 28

Extreme income inequality is damaging to social capital and to public health - and thus in the long run to sustainable prosperity. The American epidemic of depression, opioid abuse and suicide is is correlated with the acceleration of income inequality.

Worldwide, countries with high income inequality have more depression, more suicide and less happiness, even when their per capita GNP is higher than their neighbors'. The toxic effects of inequality are especially great in a nation like the US where children are taught that anyone can make it if they work hard enough. In fact, there's a lot more upward mobility in those awful socialist Nordic countries, where teaching public school is a prestigious and well-paid job, college and vocational training are taxpayer-funded (not 'free'), and no one goes bankrupt from a serious illness or injury.

Steve Tripoli Hull, MA Jan. 29

Without endorsing anyone's proposals here, a couple of examples from recent history on what's actually possible, despite what people may think: -- Six weeks before the Berlin Wall fell and reunited Germany, the then-West German government issued a report projecting that German reunification was at least 20 years away. -- Japan went from a highly-nuclear power dependent country, with no prospect of changing, to one that drastically cut its dependence on nuclear in just one year after the Fukushima disaster. -- One of my favorites: FDR sits down with the leaders of General Motors at the dawn of WWII and says I need so many tanks, so many trucks etc etc for the war effort. A GM exec responds on these lines: "Mr. President, we can't fulfill those needs and still produce X-hundred-thousand cars a year." FDR: "You don't understand. You're no longer a car company." So the lesson is, no one knows what's possible in a society till you try.

Silas Greenback Guilford, CT Jan. 28

Eliminating carried interest seems perfectly rational. Compensation by any other name is compensation and taxable as ordinary income as it is for everyone else in this country. Once upon a time, capital gains were taxed at 15% and ordinary income at rates as high as 91%. That led to all sorts of devices to game the system, including the infamous collapsible corporation.

But with the difference down to around 10-15%, we may as well bite the bullet and tax income from capital at the same rate we tax income from work. I doubt this will hurt savings, investment, or capital formation.

It is still nice to have money, and owning capital assets will still beat the alternative.

Finally, Senator Warren's proposal seems like an acceleration of the estate tax.

Having worked in trusts and estates law for decades, I suspect that this proposal will invite use of the same techniques used by estate planners, lawyers, and accountants to drive down the fair market value of assets. Her proposal may work, if it is ever enacted, but the devil, as usual, will be in the details. This is a very complex concept, simple as it may seem at first blush. That is not an argument for not trying, but for being very careful in the implementation, beginning with the statutory language.

Lisa Bay Area Jan. 28

@Taz Bernie talks in bumper-sticker slogans; Elizabeth talks substance.

Tom New Jersey Jan. 28

@Steve B People receiving Social Security only pay taxes on the benefits if their income exceeds the same thresholds that apply to people who go out and work for a living, and pay Social Security taxes that go to the elderly. Ellen, stop treating Social Security like it's a savings bank.

Your Social Security taxes paid for the generation before you, and the Social Security taxes raised now are paying for you. The average Social Security recipient today will receive twice as much as they paid into the system during their earning years.

So please give the "I'm just getting back the money I paid into the system" routine a rest. It's a fiction. The wealth of the over 65s is growing faster than any other age group in our society, and the fraction of government spending on over-65s is the only part of government that has grown in decades.

If you're making enough to pay income taxes, pay your taxes and stop complaining. That means you're doing OK. You'd better hope young people don't wake up and realize just how much of their hard-earned pay is going to pay for retirees.

Kodali VA Jan. 29

The seriousness in her policies is in her work ethics and brilliance. She means what she says and works her heart out to achieve those goals. There isn't anyone out there that matches those qualities.

RobertF Acton Ma Jan. 28

This tax will require staffing up the IRS and that will require dems control over both houses of Congress as the GOPers have defunded the IRS.

The ultra right, ultra rich will be paying more and more of their fortunes to their already privately-owned senators to defeat this and any other progressive tax proposals. We need more, more and more people to get into the democratic process and VOTE to recapture the nation's leadership in 2020!

Doug Rife Sarasota, FL Jan. 28

Pretax income concentration at the top increased starting in the 1980s as a direct result of the large reductions in the top marginal income tax rates. Those who complain that a 70% top marginal tax rate is confiscatory need to understand that's the whole point.

When top marginal tax rates are confiscatory that leads to lower pre-tax income inequality because tax aversion of the wealthy leads they to pay themselves less income to avoid paying the government so much in taxes.

Unlike most workers, corporate executives can easily arrange for their boards to pay them far more than their marginal product would justify.

Furthermore, wealth tends to concentrate automatically when top marginal tax rates are low. This is simply due to the math of compound interest. When investment returns are not taxed sufficiently by the estate tax or by capital gains taxes, they will be reinvested leading to extreme wealth accumulation over generations that is automatic and not the result of any kind of investing skill.

Even if a 70% top marginal tax rate did not raise a penny more in tax revenue it would still be justified on the grounds of preventing extreme concentration of wealth and income. Recent economic research has shown that in a purely capitalistic society in which there is no taxation nor redistribution all wealth in the whole society will ultimately be owned by a single household. https://voxeu.org/article/what-would-wealth-distribution-look-without-redistribution

Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Baldwin Actually, it's 2% on what is on top of those 50M, so 2% on 100M, if you have a net worth of $150M. That being said, nobody with $150M net worth just "sits" on his money for 35 years. To get there in the first place, in the 21st century you usually have to pay an expert and engage in financial speculation (= speculation about financial transactions, not an investment in the "real" economy), and of course you won't stop paying that expert once you reach $150M, so you continue to add millions to your wealth anyhow. On the other hand, if you belong to the middle class, you easily pay $30,000 taxes a year.

After ten years, that's $300,000, and after 33 years that's a million dollars paid in taxes. Seen in this way, even having the middle class paying taxes seems "unfair", because when they only earn $75,000 a year, why should they pay a million in taxes over 33 years ... ?

Conclusion: taxes are paid year after year not in function of how many you will have paid in total at the end of your career, but in function of what we collectively need to run this country smoothly (military, government, education, roads and bridges, EPA, ...).

A "fair" tax code is a tax code that allows anyone who works hard to live comfortably, weather your a hedge fund manager or teacher. And in order to get there, we can't continue the GOP's constantly lowering taxes for the wealthiest all while cutting services to the 99%. NO one with $150M will suffer by paying $2M in taxes a year ...

San Francisco Voter San Framcoscp Jan. 28

I applaud Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for espousing Teddy an Franklin Roosevelt's ideas about reducing the concentration of 90% of wealth in the upper 1/10th of 1 per cent (0.1%). That is the situation which can lead to major social unrest, widespread crime, and ultimately, civil war as happened in England in the 17th century, in Russia in 1917, and in the French Revolution that beheaded Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - along with thousands of other members of the nobility.

We see this anger and violence today in the United States - in mass shootings, in failing public schools (the salaries are not sufficient to attract qualified teachers who instead will work in more remunerative fields, like law and computer technology. What works better is to reduce the concentration of wealth so people in the lower 90% can have more prosperity and social stability in their lives.

All people need a reliable source of food, healthcare, and a place for them and their families to live. All people need access to good education, family planning, and higher education sufficient to alllow them to work. With so much reliance on mechanical work, we also need for all people to have a minimum income - something that no one talks abou yet - but enough to live safely.

There is support for this not only among Democrats but also among Republicans. The help should be for everyone, not based on need (Marxism). This is common sense not socialism.

Dadof2 NJ Jan. 29

It was hilarious to read that Rush Limbaugh is SO terrified of AOC and Liz Warren that he, the grandmaster of Goebbels-like mis-information, is calling them "hitlerian" as he and Hannity push Trump every day to emulate Mussolini! But why is simple: I read that Limbaugh makes about $100 million a year, which puts him in the super-rich category. I doubt highly that he's paying the maximum 37(?)% on his income and if he is he needs better accountants and tax lawyers! But AOC's proposal means that $90 million of his $100 million would be taxed at 70%, leaving him "only" a measly $27 million a year to try not to starve on. Along with whatever millions are left after taxes on the first $10 million, say, $5 million (again, needs better tax advice). So he's stuck trying to survive on $32 million! (BTW, Hannity only makes about $29 million before taxes, Oh! The Humanity!--Or is it "Oh! The Hannity"?) That's really why they are vitriolic. Taxes are for the "little people", the suckers who call in and rant, who watch Fox and believe, no matter how illogical their logic. Rush and Sean see a REAL movement to tax their excessive income and will fight it tooth and nail, with fact and fiction (mostly fiction) to protect themselves and their wealth.

Mike L NY Jan. 29

Interesting how it is almost exactly a hundred years since this problem was dealt with in the last Gilded Age. Enough time so that the generations that remember are long gone and so the problem came back.

The Uber rich did this to themselves with their complete disconnect from the economic realities facing the 99%. TARP was the kicker - we gave a trillion dollars to the 1% while the 99% were left to fend for themselves. Despite the protestations of the 99%. Now that's political power in the hands of the few for the benefit of the few. Time to stop it now.

Ken McBride Lynchburg, VA Jan. 29

"wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans almost equal to that of the bottom 90 percent combined." The corrupt neoliberalism of the 1% is unsustainable but is reflective of a downward spiral of decline. While we experience continuous political campaigning the U.S. is, in reality, a criminal and corrupt corporate state enriching the 1% and masquerading as a democracy, an Inverted Totalitarianism.

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis D. Brandeis

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Henry's boy Ottawa, Canada Jan. 29

Great. The pendulum swings back to sensible taxation rates for the ultra wealthy. Hard to feel sorry for hedge fund managers. I can just see Sean Hannity railing against it now. He would have to cough up.

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Fran B. Kent, CT Jan. 29

This column makes a good case for Elizabeth Warren as Secretary of the Treasury, or head of the Consumer Protection Bureau which she invented following Dodd Frank legislation. But the best way to reach the widest audience is a Presidential campaign. Most of the responses here focus on enough wealth, extreme wealth and self-interest. Beyond their tax liabilities is the reality of the power the the rich wield through lobbyists, campaign contributions, corporate takeovers, and tax dodges over our politics, governments, and over us, the people. It's a pity that any proposed tax fairness adjustments are reduced to epithets against socialism.

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David Dyte Brooklyn Jan. 28

The problem is that the big money against this will say (ie: fund ads saying) anything (true or false) about any other subject to swing votes against any candidate who's a serious chance of pushing such a tax increase. One can only hope I am wrong.

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Seabiscute MA Jan. 29

@Socrates, another trenchant and witty comment! Thank you.

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Cindy California Jan. 29

Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing. Her Accountable Capitalism Act also addresses the root causes of inequality, although some critics have stated that it would lead to the semi-nationalization of business. I think its effect would be commonsense regulation of the economic playing field so that excesses do not occur in how rewards are distributed. It has the potential to address issues early enough to prevent problems.

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Steve Scaramouche Saint Paul Jan. 29

@George Thanks to the Republican budget busting tax holiday for rich folks we will need every penny of revenue just to keep our fiscal boat afloat. We should add AOC's 70% rate just to patch our leaks in infrastructure, healthcare, education and social security for the retirees who were gutted by the 2008 Republican Great Recession.

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cslaftery NY, NY Jan. 29

Since the super-rich are already paying 2+20 for their wealth management, paying another 2 to the government hardly seems like it would kill incentive...

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Gary Upper West Side Jan. 28

Throughout most of the history of civilizations, governments have been funded by a wealth tax. This was in the form of property tax, as that was the only wealth there was. Somehow when financial wealth started to build, it was made largely exempt. Proposals to close this loophole are well overdue. It's not so radical as it is just restoring traditional funding methods.

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texsun usa Jan. 29

A sure sign of health when Warren, a veteran politician and Ocasio-Cortez, a first term member of Congress publish ideas early in the election cycle. The next steps are laws that dismantle Citizens United and protect voting rights.

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Wayne Campbell Ottawa, Canada Jan. 28

Elizabeth Warren had better take care. If she doesn't tread softly on these plans to progressively tax the rich and make them spread the wealth to all those millions of people out there who have had a hand in generating their economic success, she'll be called something equally invidious to a 'socialist' -- a 'Canadian'.

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stu freeman brooklyn Jan. 29

Prof. Krugman is speaking truth to power but power tends to speak back, telling our citizens that progressives like Sen. Warren are aiming to increase taxes across the board. Never EVER do they narrow the stated target of such projected increases to the uppermost economic stratum. And progressives always manage to let them get away with this. Democratic candidates for political office need to assign members of their campaign staffs to Republican events and arm them with bullhorns for the expressed purpose of shouting out the words "for the rich" every time a typically disingenuous Republican opponent announces that a specific Democrat has a plan to raise Americans' taxes.

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Andrew Michigan Jan. 29

"More important, my sense is that a lot of conventional political wisdom still assumes that proposals to sharply raise taxes on the wealthy are too left-wing for American voters." It's just shocking to me that conservative voters supposedly hate liberal elites, yet refuse continuously to tax the mega rich and/or ignore the tax cuts for those households. Do they not see the hypocrisy they're being fed by Fox News?

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Tom Pauloski Highland Park, IL Jan. 29

I know that it's inconvenient, but the US Constituion prohibits a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states on the basis of population. Hard to see how Ms. Warren's "plan" meets this standard. Serious presidential candidates need to propose plans that actually have a chance to work. After what we're experiencing now, we don't need four additional years of bombast.

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Kem Phillips Vermont Jan. 29

@Mkm Can you give any arguments as to why this is unconstitutional, or a source as to when it was declared so? Note that once (ie, just a few generations ago) abhorrent laws concerning voting rights and segregation were considered just fine.

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Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Paul Wortman We indeed tend to believe that the poor and lower middle class must be (more) ignorant, and as such easier victims of the GOP's massive fake news campaigns. Studies show however that a majority of those earning less than $100,000 a year voted for Hillary, whereas a small majority of those earning more than that voted for Trump. That's because her platform included VERY clear and urgent, fact-based measures that would have helped the poor and middle class, after Obama already made serious progress on these issues (a public option added to Obamacare, and many other things). So imho the only ones risking "forgetting" about the needs of the 99% when it comes to voting, are those who don't carefully fact-check politicians' achievements and campaign agenda, before voting (or deciding not to vote) ...

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CA CA Jan. 29

@BC The current standard deduction of $12K for single people means that the first $12K is not taxed ($24K joint) which means that your wish has already come true.

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Paul Rogers Montreal Jan. 29

@Socrates Please run for office.

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boourns Nyc Jan. 29

Fundamentally, a fallacy of modern American society is a perversion of the golden rule. Let's call it "tax not lest ye be taxed." Even though the electorate will never in their wildest dreams make this kind of income, their wildest dreams persist. And thus they will not permit the thought of "unfair" taxation on the ultra-rich, using all the talking points the richest 1% have lobbied deep into our political system at every level.

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Doug Lowenthal Nevada Jan. 29

At this stage in our history when wealth hasn't been more concentrated, raising taxes on the ultra-rich is exactly what populism is about. Think TR and FDR, not DJT.

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pjahwah Iowa Jan. 29

@Socrates Oh Socrates, you do have a way with words! Your first and second paragraphs are lol gems! I hope you keep coming back.

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michaeltide Bothell, WA Jan. 29

@Ronald B. Duke, I think I remember people saying that during the civil rights movement too. Be patient. You'll get what you want by'n'by. Waiting for dynastic fortunes trickle away is sort of like waiting for the mountain to be worn away by the wind. It's not gonna happen in our lifetime. There's always a reason for not depriving the wealthy of any part of their fortunes. Each time we fail to do that, the need to do it becomes more dire. Things just don't get better by waiting for someone to voluntarily or even accidentally, divest themselves of money or power. It can be done by legislation, and that's better than by revolution. And, you know, the wealth accumulation has already begun. What has to happen now is to keep it from falling over and crushing all of us (Make that almost all of us).

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Tom Maguire Darien CT Jan. 28

@Rockets Pual Krugman is almost surely right about incentives on the individual level since few of us will hold off just because the second $50 MM is slightly less lucrative. Buts its funny how he ignores the macroeconomic effect. If the Bezos tax bill was $1 billion, I think we agree it would come exclusively out of savings. *IF* the government simply used the proceeds to reduce spending (below some credible prior baseline) then the net effect on national savings is zero; interest rates unchanged, economic activity unaffected, and so on. But if the government spends the money (as seems likely under President Warren) then national savings is reduced and the fed will (in the current environment) probably feel obliged to push back against a stimulative fiscal policy with a restrictive monetary policy: higher rates, less investment, less consumer spending, etc. So Bezos has no incentive to invest less but as a nation we will do just that. Is that good? Maybe - it would have been great in 2009. Seems to merit a discussion.

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Harold Winter Park, Fl Jan. 29

The 2020 campaign for POTUS is shaping up to be very interesting. That is, if Trump makes it. Combine Warren and Harris we would have a great team. Warren adds specifics with intellectual heft and Harris inspires us with her open, honest and intelligent persona. Just need to find room for Amy K. on that team.

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DJS New York Jan. 29

@FunkyIrishman Your "radical plan " has been tried, and has failed.

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Native Tarheel Durham, NC Jan. 29

This is far better than changing the rate on capital gains, which would tend to punish middle class retirees for having invested over the years (Mr. Rattner's proposal today) and, I think, would be difficult for the uber-wealthy to avoid. I'm not sure that $50 million is the correct starting point (perhaps a meager $25 million of net worth should be taxed) but this is a brilliant new concept that offers promise of slowing wealth inequality while not terribly constraining the wealthy.

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Henry Crawford Silver Spring, Md Jan. 29

"We seem to be heading toward a society dominated by vast, often inherited fortunes." Welcome to kingship, 21st Century style.

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Mathman314 Los Angeles Jan. 29

In reading this column and the associated comments, there seems to be one glaring omission: the necessity of overturning the Citizens United decision which provides the ultra-rich avenues to continually push their lower taxes agenda by hiring hoards of lobbyists, by "buying" politicians with campaign contributions, by funding misleading and excessive political advertising, and by controlling various media outlets that are little more than propaganda mills. Until Citizens United is overturned much-needed, rational progressive taxation reforms have little chance of becoming reality, and with the current composition of the Supreme Court overturning this decision is unfortunately extremely unlikely.

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stan continople brooklyn Jan. 29

@Yabasta Yeah, Dr. Krugman must have sustained a hit to the head since 2016 and would not recognize a photo of Hillary Clinton if it was flashed before him. His incessant savaging of Bernie was positively embarrassing to witness and never adequately explained. Only goes to show you that our much vaunted reason is designed to justify our emotions and that even Nobel laureates have deep subconscious axes to grind.

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Rosebud NYS Jan. 29

Under Eisenhower marginal tax rates were approximately 90%. This "Greatest Generation" built the interstate system. We can't even maintain the interstate system we have let alone build a new one. Our national-level political system is dominated by the rich. Our economic policies are totally skewed towards the rich. Our educational system is biased towards the rich. We've let capitalism trump democracy. If making America Great Again means taxing the rich back into reality, I have no problem with that. My only annoyance with Mr. Krugman's essay is his monomaniacal avoidance of saying the word, "Sanders." What's that about?

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Steve NJ Jan. 29

This makes perfect sense to me. Under Senator Warren's plan households with more than $50 million of annual income would pay a 2% wealth surcharge. I can't imagine this would have any significant effect on any of the 75,000 wealthiest U.S. households. I'd much rather see Michael Bloomberg and his financial peers support broader efforts to make college free or reduce student debt levels than make more lavish gifts to elite institutions like John Hopkins.

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Rima Regas Southern California Jan. 28

cks, broken promises, scandal. and a presidency in trouble – all pushed Bill Clinton into taking a brand new tack: triangulation. In addition to the definition of triangulation offered by Dick Morris in his Frontline appearance on PBS, here is a quote from his book: "The idea behind triangulation is to work hard to solve the problems that motivate the other party's voters, so as to defang them politically The essence of triangulation is to use your party's solutions to solve the other side's problems. Use your tools to fix their car." The problem with that is that triangulation has not quite worked out that way. "Their car" wasn't what was actually being fixed. What the "tools" did address, however, were the goals of the Republican party. https://www.rimaregas.com/2017/09/04/triangulation-when-neoliberalism-is-at-its-most-dangerous-to-voters-updated-dem-politics-on-blog42 /

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Schrodinger Northern California Jan. 28

@Jonathan....Current S+P 500 dividend yield is 2.02%. That would provide cash to cover most of the wealth tax. A wealth tax might impact the market for high end art and collectibles, but that is probably a very small fraction of total wealth.

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Peter Wolf New York City Jan. 29

@Duane McPherson I realize Warren may have some limitations re emotional appeal (also re men not wanting to vote for a woman), which is why I said I put her "at the top of my list for Dems, SO FAR." I'll see how this plays out on the campaign trail. Someone else may emerge who has both the smarts and the charisma- or Warren may find an emotional niche. Time will tell.

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skier 6 Vermont Jan. 29

@George Warren Buffet has said, "There's class warfare all right. But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

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mrpoizun hot springs Jan. 28

@Phyliss Dalmatian I'm afraid Sherrod is not liberal enough. Nowadays, if you talk about bi-partisanship and reaching across the aisle, you're talking about making a deal with the devil.

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faivel1 NY Jan. 29

@Yuri Asian Very passionate and authentic comment!

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UtahSteve 1953 Gardiner, NY Jan. 29

This is a pie pie-in-the-sky comment, but I'll stand by the overall premise based on our history. It's all about the velocity of money and resources. You have to spend it to grow it. Infrastructure also includes 100% healthcare cradle to grave, baseline living standards, Social Security clean water, clean air, clean power, full education, etc. Infrastructure is the key to everything throughout history, period. Close all tax loop holes. Reduce all business taxes by at least half or more. Create a progressive tax rate starting at 0% raised all the way to 80% up the ladder. If you don't like it, renounce your citizenship with all of what that entails and leave. Completely get rid of the cap on Social Security. Everyone except those at the 0% tax rate pays in 7%. That is fair. Make the business contribution 3% of the first $100,000 Reinstate a stronger set of anti-trust guard rails. Re-instate a stronger form of Glass/Steagle. Reinstate a stronger Fairness Doctrine Realize that a corporation is NOT a person and if we think they are, subject them to the 13th amendment regarding one person owning another. They also are not allowed participate in anything of a political nature, in any way shape or form. Period. Full stop. Invest in the poor and middle classes in all ways. Raising standards from the bottom up raises all boats. It's not "trickle down" it's "trickle up". It's all about the velocity of money. You have to spend it to grow it. We can do this in this country.

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James Ricciardi Panama, Panama Jan. 28

Why do by indirection what is better done directly? Income tax rates should be adjusted to push the marginal rate to a percentage needed to produce the estimated revenue from Warren's proposal. This would (1) not require creation of a new beauracracy and a new wealth tax code to administer the new wealth tax, (2) not create incentives for lawyers and accounts to redefine net worth and would (3) not change incentives for investments by wealthy individuals, with unknown and unknowable side effects. If we also want to reduce fortunes directly, enact a truly functional estate tax, not the joke which we have now.

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Truthbeknown Texas Jan. 29

One other thought, the high tax rates of the 1950s and 1960s carried with them many, many deductions which are no longer available -- -which were surrendered politically in exchange for lower overall ages. Maybe something additionally to be considered would be combing through the tax code and addressing the special interest provisions which conflate social policy about certain companies/products/goals with tax policy.

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Tom Maguire Darien CT Jan. 28

@A P As you note, simply giving the money to their foundation can spare them the tax bill. They don't actually need to have the foundation disburse that much of it. And my casual impression is that Bill Gates' ability to direct billions through his foundation has preserved his "social capital" - he is still invited to Davos, can tour Africa with Bono or the Pope, get his phone calls returned by Important People, get his kids into whatever college he chooses to endow, hop on private jets to wherever, and so on. As punishments go forcing him to chair a major foundation is not much.

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John Coctosin Florida Jan. 29

The government has never proven itself to be a good steward of capital. They will tax and spend, tax and reallocate, tax and waste. No thanks. Would rather the incentives remain and America push back against socialist notions. So expected from Krugman.

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Jonathan Lincoln Jan. 28

@CDN Eh? Real estate is already valued every year and taxed accordingly, it's called property taxes. Art and antiquities are already valued for insurance purposes. It's not difficulty at all.

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b fagan chicago Jan. 28

@Shiv "I'm completely unable to determine how Jeff Bezos's work building Amazon has caused me or anyone else to be worse off. In fact, we're all better off." So you know nobody who had been making a decent living with a bookstore - or in publishing - or in many other small businesses that have been priced into oblivion by Amazon if they'd been lucky enough to survive the WalMart effect that came before. Robert Reich in "Supercapitalism" was right. The consumer side of a person can so easily derange the thinking of the rest of the person. Not following me? Than picture the dream world of big tech companies with their dreams of stupendous individual wealth by "disrupting" something where people have been making their livings. Each wave of disruption leaves people without their jobs. And these days, the chance of getting into a better-paying job after being disruptive aren't all that terrific if you look at the statistical outcomes. So is your view of morality served by the relentless push to undercut older businesses that provided employment, simply because the disrupting model is "more efficient"? Reconsider what "efficiency" is supposed to accomplish in the bigger picture of society rather than just shareholder (and top executive) financial reward.

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usa999 Portland, OR Jan. 29

As an authentic Republican, not one of the brigands who hijacked the party as a means to plunder and pillage, I heartily endorse the Warren proposal. To make it somewhat more palatable for voters I would suggest it earmark 50% of the revenue generated go to starting to pay down the national debt. That would mean, using the 2.75 trillion estimate, that in the first decade we would reclaim from the wealthiest approximately what Republicans gave away in the deficit-financed tax cuts of 2017. In effect having had an interest-free loan from us for a decade they would return the cash we have been paying interest on. Would be quite big of them, actually.

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WAXwing01 EveryWhere Jan. 30

Excellent!

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Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Alice It's not as if we ignore which tax loopholes for the wealthiest have to be closed and how to do so, you know. Democrats have been trying to do this for quite some time already, but the GOP blocks it. And Obamacare already includes a tax increase for the wealthiest - that's one of the reasons why it cuts the deficit by $100 billion, rather than adding to it. That proves that the wealthiest DNC donors and Democrats (such as Obama himself, and Pelosi) FULLY agree to increase their own taxes. Conclusion: cynicism never helped us move forward, fact-checking does ... ;-)

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stan continople brooklyn Jan. 29

@Vink Why do you think they all own a dozen sprawling properties scattered around the globe? They are all Bond villain wannabes never far from a secret citadel. I hope they've got plenty of toilet paper on hand for the siege.

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Jeoffrey Arlington, MA Jan. 28

@Michael Blazin You think that... why? It's not at all clear. But it is clear that the law could be written so that any transaction could be taxed. So unless the billionaires want to hide their money under their mattresses.....

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Joe Sneed Bedminister PA Jan. 29

A progressive wealth tax is an"idea whose time has come". See Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-First Century . Harvard University Press. Use the revenue generated for infrastructure repair.

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Jim Gordon So Orange,nj Jan. 29

@carl bumba You'll need to visit those other countries to see how wrong you are and how right Socrates is.

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John Homan Yeppoon - Australia Jan. 29

@Rajiv The discussion is not about 'attacking' income, but taxing wealth.

5 Recommend
mrpoizun hot springs Jan. 28

@Blue Moon As far as Social Security and Medicare, all we have to do to fix that is tax the millionaires' income the same as we do the peon- every dime that goes in their overseas accounts should be taxed, same as the rest of us.

5 Recommend
Zdebman Central US Jan. 29

There are numerous holes in this proposal, none of which have anything to do with "greed". 1. What Krugman, Saez and Zucman fail to mention is that Denmark repealed its wealth tax in 1996 and Sweden repealed its wealth tax more than a decade ago. Not hard to understand why -- it is ultimately a self-defeating tax policy that just drives wealth out of your economy. Krugman doesn't mention that Saez and Zucman's basic premise is that every country has to implement a wealth tax for it to work, which is never going to happen. 2. Warren's proposal is blatantly unconstitutional as a direct tax, so she would need to garner the political support not just to pass the tax but amend the constitution similar to what was done for the income tax. Highly unlikely. The bottom line is that the only way to actually pay for all of the middle-class goodies that Democrats want to be provided by the Federal government (free college, Medicare for all, free daycare, paid leave) is to tax the middle-class like what they do in Sweden and Denmark through VAT and much lower income tax thresholds. Of course, once everyone figures that out, those proposals won't poll nearly as well, which is why AOC is now claiming that it will be magically paid for through the hocus-pocus of Modern Monetary Theory.

5 Recommend
PV Wisconsin Jan. 29

For Warren's tax proposal that "wouldn't lead to large-scale evasion if the tax applied to all assets and was adequately enforced ..." the IRS needs more staff and a bigger budget. Past Republican congresses have purposely gutted the agency's audit and enforcement capabilities at the direction of the very interests Warren's proposal targets.

5 Recommend
Charlesbalpha Atlanta Jan. 29

"Would such a plan be feasible? Wouldn't the rich just find ways around it?" The most likely way around it would be to bribe Congress not to vote for it. Isn't that why they

[Aug 19, 2020] Here's a short video explaining how the Democratic Party nomination process works

See the original for video https://twitter.com/i/status/1295905252386861056
Aug 19, 2020 | twitter.com

Brianna Westbrook @BWestbrookAZ8

Brianna Westbrook @BWestbrookAZ8 Yes, @AOC seconded the nomination for Bernie Sanders for President.

Here's a short video explaining how the Democratic Party nomination process works. #DemConvention 10:07 PM · Aug 18, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone 492 Retweets and comments

[Aug 19, 2020] When I lived in Europe it seemed like all the post offices had banks which offered basic services like checking and savings. They should do that here.

Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com


play_arrow


invention13 , 2 hours ago

When I lived in Europe it seemed like all the post offices had banks which offered basic services like checking and savings. They should do that here.

seryanhoj , 2 hours ago

They have a simple ' people's ' banking system for people that don't feel up to going to to one if the majors, and probably deal in small smounts.

The same system handles distributions from the various social schemes. Also they give low or no cost access to buy government securities, and savings schemes. It sound a bit 'Big Brover' , but in practice it feels good.

Demeter55 , 46 minutes ago

You are threatening the banksters! They need every last penny!

[Aug 03, 2020] How The Billionaires Control American Elections by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... Greenwald went on, after that, to discuss other key appointees by Nancy Pelosi who are almost as important as Adam Smith is, in shaping the Government's military budget. They're all corrupt. ..."
"... Numerous polls (for examples, this and this ) show that American voters, except for the minority of them that are Republican, want "bipartisan" government; but the reality in America is that this country actually already does have that: the U.S. Government is actually bipartisanly corrupt, and bipartisan evil. In fact, it's almost unanimous, it is so bipartisan, in reality. ..."
"... That's the way America's Government actually functions, especially in the congressional votes that the 'news'-media don't publicize. However, since it lies so much, and its media (controlled also by its billionaires) do likewise, and since they cover-up instead of expose the deepest rot, the public don't even know this. They don't know the reality. They don't know how corrupt and evil their Government actually is. They just vote and pay taxes. That's the extent to which they actually 'participate' in 'their' Government. They tragically don't know the reality. It's hidden from them. It is censored-out, by the editors, producers, and other management, of the billionaires' 'news'-media. These are the truths that can't pass through those executives' filters. These are the truths that get filtered-out, instead of reported. No democracy can function this way -- and, of course, none does. ..."
"... The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society , and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings . ..."
"... But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it's fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections , on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It's preparations are concealed, not published. It's mistakes are buried, not headlined. It's dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War in short with a wartime discipline, no democracy would ever hope or wish to match. ..."
Aug 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

How The Billionaires Control American Elections


by Tyler Durden Sun, 08/02/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The great investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald gave an hour-long lecture on how America's billionaires control the U.S. Government, and here is an edited summary of its opening twenty minutes, with key quotations and assertions from its opening -- and then its broader context will be discussed briefly:

"How Congress Maintains Endless War – System Update with Glenn Greenwald" - The Intercept, 9 July 2020

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ejqYrzEX14E

2:45 : There is "this huge cleavage between how members of Congress present themselves, their imagery and rhetoric and branding, what they present to the voters, on the one hand, and the reality of what they do in the bowels of Congress and the underbelly of Congressional proceedings, on the other. Most of the constituents back in their home districts have no idea what it is that the people they've voted for have been doing, and this gap between belief and reality is enormous."

Four crucial military-budget amendments were debated in the House just now, as follows:

  1. to block Trump from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

  2. to block Trump from withdrawing 10,000 troops from Germany

  3. to limit U.S. assistance to the Sauds' bombing of Yemen

  4. to require Trump to explain why he wants to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty

On all four issues, the pro-imperialist position prevailed in nearly unanimous votes - overwhelming in both Parties. Dick Cheney's daughter, Republican Liz Cheney, dominated the debates, though the House of Representatives is now led by Democrats, not Republicans.

Greenwald (citing other investigators) documents that the U.S. news-media are in the business of deceiving the voters to believe that there are fundamental differences between the Parties. "The extent to which they clash is wildly exaggerated" by the press (in order to pump up the percentages of Americans who vote, so as to maintain, both domestically and internationally, the lie that America is a democracy -- actually represents the interests of the voters).

16:00 : The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee -- which writes the nearly $750B annual Pentagon budget -- is the veteran (23 years) House Democrat Adam Smith of Boeing's Washington State.

"The majority of his district are people of color." He's "clearly a pro-war hawk" a consistent neoconservative, voted to invade Iraq and all the rest.

"This is whom Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have chosen to head the House Armed Services Committee -- someone with this record."

He is "the single most influential member of Congress when it comes to shaping military spending."

He was primaried by a progressive Democrat, and the "defense industry opened up their coffers" and enabled Adam Smith to defeat the challenger.

That's the opening.

Greenwald went on, after that, to discuss other key appointees by Nancy Pelosi who are almost as important as Adam Smith is, in shaping the Government's military budget. They're all corrupt. And then he went, at further length, to describe the methods of deceiving the voters, such as how these very same Democrats who are actually agents of the billionaires who own the 'defense' contractors and the 'news' media etc., campaign for Democrats' votes by emphasizing how evil the Republican Party is on the issues that Democratic Party voters care far more about than they do about America's destructions of Iraq and Syria and Libya and Honduras and Ukraine, and imposing crushing economic blockades (sanctions) against the residents in Iran, Venezuela and many other lands. Democratic Party voters care lots about the injustices and the sufferings of American Blacks and other minorities, and of poor American women, etc., but are satisfied to vote for Senators and Representatives who actually represent 'defense' contractors and other profoundly corrupt corporations, instead of represent their own voters. This is how the most corrupt people in politics become re-elected, time and again -- by deceived voters. And -- as those nearly unanimous committee votes display -- almost every member of the U.S. Congress is profoundly corrupt.

Furthermore: Adam Smith's opponent in the 2018 Democratic Party primary was Sarah Smith (no relation) and she tried to argue against Adam Smith's neoconservative voting-record, but the press-coverage she received in her congressional district ignored that, in order to keep those voters in the dark about the key reality. Whereas Sarah Smith received some coverage from Greenwald and other reporters at The Intercept who mentioned that "Sarah Smith mounted her challenge largely in opposition to what she cast as his hawkish foreign policy approach," and that she "routinely brought up his hawkish foreign policy views and campaign donations from defense contractors as central issues in the campaign," only very few of the voters in that district followed such national news-media, far less knew that Adam Smith was in the pocket of 'defense' billionaires. And, so, the Pentagon's big weapons-making firms defeated a progressive who would, if elected, have helped to re-orient federal spending away from selling bombs to be used by the Sauds to destroy Yemen, and instead toward providing better education and employment-prospects to Black, brown and other people, and to the poor, and everybody, in that congressional district, and all others. Moreover, since Adam Smith had a fairly good voting-record on the types of issues that Blacks and other minorities consider more important and more relevant than such things as his having voted for Bush to invade Iraq, Sarah Smith really had no other practical option than to criticize him regarding his hawkish voting-record, which that district's voters barely even cared about. The billionaires actually had Sarah Smith trapped (just like, on a national level, they had Bernie Sanders trapped).

Of course, Greenwald's audience is clearly Democratic Party voters, in order to inform them of how deceitful their Party is. However, the Republican Party operates in exactly the same way, though using different deceptions, because Republican Party voters have very different priorities than Democratic Party voters do, and so they ignore other types of deceptions and atrocities.

Numerous polls (for examples, this and this ) show that American voters, except for the minority of them that are Republican, want "bipartisan" government; but the reality in America is that this country actually already does have that: the U.S. Government is actually bipartisanly corrupt, and bipartisan evil. In fact, it's almost unanimous, it is so bipartisan, in reality.

That's the way America's Government actually functions, especially in the congressional votes that the 'news'-media don't publicize. However, since it lies so much, and its media (controlled also by its billionaires) do likewise, and since they cover-up instead of expose the deepest rot, the public don't even know this. They don't know the reality. They don't know how corrupt and evil their Government actually is. They just vote and pay taxes. That's the extent to which they actually 'participate' in 'their' Government. They tragically don't know the reality. It's hidden from them. It is censored-out, by the editors, producers, and other management, of the billionaires' 'news'-media. These are the truths that can't pass through those executives' filters. These are the truths that get filtered-out, instead of reported. No democracy can function this way -- and, of course, none does.

Patmos , 8 hours ago

Eisenhower originally called it the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

Was probably still when Congress maybe had a few slivers of integrity though.

As McCain's wife said, they all knew about Epstein.

Alice-the-dog , 2 hours ago

And now we suffer the Medical Industrial Complex on top of it.

Question_Mark , 1 hour ago

Klaus Schwab, UN/World Economic Forum - power plant "cyberattack" (advance video to 6:42 to skip intro):
please watch video at least from minute 6:42 at least for a few minutes to get context, consider its contents, and comment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOvz1Flfrfw


source for UN/WEF partnership:
https://www.weforum.org/press/2019/06/world-economic-forum-and-un-sign-strategic-partnership-framework/

EngageTheRage , 9 hours ago

How jewish billionaires control America.

NewDarwin , 9 hours ago

Vot3 for trump but don't waste too much energy on the elections. All Trump can do is buy us time.

Their plan has been in the works for over a century.

1) financial collapse with central banking.

2) social collapse with cultural marxism

3) government collapse with corrupt pedophile politicians.

EndOfDayExit , 7 hours ago

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

Humans are just not wired for eternal vigilance. Sheeple want to graze and don't want to think.

JGResearch , 8 hours ago

Money is just the tool, it goes much deeper:

The Truth, when you finally chase it down, is almost always far
worse than your darkest visions and fears.'

– Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear
'The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes' *

- Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

This information helps understand the shift to the bias we are witnessing at The PBS Newshour and the MSM. PBS has always taken their marching orders from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Some of the mebers of the CFR:

Joe Biden (47th Vice President of the United States )

Judy Woodruff, and Jim Lehrer (journalist, former anchor for PBS ) is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. John McCain (United States Republican Senator from Arizona , 2008 Republican Party nominee for the Presidency), William F. Buckley, Jr (commentator, publisher, founder of the National Review ), Jeffery E Epstein (financier)

https://www.cfr.org/membership/roster

The Council on Foreign Relations has historical control both the Democratic establishment and the Republican establishment until President Trump came along.

Until then they did not care who won the presidency because they control both parties at the top.

FYI: Hardly one person in 1000 ever heard of the Council on Foreign Relations ( CFR ). Until Trump both Republicans and Democrats control by the Eastern Establishment.There operational front was the Council on Foreign Relations. Historically they did not care who one the election since they controlled both parties from the top.

The CFR has only 3000 members yet they control over three-quarters of the nation's wealth. The CFR runs the State Department and the CIA. The CFR has placed 100 CFR members in every Presidential Administration and cabinet since Woodrow Wilson. They work together to misinform the President to act in the best interest of the CFR not the best interest of the American People.

At least five Presidents (Eisenhower, Ford, Carter, Bush, and Clinton) have been members of the CFR. The CFR has packed every Supreme court with CFR insiders.

Three CFR members (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Sandra Day O'Connor) sit on the supreme court. The CFR's British Counterpart is the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The members of these groups profit by creating tension and hate. Their targets include British and American citizens.

The CFR/RIIA method of operation is simple -- they control public opinion. They keep the identity of their group secret. They learn the likes and dislikes of influential people. They surround and manipulate them into acting in the best interest of the CFR/RIIA.

KuriousKat , 8 hours ago

there are 550 of them in the US..just boggles the mind they have us at each others throat instead of theirs.

jmNZ , 3 hours ago

This is why America's only hope is to vote for Ron Paul.

x_Maurizio , 2 hours ago

Let me understand how a system, which is already proven being disfunctional, should suddenly produce a positive result. That's craziness: to repeate the same action, with the conviction it will give a different result.

If you would say: "The only hope is NOT TO TAKE PART TO THE FARCE" (so not to vote) I'd understand.
But vot for that, instead of this.... what didn't you understand?

Voice-of-Reason , 6 hours ago

The very fact that we have billionaires who amass so much wealth that they can own our Republic is the problem.

Eastern Whale , 8 hours ago

all the names mentioned in this article is rotten to the core

MartinG , 5 hours ago

Tell me again how democracy is the greatest form of government. What other profession lets clueless idiots decide who runs the business.

Xena fobe , 4 hours ago

It isn't the fault of democracy. It's more the fault of voters.

quikwit , 3 hours ago

I'd pick the "clueless idiots" over an iron-fisted evil genius every time.

_triplesix_ , 8 hours ago

Am I the only one who noticed that Eric Zuesse capitalized the word "black" every time he used it?

F**k you, Eric, you Marxist trash.

BTCtroll , 7 hours ago

Confirmed. Blacks are apparently a proper noun despite being referred to as simply a color. In reality, no one cares. Ask anyone, they don't care expert black lies matter.

freedommusic , 4 hours ago

The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society , and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings .

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

Our way of life is under attack.

But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it's fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections , on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It's preparations are concealed, not published. It's mistakes are buried, not headlined. It's dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War in short with a wartime discipline, no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

...I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to re-examine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self restraint, which that danger imposes upon us all.

It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation and obligation which I share, and that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people, to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need and understand them as well, the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program, and the choices that we face.

I am not asking your newspapers to support an administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people, for I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens, whenever they are fully informed.

... that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment. The only business in America specifically protected by the constitution, not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises, and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes even anger, public opinion.

-- JFK

[Aug 02, 2020] Seattle's Bolshevik Revolution by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... After reading Dallek's book, I came to realize that there exists a completely parallel, un-elected power structure in Washington (AKA "The Deep State") which is able to ignore and completely bypass our elected officials at will when the need arises. ..."
"... It was also at this point that I realized the ultimate beneficiary of Watergate might have been Israel. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

schrub , says: August 1, 2020 at 4:34 pm GMT

@zard he help of supporters of Israel in the military, the Washington bureaucracy and Congress.

After reading Dallek's book, I came to realize that there exists a completely parallel, un-elected power structure in Washington (AKA "The Deep State") which is able to ignore and completely bypass our elected officials at will when the need arises.

It was also at this point that I realized the ultimate beneficiary of Watergate might have been Israel.

It was also at this point that I realized that "Deep Throat" could only have been the supremely treacherous Kissinger,"The only indicted co-conspirator".

[Aug 02, 2020] James Murdoch departs ..

Notable quotes:
"... Case in point, reporting today on the newly disclosed Ghisline Maxwell documents only mentioned Prince Andrew and not a word about Bill Clinton ..."
"... believe James Murdoch was part of the "we are all gonna die in <11 years" Green New Deal school of thought. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"James Murdoch, the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has resigned from the board of News Corporation citing "disagreements over editorial content".

In a filing to US regulators, he said he also disagreed with some "strategic decisions" made by the company.

The exact nature of the disagreements was not detailed.

... ... ..,

I watch a lot of TeeVee news on all the major networks including the two Foxnews channels.

It has become apparent to me over the last year or so that there is an internal ideology contest at Fox between the hard core conservatives like Dobbs. Carlson, Mark Levin, Bartiromo, Degan McDowell, etc. and a much more liberal set of people like Chris Wallace, Cavuto and the newer reporters at the White House. I expect that the departure of James Murdoch will result in more uniformly conservative reporting and commentary on Fox. I say that presuming that James Murdoch was a major force in trying to push Foxnews toward the left.

I am surprised that Murdoch sent his son to Harvard. pl

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53617966

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


Deap , 01 August 2020 at 12:19 PM

Been noticing a lot of irresponsible reporting of late in the WSJ - not on the opinion page, but in some pretty sloppy reporting with a lot of editorial bias in what is included and what is intentionally left out.

Case in point, reporting today on the newly disclosed Ghisline Maxwell documents only mentioned Prince Andrew and not a word about Bill Clinton . Doesn't WSJ know its readers draw from multiple media sources that have provided original content? Everyday there are several similar, bias by omission, articles.

One can only hope newly constituted management team will finally get rid of Peggy Noonan.

Deap , 01 August 2020 at 12:22 PM

I believe James Murdoch was part of the "we are all gonna die in <11 years" Green New Deal school of thought.

[Aug 01, 2020] Deep state is trying to control elections

Aug 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Vintage Red , Jul 31 2020 17:24 utc | 11

A bipartisan group secretly gathered to game out a contested Trump-Biden election. It wasn't pretty.

"On the second Friday in June, a group of political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics quietly convened online for what became a disturbing exercise in the fragility of American democracy What if President Trump refuses to concede a loss, as he publicly hinted recently he might do? How far could he go to preserve his power? And what if Democrats refuse to give in?

"'All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse... The law is essentially ... it's almost helpless against a president who's willing to ignore it . Possession is nine tenths of the law.'

"Each scenario involved a different election outcome: An unclear result on Election Day that looked increasingly like a Biden win as more ballots were counted; a clear Biden win in the popular vote and the Electoral College; an Electoral College win for Trump with Biden winning the popular vote by 5 percentage points; and a narrow Electoral College and popular vote victory for Biden.

"Both sides turned out massive street protests that Trump sought to control -- in one scenario he invoked the Insurrection Act, which allows the president to use military forces to quell unrest.

"[Biden has] also mused publicly about Trump having to be escorted, forcibly if need be, from the White House. That happened in one of the four scenarios the Transition Integrity Project gamed out...

"'The Constitution really has been a workable document in many respects because we have had people who more or less adhered to a code of conduct That seems to no longer to be the case. That changes everything.'"

Interesting considering this was done completely by elements completely within the DP, non-Trump RP and retired military and reported in the Boston Globe. They of course leave out the effects of the unfolding financial/economic crisis, as well as any independent agency arising from the people of the US.

[Jul 31, 2020] The Consequences of a Very High Level of Inequality Can Be Fatal

After some level inequality is akin to cancel -- it can destroy the society. In a countries with very high level of inequality the government can't rely on loyalty of people. It also leads to the proliferation of "guard labor" in one form or another.
Just think what it means for the USA counterintelligence now. Add to this the collapse of the neoliberal ideology which also does not help to instill the loyalty.
Jul 31, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Consequences of Inequality Can Be Fatal Posted on July 30, 2020 by Yves Smith

Yves here. So many of health costs of inequality are obvious, yet most people seem trained to look past them. And Congress fiddles about a new stimulus package, with the odds of getting it back on track soon not looking very good, while Americans have rent and mortgage payments looming.

By Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York. Wolff's weekly show, "Economic Update," is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism , both available at democracyatwork.info . Produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute

Capitalism, as Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century shows, relentlessly worsens wealth and income inequalities. That inherent tendency is only occasionally stopped or reversed when masses of people rise up against it. That happened, for example, in western Europe and the U.S. during the 1930s Great Depression. It prompted social democracy in Europe and the New Deal in the United States. So far in capitalism's history, however, stoppages or reversals around the world proved temporary. The last half-century witnessed a neoliberal reaction that rolled back both European social democracy and the New Deal. Capitalism has always managed to resume its tendential movement toward greater inequality.

Among the consequences of a system with such a tendency, many are awful. We are living through one now as the COVID-19 pandemic, inadequately contained by the U.S. system, savages Americans of middle and lower incomes and wealth markedly more than the rich.

The rich buy better health care and diets, second homes away from crowded cities, better connections to get government bailouts, and so on. Many of the poor are homeless. Tasteless advice to "shelter at home" is, for them, absurd. Low-income people are often crowded into the kinds of dense housing and dense working conditions that facilitate infection. Poor residents of low-cost nursing homes die disproportionally, as do prison inmates (mostly poor). Pandemic capitalism distributes death in inverse proportion to wealth and income.

Social distancing has destroyed especially low-wage service sector jobs. Rarely did top executives lose their positions, and when they did, they found others. The result is a widened gap between high salaries for some and low or no wages for many. Unemployment invites employers to lower wages for the still employed because they can. Pandemic capitalism has provoked a massive increase in money-creation by central banks. That money fuels rising stock markets and thereby enriches the rich who own most shares. The coincidence of rising stock markets and mass unemployment plus falling wages only adds momentum to worsening inequality.

Unequal economic distributions (of income and wealth) finance unequal political outcomes. Whenever a small minority enjoys concentrated wealth within a society committed to universal suffrage, the rich quickly understand their vulnerability. The non-wealthy majority can use universal suffrage to prevail politically. The majority's political power could then undo the results of the economy including its unequal distribution of income and wealth. The rich corrupt politics with their money to prevent exactly that outcome. Capitalists spend part of their wealth to preserve (and enlarge) all of their wealth.

The rich and those eager to join them in the U.S. dominate within both Republican and Democratic parties. The rich provide most of the donations that sustain candidates and parties, the funding for armies of lobbyists "advising" legislators, the bribes, and many issue-oriented public campaigns. The laws and regulations that flow from Washington, states, and cities reflect the needs and desires of the rich far more than those of the rest of us. The peculiar structure of U.S. property taxes offers an example. In the U.S., property is divided into two kinds: tangible and intangible. Tangible property includes land, buildings, business inventories, automobiles, etc. Intangible property is mostly stocks and bonds. Rich people hold most of their wealth in the form of intangible property. It is thus remarkable that in the U.S., only tangible property is subject to property tax. Intangible property is not subject to any property tax.

The kinds of property (tangible) that many people own get taxed, but the kinds of property (intangible) mostly owned by the richest minority do not get taxed. If you own a house rented to tenants, you pay a property tax to the municipality where the house is located. You also pay an income tax on the received rents to the federal government and likely also the state government where you live. You are thus taxed twice: once on the value of the property you own and once on the income you derive from that property. If you sell a $100,000 house and then buy $100,000 worth of shares, you will owe no property taxes to any level of government in the United States. You will only owe income tax on dividends paid to you on the shares you own. The form of property you own determines whether you pay property tax or not.

This property tax system is excellent for those rich enough to buy significant amounts of shares. The rich used their wealth to get tax laws written that way for them. The rest of us pay more in taxes because the rich pay less. Because the rich save money -- since their intangible property is not taxed -- they have that much more to buy the politicians who secure such a tax system for them. And that tax system worsens inequality of wealth and income.

Unequal economic distributions finance unequal cultural outcomes. For example, the goal of a unifying, democratizing public school system has always been subverted by economic inequality. In general (with few exceptions), the better schools cost more to attend. The tutors needed to help struggling students are affordable for the rich but less so for everyone else. The children of the wealthy get the private schools, books, quiet rooms, computers, educational trips, extra art and music lessons, and virtually everything else needed for higher educational achievement.

Unequal economic distributions finance unequal "natural" outcomes. The U.S. now displays two differently priced foods. Rich people can afford "organic" while the rest of us worry but still buy "conventional" food for budget reasons. Countless studies indicate the dangers of herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, food processing methods, and additives. Nonetheless, the two-price food system delivers the better, safer food more to the rich than to everyone else. Likewise, the rich buy the safer automobiles, more safely equip their homes, and clean and filter the water they drink and the air they breathe. No wonder the rich live years longer on average than other people. Inequality is often fatal, not just during pandemics.

In ancient Greece, Plato and Aristotle worried about and discussed the threat to community, to social cohesion, posed by inequalities of wealth and income. They criticized markets as institutions because, in their view, markets facilitated and aggravated income and wealth inequalities. But modern capitalism sanctifies markets and has thus conveniently forgotten Plato's and Aristotle's cautions and warnings about markets and inequality.

The thousands of years since Plato and Aristotle have seen countless critiques, reforms, and revolutions directed against wealth and income inequalities. They have rarely succeeded and have even more rarely persisted. Pessimists have responded, as the Bible does, with the notion that "the poor shall always be with us." We rather ask the question: Why did so many heroic efforts at equality fail?

The answer concerns the economic system, and how it organizes the people who work to produce and distribute the goods and services societies depend on. If its economic organization splits participants into a small rich minority and a large non-rich majority, the former will likely be determined to reproduce that organization over time. Slavery (master versus slave) did; feudalism (lord versus serf) did; and capitalism (employer versus employee) does. Inequality in the economy is a root cause contributing to society-wide inequalities.

We might then infer that an alternative economic system based on a democratically organized community producing goods and services -- not split into a dominant minority and a subordinate majority -- might finally end social inequality.


Ignacio , July 30, 2020 at 10:16 am

Wow! I just can say this is very well pointed and that It must be understood we cannot expect empathy from the well off. Even if some are empathic by nature they just cannot see what's really happening given how wide is the rift.

rob , July 30, 2020 at 10:39 am

inequality is a state of nature. blame god .right.
but here in this humanistic creation, we ought not institutionalize inequality.
That is one of the big points of monetary reform.
The current federal reserve system and the banking system ,having control of the "money creation" of this country, PROMOTES wealth inequality.
The nationalization of the fed, and the ending of banks creating money; is the main essence of monetary reform. The people who have been trying to discuss the world with a different ,more equal access to the fiat created "for the people to use, for the economy to function",point to the growth of inequality by the nature of how the system currently is structured. They point to how our money is created and by whom.They point to who gets "the debt"
Some people try to dismiss the 100 year history of the fed promoting inequality as a bug . but how can someone not see it is a feature, The monetary system we have now was created by an act of law. It would be unconstitutional ,if not for the federal reserve act. Allowing the banks to create money.Instead of the congress..as the constitution explicitly stated.
But now, we are no longer a fledgling republic.
The world accepted our fiat, as created by bankers now we ought to create our own money and retire our national debt.Heal ourselves, to lead forward in the future. Time to write a new law .
https://www.congress.gov/bill/112-thcongress/house-bill/2990/text

Anonymous , July 30, 2020 at 10:53 am

Pessimists have responded, as the Bible does, with the notion that "the poor shall always be with us."

The Bible does not say that, it says:

However, there will be no poor among you , since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. Deuteronomy 15:4 [bold added]

But just a few verses later:

For the poor will never cease to be in the land ; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.' Deuteronomy 15:11 [bold added]

Taken together, these verses are not about the inevitability of poverty but the inevitability of poverty from DISOBEDIENCE to what is being commanded – especially, i suppose, wrt economic justice.

So though we might never completely eliminate poverty, it can certainly be reduced to the extent we are willing to obey – per the Bible.

And as anyone who has read the Old Testament should know, the US is far from obedience wrt economic justice (e.g. Deuteronomy 23:19-20, e.g. Leviticus 25).

Alternate Delegate , July 30, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Yes the Bible most certainly does say that.

Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

Matthew 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

Anonymous , July 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Those statements are indictments of injustice, not excuses for poverty (cf. Deuteronomy 15:4).

TomDority , July 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm

"If you own a house rented to tenants, you pay a property tax to the municipality where the house is located."
the above means that you are already up the income ladder enough to not qualify as being low income _ most of the country is low income since the word Low is comparative – it is comparative to the cost of living –
So the above property tax is paid by the tenant – the carry costs by the tenant and the profit – by the tenant.
So the rent is a high cost of living due to the bidding up or asset inflation that most "investment goes into today"
A key way to reduce inequality is through a tax system that penalizes activities that tend to raise the cost of living – tax heavier the investments that inflate asset prices (assets are things already created).
Taxing something is to put a burden upon an activity
Why we tax labor so much – who knows

Michael Fiorillo , July 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm

The Great Depression of the 1930's prompted social democracy in Europe?

The professor skipped an episode or two there, no?

Susan the other , July 30, 2020 at 2:59 pm

When it comes to the value of money everything is skewed. If Picketty were analyzing money as merely a medium of exchange and not a store of wealth he'd have much less inequity. When the value of money is considered in on-the-ground finance operations "lost opportunity" is considered into the interest rate. Lost opportunity is totally ignored on a human level. You'd think that money itself was a person.

[Jul 27, 2020] Why it is so difficult to understand what's going on in the world

Jul 27, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

It's difficult to understand what's going on in the world because powerful people actively manipulate public understanding of what's going on in the world.

Powerful people actively manipulate public understanding of what's going on in the world because if the public understood what's going on in the world, they would rise up and use their strength of numbers to overthrow the powerful.

The public would rise up and use their strength of numbers to overthrow the powerful if they understood what's going on in their world because then they would understand that the powerful have been exploiting, oppressing, robbing, cheating and deceiving them while destroying the ecosystem, stockpiling weapons of Armageddon and waging endless wars, for no other reason than so that they can maintain and expand their power.

The public do not rise up and use their strength of numbers to overthrow the powerful because they have been successfully manipulated into not wanting to.

[Jul 16, 2020] The Vatican may be the most influential element on US foreign policy, even more so than Israel whose interests are not nearly as global

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

PATIENT OBSERVER July 5, 2020 at 12:58 pm

The Vatican may be the most influential element on US foreign policy, even more so than Israel whose interests are not nearly as global. Via the Saker:

https://thesaker.is/with-fire-and-sword-obamas-black-crusaders-and-the-war-in-the-ukraine/

In can be argued that the Vatican's interest simply aligns with the "deep state" or it can be argued that the Vatican is part of the deep state. Indeed the Vatican predates the "deep state" by centuries and may be the first transational empire.

In any case, the Vatican has been the key player in major international operations from Poland to Argentina to S Vietnam. Of course, lets not forget their unforgettable role in WW II and the war against Serbia and the Soviet Union.

The posted article is well worth the long read. The Vatican has gotten a free pass in the West for far too long with their mass rape of children, organizers of genocide, buddy-buddy with organized crime and crooked bingo operations. Their role in Ukraine was particularly eye-opening for me.

I would imagine that the Pope is absolutely fuming about that Russian military cathedral. My take? That cathedral was built, in part, as a message to the Holy See that if they mess with Russia or its church, the response will be swift and final.

[Jul 04, 2020] Low-Income American Households Suffer Inflation Shock From Virus

Notable quotes:
"... "In a period of protest and increasing anger about inequality, the differential inflation rate experienced by low- and high-income households is a concern," said Bloomberg Economics' Björn van Roye and Tom Orlik. ..."
Jul 04, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The coronavirus is inflicting a price shock on low income Americans that risks further driving up inequality.

In a study released this week, Bloomberg Economics estimated higher grocery and housing costs for lockdown necessities meant those households whose incomes are in the bottom 10% currently face inflation of 1.5% compared with 1.0% for the top 10% and the official 0.1% overall average recorded in May.

Recalculating Inflation

'Have nots' suffered disproportionately as virus changed buying patterns

https://www.bloomberg.com

Sources: Bloomberg Economics, BLS, https://opportunityinsights.org

Note: Inflation for the lowest (highest) 10% takes the alternative CPI basket for the lowest (highest) decile of household income before taxes from the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey

The explanation for the difference lies in how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumption patterns by forcing households to buy more food while spending less on transportation or recreational activities.

"In a period of protest and increasing anger about inequality, the differential inflation rate experienced by low- and high-income households is a concern," said Bloomberg Economics' Björn van Roye and Tom Orlik.

The suggestion the virus is less disinflationary than many economists believe poses a challenge for the Federal Reserve which is eyeing a slower inflation rate than that experienced by lower earners, who are instead facing a steady erosion of their purchasing power.

"Taken together with concerns about central banks bailing out investors ahead of firms and workers, and the benefits rich, asset-owning households gain from quantitative easing, it adds to the sense that central banks are unintentional contributors to the problem of inequality," van Roye and Orlik said.

[Jul 03, 2020] I don't think we can assume that even now Trump actually has control of the FBI; it is still in hands of Obama faction

Highly recommended!
FBI does have strong levers on Trump. This is the essence of the "Deep State" concept -- intelligence agencies became unhinged and work as a powerful political actors.
Notable quotes:
"... Thank you Mina, yes that or the deep state throwing down the gauntlet. I don't think we can assume that Trump actually has control of the FBI. If he did he would likely have deep sixed the Democrazis through the Awan family spy and blackmail scam. But he didn't. They and Debbie Wasserman Shultz were protected/had dirt on DT. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Jul 3 2020 7:08 utc | 107

Mina #101

Maxwell's arrest makes me wonder if it is not about Trump throwing down the gauntlet?

Thank you Mina, yes that or the deep state throwing down the gauntlet. I don't think we can assume that Trump actually has control of the FBI. If he did he would likely have deep sixed the Democrazis through the Awan family spy and blackmail scam. But he didn't. They and Debbie Wasserman Shultz were protected/had dirt on DT.

If the kiddy fiddlers get outed following Ghislaine dropping some of her likely thousands of hours of home movies then that includes Trump and Biden.

In the fetid atmosphere of accusations against pussy grabbers and finger f#ckers and hair sniffers neither could survive. The pack will run rabid.

Is there a woman in the house? Yes, they cried AND she has experience!! Plus the campaign will be televised and it would be a virtual campaign because Covid. No need to rig audience, the polls or the balllot.

[Jul 01, 2020] The elites have two or three passports, own businesses overseas, own houses.

Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jeff Stryker , says: June 30, 2020 at 5:59 pm GMT

@Rev. Spooner bout the Bill of Rights or the Constitution or community. Those are a joke to people whose money is made transnational.

The lumpens who have never traveled out of their state have no concept of geographic dimensions. They have never even left home. They think everyone is as patriotic as them and will fight and die for their country and their community.

I assure none of the elite care a whit. Penthouses look the same from Manhattan to Tokyo.

Ask the Boers in South Africa or Polish in Detroit who did not "sniff the wind" in time.

The guy who has a gun loaded in his pocket as an insurance policy has a plan and it does not end well for the person who hit him.

The elites have two or three passports, own businesses overseas, own houses.

[Jun 26, 2020] Gaslighting Nobody, The Blob Struggles for Primacy by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Jun 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The national security elite now wants us to believe we are seeing things that aren't really there. 'Gaslight' lobbycard, from left, Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, 1944. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)

Ten years ago, "restraint" was considered code for "isolationism" and its purveyors were treated with nominal attention and barely disguised condescension. Today, agitated national security elites who can no longer ignore the restrainers -- and the positive attention they're getting -- are trying to cut them down to size.

We saw this recently when Peter Feaver, Hal Brands, and William Imboden, who all made their mark promoting George W. Bush's war policies after 9/11, published "In Defense of the Blob" for Foreign Affairs in April. My own pushback received an attempted drubbing in The Washington Post by national security professor Daniel Drezner ( he of the Twitter fame ): "For one thing, her essay repeatedly contradicts itself. The Blob is an exclusive cabal, and yet Vlahos also says it's on the wane."

One can be both, Professor. As they say, Rome didn't fall in a day. What we are witnessing are individuals and institutions sensing existential vulnerabilities. The restrainers have found a nerve and the Blob is feeling the pinch. Now it's starting to throw its tremendous girth around.

The latest example is from Michael J. Mazarr, senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, which since 1948 has essentially provided the brainpower behind the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. Mazarr published this voluminous warrant against restrainers in the most recent issue of The Washington Quarterly, which is run by the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Its editorial board reeks of the conventional internationalist thinking that has prevailed over the last 70 years.

In "Rethinking Restraint: Why It Fails in Practice," Mazarr insists that the critics have it all wrong: "American primacy" is way overstated and the U.S. has been more moderate in military interventions than it's given credit for. Moreover, he says, the restrainers divide current "US strategy into two broad caricatures -- primacy or liberal hegemony at one extreme, and restraint at the other. Such an approach overlooks a huge, untidy middle ground where the views of most US national security officials reside and where most US policies operate."

There is much to unpack in his nearly 10,000-word brief, and much to counter it. For example, Monica Duffy Toft has done incredible research into the history of U.S. interventions over the last 70 years, in part studying the number of times we've used force in response to incidents of foreign aggression. While the United States engaged in 46 military interventions from 1948 to 1991, from 1992 to 2017, that number increased fourfold to 188 (chart below). Kind of calls Mazarr's "frequent impulse to moderation" theory into question.

But I would like to zero in on the most infuriating charge, which mimics Drezner, Brands, Feaver, et al.: that the idea of a powerful, largely homogeneous foreign policy establishment dominating top levels of government, think tanks, media, and academia is really all in our heads. It's not real.

This weak attempt to gaslight the rest of us is an insult to George Cukor's 1944 Hollywood classic . It's unworthy. In the section "There is No Sinister National Security Elite," Mazarr turns to Stephen Walt (who wrote an entire book on the self-destructive Blob) and Andrew Bacevich (who has written that the ideology of American exceptionalism and primacy "serves the interests of those who created the national security state and those who still benefit from its continued existence"). This elite, both men charge, enjoy "status, influence, and considerable wealth" in return for supporting the consensus.

To this Mazarr contends, "Apart from collections of anecdotes, those convinced of the existence of such a homogenous elite offer no objective evidence -- such as surveys, interviews, or comprehensive literature reviews -- to back up these sweeping claims." Then failing to offer his own evidence, he argues:

on specific policy questions -- whether to go to war or conduct a humanitarian intervention, or what policy to adopt toward China or Cuba or Russia or Iran -- debates in Washington are deep, intense, and sometimes bitter. To take just a single example from recent history, the Obama administration's decision to endorse a surge in Afghanistan came only after extended deliberation and soul-searching, and it included a major, and highly controversial, element of restraint -- a very public deadline to begin a graduated withdrawal.

Let's go back to 2009, because some of us actually remember these "deep, intense, and sometimes bitter" times.

First, the only "bitter debates" were between the military, which wanted to "surge" 40,000 troops into Afghanistan in the first year of Obama's presidency, and the president, who had promised to bring the war to an end. After months, Obama "compromised" when in December 2009, he announced a plan for 30,000 new troops (which would bring the then-current number to 98,000) and a timetable for withdrawal of 18 months hence, which really pleased no one , not even the outlier restrainers, like Mazarr suggests.

In fact, restrainers knew the timetable was bunk, and it was. In 2011, there were still 100,000 troops on the ground. In fact, it didn't get down to pre-2009 levels until December 2013.

But let it be clear: the only contention in December 2009 was over the timetable (the hawks at the Heritage Foundation and AEI wanted an open-ended commitment) and whether the president should have been more deferential to his generals (General Stanley McCrystal had just been installed as commander in Afghanistan and the mainstream media was fawning ). Otherwise, every major think tank in town and national security pundit blasted out press releases and op-eds supporting the presidents strategy with varying degrees of enthusiasm. None, aside from the usual TAC suspects, raised a serious note against it. Examples:

John " Eating Soup with a Knife " Nagl, Center for a New American Security : "This strategy will protect the Afghan population with international forces now and build Afghan security forces that in time will allow an American drawdown–leaving behind a more capable Afghan government and a more secure region which no longer threatens the United States and our allies." Each of the CNAS fellows on this press release offer a variation on the same theme, with some more energetic than others. Ditto for this one from The Council on Foreign Relations .

Vanda Felhab-Brown, Brookings Institution : "there would have been no chance to turn the security situation around, take the momentum away from the Taliban, and hence, enable economic development and improvements in governance and rule of law, without the surge."

David Ignatius, The Washington Post : "Obama has made what I think is the right decision: The only viable 'exit strategy' from Afghanistan is one that starts with a bang -- by adding 30,000 more U.S. troops to secure the major population centers, so that control can be transferred to the Afghan army and police."

Ahead of Obama's decision (during the "bitter debate"), the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon, a fixture on The Washington Pos t op-ed pages and cable news shows -- was pushing for the maximum : "President Barack Obama should approve the full buildup his commanders are requesting, even as he also steels the nation for a difficult and uncertain mission ahead."

Meanwhile, all of the so-called progressive national security groups, including the Center for American Progress, Third Way, and the National Security Network, heralded Obama's plan as "a smarter, stronger strategy that stated clear objectives and is based on American security interests, namely preventing terrorist attacks."

"Counterintuitively," they said in a joint statement , "sending more troops will allow us to get out more quickly."

Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has always been a thoughtful skeptic, but he never fails to offer a hedge on whatever new plan comes down the pike. Here he is on Obama's surge , exemplifying how difficult it was/is for the establishment to just call a failure a failure:

The strategy President Obama has set forth in broad terms can still win if the Afghan government and Afghan forces become more effective, if NATO/ISAF national contingents provide more unity of effort, if aid donors focus on the fact that development cannot succeed unless the Afghan people see real progress where they live in the near future, and if the United States shows strategic patience and finally provides the resources necessary to win.

That's a lot of "ifs," but they provide amazing cover for those who don't want to admit the cause is lost -- or can't -- because their work depends on giving the military and State Department something to do. This is what happens when your think tank relies on government contracts and grants and arms industry money . According to The New York Times, major defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing gave some $77 million to a dozen think tanks between 2010 and 2016.

They aren't getting the money to advocate that troops, contractors, NGO's, and diplomats come home and stay put. Money and agenda underwrites who is heading the think tanks, who speaks for the national security programs, and who populates conferences, book launches, speeches, and television appearances. Mazarr doesn't think this can be quantified but it's rather easy. Google "2009 Afghanistan conference/panel/speakers" and plenty of events come up. Pick any year, the results are predictable.

Here's a Brookings Panel in August 2009 , assessing the Afghanistan election, including Anthony Cordesman, Kimberly Kagan, and Michael O'Hanlon. Not a lot of "diversity" there. Here's a taste of the 2009 annual CNAS conference, which featured the usual suspects, including David Petraeus, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, and 1,400 people in attendance. Aside from Andrew " Skunk at the Garden Party " Bacevich, there was little to distinguish one world view from another among the panelists. (CNAS was originally founded in support of Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign; she spoke at the inaugural conference in 2007. Former president Michele Flournoy later landed in the E-Ring of the Pentagon.) Meanwhile, here's a Hudson Institute tribute to David Petraeus, attended by Scooter Libby, and a December 2009 Atlantic Council panel with -- you guessed it -- Kimberly Kagan and two military representatives thrown in to pump up McChrystal and NATO and staying the course.

On top of it all, these events and their people never failed to get the attention of the major corporate media, which just loved the idea of warrior-monk generals "liberating" Afghanistan through a "government in a box" counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy.

Honestly, thank goodness for Cato , which before the new Quincy Institute, was the only think tank to feature COIN critics like Colonel Gian Gentile , and not just as foils. The Center for the National Interest also harbored skeptics of the president's strategy. But they were outnumbered too.

This is what I want to convey. Mazarr boasts there is a galaxy of opinion today over U.S. policy in Iran, China, Russia, NATO. I would argue there is a narrow spectrum of technical and ideological disagreement in all these cases, but nowhere was it more important to have strong, competing voices than during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and there was none of that in any realistic sense of the word.

I challenge him and the others to take down the straw men and own the ecosystem to which they owe their success in Washington (Mazarr just published a piece called "Toward a New Theory of Power Projection" for goodness sake). Stop trying to pretend what is there isn't. Realists and restrainers are happy to debate the merits of our different approaches, but gaslighting is for nefarious lovers and we're no Ingrid Bergman. about the author

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, executive editor, has been writing for TAC since 2007, focusing on national security, foreign policy, civil liberties and domestic politics. She served for 15 years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, and at WTOP News in Washington from 2013-2017 as a writer, digital editor and social media strategist. She has also worked as a beat reporter at Bridge News financial wire (now part of Reuters) and Homeland Security Today, and as a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. A native Nutmegger, she got her start in Connecticut newspapers, but now resides with her family in Arlington, Va.

[Jun 22, 2020] At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite

Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 4:20 utc | 35

This statement by Jeffrey Sachs may as well also describe America's leadership crisis: "At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite."

[Jun 19, 2020] Nixon-Trump vs. the Strategy of Tension by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... Alastair Crooke has masterfully shown how the geoeconomic game, as Trump sees it, is above all to preserve the power of the U.S. dollar ..."
"... Russiagate, now totally debunked , has unfolded in effect as a running coup: a color non-revolution metastasizing into Ukrainegate and the impeachment fiasco. In this poorly scripted and evidence-free morality play with shades of Watergate, Trump was cast by the Democrats as Nixon. ..."
"... Black Lives Matter, the organization and its ramifications, is essentially being instrumentalized by selected corporate interests to accelerate their own priority: to crush the U.S. working classes into a state of perpetual anomie, as a new automated economy rises. ..."
"... What's fascinating is how this current strategy of tension scenario is being developed as a classic CIA/NED playbook color revolution. An undisputed, genuine grievance -- over police brutality and systemic racism -- has been completely manipulated, showered with lavish funds, infiltrated, and even weaponized against "the regime". ..."
"... in yet another priceless historical irony, "Assad must go" metastasized into "Trump must go". ..."
"... the majority of the population is considered expendable. It helps that the instrumentalized are playing their part to perfection, totally legitimized by mainstream media . No one will hear lavishly funded Black Lives Matter addressing the real heart of the matter: the reset of the predatory Restored Neoliberalism project, barely purged of its veneer of Hybrid Neofascism. The blueprint is the Great Reset to be launched by the World Economic Forum in January 2021. ..."
"... It will be fascinating to watch how Trump deals with this "Summer of Love" remake of Maidan transposed to the Seattle commune ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Nixon 68 is back with a vengeance, with President Trump placing himself as the guarantor/enforcer of Law & Order.

That slogan guaranteed Nixon's election, and was coined by Kevin Phillips, then an expert in "ethnic voting patterns" .

Philips makes for a very interesting case. In 1999, he became the author of a seminal book: The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America, where he tracks how a "small Tudor kingdom" ended up establishing global hegemony.

The division of the English-speaking community into two great powers -- "one aristocratic, 'chosen' and imperial; and one democratic, 'chosen' and manifest destiny-driven", as Philips correctly establishes -- was accomplished by, what else, a war triptych: the English Civil War, the American revolution and the U.S. Civil War.

Now, we may be at the threshold of a fourth war -- with unpredictable and unforeseen consequences.

As it stands, what we have is a do-or-die clash of models: MAGA against an exclusivist Fed/Wall Street/Silicon Valley-controlled system.

MAGA -- which is a rehash of the American dream -- simply cannot happen when society is viciously polarized; vast sectors of the middle class are being completely erased; and mass immigration is coming from the Global South.

In contrast, the Fed as a Wall Street hedge fund meets Silicon Valley model, a supremely elitist 0.001% concoction, has ample margins to thrive.

The model is based on even more rigid corporate monopoly; the preeminence of capital markets, where a Wall Street boom is guaranteed by government debt-buybacks of its own debt; and life itself regulated by algorithms and Big Data.

This is the Brave New World dreamed by the techno-financial Masters of the Universe.

Trump's MAGA woes have been compounded by a shoddy geopolitical move in tandem with Law and Order: his re-election campaign will be under the sign of "China, China, China." When in trouble, blame a foreign enemy.

That comes from serially failed opportunist Steve Bannon and his Chinese billionaire sidekick Guo Wengui, or Miles Guo. Here they are in Statue of Liberty mode announcing their no holds barred infowar campaign to demonize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to Kingdom Come and "free the Chinese people".

Bannon's preferred talking point is that if his infowar fails, there will be "kinetic war". That is nonsense. Beijing's priorities are elsewhere. Only a few neo-conned Dr. Strangeloves would envisage "kinetic war"- as in a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Chinese territory.

Alastair Crooke has masterfully shown how the geoeconomic game, as Trump sees it, is above all to preserve the power of the U.S. dollar : "His particular concern would be to see a Europe that was umbilically linked to the financial and technological heavyweight that is China. This, in itself, effectively would presage a different world financial governance."

But then there's The Leopard syndrome: "If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change". Enter Covid-19 as a particle accelerator, used by the Masters of the Universe to tweak "things" a bit so they not only stay as they are but the Master grip on the world tightens.

The problem is Covid-19 behaves as a set of -- uncontrollable -- free electrons. That means nobody, even the Masters of the Universe, is able to really weigh the full consequences of a runaway, compounded financial/social crisis.

Deconstructing Nixon-Trump

Russiagate, now totally debunked , has unfolded in effect as a running coup: a color non-revolution metastasizing into Ukrainegate and the impeachment fiasco. In this poorly scripted and evidence-free morality play with shades of Watergate, Trump was cast by the Democrats as Nixon.

Big mistake. Watergate had nothing to do with a Hollywood-celebrated couple of daring reporters. Watergate represented the industrial-military-security-media complex going after Nixon. Deep Throat and other sources came from inside the Deep State. And it was not by accident that they were steering the Washington Post -- which, among other roles, plays the part of CIA mouthpiece to perfection.

Trump is a completely different matter. The Deep State keeps him under control. One just needs to look at the record: more funds for the Pentagon, $1 trillion in brand new nuclear weapons, perennial sanctions on Russia, non-stop threats to Russia's western borders, (failed) efforts to derail Nord Stream 2. And this is only a partial list.

So, from a Deep State point of view, the geopolitical front -- containment of Russia-China -- is assured. Domestically, it's much more complicated.

As much as Black Lives Matter does not threaten the system even remotely like the Black Panthers in the 60s, Trump believes his own Law & Order, like Nixon, will once again prevail. The key will be to attract the white women suburban vote. Republican pollsters are extremely optimistic and even talking about a "landslide".

Yet the behavior of an extra crucial vector must be understood: what corporate America wants.

When we look at who's supporting Black Lives Matter -- and Antifa -- we find, among others, Adidas, Amazon, Airbnb, American Express, Bank of America, BMW, Burger King, Citigroup, Coca Cola, DHL, Disney, eBay, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Mastercard, McDonald's, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Sony, Starbucks, Twitter, Verizon, WalMart, Warner Brothers and YouTube.

This who's who would suggest a completely isolated Trump. But then we have to look at what really matters; the class war dynamics in what is in fact a caste system , as Laurence Brahm argues.

Black Lives Matter, the organization and its ramifications, is essentially being instrumentalized by selected corporate interests to accelerate their own priority: to crush the U.S. working classes into a state of perpetual anomie, as a new automated economy rises.

That may always happen under Trump. But it will be faster without Trump. What's fascinating is how this current strategy of tension scenario is being developed as a classic CIA/NED playbook color revolution. An undisputed, genuine grievance -- over police brutality and systemic racism -- has been completely manipulated, showered with lavish funds, infiltrated, and even weaponized against "the regime".

Just to control Trump is not enough for the Deep State -- due to the maximum instability and unreliability of his Demented Narcissus persona. Thus, in yet another priceless historical irony, "Assad must go" metastasized into "Trump must go".

The cadaver in the basement

One must never lose track of the fundamental objectives of those who firmly control that assembly of bought and paid for patsies in Capitol Hill: to always privilege Divide and Rule -- on class, race, identity politics.

After all, the majority of the population is considered expendable. It helps that the instrumentalized are playing their part to perfection, totally legitimized by mainstream media . No one will hear lavishly funded Black Lives Matter addressing the real heart of the matter: the reset of the predatory Restored Neoliberalism project, barely purged of its veneer of Hybrid Neofascism. The blueprint is the Great Reset to be launched by the World Economic Forum in January 2021.

It will be fascinating to watch how Trump deals with this "Summer of Love" remake of Maidan transposed to the Seattle commune . The hint from Team Trump circles is that he will do nothing: a coalition of white supremacists and motorcycle gangs might take care of the "problem" on the Fourth of July.

None of this sweetens the fact that Trump is at the heart of a crossfire hurricane: his disastrous response to Covid-19; the upcoming, devastating effects of the New Great Depression; and his intimations pointing to what could turn into martial law.

Still, the legendary Hollywood maxim -- "no one knows anything" -- rules. Even running with a semi-cadaver in a basement, the Democrats may win in November just by doing nothing. Yet Teflon Trump should never be underestimated. The Deep State may even realize he's more useful than they think.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment June 18, 2020 at 11:28 pm GMT

An undisputed, genuine grievance – over police brutality and systemic racism…

Even Candace Owens understands that police are more likely to be killed or injured by “suspects” than the “suspects” are to be killed or injured by police. The militarization of police departments is a genuine grievance. The relatively few acts of actual police brutality out of millions of contacts in a year is not.

If there is “systemic racism”, it is systemic against White males.

There is no genuine systemic racism other than non-specific word games. Is there systemic racism in China? How about Japan?

Societies are a racial construct. They are built for the people/drivers that “invented” the society. Why would a Chinese or Japanese care about what a German or Nigerian thought should be done for their society?

[Jun 16, 2020] The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to enrich themselves. Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state. IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians

Notable quotes:
"... The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites. ..."
"... The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash. ..."
"... The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state. ..."
"... IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A User , Jun 16 2020 3:36 utc | 87

I'm always amused, nah that is a little harsh - dumbfounded is more reasonable, when Americans express dismay that 'their' constitution is not being adhered to by the elites.

The minutiae of American political history hasn't greatly concerned me after a superficial study at high school, when I realized that the political structure is corrupt and was designed to facilitate corruption.

The seeming caring & sharing soundbites pushed out by the 'framers' scum such as Thomas Jefferson was purely for show, an attempt to gather the cannon fodder to one side. This was simple as the colonial media had been harping on about 'taxation without representation' for decades.

It wasn't just taxes, in fact for the American based elites that was likely the least of it. The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites.

A well placed courtier would put a bagman into the regional center of a particular colony (each colony becoming a 'state' post revolution), so that if someone wanted to, I dunno, say export huge quantities of cotton, the courtier would charge that 'colonial' for getting the initial warrant, then take a hefty % of the return on the product - all collected by the on-site bagman then divvied up.

The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash.

The system was ponderous inaccurate & very expensive. Something had to be done, but selling revolutionary change to the masses on the basis of the need to enrich the already wealthy was not likely to be a winner. Consequently the high faulting blather.

The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state.

IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing.

[Jun 16, 2020] Isn't that how it was always done throughout history? The rich control the less-rich who control the less-rich - using his matryoshka example

Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Jun 16 2020 1:11 utc | 73

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2020 17:36 utc | 24

This happened prior to Crooke writing his current article

Just read that piece. I was fascinated to see him referencing an article by "Walrus" over at SST (which was a particularly BS article in my view.) However, he referenced the concept of Walrus' article about a "billionaire network" controlling everything by corrupting people over 40.

My reaction to that is: Isn't that how it was always done throughout history? The rich control the less-rich who control the less-rich - using his matryoshka example.

His main thesis is that younger ideologist are setting up a more serious divide in US society than the old "Liberal vs Conservative" or "North vs South" division, and that this is putting pressure on the "billionaires network."

I'm not sure how to regard that concept yet. On the one hand, I know that the old "young vs old" dynamic is always at work - and generally irrelevant since it is the old that controls the money and the military power. OTOH, there is a new phenomenon in the last decades, starting with the availability of networks, and then growing with the availability of affordable personal computers, and now exploding with the presence of the Internet. That phenomenon is hacking. And it is the youth that control that technology.

I referenced the "cyberpunk" sci-fi genre a few threads back. If one is familiar with the hacker community and the infosec profession, ne if struck by the massive disparity between the capabilities of the attackers and that of the defenders of networks. No matter what the defenders do, there is no stopping an adversary which has motivation, resources and time. The defender has to always be right, the attacker only has to be right once.

This translates to the current situation socially - but only to a limited degree. Hackers are a particular breed intellectually and emotionally. Their attitudes and abilities do not translate to the rest of people their age. Their political and social attitudes *may*, to some degree, depending on the hacker.

But most hackers have a decidedly anti-authoritarian, if not libertarian, or dare I say anarchist, attitude. They can join with others, but that tends to be at arm's length. So I don't see the majority of them empowering a "youth collectivism" or whatever one wants to call the general social and political attitude of the young today.

I *do* see them being willing to take on political and social power. That was the entire reference point of the cyberpunk genre: technically proficient iconoclasts marginalized as criminals taking on (and frequently losing) TPTB depicted as corporations and the state.

I see the rise of hacking as a direct threat to the "billionaires network" (if such a thing actually exists as a coordinated entity.) The only question is whether the hackers have a coherent view of their potential. I suspect they don't, much like the "Woke" (see below). But they could - and if they did, they'd be very dangerous since there is no real way to stop them, and their numbers are growing worldwide as more Third World societies develop middle classes that can afford to own computers while still not providing an adequate economy for their people (places like India, Malaysia and Indonesia.)

"One aspect he apparently overlooks is the very poor understanding of history and contemporary events exhibited on all sides--the "woke" are asleep as they know nothing of Anti-Federalism or of the Class-based rationale related to the genesis of Police, although they seem to be aware of the social control goals of that Genesis in both North and South as we examined last week."

Agreed. That's my problem with the "Woke" - they're even more ignorant than their parents were, even if they're more socially conscious. They believe things that aren't correct just as much as their parents did - they just believe different incorrect things.

"The Class War is also sidelined despite the reality of it being the most important factor in the equation--The .1% being the genuine looters..."

Agreed.

"IMO, there's no discernable ideological direction aside from some basic demands related to policing and the racism connected to it because those in the streets lack the tools to articulate a complete vision--something that's very difficult to do when you don't know where you've actually been and the happenings over the past 75 years that have shaped the current landscape"

Indeed. One has to burrow rather deeply into first principles to formulate a coherent philosophy - and I don't see anyone doing that. I had nine years in a Federal prison to re-orient myself and I benefited from having a previous forty years of exposure to concepts outside the mainstream "left vs right" dichotomy. I doubt many of these people on the streets have a clue as to what should be done either on their personal level or a social level.

[Jun 15, 2020] Full Special Investigation - Donald Trump vs The Deep State

Highly recommended!
This is an amazing video. highly recommended
Notable quotes:
"... Firstly your definition of 'deep state' is too limited, it includes the bureaucracy, much of the judiciary, banks and other financial institutions, and the major political parties. It is not restricted only to the intelligence agencies. It is not a US-specific issue, but a global one. For the deep state exists everywhere, and is often more powerful in commonwealth countries, such as here in apathetic Australia. ..."
"... When the CIA kills Kennedy you know you've got problems... And whilst agents in the CIA probably did not pull the trigger - their "assets" did... If you don't believe me spare me your tiresome ignorant replies and go and do some research... ..."
"... " We were warned about the Military Industrial Complex, Sadly the Government Media Complex, has done way more damage, and will be much harder to overcome" ~ Dr. Mike Savage 2008 ..."
Jun 15, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Sky News Australia In this Special Investigation Sky News speaks to former spies, politicians and investigative journalists to uncover whether US President Donald Trump is really at war with "unelected Deep State operatives who defy the voters".


Cee Zee , 7 months ago

Was it not for Trump, we would never have had a clue just how evil and corrupt the fbi, cia, leftist media and big tech giants are!

Tron Javolta , 6 months ago

George Soros, The clintons, The royal family, The Rothschild's, the Federal reserve as a whole, The modern Democrat, cia, fbi, nsa, Facebook, Google, not to mention all the faceless unelected bureaucrats who create and push policies that impact our every day lives. This, my lads, is the deep state. They run our world and get away with whatever they want until someone in their circle loses their use (Epstein)

k-carl Manley , 1 month ago

JFK was right: dismantle the CIA and throw the remaining dust to the wind - same for the traitorous leaders in the FBI!

Nick Krikorian , 7 months ago

The deep state killed JFK

Joe Mamma , 1 week ago

The deep state is real and they are powerful and have an evil agenda!

Joe Graves , 1 month ago

Anyone that says a "deep state" doesn't exist in America, is part of the American deep state.

ceokc13 , 3 days ago (edited)

The Cabal owns the US intelligence agencies, the media, and Hollywood. That's how all these big name corrupted figure heads aren't in prison for their crimes. The Clinton email scandal is a prime example. This is much bigger than the USA... it's effects are world wide.

Francis Gee , 1 week ago (edited)

The Four Stages of Ideological Subversion: 1 - Demoralization 2 - Destabilization 3 - Crisis 4 - Normalization Are you not entertained? The above is "their" roadmap. Learn what it means and spread this far & wide, as that will be the means by which to end this.

TheConnected Chris , 1 day ago

President JFK on April 17, 1961: "Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired. If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of 'clear and present danger,' then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent. It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match." thoughts: by saying, 'conducts the Cold War' did he directly call out the CIA???

Fact Chitanda , 2 weeks ago

The secret services are only one arm of the deep state. Its bigger than them!

David Stanley , 3 days ago

Most troubling now it is known about the deep state: is Trump a double agent just another puppet just giving the appearance of working against the deep state?

Miroslav Skoric , 2 months ago

"I' never saw corruption" said the blind monkey "I never heard any corruption " said the deaf monkey The mute monkey,of course said nothing.

Franco Lust , 2 months ago

Thank you Australians for having rhe courage to speak out for us Patriots!!! We know the Deep State Cabal retaliated with the fires. We love you guys from 💖💗

Always Keen , 7 months ago

Drain that swamp!

joe wood , 2 days ago

Found and cause all wars. Mislead both sides .

Peter Kondogonis , 1 month ago (edited)

Well done Skynews. THE DEEP STATE IS REAL. I woke up 10+ years ago. Turn off the TV for 1-2 years to study and awaken. Make a start on learning with David ickes Videos and books. WWG1 WGA

silva lloyd , 1 month ago

"How does democracy survive" We don't live in a democracy. The English isles and commonwealth are a constitutional monarchy, America is a republic.

Rhsheeda Russell , 5 days ago

And President Trump was right. Senator Graham is a sneaky, lying, sloth who enjoys his status and takes taxpayers money to do nothing.

Jerry Kays , 1 day ago

Before I go and pass this on to as many as I can get to follow it I just wanted to commend those that produced this and I hope that it gets fuller dissemination because it is such a rare truth in such a time of utter deceit by most all of the MSM (Main Stream Media) that this country I reside in uses to supposedly inform the American people ...what a crock! Thank You, Australia for making this available (but beware, the Five Eyes are always very active in related matters to this) ... This has been welcome confirmation of what many of us have known and attempted to tell others for about 5 years now. Sadly, I doubt that has or will help very much, The System is so corrupted from top to bottom ... IMnsHO and E.

Jonathan King , 7 months ago (edited)

Firstly your definition of 'deep state' is too limited, it includes the bureaucracy, much of the judiciary, banks and other financial institutions, and the major political parties. It is not restricted only to the intelligence agencies. It is not a US-specific issue, but a global one. For the deep state exists everywhere, and is often more powerful in commonwealth countries, such as here in apathetic Australia.

GB3770 , 1 month ago (edited)

When the CIA kills Kennedy you know you've got problems... And whilst agents in the CIA probably did not pull the trigger - their "assets" did... If you don't believe me spare me your tiresome ignorant replies and go and do some research...

BassBreath100 , 2 months ago

" We were warned about the Military Industrial Complex, Sadly the Government Media Complex, has done way more damage, and will be much harder to overcome" ~ Dr. Mike Savage 2008

Scocasso Vegetus , 1 month ago (edited)

14:20 I met a guy from Canada in the early 2000s, a telephone technician, told me about when he worked at the time for the government telephone company in the early 80s. He was given a really strange job one day, to go do some work in the USA. Some kind of repair work that required someone with experience and know-how, but apparently someone from out-of-country, he guesses, because there certainly must have been many people in the USA who could have done it, he figured. He flew down to oregon, then was driven for hours out into the middle of nowhere in navada, he said. They came to a small building that was surrounded by fencing etc. Nothing interesting. Nothing else around, he said, as far as he could see. They went in, and pretty much all that was there was an elevator. They went in, and he said, he didn't know how many floors down it went, or how fast it was moving, but seemed to take quite sometime, he figured about 8 stories down, was his guess, but he didn't know. He was astounded to see that there was telephone recording stuff in there about the size of two football-fields. He said they were recording everything. He said, even at that time, it was all digital, but they didn't have the capacity to record everything, so it was set up to monitor phone calls, and if any key words were spoken, it would start recording, and of course it would record all phone calls at certain numbers. "So, who knows what they've got in there today, he said" back in the early 2000s. So, imagine what they've got there today, in the 2020s. I didn't know whether or not to believe this story, until I saw a doc about all of the telephone recording tapes they have in storage, rotting away, which were used to record everyone's phone calls onto magnetic tape. Literally tonnes and tonnes of tapes, just sitting there in storage now, from the 1970s, the pre-digital days. They've always been doing it. They're just much better at it today than ever. Now they can tell who you are by your voice, your cadence, your intonation, etc. and record not just a call here and there, but everything.

cuppateadee , 3 days ago

Assange got banged up because he exposed war crimes by this lot on film Chelsea Manning also. They are heroes.

Shaun Ellis , 7 months ago

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he didnt exist" Credit the --- Usual Suspects ---- That's the playbook of the "Deep State"

Cheryl Lawlor , 2 weeks ago

Even Obama said, "the CIA gets what the CIA wants." Even he wouldn't upset them.

NeXus Prime , 1 week ago

The last guy (denying the deep state's existence) was lying. When someone shakes their head when talking in the affirmative you can be 100% sure it is a lie (micro expressions 101).

zetayoru , 1 month ago

JFK said he wanted to expose a deeper and more sinister group. And when he was moving closer to it, he got killed.

adolthitler , 1 week ago

Yuri Bezmenov will tell you the deepstate has too much power. Yuri was right about much.

Ed P , 3 weeks ago

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

Shirley van der Heijden , 1 month ago

Evil never is satisfied!

The Vault , 5 days ago

https://www.facebook.com/kyle.darbyshire/posts/1085832538454860

Bitcoin Blockchain , 1 day ago


Bitcoin Blockchain
1 day ago
1950–1953:	Korean War United States (as part of the United Nations) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
1960–1975:	Vietnam War	United States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion	United States vs. Cuba
1983: Grenada United States intervention
1989: U.S.Invasion of Panama	United States vs. Panama
1990–1991: Persian Gulf War United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
1995–1996: Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina	United States as part of NATO acted as peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia
2001–present: Invasion of Afghanistan	United States and Coalition Forces vs. the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to fight terrorism
2003–2011: Invasion of Iraq The United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
2004–present: War in Northwest Pakistan United States vs. Pakistan, mainly drone attacks
2007–present: Somalia and Northeastern Kenya	United States and Coalition forces vs. al-Shabaab militants
2009–2016: Operation Ocean Shield (Indian Ocean) NATO allies vs. Somali pirates
2011: Intervention in Libya	U.S. and NATO allies vs. Libya
2011–2017: Lord's Resistance Army U.S. and allies against the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda
2014–2017: U.S.-led Intervention in Iraq U.S. and coalition forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
2014–present: U.S.-led intervention in Syria U.S. and coalition forces against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Syria
2015–present: Yemeni Civil War Saudi-led coalition and the U.S., France, and Kingdom against the Houthi rebels, Supreme Political Council in Yemen, and allies
2015–present: U.S. intervention in Libya
Ken Martin , 5 months ago

Deep State is the "Wealthy Oligarchy", an "International Mafia" who controls the Central Bank (a privacy owned banking system which controls the worlds currencies). The Wealthy Oligarchy "aka Deep State" controls most all Democratic countries, and controls the International Media. In the United States, both the Republican and Democrat parties are controlled by the Wealthy Oligarchy aka Deep State.

pharcyde110573 , 6 months ago (edited)

A beautifully crafted and delivered discourse, impressive! As a Londoner I have become increasingly interested in Sky News Australia, you are a breath of fresh air and common sense in this world of ever growing liberal media hysteria!

Gord Pittman , 22 hours ago

I have to laugh at the people, including our supposedly unbiased and intelligent media, who said the Russia thing was the truth when it was nothing but a conspiracy theory. Everything else was a conspiacy theory according to the dems ans the mainstream media..

joe wood , 1 week ago

CIA did 9-11 with bush cabal pulling strings

Joseph Hinton , 1 month ago

Wall Street and the banksters control the CIA. One can imagine the ramifications of control of the world via the moneyed interests backed by James Bond and the Green Berets, the latter, under control of the CIA.

Karen Reaves , 2 weeks ago (edited)

Every nation has the same deep state. CIA Mossad MI6 and CCP protect the deep state like one big Mafia. Thank you Sky News. outofshadows.org

killtheglobalists , 2 days ago (edited)

Deep State Powers have been messing with your USA long before your War of Independence . Your Founding Fathers knew , why do you think they wrote your Constitution that way. Now everyone is always crying about something but fail to realize you gave your freedoms away over time . The Deep State never left it just disguised itself and continued to regain control under a new face or ideaology. Follow the money . "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."― Edmund Burke

Kauz , 1 week ago

Timothy Leary gives the CIA TOTAL CREDIT for sponsoring and initiating, the entire consciousness movement and counter-culture events of the 1960's.

Sierra1 Tngo , 2 weeks ago

After the John F. Kennedy assassination the took full power,those who are in power now are the descendants of the criminals who did it,some of their sons just have a different last name but they are the same family,like George Bush and John Kerry are cousins but different last name and the list goes and goes.

iwonka k , 3 hours ago

Council on Foreign Relation is more Deep State than CIA and FBI . The two worked for CFR. CFR tel president whom to appoint to what positions. Nixon got a list of 22 deep state candidates for top US position and all were hired. Obama appointed 11 from the list. Kissinger is behind the scenes strings puller also.

R Tarz , 2 months ago

Thanks Sky and Peter for bringing this to the mainstream attention, it really is time! Wished you had aired John Kiriakou,s other claims off child sex trafficking to the elites which has been corroborated by so many other sources now and is the grossest deformity of this deep state which you can see footage of trump talking about. I am amazed and greatful to see Trump has done more about this than all other presidents in the last 20 years. Lets end this group. All we need to do is shine the light on them

Adronicus -IF- , 2 months ago

The CIA are only an intelligence and operations functioning part of the deep state its much more complex and larger than just the CIA. The British empire controls the deep state they always have it is just a modern version of the old East India Company controlled by the same families with the same ideology. https://theduran.com/the-origins-of-the-deep-state-in-north-america/

John Doe , 1 month ago

It's funny how for decades "the people" were crying on their knees about how bad every president was n how corrupt n controlled they were. Now you've got a president with no special interest groups publicly calling out the deep state n ur still bitching. U know you've got someone representing the people when the cia n fbi r out to get him. In 50 years trump will be looked back at with the likes of Washington, Lincoln n jfk. Once the msm smear campaign is out of everyone's brain.

Nicholas Napier , 2 months ago (edited)

When they start spying on people within the United States and when they used in National Defense authorization act that gave them a lot of power since after 911 to give them more power now they have Homeland Security which is the next biggest threat to the United States it can be abused and some of these people have a higher security clearance than the president.... they're not under control the NSA is one of them you don't mention in here either one is about the more that you don't even know about that they don't have names are acronyms that we knew about that's why the American people have been blindsided by this overtime they've been giving all this money to do things... allocation of money they gathered to do this and now Congress itself doesn't know temperature of Schumer when you caught him saying to see I can get back at you three ways to Sunday I mean he's got some words in this saying to the president of usa donald trump... basically threatening the President right there.. you can see it's alive and well when Congress is immune from prosecution from anything or anyone....

itsmemuffins , 7 months ago

"I think in light of all of the things going on, and you know what I mean by that: the fake news, the Comeys of the world, all of the bad things that went on, it's called the swamp you know what I did," he asked. "A big favor. I caught the swamp. I caught them all. Let's see what happens. Nobody else could have done that but me. I caught all of this corruption that was going on and nobody else could have done it."

msciciel14therope , 1 month ago

there is no big secret that CIA is deeply involved in drug smuggling operations...i remember interview with ex marine colonel who said that he was indirectly involved in such operations in panama...

Vaclav Haval , 6 days ago

The Deep State (CIA, NSA, FBI, and Israeli Mossad) did 9/11.

Wilf Jones , 1 week ago

Super Geek Zuckerberg was made a CIA useful Idiot ... I mean agent , lol .

Chubs Fatboy , 2 weeks ago

Attempting to infiltrate News rooms😆😅😂 all those faces you see in the MSM are all working for Cia. In 1967 one of the 3 letter agencys bragged about having a reporter working in 1 of the 3 letter news channel!

Rue Porter , 1 day ago

Wow this was really good. It's funny you showed a clip from abc of kouriakow and it reminded me how much the news in america has been propagandized and just fake. I'm 38 and it's sad that these days the news is unpatriotic. Well most . Ty sky news Australia

peemaster Bjarne , 1 week ago

Why no mention of what facilitates the surveilance? Telecom infrastructure is a nations nerve system and the powergrid its bloodsystem. Who controls them? That is where you find the head of the deep state!

richard bello , 2 weeks ago

What people aren't aware of is that Facebook YouTube Twitter Instagram Google maps and Google search are all NSA CIA and DIA creations and CEO's are only highly paid operatives who are not the creators but the face of a product and what better way to collect all of your information is by you giving it to them

AussieMaleTuber , 7 months ago (edited)

More please? A subject for another installment regarding the Deep State could be Banking, Federal Reserves and Fiat currencies. Later, another video could be Russia's success at expelling the Deep State in 2000 after it took them over (for a 2nd time) in 1991. Be cognizant, the Deep State initially had for a short time from 1917 via 'it's' 'Bolshivics,' orchestrated the creation of the Soviet Union through the Bolshivic take over of Russia from it's independence minded and Soveriegn Czarist led Eastern Orthodox State. Now, President Trump is preventing a similar Deep State take-over by Intelligence agencies, Corporations and elected political thugs as bad as Leon Trotsky and V I Lennin were to the Russian Czar. The Soviets soon after their (1917) take-over went Rogue on the Deep State and therefore the Soviet Union was independent until The Deep State orchestrated it's downfall and anexation of it's substantial wealth and some territory (1991). More, more, more please Sky News, this video was great!

Trevor Pike , 2 months ago

Amazing, Sky News is the ONLY TV News Service in Australia Trying to deliver true news. Australia's ABC news are CIA Deep State Shills and propagandists - Sarah Ferguson Especially - see her totally CIA scripted Four Corners Report on the Russia Hoax. John Gantz IS a Deep State Operative Liar.

Michael Small , 1 month ago

Isnt it time to see TERM LIMITS in Co gress and to realign our school education to teach the real history of these unites states? End the control of Congress and watch the agencies fall in step with OUR Conatitution. No one should ever be allowed in Congress or any other elected position of trust if they are not a devout Constitutionalist. Anyone who takes the oath to see w the people and fails to so so should be charged with TREASON and removed immediately. Is there a DEEP STATE? Damn right there is and has been for many decades. Where is our sovereignty? Where is the wealth of a capitalist nation? Why so much poverty and welfare and why do communists and socialist get away with damaging our country, state or communities. Yes, there has been a deep state filled with criminals who all need to be charged, tried and executed for TREASON.

Barry Atkins , 7 months ago (edited)

The CIA and Australias Federal police have One main Job/activity to feed their Populations with Propaganda & Lies to give them their Thoughts & Opinions on Everything using their psyOps through MSM News & Programming...you prolly beLIEve this informative News Story as well. : (

price , 7 months ago

Sky news is owned by rupert Murdoch...the same guy that owns fox news. Nuff said😘

Marie Hurst , 6 days ago

These people denying a deep state with such straight faces are psychopaths. Unwittingly, or maybe not, Schumer made liars of them with his comment to Maddow

Debbie Kirby , 7 months ago

President Trump is correct. He knows exactly what's going on. The 3 letter agencies are up to no good and work against the fabric of our nation's founding fathers. It's despicable behavior. Just one example is John Brennan (CIA Director) and Barack Hussein Obama's Terror Tuesdays. Read all about it on the internet now before it's permanently removed. Thank you for creating this video.

James dow , 1 week ago

When was the last time we ever witnessed an American President openly abused continually attacked over manufactured news treated with absolutely no respect for him or the office his family unfairly attacked and misrepresented etc, etc, that's right never, which proves he threatens the existence of the deep state as discussed. He should declare Martial Law Hang the consequences and remove every single deep state player everywhere. Foreign influence? read Israel.

mary rosario , 5 days ago

People are so fixated on trumps outspoken Sometimes outrageous demeanor which in my opinion it's just being really honest and yes he can Be rude at times but when you look at the facts He's the only one that has gone against the deep state! those are the real devils dressed up in sheep's clothing! Wake up!

evan c , 2 weeks ago

You are missing the point. It goes further then intelligence agency working against the people. It's the ultra rich literally trillionaires like the rothchilds that control the cia etc. That is who trump is fighting. The globalists line gates soros etc.

[Jun 14, 2020] Jeane J. Kirkpatrick 30 Years Unheeded

Highly recommended!
The national security establishment does represent the actual government of dual "double government". And it is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the elected branches of government. Instead it controls them and is able to stage palace coups to remove "unacceptable" Presidents like was the case with JFK, Nixon and Trump.
For them is are occupied country and then behave like real occuplers.
Notable quotes:
"... In Trumpian fashion, Kirkpatrick then goes on to warn Americans about the danger of an unaccountable "deep state" in foreign policy that is immune to popular pressures. ..."
"... She says that, no, "it has become more important than ever that the experts who conduct foreign policy on our behalf be subject to the direction of and control of the people." ..."
"... She points out that because America had for much of the twentieth century assumed global responsibilities, our foreign policy elites had developed "distinctive views" that are different from those of the electorate. ..."
"... foreign policy elites "grew accustomed to thinking of the United States as having boundless resources and purposes . . . which transcended the preferences of voters and apparent American interests . . . and eventually developed a globalist attitude." ..."
"... In support of Kirkpatrick's concern, Tufts professor Michael Glennon has more recently argued that the national security establishment has now become so "distinctive" in their separation from our constitutional processes that they represent one wing of a now "double government" that is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the popular branches of government. The Russiagate investigations and the attempt to disable the Trump presidency, aided by many in the establishment, would appear to confirm Kirkpatrick's warning that foreign policy elites want no part of the electoral preferences of voting Americans. ..."
"... Kirkpatrick died in 2006 and had, like many neoconservatives, evolved from a Humphrey Democrat into a member of the GOP establishment. With William Bennett and Jack Kemp, in 1993 she cofounded a neoconservative group, Empower America, which took a very aggressive stance against militant Islam after the 9/11 attacks. However, she was quite ambivalent about the invasion of Iraq and was quoted in The Economist ..."
Jun 14, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Kirkpatrick's essay begins by insisting that, because of world events since 1939, America has given to foreign affairs "an unnatural focus." Now in 1990, she says, the nation can turn its attention to domestic concerns that are more important because "a good society is defined not by its foreign policy but its internal qualities . . . by the relations among its citizens, the kind of character nurtured, and the quality of life lived." She says unabashedly that "there is no mystical American 'mission' or purposes to be 'found' independently of the U.S. Constitution and government."

One cannot fail to notice that this perspective is precisely the opposite of George W. Bush's in his second inauguration. According to Bush, America's post –Cold War purpose was to follow our "deepest beliefs" by acting to "support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture." For three decades neoconservative foreign policy has revolved around "mystical" beliefs about America's mission in the world that are unmoored from the actual Constitution.

In Trumpian fashion, Kirkpatrick then goes on to warn Americans about the danger of an unaccountable "deep state" in foreign policy that is immune to popular pressures. She rejects emphatically the views of some elitists who argue that foreign policy is a uniquely esoteric and specialized discipline and must be cushioned from populism. She says that, no, "it has become more important than ever that the experts who conduct foreign policy on our behalf be subject to the direction of and control of the people."

She points out that because America had for much of the twentieth century assumed global responsibilities, our foreign policy elites had developed "distinctive views" that are different from those of the electorate. Again, in Trumpian fashion, she argued that foreign policy elites "grew accustomed to thinking of the United States as having boundless resources and purposes . . . which transcended the preferences of voters and apparent American interests . . . and eventually developed a globalist attitude."

In support of Kirkpatrick's concern, Tufts professor Michael Glennon has more recently argued that the national security establishment has now become so "distinctive" in their separation from our constitutional processes that they represent one wing of a now "double government" that is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the popular branches of government. The Russiagate investigations and the attempt to disable the Trump presidency, aided by many in the establishment, would appear to confirm Kirkpatrick's warning that foreign policy elites want no part of the electoral preferences of voting Americans.

Kirkpatrick concludes her essay with thoughts on "What should we do?" and "What we should not do." Remarkably, her first recommendation is to negotiate better trade deals. These deals should give the U.S. "fair access" to foreign markets while offering "foreign businesses no better than fair access to U.S. markets." Next, she considered the promotion of democracy around the world and, on this subject, she took the John Quincy Adams position : that "Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be." However, she insisted: "it is not within the United States' power to democratize the world."

When Kirkpatrick goes on to discuss America's post –Cold War alliances, she makes clear that she is advocating, quite simply, an America First foreign policy. Regarding the future of the NATO alliance, a sacrosanct pillar of the American foreign policy establishment, she argued that "the United States should not try to manage the balance of power in Europe." Likewise, we should be humble about what we can accomplish in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: "Any notion that the United States can manage the changes in that huge, multinational, developing society is grandiose." Finally, with regard to Asia: "Our concern with Japan should above all be with its trading practices vis-à-vis the United States. We should not spend money protecting an affluent Japan, though a continuing alliance is entirely appropriate."

She famously concludes her essay by making the plea for the United States to become "a normal country in a normal time" and "to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status and become again an unusually successful, open American republic."

Kirkpatrick became Ronald Reagan's United Nations ambassador because her 1979 article in Commentary , "Dictatorships and Double Standards," caught the eye of the future president. In that article, she sensibly points out that authoritarian governments that are allies of the United States should not be kicked to the curb because they are not free and open democracies. The path to democracy is a long and perilous one, and nations without republican traditions cannot be expected to make the transition overnight. Regarding the world's oldest democracy, she remarked: "In Britain, the road from the Magna Carta to the Act of Settlement, to the great Reform Bills of 1832, 1867, and 1885, took seven centuries to traverse."

While at the time neoconservatives opportunistically embraced her for this position as a tactic to fight the Cold War, the current foreign policy establishment would consider Kirkpatrick's argument to be beyond the bounds of decent conversation, as it would lend itself to an accommodation with authoritarian Russia as a counterweight to totalitarian China.

Kirkpatrick died in 2006 and had, like many neoconservatives, evolved from a Humphrey Democrat into a member of the GOP establishment. With William Bennett and Jack Kemp, in 1993 she cofounded a neoconservative group, Empower America, which took a very aggressive stance against militant Islam after the 9/11 attacks. However, she was quite ambivalent about the invasion of Iraq and was quoted in The Economist as saying that George W. Bush was "a bit too interventionist for my taste" and that Bush's brand of moral imperialism is not "taken seriously anywhere outside a few places in Washington, DC."

The fact that Kirkpatrick's recommendations in her 1990 essay coincide with some of Donald Trump's positions in the 2016 campaign (if not with many of his actual actions as president) make her views, ipso facto, not serious. The foreign policy establishment gives something like pariah status to arguments that we should negotiate better trade deals, reconsider our Cold War alliances and, most especially, subject American foreign policy to popular preferences. If she were alive today and were making the arguments she made in 1990, then she would be an outcast. That a formidable intellectual like Kirkpatrick would be dismissed in such a fashion is a sign of how obtuse our foreign policy debate has become.

William S. Smith is Senior Research Fellow and Managing Director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. His recent book, Democracy and Imperialism , is from the University of Michigan Press. He studied political philosophy under Professor Jeane Kirkpatrick as an undergraduate at Georgetown University.

[Jun 14, 2020] Extracts from Kunstler's "Nemesis Rising!" concerning pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Jun 14, 2020 | www.serendipity.li

And now there is the Epstein matter, which threatens not only former president Bill Clinton, but a cosmos of political, financial, and entertainment "stars" in countless ugly incidents that involve a kind of personal corruption that has no political context but says an awful lot about the obliteration of moral and ethical boundaries by the people who ended up running things in this fretful moment of US history.

[Jun 13, 2020] David Stockman on How the Deep State Really Works

Jun 13, 2020 | www.serendipity.li

These idiots in Washington and all these think tanks that talk about regime change and bringing democracy to the world and so forth -- never even think about the consequences -- the message that these violent episodes send -- and the unfortunate reaction that people take in order to defend themselves. ... The problem is there's lasting damage when you engage in all this regime change over so many years and episodes. They don't trust you. Trump has worked very hard, using an odd, idiosyncratic personal diplomacy to build up trust with Kim. It seems to be working, but there are just so many forces at work behind the scenes that are aiming to undermine that trust-building so that nothing happens. They want to keep 29,000 troops in South Korea, in harm's way, as a tripwire, so that the North Koreans obey us ... If you take away the Korean threat, if you recognize the Iranians aren't a threat, if you see that Russia is a tiny little country that's not going to invade Western Europe ... [Suddenly] somebody is going to do the math as we get into the coming fiscal crisis and say, "We can't afford all this defense that we don't need [anyway]. Let's cut it back dramatically." They [the Deep State] don't want this to happen. And so, they have to keep these hot spots burning and these threats maintained or inflated, because they know if the real truth of the world were considered by Congress, the defense budget would be slashed dramatically.

[Jun 12, 2020] HARPER THE REAL TERROR THREAT THAT TOO FEW UNDERSTAND - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Notable quotes:
"... Regretfully, our intelligence agencies are too busy participating in the coup-revolution to act on your great advice. ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

There is a need for competent counterintelligence to, in effect, crack the egg and isolate and take action against the hardcore network of trained provocateurs who have the capacity to hijack genuine protest to further their goal: Chaos and civil conflict as the endgame.


TV , 11 June 2020 at 01:03 PM

Anyone see the photo of the FBI agents kneeling at the "protest" in DC?
Think this FBI is going to find out ANYTHING about these scumbags?
If they (accidently) did, they'd bury it.
Only thing preventing the FBI's corruption from doing real damage is their massive incompetence.
Diana Croissant , 11 June 2020 at 01:09 PM
Antifa is not really again Fascism as far as I can tell...
Jose , 11 June 2020 at 02:12 PM
Regretfully, our intelligence agencies are too busy participating in the coup-revolution to act on your great advice.
exiled off mainstreet , 11 June 2020 at 03:46 PM
Plus this is an existential war for the deep state. They have the most to gain and the most direct interests in winning. Just don't be blind to the underlying motivations - there are no coincidences, right? Past is prologue - get a copy of the 2012 Breitbart documentary "Occupy Unmasked". The similarities exposed to what is again happening in 2020 will give one pause.

Posted by: Deap | 11 June 2020 at 02:38 PM

If the deep state can't pr won't handle it, perhaps vigilantes can come in from the surrounding areas to liquidate the seditious secession move. It is obvious that the official elements of the imperium have left the reservation so an unofficial initiative is necessary.

[Jun 11, 2020] The nearly complete corruption of the U.S. republican form of government has largely come about due to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in January 2010 that basically permitted unlimited donor-spending on political campaigns based on the principle that providing money, normally through a political action committee (PAC), is a form of free speech

Notable quotes:
"... No one has benefited from the new rules more than the state of Israel, whose hundreds of support organizations and principal billionaire funders euphemized as the "Israel Lobby" have entrenched pro-Israel donors as the principal financial resources of both major political parties. ..."
Jun 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jun 11 2020 10:10 utc | 100

The nearly complete corruption of the U.S. republican form of government has largely come about due to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in January 2010 that basically permitted unlimited donor-spending on political campaigns based on the principle that providing money, normally through a political action committee (PAC), is a form of free speech. The decision paved the way for agenda-driven plutocrats and corporations to largely seize control of the formulation process for certain policies being promoted by the two national parties.

No one has benefited from the new rules more than the state of Israel, whose hundreds of support organizations and principal billionaire funders euphemized as the "Israel Lobby" have entrenched pro-Israel donors as the principal financial resources of both major political parties.

https://ahtribune.com/us/israelgate/4206-ilhan-omar-surrenders.html

[Jun 10, 2020] Eventually even the emperors were idiots. Some of them think they can compartmentalize competencies, so you see these absolutely castrated and chemically autistic nerds working the buttons in technical academia

Jun 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

anon8383892 , says: Show Comment June 10, 2020 at 5:53 pm GMT

@Alfa158 It won't work though. There isn't a significant generation of 'hyper-competent' people amidst a suppressed populace. Instead you get idiocracy, where even the elites show signs of mental impairment, increasingly as time goes by. The Romans were rendered idiotic by arbitrary and ruthless imperial autocracy, which scythed through families and ancient clans, leaving only careerist slaves in its wake.

Eventually even the emperors were idiots. Some of them think they can compartmentalize competencies, so you see these absolutely castrated and chemically autistic nerds working the buttons in technical academia. You can produce bureaucrats of technocracy this way, but nothing much new will come of it.

Elon Musk is not the most competent. He is the scion of a diamond magnate family if I'm not mistaken. He is a silly man, nothing against him, but most of us don't admire him all.

We feel sorry for people that have this kind of cultish infatuation with the man, his golf-carts, and space-rockets. He is complete with our own Marie Antoinette, Grimes, each an absolute clown, clown royals for a clown society. Idiocracy.

Hilarious to see Alex Jones pimping him as like a new Howard Hughes. Most of the alt press is fizzled, co-opted or neutralized in some way. Infatuation with big, great people, heroes from the heavens of the stars, is a pathology, whether it's directed at Trump or Bernie or whoever.

People need to cultivate the hero within, and generate the ground level sovereignty that could restore (from the earth and man up) a free republic. There are a lot of authority figures from the deathstar on Youtube telling us how they are patriots and are fighting back. May be. Could also be the enemy fucking with us. Really no way to know, which again, is a motivating factor for de-centralization and vesting sovereignty into free men, free communities, and up. The federal entity is necessary, but cannot hover self-sufficiently over a devastated (by corporate dictat -- for human resource extraction) populace. If the states withdraw their channeled sovereignty from the federal entity, it should collapse. Otherwise it is a foreign entity. To the extent we are ruled by a tiny cabal of vampires, we lose justification for the belief that our rulers are ours at all. Such an arrangement of power presents an attractive target (minimal points of failure) for a strategic adversarial compromise.

One reason I don't want people being anti-antifa, is I understand most of those people just want local self-governance. Food-not-bombs people mostly just want to have a nice little community garden and not be turned into slaves by the system. These are the 'anarchists'. I've met them, mostly they are not so bad. It's a lot of divide-and-conquer going on.

Apologies for the stream-of-consciousness; I've posted some of this before, just pounding on the nail.

[Jun 09, 2020] Without proper Debate system there can be no democracy

But how it can be any, when big money controls everything ?
Jun 09, 2020 | www.unz.com

Robjil , says: June 8, 2020 at 12:03 pm GMT

The western world's biggest problem is the lack and the fear of Athenian Debate.

The west touts the word "Democracy" like crazy. It came from the ancient Greeks.

Yet, the west forgets the biggest part of Athenian Democracy. It is Athenian Debate.

Without Athenian Debate in the west, there are no Democracies in the west.

anonymous coward , says: June 8, 2020 at 1:03 pm GMT
@Robjil

The western world's biggest problem is the lack and the fear of Athenian Debate.

Pretty sure there's quite a few ones bigger.

[Jun 09, 2020] 07 June 2020 at 07:35 PM

Jun 09, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
div Has "The Deep State" Won? By Walrus.

I want to advance a fanciful theory - an extension of Col. Lang's question; Perhaps money talks. The test is at the end of this post.

Suppose some very rich folks bought the majority of American media. They control that by influencing who is hired, promoted and fired throughout their networks. Smaller players, internet businesses, etc. are dependent on the larger players for content. They are similarly controlled by the big players.

Now suppose there is also a global foundation, operated by the most skilled politicians of their era. Their business model is simple. They control and operate a global influence network. People with money can buy influence from this network.

The network, which we will call "the respectable tendency", to borrow Andrew Roberts term, extends deep into worldwide media and perhaps more importantly, public services around the globe. Of course all of this is benign because the purpose of this endeavor is the advancement of planetary human well being. To this end it seamlessly creates or combines with a variety of good causes, to advance its agenda, for example, the advancement of women, minority rights, gay rights, the environmental movement.

Now we come to practical matters. As the behaviourists posit: "where you stand is where you sit" - Miles Law. The foundation lives by this saying and drives it deep into every organ it touches. Be aware that when the foundation touches you it makes a Faustian bargain. You do something for it, one day it returns the favor. For example, you might be asked as a civil servant to do something that is perhaps borderline corrupt. You are found out but no matter; you reappear as a professor at a prestigious University, or a fellow at a think tank, or a media personality on a Tee Vee network or perhaps a judge. The foundation takes great care to ensure it keeps its end of the bargain. It also publicly destroys the careers of those that reject its overtures using whatever weapon comes to hand, for example sexual innuendo, allegations of discrimination, whatever. Fear and greed are its tools.

Lets assume that the foundation has had almost total success in recruiting Congress and the higher ranks of the career public service. There are two exceptions; the first is President Trump who is fireproof against the entreaties of the foundation. More about the other later.

So now let's look at the events of Trumps Presidency through this lense.

Russiagate - explained.

The illegal and obvious judicial persecution of Flynn and others who have associated with Trump - explained.

The conversion and public recantings of former Trump appointees - explained.

The criticisms of Trump and public professions of love for foundation causes like #metoo and BLM by senior business leaders - explained.

The deliberate frustration of President Trumps agenda by Congress - explained.

The relentless and unjustified criticism of Trump by the media - explained.

As a vignette; Why even today Trumps decision to pull troops out of Germany is criticized by MSN for breaking up a happy relationship with a German town:

"President Donald Trump's directive to pull 9,500 troops from Germany hits home hard for friends of America like Edgar Knobloch, whose Bavarian town has been home to U.S. service members for seven decades."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-e2-80-99s-troop-plan-stuns-germany-and-rocks-the-postwar-order/ar-BB158oIy

===============

So now we come to recent events.

The criticism of Trump for his Covid19 response, first not fast enough, then too fast and hard - explained.

===============

So now we come to George Floyd. The black community, deliberately oversensitised by the media to the statistically insignificant problem of Police brutality against blacks, arcs up. Their lawmakers, sensing the foundations approval, amplify the BLM message. After all, this is a ticket to righteous reelection or maybe a seat in Congress courtesy of the foundation.

The blacks start looting. President Trump calls for the rule of law to be upheld and promises military assistance if necessary. The foundation springs the trap. This is no longer about BLM, this is about HIM. The media comply.

Actions taken as part of this foundation agenda are deliberate and designed to create a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt in all Americans.

Threats to defund the police in various states are false. What they are designed to achieve is the perversion of police forces into instruments of political control. The first requirement being the suppression of any white backlash against the black mobs. That is about militias and gun control.

Expect to see more media censorship of anything that contradicts BLM, #metoo, or any other foundation pet cause.

Expect to see more lawmakers, public servants and personalities publicly denounce Trump.

Expect to see each and every national business leader pledge fealty to the foundation on penalty of the destruction of their businesses, careers or both. This will then morph into a requirement to "donate" to BLM and similar good causes as is practiced in most third world countries. That is followed by a requirement to hire and promote minority members for no good reason except political safety.

Expect all investigations into possible malpractice by foundation operatives to stop.

All public institutions will be required to pledge fealty to the foundation, the Universities did this thirty years ago.

Trump, if he is even Presidential Candidate is going to be facing Joe Biden and...Michelle Obama.

The more probable Republican candidate is Romney, who will lose.

=================

And now the exception. The United States Defence Forces. The CJCS Gen. Miley, will now be under intense pressure from the foundation to distance himself as far as possible from the President, perhaps to the point of insubordination. This is a "five days in May 1940" moment although we may never know.

The pressure already got to Esper who folded. The pressure on Miley, IMHO, will be coming from his colleagues and the next rank below them and take the form of extreme fear of massive budget cuts foreshadowed by foundation lawmakers unless the defence forces disavow their Commander in Chief.

===============

The test to watch is which way our Rupert Murdoch jumps. He is renowned for his extremely accurate political antennae.

http://adam.curry.com/enc/1591559967.944_sorosatdavos2020-destabalizetrumeconomyrevolutionlifetime.mp3

Soros predicting revolution prior to election in US at Davos earlier this year

Posted by: Terence Gore | 07 June 2020 at 04:19 PM

Walrus,

"Suppose some very rich folks bought the majority of American media." It really isn't hard to figure out which entities control the major news outlets or where their corporate revenue stream is coming from. The democrat led lockdown orders had an effect very beneficial to monopolist media firms: It destroyed local media by destroying the small and mid-sized firms in every Blue city and state. Which economic class wins? You can't hide that to actual black voters without BLM riots to provide emotional cover and burnging buildings to provide an actual smokescreen. "The ni*****" are out to get you" has been replaced with "Whitey did it" because a third of the democratic party voting base is black and urban. Trump was making actual inroads because he was delivering actual results to the bottom of the economic pyramid.

"Now suppose there is also a global foundation"
There are multiple NGOs and not just the Clinton Foundation or the one run by Soros.

"They control and operate a global influence network."
Remind us all again of your multiple years in international business and the need for China to save face? Any other interconnections that might be of interest? Bilderberg and Davos are just the eurocentric starting points.

"Threats to defund the police in various states are false." That is untrue. Police agencies have already been copopted in multiple cities and at the leadership ranks of the FBI. Defunding them will happen in LA and elsewhere with predictable results. It will drive out those close to retirement, thus allowing an ideological purge of the leadership ranks.

"This is no longer about BLM, this is about HIM. "
This was always about Trump because he is capable of rolling up the corrupt operatives within FBI/DOJ/DOD and the rest of government. He has already shown how corrupt the major media companies are. Look at "Fake News CNN" which can't even mention its own building was damaged in a riot.

"That is followed by a requirement to hire and promote minority members for no good reason except political safety." Afirmative Action and minority set-assides are lawful means of racial discrimination in favor of protected classes and have been for decades.

" The first requirement being the suppression of any white backlash against the black mobs. That is about militias and gun control."
There was never going to be a flag waving militia marching into NYC, LA, Detroit or elsewhere to save anyone from their own neighbors and ideological allies of the hard left. Bernie Bro James Hodgkinson, already erased from your memory, was just that - a lefty Bernie Bro. The FBI's finest still can't figure out why a man in Vegas would unleash a half hour barage of gunfire at a country music concert. Do you need anyone to explain what percent of country music fans vote for which party?

"Trump, if he is even Presidential Candidate"
Pray tell how Romeny or anyone else gets the nomination without forcably removing Trump from office? Romney lost when he ran and nobody outside what is contemptiously referred to as a "cuckservative" is going to back him.
(Keith) Rupert Murdoch, AC, KCSG, is almost 90. Do you think he is running day-to-day operations of his media holding company? Perhaps you read that in the New York Times...

Posted by: Fred | 07 June 2020 at 04:59 PM

An excellent interview of Ric Grenell, discussing the Deep State, courtesy of CTH.

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/06/07/sunday-talks-former-adni-ric-grenell-discusses-the-administrative-state/

I never knew him before but I am impressed with his clarity.

Posted by: Jack | 07 June 2020 at 05:21 PM

Walrus,

of course it is an attempted coup. The media, rigged worse than Hilary's DNC debate, didn't help her win, Russian probe fraud, Ukraine Fraud, Stormy Daniels fraud, China's manipulative virus attack on the west, the CDC/FDA corrupt conduct and criminal actions of multiple governors who in effect murdered thousands of seniors in nursing homes by returning infected patients by executive order, an economy locking shutdown; all of that failed. Where the hell was the left when poor St. George was trying to make a living; Travon, Michael Brown, Freddie Grey, Eric Garner? Where was holy Joe Biden and his boss, Barack? The bore from NYC via reality TV has been the only effective leader in delivering economic results to the lower middle and working class communities, especially the black ones, in decades.

"A politicized Army with 1000+ nuclear weapons under its control is a nightmare."
Oh, you figured that part out? What do you think is going to result if the left succeeds in the erasure of American culture and transformational change of what is left of the Republic? Perhaps the never Trumper's should have a road to Damascus moment that doesn't include treating the cult of St. George of Minneapolis as the second coming. The only thing to stop them is their own guilt or complicity in any of the afformentioned plots.

Posted by: Fred | 07 June 2020 at 06:29 PM

Walrus,
I'm more with Fred on this. IMO, an incestuous multigenerational clique comprised of devious, selfish, mediocre intelligences who are never held accountable -and those seeking entrance into the clique - can explain the whole thing. Though I am surprised they that even men like Gen Mad Dog Mattis have fallen into the that network. Then again, those stars always make me suspicious.


j. casey , 07 June 2020 at 08:13 PM

Ischenko has a similar perspective, with perhaps a wider historical POV. https://www.stalkerzone.org/test-by-maidan-what-strikes-protests-in-the-us-other-countries-really-mean/

Diana Croissant , 07 June 2020 at 08:24 PM

I attended church IN CHURCH for the first time in a long time. It felt right and good. But, besides feeling right and good about being in church, I felt cheated when I thought of the last few months on the COVID19 restrictions, the ridiculous masks, the use of shaming if one spoke up against some of the restrictions......because not one person I know thinks Fauci is anything but an incompetent fool.

After church I ate lunch with family and extended family in a restaurant while sitting close to each other and NOT wearing masks. We actually mentioned our beliefs that the BLM outcries had gone too far. The police officers who were the cause of his death make us sick. But the result of Floyd's death now being the seeming vilification of all people of NO color (meaning of white color) hurts all of us white people terribly since many, many, many of us do not live in places where there are large populations of Blacks. We live here because these places are our home towns. We do have Hispanic populations and some blacks and other minorities such as Asian minorities and those from other parts of the world. We resent a little the protesters in our town, mostly young women in the local teacher training University who marched and held several noisy demonstrations with their ONE token Black person, the only one they could find, I assume.

We sat and each agreed with the basic assertion of your piece: that there is a definite conspiracy against Trump in the crazy areas of our country controlled by Democrats, by the corrupted media (which has been that way for a long, long time) and the extremely wealthy class.

There are many of us still keeping our MAGA hats ready; and I don't know one single Republican where I live who would not rise up against a movement to push Romney again as the Republican nominee.

We may not be as noisy as the young impressionable mis-educated youth that are rioting and marching in the streets. In fact, we are quietly sitting back and preparing for the next Trump rally and for the next chance we have to show our support for Trump.

I have seen NO movement against Trump from the friends and family I know who supported him before.

Fly-over country denizens sit and waits, as they are disgusted by the failures of the idiots who run the coasts. Some of us write to our Congressional representative and Senators warning them against even thinking of not supporting Trump. We watch FOX News and enjoy it most when they mock and make fun of the supposed journalists who appear on the MSM.

The mention of any effort to again give the Obamas any sort of say in our government, much less Hillary and the idiot speaking out of his basement who is now the Democrats' chosen one, the reins of the government makes our stomachs turn and causes us to think of giving up our dignity in order to riot against Democrats, BLM, and those Antifa jerks and their sponsors. We will bring semis, tractors, and construction equipment, and angry people with rifles on horses--whoever and whatever to the fight.

I think there are many here not wanting to think about it, but resolving to finally rise up ourselves if we have to.

Deap , 07 June 2020 at 08:24 PM

Don't forget there is an army of NoTrumpers who became Pro-Trumpers after the election, realizing the Democrats were too toxic to ever stomach again.

While Trump may be losing some of his former base, he is also gaining in unexpected quarters. Like me, who at one time marched for Hilary in Denver and finally saw what the Obama Democrat party had become.

The hot issue this election is where will the police unions go since they have been hard core Democrats but have lately defected. Democrats naturally will now revile police in any way they can, and they are certainly beating the drums to take the renegade police unions down.

How will this come across to the voters -- and to the rank and file police themselves. It is war now between the police unions and the Democrats - it is an issue and a voting block to carefully tease out.

Drain the swamp is to lessen the power of the public sector unions on our lives and elections. But now the police unions, who have taken the lions share of local tax dollars for themselves already, will go along with "draining the swamp with trump, or will the Democrats seduce them back into the fold.

In California, police unions are lining up to take a knee for BLM, so they have made their choice - scurry back to the Democrat plantation.

The unknown unknown - when will Biden officially implode and who will replace him?

tedrichard , 07 June 2020 at 08:59 PM

walrus

"A politicized Army with 1000+ nuclear weapons under its control is a nightmare."

i posit this is the ONLY worry that russia and china have at this point regarding the united states. they know with absolute surety washington and the 'hidden rulers behind them' are simply no longer powerful enough or capable enough to subdue and force them to submit to private control.

they worry someone enters the white house and is delusional enough or insecure enough to feel the need to prove they have what it takes........my wager is on a female president fitting that bill and minority racist female president would likely give these leaders real worries.........not because they can be defeated but because of the millions of deaths and destruction she will bring in her wake.

if/when the democrats return to the oval office and if that resident is female and more so if she is black world war against russia or china which means BOTH is very much more likely.

because the pentagon can no longer prevail conventionally against either russia or china and against both will be summarily defeated almost immediately the urge to go nuclear even tactically will be overwhelming if not INEVITABLE. this is the danger of an identity politics anti white female president.

the russians have stated in no uncertain terms through their published war doctrine.........if a war is inevitable and CAN NOT be avoided then they will strike first....and as a cherry on the sunday putin has stated multiple times that the next war will NOT be fought on russian soil which means at the least nato disappears as a fighting force in 72 hours if they last that long, then america gets a taste of what the russians and chinese have suffered.

Mathias Alexander , 08 June 2020 at 02:59 AM

This is obviously an approved movement. MSM love 'em and the protestors don't get kettled. I think the BLM crowd have a point but also that they are being manipulated. Antifa are an obvious bunch of agent prococateurs.

LondonBob , 08 June 2020 at 05:19 AM

There have always existed networks and patronage. Soros, Clinton, Zionist, neocons, military industrial. Problem for Trump many of these are bitterly opposed to him, he has little support in the Imperial City, except for some parts of the Israel lobby, although it is mostly actual Israelis.

Russiagate, Obama people.

Flynn to protect the Obama people.

Denouncing Trump is so the gravy train in DC doesn't get upset. Look at Sgt Bilko, James Mattis, complete grifter with a puffed up persona, painted like a latter day Patton, except he has only seen combat in Desert Storm. Theranos, Cohen Group. Useful neocon idiot McCain or Rubio, or bitter loser Romney.

We had the exposure of the journolist network in the media, no doubt something similar exists still, we know the media collude with various parties to put across certain viewpoints.

Like JFK was, Trump is seen as a threat to a few well established interest groups, much opposed to a change in the status quo.

The only thing I don't get is why business in America is so 'woke'. You get a bit of this in Britain, but nowhere near the same, is it the larger Jewish population, lack of a public school network?

[Jun 09, 2020] A member of neoliberal elite as a snob -- the issue of terminology

Jun 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
MikeyHeLikesIt Laura Joakimson 14 hours ago

"Elite" refers to a clique of people with the "right" credentials and the "right" ideas and philosophy from the "right" parts of the country who are connected, look out for each other, and deny opportunities to those outside the the clique.

They also fervently believe they are intellectually and morally superior to those outside the clique, while often being completely untested in the real world, know nothing directly, and believe the fables they are told about life. Money is only a small part of it.

So, if a West Virginia hillbilly gets an advanced degree from a no-name University and starts a succesful billion dollar company, then he is "non-elite" because he doesn't have the "right" background, or connections, or ideas.

Like the rich son of a hardscrabble Queens builder who took the benefits he was given and expanded them 30 fold, instead of sitting on his keister, being a trust fund parasite, and attempting to become a member of the Hamptons/Martha's Vineyard chattering class.

Replace "elite" with "snob" and you have it about right.

[Jun 08, 2020] Global Crisis- The Convergence Of Marx, Kafka, Orwell, Huxley -

Notable quotes:
"... This is where Orwell enters the convergence , for the State masks its stripmining and power grab with deliciously Orwellian misdirections such as "the People's Party," "democratic socialism," and so on. ..."
"... Orwell understood the State's ontological imperative is expansion, to the point where it controls every level of community, markets and society. Once the State escapes the control of the citizenry, it is free to exploit them in a parasitic predation that is the mirror-image of Monopoly capital. For what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies? ..."
"... Aldous Huxley foresaw a Central State that persuaded its people to "love their servitude" via propaganda, drugs, entertainment and information-overload. In his view, the energy required to force compliance exceeded the "cost" of persuasion, and thus the Powers That Be would opt for the power of suggestion. ..."
"... "My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World . ..."
"... As Marx explained, the dynamics of state-monopoly-capitalism lead to the complete dominance of capital over labor in both financial and political "markets," as wealth buys political influence which then protects and enforces capital's dominance. ..."
Jun 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Global Crisis: The Convergence Of Marx, Kafka, Orwell, & Huxley by Tyler Durden Mon, 06/08/2020 - 16:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The global crisis is not merely economic; it is the result of profound financial, sociological and political trends described by Marx, Kafka, Orwell and Huxley.

The unfolding global crisis is best understood as the convergence of the dynamics described by Marx, Kafka, Orwell and Huxley. Let's start with Franz Kafka , the writer (1883-1924) who most eloquently captured the systemic injustices of all-powerful bureaucratic institutions--the alienation experienced by the hapless citizen enmeshed in the bureaucratic web, petty officialdom's mindless persecutions of the innocent, and the intrinsic absurdity of the centralized State best expressed in this phrase: "We expect errors, not justice."

If this isn't the most insightful summary of the current moment in history, then what is? A lawyer by training and practice, Kafka understood that the the more powerful and entrenched the institution and its bureaucracy, the greater the collateral damage rained on the innocent, and the more extreme the perversion of justice.

We are living in a Kafkaesque nightmare where suspicion alone justifies the government stealing from its citizens, and an unrelated crime (possessing drug paraphernalia) is used to justify state theft.

As in a Kafkaesque nightmare, the state is above the law when it needs an excuse to steal your car or cash. There is no crime, no arrest, no due process--just the state threatening that you should shut up and be happy they don't take everything you own.

All these forms of civil forfeiture are well documented. While some would claim the worst abuses have been rectified, that is far from evident. What is evident is how long these kinds of legalized looting have been going on.

Taken: Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing? (2013)

Stop and Seize (six parts) (2013)

When the state steals our cash or car on mere suspicion, you have no recourse other than horrendously costly and time-consuming legal actions. So you no longer have enough money to prove your innocence now that we've declared your car and cash guilty?

Tough luck, bucko--be glad you live in a fake democracy with a fake rule of law, a fake judiciary, and a government with the officially sanctioned right to steal your money and possessions without any due process or court proceedings-- legalized looting .

They don't have to torture a confession out of you, like the NKVD/KGB did in the former Soviet Union, because your cash and car are already guilty.

This is where Orwell enters the convergence , for the State masks its stripmining and power grab with deliciously Orwellian misdirections such as "the People's Party," "democratic socialism," and so on.

Orwell understood the State's ontological imperative is expansion, to the point where it controls every level of community, markets and society. Once the State escapes the control of the citizenry, it is free to exploit them in a parasitic predation that is the mirror-image of Monopoly capital. For what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies?

What is the EU bureaucracy in Brussels but the perfection of a stateless State?

As Kafka divined, centralized bureaucracy has the capacity for both Orwellian obfuscation (anyone read those 1,300-page Congressional bills other than those gaming the system for their private benefit?) and systemic avarice and injustice.

The convergence boils down to this: it would be impossible to loot this much wealth if the State didn't exist to enforce the "rules" of parasitic predation.

Aldous Huxley foresaw a Central State that persuaded its people to "love their servitude" via propaganda, drugs, entertainment and information-overload. In his view, the energy required to force compliance exceeded the "cost" of persuasion, and thus the Powers That Be would opt for the power of suggestion.

He outlined this in a letter to George Orwell :

"My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World .

Within the next generation I believe that the world's rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."

As prescient as he was, Huxley could not have foreseen the power of mobile telephony, gaming and social media hypnosis/addiction as a conditioning mechanism for passivity and self-absorption. We are only beginning to understand the immense addictive/conditioning powers of 24/7 mobile telephony / social media.

What would we say about a drug that caused people to forego sex to check their Facebook page? What would we say about a drug that caused young men to stay glued to a computer for 40+ hours straight, an obsession so acute that some actually die? We would declare that drug to be far too powerful and dangerous to be widely available, yet mobile telephony, gaming and social media is now ubiquitous.

... ... ...

Last but not least, we come to Marx. As Marx explained, the dynamics of state-monopoly-capitalism lead to the complete dominance of capital over labor in both financial and political "markets," as wealth buys political influence which then protects and enforces capital's dominance.

Marx also saw that finance-capital would inevitably incentivize over-capacity, stripping industrial capital of pricing power and profits. Once there's more goods and services than labor can afford to buy with earnings, financialization arises to provide credit to labor to buy capital's surplus production and engineer financial gains with leveraged speculation and asset bubbles.

But since labor's earnings are stagnant or declining, there's an end-game to financialization. Capital can no longer generate any gain at all except by central banks agreeing to buy capital's absurdly over-valued assets. Though the players tell themselves this arrangement is temporary, the dynamics Marx described are fundamental and inexorable: the insanity of central banks creating currency out of thin air to buy insanely over-priced assets is the final crisis of late-stage capitalism because there is no other escape from collapse.

Having stripped labor of earnings and political power and extracted every last scrap of profit from over-capacity (i.e. globalization) and financialization, capital is now completely dependent on money-spewing central banks buying their phantom capital with newly printed currency, a dynamic that will eventually trigger a collapse in the purchasing power of the central banks' phantom capital (i.e. fiat currencies).

When there is no incentive to invest in real-world productive assets and every incentive to skim profits by front-running the Federal Reserve, capitalism is dead. Paraphrasing Wallerstein, "Capitalism is no longer attractive to capitalists."

We can see this for ourselves in the real world: if "renewable energy" was as profitable as some maintain, private capital would have rushed in to fund every project to maximize their gains from this new source of immense profits. But as Art Berman explained in Why the Renewable Rocket Has Failed To Launch , this hasn't been the case. Rather, "green energy" remains dependent on government subsidies in one form or another. If hydropower is removed from "renewables," all other renewables (solar, wind, etc.) provide only 4% of total global energy consumption.

Japan's stagnation exemplifies Marx's analysis: Japan's central bank has created trillions of yen out of thin air for 30 years and used this phantom capital to buy the over-valued assets of Japan's politically dominant state-capitalist class, a policy that has led to secular stagnation and social decline. If it weren't for China's one-off expansion, Japan's economy would have slipped into phantom capital oblivion decades ago.

Kafka, Orwell, Huxley and Marx called it, and we're living in the last-gasp stage of the cruel and unsustainable system they described. So sorry, but investing your phantom capital in FANG stocks, Tik-Tok and virtual-reality games will not save phantom capital from well-deserved oblivion.

[Jun 08, 2020] The Systemic Collapse Of The US Society Has Begun by the Saker

In many way this is just a wishful thinking. Saker's hyperbolic rhetoric is just cheap propaganda and does not help to decifer the issues the USA faces!
Looks like Clinton wing of Dems is willing to burn their own house to get rid of Trump. "If I had to guess, I'd say it's the neoliberal, CIA-Obama faction vs. the Trump-Military faction, (Pompeo et al)" But why? Why Obamagate is picking up steam? Looks Barry CIA Obama is still a player. Is he also a reason we have senile Biden is the candidate for President on the Dem side? Are we seeing the power of a CIA community organizer, color-revolutionary pulling strings across multiple strata of society?
The current riots create pressure of Trump and attempt are made to use them as the third act of anti-Trump revolution but this clearly is nor a civil war. Like other protests before it (Civil rights marches, anti-Vietnam and Iraq wars, Occupy) little to no substantive changes have been introduced insofar as reining in of the war machine, the pursuit of social and economic justice (universal free education and health care, equal employment and housing opportunities, scaling down of the MIC and the Prison Industrial Complex, degrade Israel and Saudi lobbies, etc.
Jun 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
  1. Racism or "White privilege"
  2. Police violence
  3. Social alienation and despair
  4. Poverty
  5. Trump
  6. The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
  7. The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of " cause " and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

The next thing which we must also keep in mind is that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causality . Take, for example, this article from CNN entitled "US black-white inequality in 6 stark charts" which completely conflates the two concepts and which includes the following sentence (stress added) " Those disparities exist because of a long history of policies that excluded and exploited black Americans, said Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning group. " The word "because" clearly point to a causality, yet absolutely nothing in the article or data support this. The US media is chock-full of such conflations of correlation and causality, yet it is rarely denounced.

For a society, any society, to function a number of factors that make up the social contract need to be present. The exact list that make up these factors will depend on each individual country, but they would typically include some kind of social consensus, the acceptance by most people of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, often a unifying ideology or, at least, common values, the presence of a stable middle-class, the reasonable hope for a functioning "social life", educational institutions etc. Finally, and cynically, it always helps the ruling elites if they can provide enough circuses (TV) and bread (food) to most citizens. This is even true of so-called authoritarian/totalitarian societies which, contrary to the liberal myth, typically do enjoy the support of a large segment of the population (if only because these regimes are often more capable of providing for the basic needs of society).

Right now, I would argue that the US government has almost completely lost its ability to deliver any of those factors, or act to repair the broken social contract. In fact, what we can observe is the exact opposite: the US society is highly divided, as is the US ruling class (which is even more important). Not only that, but ever since the election of Trump, all the vociferous Trump-haters have been undermining the legitimacy not only of Trump himself, but of the political system which made his election possible. I have been saying that for years: by saying "not my President" the Trump-haters have de-legitimized not only Trump personally, but also de-legitimized the Executive branch as such.

This is an absolutely amazing phenomenon: while for almost four years Trump has been destroying the US Empire externally, Trump-haters spent the same four years destroying the US from the inside! If we look past the (largely fictional) differences between the Republicrats and the Demolicans we can see that they operate like a demolition tag-team of sorts and while they hate each other with a passion, they both contribute to bringing down both the Empire and the United States. For anybody who has studied dialectics this would be very predictable but, alas, dialectics are not taught anymore, hence the stunned "deer in the headlights" look on the faces of most people today.

Finally, it is pretty clear that for all its disclaimers about supporting only the "peaceful protestors" and its condemnation of the "out of town looters", most of the US media (as well as the alt media) is completely unable to give a moral/ethical evaluation of what is taking place. What I mean by this is the following:

  1. obwandiyag says: Show Comment June 4, 2020 at 11:22 pm GMT Cops don't protect nothing but rich people's money. You been watching too much TV.

    And this ain't nothing. Nothing. Not compared to 1967-68.

    But you young people don't know nothing. Especially about history. So, no surprise there.

  1. Si1ver1ock says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 3:14 am GMT • 100 Words If I had to guess, I'd say it's the neoliberal, CIA-Obama faction vs the Trump-Military faction, (Pompeo et al)

    This came to a head just as Obama-gate was picking up steam. Obama is still a player. He is the reason we have Biden for President on the Dem side, for example.

    My guess is that you are seeing the power of a CIA community organizer, color-revolutionary, Jedi psyop master, pulling strings across multiple strata of society.

    Trump and Obama don't like each other for some reason.

  1. Just another serf says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 4:35 am GMT • 200 Words

    The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

    Begun? It's been in process for many decades. It might have begun in the early 20th century. What's new here? Focusing on recent times, jobs disappeared in the 70's. Inflation exploded at the same time. Negro antagonism began in the 60's. Replacement of the white population accelerated in 1965 and continued relentlessly to the current moment.

    We are seeing the looting phase of the business known as the United States of America. Refer to an informative scene from the movie Goodfellas. The criminals got control of a business, looted it into bankruptcy and burned the place down. Except in this case there are no Italians involved. And you know who replaces them in our real life experience.

  1. Espinoza says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 6:44 am GMT It's controlled demolition. First unjustified lockdown. Then unjustified race riots. The deep state is intent on destroying Trump.

    If US is divided into mutually hostile territories, guess where the majority will go. That is right. They will go to white dominated areas as they do now to white dominated neighborhoods.

    Can no one stop the deep state?

  1. Brewer says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 7:17 am GMT • 100 Words Seen it all before. How short do memories have to be to forget Kent State, Rodney King, the Civil Rights protests of the sixties, Harlem riot of 1964, the Watts riot of 1965 et al ?

    America is and will remain a deeply disturbed society given that their entire philosophy, lifestyle and Politics is based on consumerism. Winners (no matter how unethical) are heroes, losers (no matter how unjustly) are despised.

    America will bump and grind on through bankruptcy, both morally and economically. It is the Judaic way.

    Simple fact is that most Americans are ignorant of History and are therefore condemned to go on repeating the past.

[Jun 08, 2020] Why do the empires or at least very successful countries collapse? The answer is actually very simple. Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality.

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cyrano , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 2:53 am GMT

Why (Oh, why) do the empires – or at least very successful countries collapse? The answer is actually very simple. Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality.

The elites in every country, even the worst s ** tholes on the planet earth are always going to be OK, better than the ordinary citizens – that's the whole point of being an elite – to avoid the suffering of the common people.

And because there is no mechanism to increase the suffering of the elites in tandem with the suffering of the ordinary population – when the times are tough – the elites fail to respond to the difficulties that ordinary citizens face.

The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing. The country can be in the doldrums and the elites will still be OK.

That disconnect from reality is what prevents them to undertake measures that will alleviate the plight of the majority of the population.

To make the things even worse, the elites of the enlightened west (that's how you call countries that are struck by lightning) seems to have found a way to progressively increase the benefits for themselves proportionately to the decrease of good fortunes coming the way of the common citizens, thus further removing any incentive to act on behalf of the majority of the population and further increasing the chasm that separates the haves from the have nots.

animalogic , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 8:01 am GMT
@Cyrano Really good comment Cyrano.
1.
"Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality."
2.
Elites have "found a way to progressively increase the benefits for themselves proportionately to the decrease of good fortunes coming the way of the common citizens, thus further removing any incentive to act on behalf of the majority of the population and further increasing the chasm that separates the haves from the have nots."
In fact, the wealthier Elites become, the greater the chasm between them & the 99.9% becomes, the more desperate Elites come to feel about their situation. Call it subconscious guilt or conscious fear & insecurity but the richer & more powerful they feel, the more they demand -- more .
The idea that they could at least fore-stall problems by a few reforms that would cost them little (ie, a "people's QE") is unthinkable. "If we give 'em an inch, they'll demand a mile"
Such acts of sensible benevolence are felt to be demeaning & dangerous.
And further, they've spent 40 years restructuring society & economy to serve their interests, any reform now, however trivial, could undermine that structure. Reform itself is an act of self contradiction to a class that has never missed a chance to take-take-take for 40 years.
US Elites are not a tree that can bend in the wind. They are completely rigid. Only events of god-almighty significance will break them.
The current shenanigans will not do that. But, given rates of unemployment, & contraction of GDP, given the distinct possibility of vast future immiseration, current events may be the first breathe of a god almighty wind set to blow the whole shithouse down.
Unfortunately, current events are politically vacuous & offer no sign of real political conscious.
Lack of political direction can only lead to anarchy -- & anarchy is just as likely to strengthen the Elite hand as anything else.
St-Germain , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 11:18 am GMT

Irrespective of whether either faction will succeed in instrumentalizing the riots, what we are seeing today is a systemic collapse of the US society.

Amen. The collapse is systemic , it is social , and it has been gathering momentum for decades. Thank you, Saker, for pointing that out. It's about time someone above the battle invested serious thought in what's really going on in the hearts, minds and streets. Your analysis is head and shoulders above the rabble-rousing we get from parochial home-grown U.S. pundits, who deal only in labelling their personal heroes or villains du jour (Blacks, Cops, White Supremacists, Jews, Climate Change, Empire, Bat viruses, Trump, and so forth).

Those who agree with Saker's brilliant analysis and seek a deeper understanding of mechanism at work may want to consult Joseph A. Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge 1988). He invokes archaeological case studies to prove that what we are seeing is actually a function of the law of diminishing returns (which is way broader than economics). Complexity advances to a point at which the rulers' latest fixes for arising problems do more harm than good since all these separate "solutions" invariably have an unforeseen systemic effect.

At that point a system's traditional cheer-leading investment to engender social esprit and voluntary compliance for a common good is no longer credible and the ruling elite is then forced to resort to raw repression of dissent, which is much more costly than just benign propaganda. All key institutions collapse not in isolation but systemically, and chunks of a fragmenting society must spall off in order to save themselves from ruin. The inevitable systemic collapse runs its course.

Current History , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 11:53 am GMT
@Cyrano Excellent post Cyrano:

"And because there is no mechanism to increase the suffering of the elites in tandem with the suffering of the ordinary population – when the times are tough – the elites fail to respond to the difficulties that ordinary citizens face."

As you said: That's what makes them an elite.

"The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing."

And when America finally does collapse, and their "fantasy world" ends, they'll fly off in their private jet to one of their homes in New Zealand, Australia, or Switzerland.

Simpleguest , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 12:55 pm GMT
@Cyrano

The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing. The country can be in the doldrums and the elites will still be OK.
That disconnect from reality is what prevents them to undertake measures that will alleviate the plight of the majority of the population.

I beg to differ a bit. This is true only as far elites are of capitalist and/or aristocratic kind. You probably draw your conclusions from the French and Russian revolutions.

However, I would argue that political elites in the former communist countries did try to reform the system for the benefit of the citizens and, after seeing their efforts fail, had the integrity to step down peacefully. The only possible exception being China where reforms were fruitfull.

Unironically, one could argue that communist elites, having no personal wealth and stakes, remained honest and true to their essential creed of serving the greater common good. When the deep crisis of socialism in 1980s seemed to require that they step down and contries abandon socialist order, they indeed steped down in the interest of the common good as it was perceived at the time.

Now we see that we may have to reconsider the whole "fall of communism" thing again, but, this theme is, off course, tangential to this article's topic.

[Jun 03, 2020] Requiem to Russiagate: this was the largest and the most successful attempt to gaslight the whole US population ever attempted by CIA and Clinton wing of Dems by CJ Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Neoliberal MSM just “got it wrong,” again … exactly like was the case with those Iraqi WMDs ;-).
So many neocons and neolibs seem so disappointed to find out that the President is not a Russian asset that it looks they’d secretly wish be ruled by Putin :-).
But in reality there well might be a credible "Trump copllition with the foreign power". Only with a different foreign power. Looks like Trump traded American foreign policy for Zionist money, not Russian money. That means that "the best-Congress-that-AIPAC-money-can-buy" will never impeach him for that.
And BTW as long as Schiff remains the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee the witch hunt is not over. So the leash remains strong.
Notable quotes:
"... it appears that hundreds of millions of Americans have, once again, been woefully bamboozled . Weird, how this just keeps on happening. At this point, Americans have to be the most frequently woefully bamboozled people in the entire history of woeful bamboozlement. ..."
"... That's right, as I'm sure you're aware by now, it turns out President Donald Trump, a pompous former reality TV star who can barely string three sentences together without totally losing his train of thought and barking like an elephant seal, is not, in fact, a secret agent conspiring with the Russian intelligence services to destroy the fabric of Western democracy. ..."
"... Paranoid collusion-obsessives will continue to obsess about redactions and cover-ups , but the long and short of the matter is, there will be no perp walks for any of the Trumps. No treason tribunals. No televised hangings. No detachment of Secret Service agents marching Hillary into the White House. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by CJ Hopkins via The Unz Review,

So the Mueller report is finally in, and it appears that hundreds of millions of Americans have, once again, been woefully bamboozled . Weird, how this just keeps on happening. At this point, Americans have to be the most frequently woefully bamboozled people in the entire history of woeful bamboozlement.

If you didn't know better, you'd think we were all a bunch of hopelessly credulous imbeciles that you could con into believing almost anything, or that our brains had been bombarded with so much propaganda from the time we were born that we couldn't really even think anymore.

That's right, as I'm sure you're aware by now, it turns out President Donald Trump, a pompous former reality TV star who can barely string three sentences together without totally losing his train of thought and barking like an elephant seal, is not, in fact, a secret agent conspiring with the Russian intelligence services to destroy the fabric of Western democracy.

After two long years of bug-eyed hysteria, Inspector Mueller came up with squat. Zip. Zero. Nichts. Nada. Or, all right, he indicted a bunch of Russians that will never see the inside of a courtroom, and a few of Trump's professional sleazebags for lying and assorted other sleazebag activities (so I guess that was worth the $25 million of taxpayers' money that was spent on this circus).

Notwithstanding those historic accomplishments, the entire Mueller investigation now appears to have been another wild goose chase (like the "search" for those non-existent WMDs that we invaded and destabilized the Middle East and murdered hundreds of thousands of people pretending to conduct in 2003). Paranoid collusion-obsessives will continue to obsess about redactions and cover-ups , but the long and short of the matter is, there will be no perp walks for any of the Trumps. No treason tribunals. No televised hangings. No detachment of Secret Service agents marching Hillary into the White House.

The jig, as they say, is up.

But let's try to look on the bright side, shall we?

... ... ...

[Jun 02, 2020] As elections come and go, it is simply about one group of elites replacing the other. The intertwined interests between the two groups are much greater than those between the victorious one and the electorate who vote for them

Notable quotes:
"... The media would sensationalize any act of violence involving white on black and brown. They ignored all the violence of black and brown on white. This uneven media reporting was based on their desire to reinforce the mantra of "white people are evil racists, black and brown people are victims and good." ..."
"... Because it would paint themselves as supporters of "social justice" they created a false version of reality where everything bad in society was because of white people being racist. Never mind the actual causes of societal discontent being the exploitation by the elite. Because the media is the elite they don't want you to hate them. So they created a false victimizer they could blame for all the problems of society. ..."
Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 1 2020 17:58 utc | 26

This one better pierces the veil:

"Partisan politics has created severe divisions in society. Such divisions restrict and disturb people's thinking. People's support for a particular party is only a matter of stance, which provides a shelter to politicians who violate people's interests.

"As elections come and go, it is simply about one group of elites replacing the other. The intertwined interests between the two groups are much greater than those between the victorious one and the electorate who vote for them.

"To cover such deception, the key agenda in the US is either a partisan fight or a conflict with foreign countries. The severe racial discrimination and wealth disparities are marginalized topics."

I wonder if the writer would like to see his conclusion proven wrong:

"Judging from the superficial comments and statements from US politicians on the protests, the outsiders can easily draw the conclusion that solving problems is not on the minds of the country, and elites are just fearlessly waiting for this wave of demonstrations to die out."

In order to solve problems, one must know their components and roots, and that demands honesty in making the assessment. Looking back at the assessments of Cornel West and the producers of the Four Horsemen documentary, the main culprit is the broken political system/failed social experiment, which are essentially one in the same as the flawed system produced the failure. Most of us have determined that changing the system via the system will never work because the system has empowered a Class that has no intentions on allowing its power to be diminished, and that Class is currently using the system to further impoverish and enslave the citizenry into Debt Peonage while increasing its own power. The #1 problem is removing the Financial Parasite Class from power. Yes, at the moment that seems as difficult as destroying the Death Star's reactor before it blows up Yavin 4, but the stakes involved are every bit as high as those portrayed in Lucas's Star Wars , as the Evil of the Empire and that of the Parasite Class are the same Evil.


H.Schmatz , Jun 1 2020 18:09 utc | 27

What political demand could one possibly make by now, and of whom would you make it? Reform is impossible, and there's no legitimate authority left (if there ever was in the first place).

Posted by: Russ | Jun 1 2020 17:49 utc | 23

Indeed, apart from the shock of witnessing one of them murderd in plain daylight as if he were a vermin, I think that the people, especially young, reacted that anarchic way because they really see no future. They see how their country functions at steering wheel blows especially through the pandemic, preview they will e in the need soon, even that they will be murdered without contemeplation,and go out there to grab whatever they could...

We forget that they are under Trump regime and Trump has supported always their foes, witnessing such assassination in plain daylight, without any officila doing nothing, not even charging the obvious culprits was felt by tese people as if the hunting season on nigers and lefties" had been declared. No other way yo ucan explain the sudden union of such ammount of black and white young people. Thye felt all targets of the ops or of Trump´s white supreamcist militias after four years of being dgreaded as subhumans. In fact, were not for the riots to turn so violent, I fear carnages of all these peoples would have started.

The people, brainwashed or not, at least when they are young, still conserve some survival instincts and some common sense too.

vk , Jun 1 2020 18:27 utc | 31
@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2020 17:58 utc | 26

Yes, the republican model of organization is naturally unstable and doomed to collapse. Everybody knows what happened to the Roman Republic: tendency to polarization, civil war and collapse.

However, the reverse is also true: when the economy is flying high, every political system works. Everybody is happy when there's wealth for everybody.

The present problem, therefore, is inherent to the capitalist system, not with the republican system per se.

Kali , Jun 1 2020 18:52 utc | 35
A Story: How The Chickens Came Home To Roost

The media and politicians have repeated a mantra for years n order to gain power by exploiting social and racial faultlines. They didn't want to deal with the actual cause of societal discontent which is their own support of an exploitative economic system which disempowers and pushed down everyone but the 1%. So they invented a false cause of discontent in order to appear as saviors who are bringing a message of Hope and Change

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

After enough time has gone by, we have a generation of young people of all colors who believe the above mantra with all their heart because of hearing that mantra every day in the media, in schools, in movies, from leaders. The media knowing that, would then look for ways to exploit their hatred of "white racism against black and brown people."

The media would sensationalize any act of violence involving white on black and brown. They ignored all the violence of black and brown on white. This uneven media reporting was based on their desire to reinforce the mantra of "white people are evil racists, black and brown people are victims and good."

Because it would paint themselves as supporters of "social justice" they created a false version of reality where everything bad in society was because of white people being racist. Never mind the actual causes of societal discontent being the exploitation by the elite. Because the media is the elite they don't want you to hate them. So they created a false victimizer they could blame for all the problems of society.

Because violence from black and brown on white was never reported by the media except in local news, people only heard from the national narrative of white violence of black and brown because people don't pay attention to local news. They grew up believing the police only abused black and brown people, they grew up believing that random street violence was only from white people against black and brown. None of which is true.

This was bound to end up with a generation of people who believed the false narrative where America is a nation where black and brown people are always the victims, and white people are always the victimizers. And as you can see in the riots, the rioters are almost all under 30. A generation has grown up being brainwashed by the mantra:

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

That is why so many people are perfectly fine with the violence and looting based on a few recent incidents of white on black violence. During the same time period there was plenty of black on black violence, plenty of brown on brown violence, and plenty of black and brown on white violence. But the national media never highlights any violence but white on black and brown. That is what has led to the new normal where any violence involving white on black or brown will be blown up WAY out of proportion to the reality of violence in America. Which is an equal opportunity game. A generation of people has grown up to believe that white racism is the cause of all the problems.

Meanwhile the elites sit in their yachts and laugh. The rabble are busy fighting over race when the real issue is ignored. The media has done their job admirably. Their job is to deflect rage from the elite to racism. From wealthy exploitation of the commons, to racism. As long as the underclasses are busy blaming racism then the politicians, business leaders, and media are satisfied because they are the actual ones to blame. They are the enemy. They blame racism for all the problems as a way to hide that truth of their own culpability for the problems in society. THEIR OWN GREED AND CONTEMPT FOR THE UNDERCLASS.

[May 31, 2020] Russiagate is a clash between the old-guard/money represented currently by Trump and allied with him anti-globalist nationalists, and, on the other side, garden-variety globalists and neolibs including the new-money represented by big-tech billionaires, investment banks, private equity, CIA, the State Department and a part of MIC as well as the dominant in Democratic party Clinton wing

Notable quotes:
"... What is happening now is the exact same thing as Hong Kong. In any given instance of mass revolt, you have two warring factions, usually funded at the top by diametrically opposed elites. ..."
"... In Hong Kong, it is pro-western, old-guard/money versus Chinese new-guard. ..."
"... Look at the degree of organization (or lack thereof) which was able to politically assassinate Gen. Flynn! You had the dem establishment and billionaires like the Clintons, Obama-faction sycophants all the way up to the top. ..."
May 31, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling , May 31 2020 17:45 utc | 26

@ vk 23

You are completely wrong, of course. What is happening now is the exact same thing as Hong Kong. In any given instance of mass revolt, you have two warring factions, usually funded at the top by diametrically opposed elites.

In Hong Kong, it is pro-western, old-guard/money versus Chinese new-guard. In America, we have the old-guard/money represented currently by the DJT-phenomenon, meaning Anti-globalist nationalists, and, on the other side, you have new-money internationalists and neolibs represented by billionaires, big-tech, the democratic party and garden-variety globalists.

Look at the degree of organization (or lack thereof) which was able to politically assassinate Gen. Flynn! You had the dem establishment and billionaires like the Clintons, Obama-faction sycophants all the way up to the top.

You think that this event is entirely grassroots? Give me a f*cking break, vk. You are such a blatantly obvious Chinese shill, no doubt probably employed by globalist entities, that the fact you are unable to employ an effective and probable analysis on these current "protests" reaffirm to me exactly what you are and what you stand for.


Blue Dotterel , May 31 2020 17:55 utc | 27

@NemesisCalling | May 31 2020 17:45 utc | 26

You could also have the same oligarchs funding both sides in a divide and conquer strategy. This is a common strategy that has been used in Turkey among others in the runup to the 1980 coup. It was also used by the US and Israel in their funding of both sides in the Iran/Iraq war in the 80s.

In the former it was used to ramp up violence to justify a military coup. That is very probable here, except that martial law might be the objective. Similar to the Iran/Iraq, the stoking of violence between liberals and conservatives may simply be to wear them out for when the economy truly tanks to justify in the minds of the sheeple a greater oppression of demonstrations in future.

Abe , May 31 2020 18:05 utc | 30
US is becoming like Israel even more. Considering same people rule both countries, and same people train cops in both of them, is it surprising 99%-ers in US are becoming treated like Palestinians?

[May 29, 2020] Trump's Tax Cuts Get an "F" for enriching the Globalist Elite by Michael Cuenco

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia. ..."
"... Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb." ..."
"... With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign. ..."
"... The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy ..."
"... If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country. ..."
"... It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood." ..."
"... It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy. ..."
"... Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more. ..."
"... There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel. ..."
"... But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring. ..."
"... In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class. ..."
"... A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism. ..."
"... Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs. ..."
May 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?

Much has been written about the disappointment of certain segments of the right in the apparent capitulation of Donald Trump to the agenda of the conservative establishment.

Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia.

The president has granted them as well their ideal labor market through an ingenious formula: double down on mostly symbolic raids (as opposed to systemic solutions like Mandatory E-Verify) and ramp up the rhetoric about "shithole countries" to distract the media, but keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby.

Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb."

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign.

Despite signs of progress, what's more likely is a return to business as usual. Already the GOP's impulse for austerity and parsimony is proving to be stronger than any willingness to think and act outside the box.

The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy, such as a long-term plan to reshore U.S. industry (that doesn't just rely on blindly giving corporations the benefit of the doubt). At this point, we already know where the president's priorities lie when given a choice between the advancement of America's workers or continued labor arbitrage and carte blanche corporate handouts.

Lest they be engulfed by it like everyone else, the reformist right should ask: is there any way to stand athwart the supply-side swamp yelling Stop?

Many of these conservatives lament the Trump tax cut not just because it was a disaster that failed to spark reinvestment, left wages stagnant, needlessly blew up the deficit and served as a slush fund for stock buybacks, but more fundamentally because it betrayed the overwhelming intellectual inertia and lack of imagination that characterizes conservative policymaking.

More than in any other issue then, a distinct position on taxes would make the new conservatism truly worth distinguishing from the old: tax cuts were after all the defining policy dogma of the neoliberal Reagan era.

If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country.

A reformulation of fiscal policy along populist economic nationalist lines can help with that.

It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood."

Such a move would have been nothing short of revolutionary: it would have been a faithful and full-blown expression of the populist economic nationalism Trump ran on; it would have presented a genuine material threat to the elite ruling class of both parties, and likely would have pre-empted the shock value of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposing a 70 percent top marginal rate.

It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy.

Not that Trump would have needed to go back to Nixon or Disraeli for instruction on the matter. In 1999, long before Elizabeth Warren came along on the national scene, a presidential candidate eyeing the Reform Party nomination contemplated the imposition of a 14.25 percent wealth tax on America's richest citizens in order to pay off the national debt: his name was Donald Trump.

What ever happened to that guy? The Trump of 1999 was onto something. Maybe this could be a way to deal with our post-pandemic deficits.

Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more.

To the common refrain, "the rich are just going to find ways to shelter their income or relocate it offshore," I have written elsewhere about the concrete policy measures countries can and have taken to clip the wings of mobile global capital and prevent such an outcome.

I have written as well about how taxing the rich and tightening the screws on tax enforcement have implications that go beyond the merely redistributive approach to fiscal policy conventionally favored by the left; about how it can be a form of leverage against an unaccountable investor class used to shopping at home and abroad for the most opaque assets in which to hoard vast amounts of essentially idle capital.

A deft administration would use aggressive fiscal policy as an inducement for this irresponsible class to make things right by reinvesting in such priorities as the wages and well-being of workers, the vitality of communities, the strength of strategic industries and the productivity of the real economy – or else Uncle Sam will tax their wealth and do it for them.

It would also be an assertion of national sovereignty against globalization's command for countries to stay "competitive" by immiserating their citizens with ever-lower taxes on capital holders and ever more loose and "flexible" labor markets in a never-ending race to the bottom.

Mike Lofgren has penned a marvelous essay in these pages about the virtual secession of the rich from the American nation, "with their prehensile greed, their asocial cultural values, and their absence of civic responsibility."

What better way to remind them that they are still citizens of a country and members of a society -- and not just floating streams of deracinated capital -- than by making them perform that most basic of civic duties, paying one's fair share and contributing to the commonweal? America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome.

There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel.

But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring.

In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class.

Already, the White House is proposing yet another gigantic corporate tax cut. Using the exact same discredited logic as the last one, senior economic advisor Larry Kudlow wants Americans to trust him when he says that halving the already lowered 2017 rate to 10.5 percent will encourage these eminently reasonable multinationals to reinvest. There he goes again.

A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism.

Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs.


Kent 3 days ago

"America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome."

Those tax rates were offset by direct investment in the US economy. So if I invested in the stock market, I'd get a 90% tax rate because that doesn't produce actual wealth. On the other hand, if I invested in building factories that created thousands of jobs for American citizens, my tax rate may fall to 0%. And those policies created a fantastic economy that we oldsters remember as the golden age. That wasn't bolshevism, it was competitive capitalism. What we have today is libertarianism. And as long as conservatives are going to let the libertarian boogey-man's nose under the tent, we are going to have this ugly, bifurcated economy. Your choice. Man up.

Winston Nevis Kent 3 days ago • edited
You ever tell hear of sarcasm, bud? I think that's what the author was going for. Don't think he was trying to say that Ike and Truman were Bolsheviks but was rather making fun of libertarians who hyperbolically associate high tax rates with socialism and Soviet Communism...
K squared Winston Nevis 3 days ago
Plenty of goldwater's supporters in 1964 called President Eisenhower a communist
GAguilar K squared 2 days ago
Particularly the John Birchers, including my parents!
SKPeterson Kent 3 days ago • edited
We absolutely do not have libertarianism operating in this country today. There is simply no evidence that there is any sort of libertarian economic or political system in place. Oh sure, you'll whine "but globalism without actually defining what globalism is, or what is wrong about precisely, but just that it's somehow wrong and that libertarians are to blame for it. There's a good word for such an argument: bullshit.
We have an economy that is extraordinarily dominated by the state via mandates, regulations, and monetary interference that is most decidedly not libertarian in any way whatsoever. The current system though does create and perpetuate a system of rent-seeking cronies who conform rather nicely to the descriptions of said actors by Buchanan and Tullock. The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence, and Cuenco's sorry policy prescriptions do nothing to minimize the state but instead just create a different set of rent-seeking cronies for which the wealth and incomes of the nation are to be expropriated.
marku52 SKPeterson 3 days ago
O dear, No True Scotsman....
SKPeterson marku52 2 days ago
If you can point to how the current situation is in any way "libertarian" without creating your own perfect little lazy straw man definition then by all means do so. Until then your retort is without
substance (you see a no true Scotsman reply doesn't work if the facts are in the favor of the person supposedly making such an argument. Here you fail to establish why what I said is such a case; saying it doesn't make it so). When Kent makes some throwaway comment that we're somehow living in some sort of libertarian era he's full of it, you know it, and all you can do is provide some weak "no true Scotsman" defense? Come on and man up, stop appealing to artificial complaints of fallacious argumentation, and give me an actual solid argument with evidence beyond "this is so libertarian" that we're living in some libertarian golden age that's driving the oppression of the masses.
cka2nd SKPeterson 3 days ago
Busted unions, contracting out and privatization, deregulation of vast swaths of the economy since the late 1970's (Jimmy Carter has gotten kudos from libertarian writers for his de-regulatory efforts), lowered tax rates, especially on financial speculation and concentrated wealth, a blind eye or shrugged shoulder to anti-trust law and corporate consolidation. Yeah, nothing to see here, no partial victories for the libertarian wings of the ruling class or the GOP, at all. The Koch Brothers accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, since David was the Libertarian Party's nominee for Vice President in 1980; all that money gone to waste. Sure.
SKPeterson cka2nd 2 days ago
So, now some sort of "partial victory" means we're living in some sort of libertarian era? And what exactly was so wonderful about all the things you listed being perpetuated? So, union "busting" is terrible, but union corruption was a great part of our national solidarity and should have been protected? Deregulation of vast swathes of the economy? You mean the elimination of government controlled cartels in the form of trucking and airlines? You mean the sorts of things that have enabled the working class folks you supposedly favor to travel to places that were previously out of reach for them and only accessible to the rich for their vacations? Yes, that's truly terrible. Again, you're on the side of the little guy, right? Lowered taxes? Are you seriously going to argue that the traditional conservative position has been for high tax rates? What are taxes placed upon? People and property. What do conservatives want to protect? People and property. So... arguing for higher taxes or saying that low taxes are bad or even especially, libertarian, is really going off the rails. That's just bad reasoning. And regarding financialization, those weren't especially libertarian in their enacting, but rather flow directly out of the consequences of the modern Progressive implementation of neo-Keynesian monetary and fiscal policy. Suffice it to say, I don't think you'll find too many arguments from libertarians that the policies encouraging financialization were good or followed libertarian economic policy prescriptions. Moreover, they led entirely to the repulsive "too big to fail" situation and if there's one thing that libertarians hold to is that there is no such thing (or shouldn't be) as "too big to fail." The objection to anti-trust law is that it was regularly abused and actually created government-protected firms that harmed consumers. If you think anti-trust laws are good things and should be supported by conservatives then by all means encourage Joe Biden to have Elizabeth Warren as his vice-presidential running mate and go vote Democrat this fall.
Blood Alcohol SKPeterson 3 days ago
"The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence". That's because the "state interference" is working as proxy for the interests of vulture capitalist.

What we have today is vulture capitalism as opposed to free enterprise capitalism.

DUNK Blood Alcohol 2 days ago • edited
You could also call it "crony capitalism" or "inverted totalitarianism".

Chris Hedges: "Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism" (November 2, 2015)

GAguilar DUNK 2 days ago
Princeton professor Sheldon Wolin's excellent book is entitled, "Democracy Incorporated."

He lays out how we're living in a totalitarian, capitalist surveillance state, as if that's not already obvious to most people around here.

SKPeterson Blood Alcohol 2 days ago
Exactly. The existence of a vulture capitalist or crony capitalist economy, which we have in many sectors, is evidence that "libertarianism" is nothing more than a convenient totem to invoke as a rationale for complaint against the outcomes of the existing crony capitalist state of affairs. My contention is that Cuenco, et al are simply advocating for a replacement of the cronies and vultures.
1701 3 days ago
A very similar article(but probably coming at it from a slightly different angle) wouldn't look out of place in a socialist publication.
The culture war really is a pointless waste of time that keeps working class people from working towards a common solution to shared problems.
bumbershoot 3 days ago
Trump wants to "keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby."

Well of course he does -- otherwise how would he staff Mar-A-Lago and other Trump Organization businesses?

SKPeterson 3 days ago
I used to think that conservatism was about protecting private property and not, like Cuenco, in coming up with ever more excuses for expropriating it.
Kent SKPeterson 3 days ago
No, that's libertarianism (or more properly propertarianism). Conservatism is first and foremost about responsibility to God, community, family and self. Property is only of value in its utility towards a means.
GAguilar Kent 2 days ago • edited
As I see it, here are examples of how "conservatives" have actually practiced their "responsibility to God, community, family and self":

The genocide of Native Americans
The slavery and murder of blacks

Their opposition to child labor laws, to womens' suffrage, etc.
Their support of Jim Crow laws
Their opposition to ending slavery and opposition to desegregation
Opposition to Civil Liberties Laws

Willingness to block, or curtail, voting rights.

Hyping the "imminent threat" of an ever more powerful communist menace bearing
down on us from the late 40s to the "unanticipated" collapse of the
USSR in '91. All of which was little more than endless "threat inflation" used
by our defense industry-corporate kleptocrats to justify monstrous increases
in deficits that have been "invested" in our meddlesome, murderous militarism all around the world, with the torture and deaths of millions from S. E. Asia, to Indonesia, to Latin America, to the Middle East, to Africa, etc.

Violations of privacy rights (conservative hero J. Edgar Hoover's illegal domestic surveillance and acts of domestic terrorism, "justified" by
his loopy paranoia about commies on every corner and under every bed.)

Toppling of democracies to install totalitarian despots in Iran
("Ike" '53), Guatemala (Ike, again, '54), Chile (Nixon '73), Brazil (LBJ, '64) and many, many more countries.

Strong support of the Vietnam War, the wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Iraq War, which, according to conservative W. Bush, God had inspired.

The myriad "dirty wars" we've fought around the world, and not only in Latin America.

With a few, notable exceptions, conservatives have routinely been on the wrong side of these issues. For the most part, it has been the left, particularly the "hard left," that has gotten it right.

AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
"conservatism was about protecting private property"

You're conflating conservatism and libertarianism. Conservatives realize they are citizens of a country. Libertarians wish they weren't.

SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
So conservatism should be entirely about taking people's property "for the good of the country"? That the purpose of a country is to loot the people? That the people exist for the government and not the government for the people? Seems Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk would like to have a word with you Adm.

To quote Kirk as just one example of your fundamental error:

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked . [Apparently, Adm. you dispute Kirk's assertion and accuse him thereby of conflating libertarianism and conservatism. Yes, I know Kirk was a hater of the idea of patriotism, but he was such a raging libertarian what else could he do?] Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling [this is the outcome of Cuenco's policy prescriptions by the way] , conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

So, either "Mr. Conservative" Russell Kirk wasn't really a conservative but a man who horribly conflated libertarianism and conservatism, or we can say that Kirk was a conservative and that he recognized the protection of private property as crucial in minimizing the control and reach of the Leviathan state. If the latter holds, then maybe what we've established is that AdmBenson isn't particularly conservative.

Winston Nevis SKPeterson 2 days ago • edited
"The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth." This status quo has produced precisely the opposite of this. Wealth, assets, capital has been captured by the elite. The pitchforks are coming. See this CBO chart: View Hide
AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
Conservatives accept taxes as a part of citizenship. Since taxes can't be avoided, a conservative insists on democratic representation and has a general desire to get maximum bang for their taxpayer buck.

Libertarians, on the other hand, see everything through the lens of an individual's property rights. Taxes and regulation are infringements on those rights, so a libertarian is always at war with their own government. They're not interested in bang for their taxpayer buck, they just want the government to go away. I can't fault people for believing this way, but I can point out that it is severely faulty as the operating philosophy beyond anything but a small community.

As for me not being particularly conservative, ya got me. It really depends on time of day and the level of sunspot activity.

SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
Sunspots, eh? And here I thought it was your reliance on tinfoil.
AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
The tinfoil and the mask were scaring people. The tinfoil had to go, but that's had side effects.
SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
I should have put the /s on my reply, but your response did give me a good chuckle. Besides, for that finger pointing at you, there were three more pointing back at me.
JMWB 3 days ago
And somehow people continually fall for the Trickle Down economic theory. George HW Bush was correct when he called this VooDoo economics. Fiscal irresponsibility at it's finest.
Victor_the_thinker JMWB 3 days ago
Nah people don't fall for it, republicans do. The rest of us know this stuff doesn't work. We didn't need an additional datapoint to realize that. The Tax Cuts and Jobs act was the single most unpopular piece of legislation to ever pass since polling began. It never had support outside of the Republican Party which is why it's never had majority support.

https://news.gallup.com/pol...

Blood Alcohol JMWB 3 days ago
John Kenneth Galbraith called Trickle Down "economics", "Oats and Horse Economics". If you feed the horse a lot of oats, eventually some be left on the road...
Nelson 3 days ago
The leader of Republicans isn't Trump. It's Mitch McConnell.
J Villain Nelson 3 days ago
Mitch is fully owned by Trump as is every republican that holds office except Romney. Mitch can't go to the bathroom with out asking Trumps permission.
Nelson J Villain 3 days ago
Mitch is owned by corporations and he likes it that way. He basically says as much whenever campaign finance reform pops up and he defends the status quo.
aha! Nelson 2 hours ago
Yep. The guy who declared war on the Tea Party. The guy who changed his tune entirely about China when he married into the family of a shipping magnate.
SeekingTruth 3 days ago
I'm eagerly awaiting a GOP plan for economic restructuring. I've been waiting for decade(s). Surely there is someone in the entire body of think tanks, congressional staffers, and political class that can propose a genuine and comprehensive plan for how to rebalance production, education, and technology for the better of ALL Americans. Surely...
Tradcon SeekingTruth 3 days ago
American Affairs (the policy journal this author writes for) and The American Compass are both very good.
cka2nd SeekingTruth 3 days ago
I honestly wonder if Jack Kemp might have had a "Road to Damascus" conversion away from his pseudo-libertarian and supply side economic convictions if he had lived through the decade after the Great Recession. Probably not, given his political and economic activity up until his death.
Barry_II 3 days ago
"They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?"

In your dreams, just like those many large projects which Trump drove into bankruptcy.

Right alongside the money owed to the many people he's stiffed.

Name 3 days ago
So after 30 years or more of " globalism" , the GOP is adopting Bernie Sanderism?
Johnny Larue Name 3 days ago
Uh, no.
Name Johnny Larue 2 days ago
Uh, it seems so. Did you even read?
TheSnark 3 days ago • edited
Trump pushed the tax cut because it saves him at least $20 million each year in taxes, probably closer to $50 million. That's the only reason he does anything, because he benefits personally.
kouroi 3 days ago
Thank you very much for posting the link to the wonderful essay by Mike Lofgren. Written 8 years ago it feels even more actual than then. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

Looking at the US it always comes to my mind the way Rome and then Byzantium fell: a total erosion of the tax-base the rich refused to pay anything to the imperial coffers, and then some of the rich had land bigger than some modern countries... And then the barbarians came...

Kent kouroi 3 days ago
And, by then, the population welcomed the barbarians.
kouroi Kent 3 days ago
Likely true, with some exceptions... The Huns - and on that one I keep wondering if there isn't a whiff of "Yellow Peril" smell in all that outcry...
Ray Woodcock kouroi 2 days ago • edited
Lofgren: "What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot."

That was in 2012, but that was what struck me about my well-to-do classmates when I transferred from Cal State Long Beach to Columbia University in 1977 . Suddenly I was among people who saw America, American laws, and a shared sense of civic responsibility as quaint, bothersome, rather tangential to the project of promoting oneself and/or one's special interest.

kouroi Ray Woodcock 2 days ago
Cold, eh mate? Reptiles, lizards...?
Adriana Pena 3 days ago
Did you ever hope that Trump would do what you wanted? You are adorable
sam 3 days ago
The only way that factories would come back is when Americans start buying made in America. We can't wait for ANY government to bring those factories and jobs ( and technology) . Only people voting with their pocketbooks can do it.
J Villain 3 days ago
Still waiting for the day the first American asks "What have WE done wrong?" Rather than just following in Trumps step and playing the victim card every step of the way and wondering why nothing gets better.
Blood Alcohol J Villain 3 days ago
nuffsaid. The blood is on everyone's hands.

[May 22, 2020] Is the US form of government a bribery via political parties, masquerading as democracy to keep the proles in line?

May 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joe B , May 23 2020 0:23 utc | 43

... ... ...

That article notes "The so called 'pro-democracy' parties in Hong Kong have lost in each and every local election. The pro-China parties always receive a majority of votes" so that is the issue to be cited.

2. The political issue presented by the US is of the legitimacy of secession of an alleged democracy from what it alleges is not a democracy. Governments never permit secession, whether legitimate or not, so US action would be provocation with only symbolic effect.

If the US was a democracy and the PRC was a tyranny, the US claim would be at least ethical. But the US form of government is bribery via political parties, masquerading as democracy to keep the proles in line. It simply claims that the PRC is not as much of a democracy, to a public that has no information on that. So the missing ethical issue is: is the PRC more of a democracy, some kind of democracy, etc.?

[May 15, 2020] America has a surveillance state but it refuses to use it to save lives. Instead, it uses it to save Wall Street and protect the extractive elite from any TRUE REAL threat.

May 15, 2020 | www.unz.com

450.org , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 12:29 pm GMT

Case in point. America has a surveillance state but it refuses to use it to save lives. Instead, it uses it to save Wall Street and protect the extractive elite from any TRUE REAL threat. I relish the notion of this virus running rampant across America until it ravages, and decimates actually, the Praetorian Guard Class, the managerial class if you will, that licks the ass of the extractive elite for some bread crust, discarded steak fat and a Tesla. I want to see them truly suffer for their sins.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/12/us/coronavirus-reopening-shutdown.html

After weeks cooped up at home following governors' orders to contain the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. residents appear eager to get moving again. As more states began to relax restrictions, about 25 million more people ventured outside their homes on an average day last week than during the preceding six weeks, a New York Times analysis of cellphone data found .

In nearly every part of the country, the share of people staying home dropped, in some places by nearly 11 percentage points.

As the death toll from this pandemic rises in America with no end in sight, Wall Street, as reflected in the DJIA, doesn't even blink and actually cheers. It doesn't get any sicker than that. Wall Street sees the carnage as an opportunity to make more profit off of death and the extractive elite see it as an opportunity to concentrate wealth even further and rid the world of burdensome useless eaters. It's sick. It's sadistic. It's malevolent. It's evil. It's our reality.

Damn them all to hell.

[May 14, 2020] The Deep State doesn't care about the unimportant internecine squabbles of the two parties as long as their important issues (wealth and power) are advanced.

May 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 11:01 am GMT

A Bicephalous Monoparty and the Four Pillars

Yes the Deep State is a two sided coin. One side Republicans, the other Democrats.

The Deep State doesn't care about the unimportant internecine squabbles of the two parties as long as their important issues (wealth and power) are advanced. As a matter of fact it strengthens the false perception that there is a choice when voting.

Tom , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 11:37 am GMT
Fred nails it to the wall here. We're free to argue what color the Titanic should be painted
but don't dare mention the iceberg. When you cross the line on social media, the neo-Hundred Roses campaign has it all for the day that they decide to really clip your wings.
Even off-limits dissidence is encouraged in certain quarters so as to identify those with views inimical to the official state narratives. So you see, free speech can be a tool of the Leviathan State to enslave its enemies. The intrepid Winston Smith's of this site and everywhere beware!
Anonymous [289] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm GMT
Hermetic control of information isn't needed, and would be noticed.

Hermetic control of information is precisely what is needed and also achieved by the faux left-right shadow boxing on TV news that predictably converges on the identical narrative during events like 9-11 and CV-19.

In almost 100% of the cases from what I can tell, CNN or MSNBC fields the narrative and then Fox News suffocates reaction with maundering imbecilities about democracy being our greatest strength when, in truth, it now guarantees extermination in our own land -- thanks also to the Republican stooges' empty handwringing that amounts to their assent as well.

450.org , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 12:54 pm GMT
Trump supporters love them some totalitarianism. The East Germany model of democratic capitalism, right?

Disaster Totalitarianism.

https://reason.com/2020/05/12/sen-mitch-mcconnell-looks-to-undermine-efforts-to-protect-americans-from-secret-fbi-surveillance/

McConnell and Trump are Siamese Twins. This is Trump as much as it's McConnell. Trump, who has repeatedly decried the FBI and thrown it under the bus, wants to empower it and retool it into a brownshirt organization as if it isn't already. Trump supporters want tyranny. They want totalitarianism. They just want their brand of it. Their own shade of totalitarian lipstick so to speak. Hypocrites. Fools. Numbskulls. Scumbags.

Two independent sources provided a copy of the amendment to Reason. As Ackerman reported, the amendment would give the FBI the authority under the PATRIOT Act to secretly collect the browsing records and search history of Americans without a warrant.

McConnell's amendment accomplishes this by adding the words "internet website browsing records, internet search history records" to the list of records described in FISA law that covers FBI searches that require businesses to provide customer records. In other words, this amendment would permit the FBI to turn to your internet provider and demand they fork over your browser history.

vot tak , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 3:13 pm GMT
"We have now listed the fundamentals of American government."

No you have not. Fundamental #1 is that the government is essentially a subsidiary of big business, and operated as an enforcement and regulatory tool. U.s. government is mostly a front which oligarchic corporate/capitalist power sits behind to wield their power. IE: it is business that uses government for their ends, and not the other way around, government wielding business, as Reed appears to posit here in his discussion of how american government works.

[May 06, 2020] Welcome to the era of the Great Disillusionment by Jonathan Cook

Notable quotes:
"... The effect of this information overload has been to disorientate the great majority of us who lack the time, the knowledge and the analytical skills to sift through it all and make sense of the world around us. It is hard to discriminate when there is so much information -- good and bad alike -- to digest. ..."
"... Nonetheless, we have got a sense from these online debates, reinforced by events in the non-virtual world, that our politicians do not always tell the truth, that money -- rather than the public interest -- sometimes wins out in decision-making processes, and that our elites may be little better equipped than us -- aside from their expensive educations -- to run our societies. ..."
"... One is to allow the information overload to continue, or even escalate. There is an argument to be made that the more possible truths we are presented with, the more powerless we feel and the more willing we are to defer to those most vocal in claiming authority. Confused and hopeless, we will look to father figures, to the strongmen of old, to those who have cultivated an aura of decisiveness and fearlessness, to those who look like down-to-earth mavericks and rebels. ..."
"... This approach will throw up more Donald Trumps, Boris Johnsons and Jair Bolsonaros. And these men, while charming us with their supposed lack of orthodoxy, will still, of course, be exceptionally accommodating to the most powerful corporate interests -- the military-industrial complex -- that really run the show. ..."
"... The other option, which has already been road-tested under the rubric of "fake news", will be to treat us, the public, like irresponsible children, who need a firm, guiding hand. The technocrats and professionals will try to re-establish their authority as though the last two decades never occurred, as though we never saw through their hypocrisy and lies. ..."
May 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

Information overload

Debates like the 5G one have not emerged in a vacuum. They come at a moment of unprecedented information dissemination that derives from a decade of rapid growth in social media. We are the first societies to have access to data and information that was once the preserve of monarchs, state officials and advisers, and in more recent times a few select journalists.

Now rogue academics, rogue journalists, rogue former officials -- anyone, in fact -- can go online and discover a myriad of things that until recently no one outside a small establishment circle was ever supposed to understand. If you know where to look, you can even find some of this stuff on Wikipedia (see, for example, Operation Timber Sycamore ).

The effect of this information overload has been to disorientate the great majority of us who lack the time, the knowledge and the analytical skills to sift through it all and make sense of the world around us. It is hard to discriminate when there is so much information -- good and bad alike -- to digest.

Nonetheless, we have got a sense from these online debates, reinforced by events in the non-virtual world, that our politicians do not always tell the truth, that money -- rather than the public interest -- sometimes wins out in decision-making processes, and that our elites may be little better equipped than us -- aside from their expensive educations -- to run our societies.

Two decades of lies

There has been a handful of staging posts over the past two decades to our current era of the Great Disillusionment. They include:

the lack of transparency in the US government's investigation into the events surrounding 9/11 (obscured by a parallel online controversy about what took place that day); the documented lies told about the reasons for launching a disastrous and illegal war of aggression against Iraq in 2003 that unleashed regional chaos, waves of destabilising migration into Europe and new, exceptionally brutal forms of political Islam; the astronomical bailouts after the 2008 crash of bankers whose criminal activities nearly bankrupted the global economy (but who were never held to account) and instituted more than a decade of austerity measures that had to be paid for by the public; the refusal by western governments and global institutions to take any leadership on tackling climate change , as not only the science but the weather itself has made the urgency of that emergency clear, because it would mean taking on their corporate sponsors; and now the criminal failures of our governments to prepare for, and respond properly to, the Covid-19 pandemic, despite many years of warnings.

Anyone who still takes what our governments say at face value well, I have several bridges to sell you.

Experts failed us

But it is not just governments to blame. The failings of experts, administrators and the professional class have been all too visible to the public as well. Those officials who have enjoyed easy access to prominent platforms in the state-corporate media have obediently repeated what state and corporate interests wanted us to hear, often only for that information to be exposed later as incomplete, misleading or downright fabricated.

In the run-up to the 2003 attack on Iraq, too many political scientists, journalists and weapons experts kept their heads down, keen to preserve their careers and status, rather than speak up in support of those rare experts like Scott Ritter and the late David Kelly who dared to sound the alarm that we were not being told the whole truth.

In 2008, only a handful of economists was prepared to break with corporate orthodoxy and question whether throwing money at bankers exposed as financial criminals was wise, or to demand that these bankers be prosecuted. The economists did not argue the case that there must be a price for the banks to pay, such as a public stake in the banks that were bailed out, in return for forcing taxpayers to massively invest in these discredited businesses. And the economists did not propose overhauling our financial systems to make sure there was no repetition of the economic crash. Instead, they kept their heads down as well, in the hope that their large salaries continued and that they would not lose their esteemed positions in think-tanks and universities.

We know that climate scientists were quietly warning back in the 1950s of the dangers of runaway global warming, and that in the 1980s scientists working for the fossil-fuel companies predicted very precisely how and when the catastrophe would unfold -- right about now. It is wonderful that today the vast majority of these scientists are publicly agreed on the dangers, even if they are still trapped in a dangerous caution by the conservatism of scientific procedure. But they forfeited public trust by leaving it so very, very late to speak up.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Zk11vI-7czE?feature=oembed

And recently we have learnt, for example, that a series of Conservative governments in the UK recklessly ran down the supplies of hospital protective gear , even though they had more than a decade of warnings of a coming pandemic. The question is why did no scientific advisers or health officials blow the whistle earlier. Now it is too late to save the lives of many thousands, including dozens of medical staff, who have fallen victim so far to the virus in the UK.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tSuHp-FVJsQ?feature=oembed

Lesser of two evils

Worse still, in the Anglosphere of the US and the UK, we have ended up with political systems that offer a choice between one party that supports a brutal, unrestrained version of neoliberalism and another party that supports a marginally less brutal, slightly mitigated version of neoliberalism. (And we have recently discovered in the UK that, after the grassroots membership of one of those twinned parties managed to choose a leader in Jeremy Corbyn who rejected this orthodoxy, his own party machine conspired to throw the election rather than let him near power.) As we are warned at each election, in case we decide that elections are in fact futile, we enjoy a choice -- between the lesser of two evils.

Those who ignore or instinctively defend these glaring failings of the modern corporate system are really in no position to sit smugly in judgment on those who wish to question the safety of 5G, or vaccines, or the truth of 9/11, or the reality of a climate catastrophe, or even of the presence of lizard overlords.

Because through their reflexive dismissal of doubt, of all critical thinking on anything that has not been pre-approved by our governments and by the state-corporate media, they have helped to disfigure the only yardsticks we have for measuring truth or falsehood. They have forced on us a terrible choice: to blindly follow those who have repeatedly demonstrated they are not worthy of being followed, or to trust nothing at all, to doubt everything. Neither position is one a healthy, balanced individual would want to adopt. But that is where we are today.

Big Brother regimes

It is therefore hardly surprising that those who have been so discredited by the current explosion of information -- the politicians, the corporations and the professional class -- are wondering how to fix things in the way most likely to maintain their power and authority.

They face two, possibly complementary options.

One is to allow the information overload to continue, or even escalate. There is an argument to be made that the more possible truths we are presented with, the more powerless we feel and the more willing we are to defer to those most vocal in claiming authority. Confused and hopeless, we will look to father figures, to the strongmen of old, to those who have cultivated an aura of decisiveness and fearlessness, to those who look like down-to-earth mavericks and rebels.

This approach will throw up more Donald Trumps, Boris Johnsons and Jair Bolsonaros. And these men, while charming us with their supposed lack of orthodoxy, will still, of course, be exceptionally accommodating to the most powerful corporate interests -- the military-industrial complex -- that really run the show.

The other option, which has already been road-tested under the rubric of "fake news", will be to treat us, the public, like irresponsible children, who need a firm, guiding hand. The technocrats and professionals will try to re-establish their authority as though the last two decades never occurred, as though we never saw through their hypocrisy and lies.

They will cite "conspiracy theories" -- even the true ones -- as proof that it is time to impose new curbs on internet freedoms, on the right to speak and to think. They will argue that the social media experiment has run its course and proved itself a menace -- because we, the public, are a menace. They are already flying trial balloons for this new Big Brother world, under cover of tackling the health threats posed by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Surveillance a price worth paying to beat coronavirus, says Blair thinktank https://t.co/AAb1nnv4pG 

-- Guardian news (@guardiannews) April 24, 2020

We should not be surprised that the "thought-leaders" for shutting down the cacophony of the internet are those whose failures have been most exposed by our new freedoms to explore the dark recesses of the recent past. They have included Tony Blair, the British prime minister who lied western publics into the disastrous and illegal war on Iraq in 2003, and Jack Goldsmith, rewarded as a Harvard law professor for his role -- since whitewashed -- in helping the Bush administration legalise torture and step up warrantless surveillance programmes.

Fmr. Bush admin lawyer/current Harvard Law prof Jack Goldsmith goes full-Thomas Friedman, credits China's enlightened authoritarian approach to information as "largely right" and laments the US' provincial fealty to the First Amendment as "largely wrong." https://t.co/1WyQtgE8bK pic.twitter.com/1M03ybxh0I 

-- Anthony L. Fisher (@anthonyLfisher) April 26, 2020

Need for a new media

The only alternative to a future in which we are ruled by Big Brother technocrats like Tony Blair, or by chummy authoritarians who brook no dissent, or a mix of the two, will require a complete overhaul of our societies' approach to information. We will need fewer curbs on free speech, not more.

The real test of our societies -- and the only hope of surviving the coming emergencies, economic and environmental -- will be finding a way to hold our leaders truly to account. Not based on whether they are secretly lizards, but on what they are doing to save our planet from our all-too-human, self-destructive instinct for acquisition and our craving for guarantees of security in an uncertain world.

That, in turn, will require a transformation of our relationship to information and debate. We will need a new model of independent, pluralistic, responsive, questioning media that is accountable to the public, not to billionaires and corporations. Precisely the kind of media we do not have now. We will need media we can trust to represent the full range of credible, intelligent, informed debate, not the narrow Overton window through which we get a highly partisan, distorted view of the world that serves the 1 per cent -- an elite so richly rewarded by the current system that they are prepared to ignore the fact that they and we are hurtling towards the abyss.

With that kind of media in place -- one that truly holds politicians to account and celebrates scientists for their contributions to collective knowledge, not their usefulness to corporate enrichment -- we would not need to worry about the safety of our communications systems or medicines, we would not need to doubt the truth of events in the news or wonder whether we have lizards for rulers, because in that kind of world no one would rule over us. They would serve the public for the common good.

Sounds like a fantastical, improbable system of government? It has a name: democracy. Maybe it is time for us finally to give it a go.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto

[May 05, 2020] How the Dems have cancelled democracy and decency

Dems are a joke.
May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
The dems are incapable of finding a credible stand in for Biden. Some flunky might come to the fore but thet will most likely be the result of a 'committee' decision as the dems have cancelled democracy and decency.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 5 2020 18:31 utc | 4


Jackrabbit , May 5 2020 20:31 utc | 15

Seeing everyone get worked up over Biden is funny. Do you think you'll get a better candidate? Bernie dropped out for a reason. He was never a real candidate. There will not be any real candidate for change.

Killary's pretended "health problems" in 2016 seem like a fore-shadowing of Biden's. May be she really is the ultimately "the one" in 2020.

All we can do is watch and LOL.

!!

ptb , May 5 2020 19:09 utc | 9

nah, as long as DC Democrats run the show, it'll be Biden all the way.
VP nominee: Jeb Bush in drag.

burnemall , May 5 2020 19:17 utc | 10
Burn em all!
Elephant , May 5 2020 19:20 utc | 11
It doesn't matter who the nominee is, and that's true for both parties. As I believe we all know, Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and, to some extent, the bureaucracy, are what drives the agenda. The goons heading up the parade are simply an odd form of bread and circus.
Lozion , May 5 2020 19:30 utc | 12
I say its time for Cthulhu.

https://cthulhuforamerica.com/

After all, Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn..
Right?

Jen , May 5 2020 20:08 utc | 14
Lozion @ 14:

Cthulhu couldn't destroy the US any more than its politicians and other leaders in its other institutions (in education, in the entertainment and media industries, in the financial sector, in the defence industry) have already done so perhaps his time has come.

Yog Sothoth for Vice President!

[May 02, 2020] Michael Flynn case should be dismissed to preserve justice

Notable quotes:
"... Comey later publicly took credit when he had told an audience that he decided he could "get away" with sending "a couple guys over" to the White House to set up Flynn and make the case. ..."
"... In his role as the national security adviser to the president elect, there was nothing illegal in Flynn meeting with Kislyak. To use this abusive law here was utterly absurd, although other figures such as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates also raised it. Nevertheless, the FBI had latched onto this abusive law to target the retired Army lieutenant general ..."
"... Another newly released document is an email from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who played the leadership role in targeting Flynn. In the email, Page suggests that Flynn could be set up by making a passing reference to a federal law that criminalizes lies to federal investigators. She suggested to Strzok that "it would be an easy way to just casually slip that in." So this effort was not about protecting national security or learning critical intelligence. It was about bagging Flynn for the case in the legal version of a canned trophy hunt. ..."
Apr 30, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Previously undisclosed documents in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn offer us a chilling blueprint on how top FBI officials not only sought to entrap the former White House aide but sought to do so on such blatantly unconstitutional and manufactured grounds.

These new documents further undermine the view of both the legitimacy and motivations of those investigations under former FBI director James Comey. For all of those who have long seen a concerted effort within the Justice Department to target the Trump administration, the fragments will read like a Dead Sea Scrolls version of a "deep state" conspiracy.

One note reflects discussions within the FBI shortly after the 2016 election on how to entrap Flynn in an interview concerning his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. According to Fox News, the note was written by the former FBI head of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, after a meeting with Comey and his deputy director, Andrew McCabe.

The note states, "What is our goal? Truth and admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" This may have expressed an honest question over the motivation behind this targeting of Flynn, a decision for which Comey later publicly took credit when he had told an audience that he decided he could "get away" with sending "a couple guys over" to the White House to set up Flynn and make the case.

The new documents also explore how the Justice Department could get Flynn to admit breaking the Logan Act, a law that dates back to from 1799 which makes it a crime for a citizen to intervene in disputes between the United States and foreign governments. It has never been used to convict a citizen and is widely viewed as flagrantly unconstitutional.

In his role as the national security adviser to the president elect, there was nothing illegal in Flynn meeting with Kislyak. To use this abusive law here was utterly absurd, although other figures such as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates also raised it. Nevertheless, the FBI had latched onto this abusive law to target the retired Army lieutenant general .

Another newly released document is an email from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who played the leadership role in targeting Flynn. In the email, Page suggests that Flynn could be set up by making a passing reference to a federal law that criminalizes lies to federal investigators. She suggested to Strzok that "it would be an easy way to just casually slip that in." So this effort was not about protecting national security or learning critical intelligence. It was about bagging Flynn for the case in the legal version of a canned trophy hunt.

It is also disturbing that this evidence was only recently disclosed by the Justice Department. When Flynn was pressured to plead guilty to a single count of lying to investigators, he was unaware such evidence existed and that the federal investigators who had interviewed him told their superiors they did not think that Flynn intentionally lied when he denied discussing sanctions against Russia with Kislyak. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team changed all that and decided to bring the dubious charge. They drained Flynn financially then threatened to charge his son.

Flynn never denied the conversation and knew the FBI had a transcript of it. Indeed, President Trump publicly discussed a desire to reframe Russian relations and renegotiate such areas of tensions. But Flynn still ultimately pleaded guilty to the single false statement to federal investigators. This additional information magnifies the doubts over the case.

Various FBI officials also lied and acted in arguably criminal or unethical ways, but all escaped without charges. McCabe had a supervisory role in the Flynn prosecution. He was then later found by the Justice Department inspector general to have repeatedly lied to investigators. While his case was referred for criminal charges, McCabe was fired but never charged. Strzok was also fired for his misconduct in the investigation.

Comey intentionally leaked FBI material, including potentially classified information but was never charged. Another FBI agent responsible for the secret warrants used for the Russia investigation had falsified evidence to maintain the investigation. He is still not indicted. The disconnect of these cases with the treatment of Flynn is galling and grotesque.

Even the judge in the case has added to this disturbing record. As Flynn appeared before District Judge Emmet Sullivan for sentencing, Sullivan launched into him and said he could be charged with treason and with working as an unregistered agent on behalf of Turkey. Pointing to a flag behind him, Sullivan declared to Flynn, "You were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States. That undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out."

Flynn was never charged with treason or with being a foreign agent. But when Sullivan menacingly asked if he wanted a sentence then and there, Flynn wisely passed. It is a record that truly shocks the conscience. While rare, it is still possible for the district court to right this wrong since Flynn has not been sentenced. The Justice Department can invite the court to use its inherent supervisory authority to right a wrong of its own making. As the Supreme Court made clear in 1932, "universal sense of justice" is a stake in such cases. It is the "duty of the court to stop the prosecution in the interest of the government itself to protect it from the illegal conduct of its officers and to preserve the purity of its courts."

Flynn was a useful tool for everyone and everything but justice. Mueller had ignored the view of the investigators and coerced Flynn to plead to a crime he did not commit to gain damaging testimony against Trump and his associates that Flynn did not have. The media covered Flynn to report the flawed theory of Russia collusion and to foster the view that some sort of criminal conspiracy was being uncovered by Mueller. Even the federal judge used Flynn to rail against what he saw as a treasonous plot. What is left in the wake of the prosecution is an utter travesty of justice.

Justice demands a dismissal of his prosecution. But whatever the "goal" may have been in setting up Flynn, justice was not one of them.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley . - " Source "

[May 01, 2020] Deep State as Deep Corruption.

May 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment April 29, 2020 at 5:22 pm GMT

Here's something to be disillusioned about. Deep State as Deep Corruption.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/0tO11hclNv8?feature=oembed

But what happened to the Trump who was going to drain the swamp? He filled it with more sewage.
He murdered Soleimani and interferes in Venezuelan politics in ways that Russia has been accused(falsely) of interfering in US politics.

AaronInMVD , says: Website Show Comment April 29, 2020 at 9:45 pm GMT
@Priss Factor I suspect the true backbreaker when it comes to disillusioning for me was seeing how thoroughly Trump was disconnected from the levers of power except for those few cases when he'd been surrounded by war lobby shills.

Whatever welcome change Trump could have brought has been completely negated by the fact everyone he hired or could have hired is too stuck in the status quo to welcome change. Even the people he though could have been the "rebels" on his side lead him down that path of seeing Iranian ballistic missiles hitting US troop positions in Iraq.

The only thing that might have worked would have been firing everyone he could during the first 7 days and filling as many posts as he could with clean cut (as opposed to neck bearded) alt-right 20-somethings.

I voted for Trump, but Trump still wasn't enough to keep me in the US.

[Apr 24, 2020] How the ruling elite switches from unity to "spiders in the can" type of fights

Apr 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

A quick study of history shows that when exploiting elites are doing great, they all faithfully support each other, but when things start to go south, they immediately turn on each other. The best recent example of this phenomenon is the schism in the US ruling elites who, since the election of Trump, have immediately turned on each other and are now viciously fighting like "spiders in a can" (to use a Russian expression). In fact, this is so true that it can even be used as a very reliable diagnostic tool: when your enemies are all united, then they are probably confident in their victory, but as soon as they turn on each other, you *know* that things are looking very bad for your opponents. Likewise, we now see how southern Europeans are getting really angry with their northern "EU allies" ( Macron seems to be falling in line behind Trump even if he uses a more careful and diplomatic language). Finally, the way the US CIA has one foreign policy, the Pentagon another and Foggy Bottom one of its own (even if limited to sanctions and finger-pointing) tells you pretty much all you need to know to see how deep the systemic crisis of the Empire has become.

[Apr 24, 2020] Last, but most certainly not least, the Europeans will find out (and some already have), that the US literally does not give a damn about not only regular Europeans, but even about the European ruling classes

Apr 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: Show Comment April 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

This cannot be overemphasized: "Last, but most certainly not least, the Europeans will find out (and some already have), that the US literally does not give a damn about not only regular Europeans, but even about the European ruling classes."

That has been the defining pattern of WASP culture since its formation (or completion with the rise of Anglo-Saxon Puritanism). But it is more generally a hallmark of Germanic pagans/warlords. It is about endless rapine with honor given to those who help those above them secure more spoils. There is zero concern for the working man (whether he tends cattle to feed the rich or rows the viking boats), and the honor for others in the chain of command lasts only as long as they profit those above them.

The chief Elites of the Anglo-Zionist Empire are, obviously, all tied directly to the US. The Brit Elites have the honorary position of being the second most prestigious. Every other nation's Elites are on rather thin ice. The second that French Elite stop pimping for Uncle Sam is the second that the Elites of the Anglo-Zionist Empire see them as trash that must be removed.

The naive backers of the EU still assume that that alliance is what saves them from the US inflicting direct overlordship. They are damned fools, because the EU acts in concert with the Anglo-Zionist Empire on all major matters that, ultimately, will make all of Western Europe a playpen for the Anglo-Zionist Elites.

And for our VDARE crowd – that is the reality of the spread of English language and of WASP run empire. When it moves from a small local church and community, WASP culture must be perpetually imperialistic and philoSemitic. It must destroy non-WASP European cultures, forcing their leaders to bow and assimilate to WASP hegemony.

[Apr 24, 2020] Orwellian fiction is steeped deeply in the actual ways that WASP Empire operates to grind its own citizens and ue them as mindless pawns to make Anglo-Zionist Elites ever richer, ever more entrenched in power.

Apr 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: Show Comment April 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm GMT

Let's place a couple of things together:

1. "The US political culture is that 99.99% of Americans will believe literally ANY lie, no matter how self-evidently stupid, about the rest of the world rather than accepting any unpleasant truth about the US. "

2. "Eventually, and inevitably, this strategic PSYOP upped the ante and FOXnews (logically) aired this true masterpiece: "Sen. Hawley: Let coronavirus victims sue Chinese Communist Party". Truly, this is brilliant. "I lost my job, let the evil Chinese commies pay me back" is music to the ears of most Americans."

This is what Anglo-Zionist religious/political culture produces. And it is not restricted to jingoistic blaming of the peoples of other nations; it also features blaming those who are citizens of the nation but are more outsiders to the WASP Elites that the group doing the blaming. That pattern keeps the non-Elites from ever seeing that their enemy is the national/imperial Elite they serve.

For example, the horrors the Brit WASP Elites and their system inflicted on Lancashire factory workers would have made any real life Simon Legree giddy at the possibilities. And those abused masses could be counted on at every turn to retard their own demands any time the Elites could turn the conversation to how the Irish or Highlanders would come in and take their jobs for even less and ruin their delightful communities. Or how the evil empires on the Continent were causing trouble and to save lives of British soldiers the factory workers must be reasonable.

Orwellian fiction is steeped deeply in the actual ways that WASP Empire operates to grind its own citizens and ue them as mindless pawns to make Anglo-Zionist Elites ever richer, ever more entrenched in power.

[Apr 19, 2020] Plutocratic Primary Challenger

Apr 19, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

shinola , April 16, 2020 at 3:34 pm

From The Intercept article "Wall Street Titans Finance Democratic Primary Challenger To Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez"

"Freedom and democracy are best secured when banking secrecy and tax havens exist," Caruso-Cabrera wrote.

"Plutocratic Primary Challenger" would be more apropos.

edmondo , April 16, 2020 at 7:23 pm

MCC is married to a VC multi-millionaire. To have hubby's business friends throw a couple hundred grand at her is unsurprising. It's kind of like when your kid has to sell chocolate bars so the marching band to go to the Thanksgiving Day parade. I doubt she'll get a thousand votes. It's a lark and great fun to talk about over cocktails with the other Masters of the Universe.

But then again Claire Booth Luce was a Congressperson but she had the good taste to run in Connecticut not the Bronx.

[Apr 17, 2020] "Neofeudalism by design" is what I call the Money Power which the Central Bank and the Princely Class of banksters

Notable quotes:
"... the Money Power, which is the collective term for the Central Bank and the "Princely Class" within the Outlaw US Empire. And their critique about Sanders, Biden and "Progressives" I agree with 100%. ..."
Apr 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 15 2020 23:23 utc | 76

teatree @71--

I see you're busy spreading BigLies. Please, jump out of your tree onto your head. Thanks.

"Neofeudalism by design" is today's Keiser Report Mantra --Max and Stacy present an excellent argument that tries to inform people about what I call the Money Power, which is the collective term for the Central Bank and the "Princely Class" within the Outlaw US Empire. And their critique about Sanders, Biden and "Progressives" I agree with 100%.

Become enlightened and watch at the link.

[Apr 17, 2020] Barr just said the Russia collusion probe was a travesty, had no basis and was intended to sabotage Trump.

Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. US Attorney General Barr just said the Russia collusion probe was a travesty, had no basis and was intended to sabotage Trump . All true of course. May we take this as a sign that at last (at last!) Durham is ready to go with indictments? Or will it prove to be another false alarm? There's certainly a lot to reveal: A recent investigation showed that every FISA application (warrant to spy on US citizens) examined had egregious deficiencies. It's not just Trump.

MEANINGLESSNESS. Remember the Steele dossier? Now it's being spun as Russian disinformation . So we're now supposed to believe that Putin smeared Trump because he really wanted Clinton to win? Gosh, that Putin guy is so clever that it's impossible to figure out what he's doing!

COVID BLAME I. Back in the day I read a certain amount of Soviet propaganda about the wicked West. And, while it was quite often over the top, pretty monotonous and probably – judging from what ex-Soviets have told me – not all that effective in the long run, it usually had, buried deep inside, a tiny kernel of reality. Western anti-Russia propaganda, on the other hand, is nothing but free-association nonsense. Take the NYT's latest: the headline alone tells you it's crap: " Putin's Long War Against American Science: A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses ." Another difference was that Soviet propaganda at least ran on the assumption that the Soviet system was preferable: this, on the other hand, is a pitiful attempt to blame the US COVID failure on somebody else. Nonetheless, this is not rock-bottom for the NYT's anti-Russian fantasies: that target was hit a couple of years ago with " Trump and Putin: A Love Story ". (But, the goalposts keep moving: if you accuse a Dem of Trumpish grabbing, you're probably a Putinbot .) I guess it will only get more: " The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters ."

COVID BLAME II. Maybe it's not Putin or Xi who's to blame: maybe it's your own propaganda outlet: " VOA too often speaks for America's adversaries -- not its citizens... VOA has instead amplified Beijing's propaganda. "

[Apr 14, 2020] The media has been largely taken over by a criminal gang (Operation Mockingbird), and the same gang has taken over the Democrat party

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Something is seriously sick about the DNC and it's collusion with the media. The pretence of democracy is crashing and the oligarchy exposed. ..."
Apr 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

PJB , Apr 14 2020 12:02 utc | 91

@Wlliam Gruff

Whether social democrat or socialist - I agree Sanders did progress the cause for needed societal, financial and political change.

But why did he fold so weakly and meekly in both 2016 and again now?

Especially in the face of obvious vote rigging by the Hillary campaign (as proven in a Florida civil court ruling - albeit with the judge's decision accepting the DNC Defense argument that the DNC has the right to appoint their candidate and override the primaries - sudden untimely death of two of the lawyers for the Bernie Sanders supporters who brought the case as well).

This time the totally unexpected victory on "Super Thursday" as Sleepy Joe called it in 9 state primaries stinks to high heaven. Maybe he did win given the media support and enough ignoramuses voted for a man who is blatantly suffering dementia as well as having been a corrupt nepotist of the highest order and an alleged rapist and video documented serial creepy fondler of women and young children.

Something is seriously sick about the DNC and it's collusion with the media. The pretence of democracy is crashing and the oligarchy exposed.

Trump will win - because many will hope he is a renegade oligarch who has some moral compass even if a broken one.

William Gruff , Apr 14 2020 12:32 utc | 93

PJB @89

A social democrat will refuse to demand that General Motors make concessions to the workers unless General Motors is making solid profits. Extend the concept to the entire economy. Capitalism is in crisis. For a social democrat that means heavy demands are off the table until the crisis is resolved and capitalism returns to profitability. How could Sanders deliver on his promises even if he won? Better to just throw in the towel, at least from a social democrat perspective.

"Something is seriously sick about the DNC and it's collusion with the media."

Indeed, but there is more to it. The mass media isn't so much colluding with the Dems as the media has been largely taken over by a criminal gang ( Operation Mockingbird ), and the same gang has taken over the Democrat party. Instructions to both the mass media and the Dems are coming from the same folks, so it looks like collusion, but actual direct connections between the two will not be so conspicuous.

[Apr 03, 2020] Elites who are not aligned with the actual productive activities of society and are engaged primarily in activities which are contrary to production, are decadent.

Apr 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Apr 2 2020 20:25 utc | 69

Ian Welsh:

Why Western Elites Are So Incompetent And What The Consequences Are

Let's chalk this up to aristocratic elites. Aristocrats, unlike nobles, are decadent, but don't stop with that word, understand what it means.

Elites who are not aligned with the actual productive activities of society and are engaged primarily in activities which are contrary to production, are decadent. This was true in Ancien Regime France (and deliberately fostered by Louis XIV as a way of emasculating the nobility.) It is true today of most Western elites: they concentrate on financial numbers, and not on actual production. Even those who are somewhat competent, tend not to be truly productive: see the Waltons, who made their money as distributers–merchants.

[Apr 02, 2020] Pelosi now looks completely idiotic with her impeachment trial

In this case Trump is right: they really take the attention of Wuhan events. Pelosi should resign of be removed.
Apr 02, 2020 | thehill.com

Abron olepi 10 hours ago

Trump is planning the blame game already. He's blaming Governors, stating that this is really a state and local issue.

And he's blaming the impeachment trials, saying they took the focus off the virus, etc. etc.

Always has to blame someone else. Oh, and Obama! Don't forget Obama!

[Apr 01, 2020] Could the Covid19 Response be More Deadly than the Virus OffGuardian

Apr 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Suicides and Drug Abuse

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 48,000 suicides occurred in the US in 2018. This equates to an annual rate of about 14 suicides per 100,000 people. As expected, suicides increase substantially during times of economic depression. For example, as a result of the 2008 recession there was an approximate 25% increase. Similarly, during a peak year of the Great Depression, in 1932, the rate rose to 17 suicides per 100,000 people.

Recent research ties high suicide rates "to the unraveling of the social fabric" that happens when societal breakdowns occur. People become despondent over economic hardship, the loss of social structures, loneliness, and related factors.

There is probably no greater example of these kinds of losses than what we are experiencing today with the extreme response to COVID-19 and the effects will be felt for many years. The social structures might return in a few months but the economy will not.

Some think that the economy will recover in three years and others think it will never recover in terms of impact to low-income households, as was the case for the 2008 recession. However, if we estimate a full recovery in six years, the effects will contribute around 3 suicides per 100,000 people every year during that time for a total of over 59,000 deaths in the United States.

Related to suicides are drug abuse deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 67,000 deaths from overdose of illicit or prescription drugs occurred in 2018. This does not include alcohol abuse. Only 7% were suicides and 87% were known to be unintentional deaths largely due to drug abuse caused by depression or other mental conditions. Such conditions can be expected to rise during times of economic collapse and if we estimate the impact due to COVID-19 over six years as being a 25% increase (as with suicides) that projects about 87,000 additional deaths due to drug abuse.

Lack of Medical Coverage or Treatment

Unemployment is expected to rise dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 response and the effect is already being seen in jobless claims. One of the major impacts of unemployment, apart from depression and poverty, is a lack of medical coverage.

A Harvard study found nearly 45,000 excess deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage. That was at the pre-COVID-19 unemployment rate of 4%.

As reported recently, millions of Americans are losing their jobs in the COVID-19 recession/depression. For every 2% increase in unemployment, there are about 3.5 million lost jobs.

The US Secretary of Treasury has predicted a 20% unemployment level, which translates to 12 million lost jobs. If the 45,000 excess deaths due to lack of medical coverage increases uniformly by unemployment rate, we can expect about 225,000 deaths annually due to lack of medical coverage in the US at 20% unemployment. Extrapolating this over a 6-year period would mean 1.35 million deaths .

This assumes that funding for important health-related programs are not further cut or ignored, a bad assumption that means the estimate is probably low.

Beyond lack of coverage, medical services are being reprioritized to respond preferentially to COVID-19, causing less resources to be available for treatment of other medical conditions. The capacity of medical service providers has already been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 response in some areas.

Additionally, clinical trials and drug development are expected to be severely impacted. This means that important new medicines will not reach the market and people will die who otherwise would have lived. There is not yet enough information on the overall impact to medical service provision therefore we will not include an estimate.

Poverty and Food Access

The Columbia University School of Public Health studied the effects of poverty on death rates. The investigators found that 4.5% of US deaths were attributable to poverty. That's about 130,000 deaths annually.

How will this be affected by COVID-19? One way to begin estimating is to consider how the number of people living in poverty will increase.

Before the COVID-19 response, approximately 12% of Americans lived below the officially defined poverty line. That percentage will undoubtedly rise significantly due to the expected increase in unemployment. If unemployment rises to 20% (from 4%) as predicted, the number of people living in poverty could easily double. If that is the extent of the effect, we will see another 130,000 deaths per year from general poverty.

Although deaths due to poverty are not entirely about food access, it is a significant factor in that category. In times of economic hardship many people can't afford good food, causing malnutrition and, in some cases, starvation. People also can't access food causing the same outcomes. Limited access to nutritious food is a root cause of diet-related diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infant mortality issues. A recent estimate suggests 20% of all deaths worldwide are linked to poor diets.

Food access issues will be further exacerbated with the COVID-19 problem due to the anticipated issues with food production and prices. If the COVID-19 response lasts for years as expected, our estimate will need to be a multiple of the 130,000 annual figure. Using the 6-year estimate, we get 780,000 deaths.

Conclusion

The total deaths attributable to the COVID-19 response, from just this limited examination, are estimated to be:

Suicides 59,000 Drug abuse 87,000 Lack of medical coverage or treatment 1,350,000 Poverty and food access 780,000

These estimates, totaling more than two million deaths above the estimated 150,000 expected from the virus itself, do not include other predictable issues with the COVID-19 response. An example is the lack of medical services as stated above. Other examples include the EPA's suspension of environmental regulations. It has been estimated that the EPA's Clean Air Act alone has saved 230,000 lives each year.

Moreover, the anticipated failure of the US Postal Service (USPS) will lead to more illness and death. The USPS "delivers about 1 million lifesaving medications each year and serves as the only delivery link to Americans living in rural areas."

Even using these low estimates, however, we can see that the response will be much worse than the virus. The social devastation and economic scarring could last more than six years, with one expert predicting that it will be "long-lasting and calamitous."

That expert has noted that he is not overly concerned with the virus itself because "as much as 99 percent of active cases [of COVID-19] in the general population are 'mild' and do not require specific medical treatment."

Yet he is deeply concerned about the "the social, economic and public health consequences of this near total meltdown of normal life." He suggests a better alternative is to focus only on those most susceptible to the virus. Others have reasonably suggested that only those who are known to be infected should self-quarantine.

Some public health professionals have been pleading with authorities to consider the implications of the unreasonable response. Many experts have spoken out publicly, criticizing the overreaction to COVID-19. A professor of medical microbiology, for example, has written an open letter to German Chancellor Merkel in an attempt to draw attention to the concerns.

The real problem we face today is not a virus. The greater problem is that people have failed to engage in critical thinking due to the fear promoted by some media and government officials. Fear is the mind killer, as author Frank Herbert once wrote. Ultimately, the fear of COVID-19 and the lack of critical thinking that has arisen from it are likely to cause far more deaths than the virus itself.


George Mc ,

List of the effects of this virus (not exhaustive):

• Total shut down on all other news items.
• The speeding up of an economic meltdown which was going to happen anyway but which now can be attributed to the virus alone.
• The speeding up of the inevitable confrontation between the overlords and the masses on conditions favourable to the former.
• The reduction of the public to a condition in which most welcome draconian restrictions
• The harsh and vitriolic gap between those who are urging on the restrictions and those who are suspicious i.e. a divide and rule matter which threatens to become physically violent.
• The curtailing and indeed destruction of the rights and protections for the general population that have been hard won over the last century.
• The reduction of social life to a social media matrix. (And yes I'm using the word "matrix" in a knowing way.)
• The seemingly legitimate emergence of a police state
• The wrecking of the public sector. Of course this also means the wrecking of the private sector but that will happen in a bottom up way i.e. smaller businesses tanking, then slightly larger, then larger still. But by the time it affects the giants, the game can be called off since the public sector will be gone.

Joerg ,

Some weeks ago on youtube there was a video with an interview with a German virologist Dr. Köhnlein. Youtube removed this video – but now it is back on youtube again (only in German): "CORONA – Alles nur Panik (Dr. Köhnlein)" – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVHZ1bLceRw&feature=youtu.be

Toby Russell ,

I've been trying to get a grip on the extent to which the PCR test is used to establish who has been infected with this alleged virus. Part of my research led me to this very recent presentation on YouTube by a well credentialed doctor called Andrew Kaufman. In it, he sets out how inaccurate the test is, that there isn't even a gold standard against which to assess its accuracy, but the one attempt to do so he could find arrived at an 80% false-positive rate. I heard from a doctor friend that its inventor, Kary Mullis, insisted it should never be used for diagnosis. My understanding is that it is being used everywhere but China, where a new test is being developed. If this is true, the figures we are being bombarded with are not remotely trustable.

But the main thrust of the presentation by Dr Kaufman is the identity between exosomes and covid-19. Exosomes are natural cellular defense mechanisms recently becoming known amongst molecular biologists. They are largely unknown by doctors and nurses. Kaufman's assertion is that covid-19 is in fact an exosome. He quotes James Hildreth, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at Meharry Medical College and a former professor at John Hopkins: " the virus is fully an exosome in every sense of the word."

The presentation is about 40 minutes long and followed by a fairly lengthy question and answer session. Because falsifiable, and because it explains all the oddities of this case, I feel his theory deserves widespread attention.

In other news I had time today to translate:

The New England Journal of Medicine is the world's leading medical journal. In its 26 March 2020 edition, we find: "[ ] This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS [ ]"

This article was penned by a few authors, one of whom was none other than Anthony S Fauci. Yes, THE Anthony S Fauci. Note the case fatality rate. If anyone is interested in a full translation, please let me know

Cassandra2 ,

The human race is being 'played' and the majority have been conditioned to accept it.

The really SCARY aspect of all this is that even if 97% of the global population were given a complete insight into what was actually going on and who was (and has been for a considerable time) manipulating events – what could they do about it?

Answer 'NOTHING'

The people are atomised, disconnected and totally powerless as they have no control over MASS MEDIA COMMUNICATION . . . . . they do (RE: BBC).

A catalyst is required to unite the human race to establish an effective Counter-Offensive capable of cleaning the earth of the dark forces currently in play.

[Mar 29, 2020] 2020 election are the ultimate US Presidential election: the election in which people really have no one to vote for. Not even for fake choice like Trump and Hillary like in 2016. Absolutely none. It is "Perfect Election"

Mar 29, 2020 | www.unz.com

aandrews , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 4:58 pm GMT

" I always considered him a fraud for this (and many other) reasons. Now Tulsi Gabbard is doing the same thing ."

There's really no one to vote for. I don't intend to bother. And they love it when people don't vote.

[Mar 29, 2020] Its somewhat bemusing that we discuss American politics ad nauseam, when it's been amply demonstrated that voters in the USA cannot make changes to government policy through their electoral process.

Notable quotes:
"... Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence . ..."
"... The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." [Emphasis mine] ..."
Mar 29, 2020 | www.unz.com

PTG Mann , says: Show Comment March 28, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT

"The historical unity of the ruling classes is realized in the State." – Antonio Gramsci

Its somewhat bemusing that we discuss American politics ad nauseam, when it's been amply demonstrated that voters in the USA cannot make changes to government policy through their electoral process.

In fact, I would contend that American democracy has been non-existant since the JFK assassination (57 years after the event with no charges having been laid) which was essentially a coup d'état

Don't believe me? Read it and weep

A 2014 study from Princeton University spells bad news for American democracy – namely, that it no longer exists:

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens – Martin Gilens & Benjamin I. Page

"Each of 4 theoretical traditions in the study of American politics -- which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and 2 types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism -- offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set which includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence .

The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." [Emphasis mine]

Ref: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-

Cyrano , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 4:48 am GMT
@PTG Mann This is my attempt to shed some light on the "democracy" reality show. In grade 11 I had a subject called Marxism. Yes, I did study Marxism for 1 year only – in high school. One of the benefits of living in a "communist" country, I guess.

My Marxism professor, when he talked about capitalism, always used USA as an example. Not because he was impressed with them, but because he believed that it was a common knowledge that US was running the most austere form of capitalism possible. It's still like that today, they are just using multiculturalism as a smoke screen to cover up the fact that their capitalism is the most severe that they could get away with. And the stupid Europeans copy them, believing that multiculturalism is what makes a country truly liberal. Sure.

Another interesting thing that I remember from my high school Marxism classes is that they taught us that US has 2 types of elites. 1.Regular elites 2. Political elites. The regular elites are the real elites, the economic ones, the real movers and shakers. The political elites are just domestic help, a hired nobodies who do the rich men's bidding. The lines between these 2 are almost never crossed. As many perks as there are to becoming political elite, the benefits that you can milk from this new-found bonanza can never amount to the point of making you qualified to join the real – economic elites. And it goes vice versa as well. Economic elites usually don't have the interest (unless you are senile old guy like Bloomberg) to waste time on personally participating in politics – it just doesn't pay well enough by their standards. Of course, there are always exceptions – Donald Trump. That's why the real elites hate him so much. Because he wants to sit on 2 chairs, to belong to both the real elites and the political ones as well. The idea behind the political elites is to pay them so you can influence them and tell them what to do. How do you influence someone who doesn't really qualify as a hired help, who is one of you? It makes it more difficult to boss around. I am not saying that Trump is unbossable, the problem is that the real elites can't stomach the fact that Trump wants to boss THEM. Unforgivable.

The "democracy" has always been a pipe-dream, designed to prevent the rich f ** ks getting at each other throats, more than anything else. That's why voting and elections are just a mirage, political elites are not elected by voters, they are elected by the real (economic) elites. That's why they throw millions of dollars on campaigns and lobbies and so on. So they can have the final say about how things should be done, and not leave it to the political "elites" initiatives.

Trump proved that the move from the economic elites into political elites is feasible, even though it can be very unpopular with the economic elites, but the move from political elites into real elites is almost impossible – despite occasional valiant efforts – like Joe Biden and his son. The political elites simply lack any real cashable skills that are required in order to make tons of money and qualify for the prestigious club of real (economic) elites.

Sure the political elites can make a lot of money, but only from the perspective of the poor. The money that the political elites make compared to the economic ones – is pocket change. This is actually one of the positives of the American system, people who are interested in making really big money, don't usually go into politics, because there are much more and better ways to make more money. This is actually a feature of most of the developing countries – where there is almost no distinction between real elites and political elites and the only way to make money is to go into politics, and use corruption as a driving force for becoming rich.

Sure the political elites can accomplish relative financial successes as well, and sometimes this can get to their heads, making them delusional, like when Hillary – white trash herself– called her own people – deplorables. The "democracy" pipe dream serves another purpose – to create the illusion that the real elites (the rich) and the poor are in the same predicament together – suffering under the unscrupulous political elites. Yeah, right.

The other thing that people talk a lot about is communist propaganda. Sure there was some of it. Having experienced living in both systems – capitalism and "communism" – I can say that there is a big difference between capitalist and communist propaganda. Communist propaganda was more of the wishful thinking type, trying to cover up reality because they wished things could be better. Capitalist propaganda is much more sinister. The sole purpose of existence of capitalist propaganda is not because they want things to be different and better, but because they want things to stay the same as long as possible. The purpose of the capitalist propaganda is to impede progress. Communists at least felt bad that their system wasn't good enough to satisfy all the needs of the people. Capitalists have no such qualms. The message that they convey through their "democracy" is that this is as good as it's going to get, so you better get used to it. No regrets, no attempts to make things better.

It's funny that they bothered to teach us about different kinds of American elites way back in high school, like that was going to have any practical application in our lives. It's also unusual that I remember it, because I wasn't a particularly good student in any subject, including Marxism. Maybe the reason why I remember it, is because after all these years it still rings true.

Hans Vogel , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 8:41 am GMT
Most discussions about and references to the US two-party system presidential elections remain oblivious to the fact that for all practical purposes the US has only one political party.

The US has the exact same political system that Mexico had for decades under the PRI: the party elite decided on who was going to be the next president and then organized elections. The US is essentially a none-party state (just read or reread Michael Parenti's Democracy for the Few ).

The fact that the American voter can choose between a psychopath like Mrs. Clinton and a guy like Trump, or between Trump and a senile moron like Biden (as may be the case this year), merely serves to prove that the real political decisions are not made by the president and that he is just a figurehead.

How can it be that a country with 330 million people cannot select even moderately intelligent, decent, capable candidates for the highest office?

It is a good sign that most Americans understand this and don't bother to vote. Democracy is a fake anyway, because if our votes would really count, we wouldn't have the right to vote.

[Mar 22, 2020] In essence, the misnamed "intelligence community" is a distillation of the gravest intellectual flaws in contemporary neoliberal academia

Mar 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Mar 22 2020 12:57 utc | 155

In essence, the misnamed "intelligence community" is a distillation of the gravest intellectual flaws in contemporary neoliberal (non-STEM) academia.

So naturally when China tries to "out-victim" them by pointing out that the virus was a bioweapon attack, these members of the misnamed "intelligence community" feel honor bound to defend the supremacy of their own victim status by minimizing China's victim status. That may sound crazy to people from prior generations, but it is the logical destination for victim culture.

[Mar 22, 2020] Intelligence agencies and the virus

Highly recommended!
Mar 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:11 utc | 128

@Jackrabbit | Mar 21 2020 22:32 utc | 50

"These officials "failed us" in the same way that our media "fails us": they serve the interests of the EMPIRE-FIRST Deep State."

Yuppp. Our error is to assume all 17 intelligence agencies; the presstitudes; and US "leadership" exist to serve the American people. And so, yes, they "fail" the people. But, from the point of view of the controllers of those agencies and of those "leaders", they hardly ever fail !!!

While the people argue over virulent minutae, they are once again helping themselves to the US Treasury.... Trillions of USDs.... LOL

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:36 utc | 132

@Jackrabbit | Mar 21 2020 23:10 utc | 54

"Caitlin Johnstone also sees the response being manipulated to focus hate on China...."

Yuppp, blaming China, hating on China achieves several objectives:

Just look at how US leadership has been hating on Russia for the last 100 years, waiting to whack them with a sneak attack if feasible.

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 11:25 utc | 137
@Jackrabbit | Mar 22 2020 2:45 utc | 79

".... was then told to STOP TESTING...... A medical person would not try to suppress testing. That would be a "management decision" and its the Nation Security Council that was running the show (and which had classified all discussions related to virus preparations)...."

Thanks for reminding us of Dr Chu's story. What if the US leadership:

[Mar 19, 2020] No doubt global elites present a united front to protect their common interest in maintaining the petrodollar and international banking system, insofar as it supports their individual interests. However, other than that shared interest, the elite are rife with factions -- both domestically and especially internationally.

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Miro23 , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 4:23 pm GMT

@Spanky

No doubt global elites present a united front to protect their common interest in maintaining the petrodollar and international banking system, insofar as it supports their individual interests. However, other than that shared interest, the elite are rife with factions -- both domestically and especially internationally.

Incredibly globalization as a system seems to have mostly disappeared in 6 weeks. There are closed frontiers, no more container ships, the ports are empty, no flights and the malls are closing.

It's not clear where the US public are going to get their electronics, clothing and other Walmart items unless everything rebounds 100%. If there's no rebound, then it starts to look like some kind of watershed event equivalent to WW1.

If elites and their interests are the foundation of the NWO, then right now they seem to be all over the place.

– The globalists want a strong dollar which they ensure with the dollar's reserve currency role (particularly the petrodollar). The dollar is doing fine now as a refuge, but with oil approaching $20 a barrel it doesn't look like such a great link longer term, and what use is a reserve currency when there's no trade?

– Globalism is based on ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy) to keep the West consuming and allow the issuance of massive debt. Now international bond markets are hesitating in the face of more massive international issuance to deal with the economic fallout of the Coronavirus. Interest rates only have to rise to their historic averages to collapse the whole thing.

– The LGBT, SJW crowd find that racism, diversity and generally anti-White propaganda has become a non-issue. Everything has become Coronavirus which is actually sort of equalizing , and putting the focus on what the government needs to do to protect all the public including Deplorables (unusual turnaround).

– Frontiers are closing with the cheap labour/ multicultural crowd having gone quiet.

– Many globalist interests are facing bankruptcy as demand disappears, new share and bond issuance is blocked, credit disappears and a myriad of counterparty risks (finacialized opaque derivatives) turn into counterparty failures.

– The general inability of Western government elites to handle all these combined events. Monetary policy doesn't work in a ZIRP environment so they may just resort to "Helicopter Money" but with shortages of goods this is guaranteed to feed directly into inflation.

Altogether a remarkable change of direction in a very short time.

[Mar 19, 2020] I am having a bit of difficulty with the currently popular theory that a unified, omnipotent and near infallible global elite is behind everything single thing that happens on the world stage

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Spanky , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 12:25 pm GMT

@Miro23 Coronavirus is certainly a useful way to deflate a speculative bubble. The virus gets the blame rather the Dumpers in the Pump and Dump cycle. -- Miro23

But, given the precarious state of the global financial system, wouldn't any black swan of sufficient magnitude suffice to accomplish both deflation and take the blame?

No doubt global elites present a united front to protect their common interest in maintaining the petrodollar and international banking system, insofar as it supports their individual interests . However, other than that shared interest, the elite are rife with factions -- both domestically and especially internationally.

Which explains Tom Dye's assertion that one of the critical roles of the Counsel on Foreign Relations (CFR) is conflict resolution between competing elite factions. Or, in other words, I am having a bit of difficulty with the currently popular theory that a unified, omnipotent and near infallible global elite is behind everything single thing that happens on the world stage

[Mar 19, 2020] Much of the US elite is sinecured in the media, foreign policy, and national security state establishments

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [252] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 6:53 pm GMT

@Sean

Here was me thinking the Western elites wanted to continue making money on Chinese growth.

Much of the US elite is sinecured in the media, foreign policy, and national security state establishments, whose status depends on the relative power and prestige of the US state. The relative power and prestige of the US state is jeopardized by the continued growth of China.

If you follow US coverage of China in the US, you'll find that this US elite is generally critical of China, although style and presentation vary. The liberal "China watchers" among the US elite in the media and foreign policy establishment tend to focus on human rights, democracy promotion, and liberalism as vectors to attack the Chinese state. They tend to be polished and more subtle rather than explicitly hostile.

The US elite in the national security establishment tend to be more overt about military containment and or confrontation with China, and on developing an anti-China coalition in the Pacific.

[Mar 16, 2020] Half Of Young American Democrats Believe Billionaires Do More Harm Than Good

Notable quotes:
"... Wealth concentration is extreme to say the least... ..."
"... "The billionaire class is 'up there' because they are standing on our backs pinning us down." ..."
Mar 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Half Of Young American Democrats Believe Billionaires Do More Harm Than Good by Tyler Durden Sun, 03/15/2020 - 21:25 With income inequality the political hot potato du-jour and wealth concentration at its most extreme since the roaring twenties, is it any wonder that even Americans' view of what used to be called 'success' is now tainted with the ugly taste of partisan 'not-fair'-ism.

Income inequality is roaring...

Wealth concentration is extreme to say the least...

But still, according to Pew Research's latest survey , when asked about the impact of billionaires on the country, nearly four-in-ten adults under age 30 (39%) say the fact that some have fortunes of a billion dollars or more is a bad thing...

...with 50% of young Democrats.

"The recent reigning conventional wisdom over the last several decades of what I call the 'Age of Capital' is that [billionaires] are 'up there' because they are smarter than us," said Anand Giridharadas, author of "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World."

But the Pew data, he says, suggest that young Americans are concluding that billionaires have amassed their wealth "through their rigging of the tax code, through legal political bribery, through their tax avoidance in shelters like the Cayman Islands, and through lobbying for public policy that benefits them privately. "

"Bernie Sanders taught a lot of people [about wealth inequality], including people who did not vote for him," Giridharadas said.

"The billionaire class is 'up there' because they are standing on our backs pinning us down."

The good news - for the rest of America's "capitalists" - is that a majority (58%) say the impact of billionaires on America is neither bad nor good.

Finally, one quick question - where were all these under-30s when Bernie needed them the most in the Primaries? Was it all just virtue-signaling pro-socialist bullshit after all?

[Mar 04, 2020] In Defense of Elitism Why I'm Better Than You and You are Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy Thi

This guy does not understand (or do not what to understand) what neoliberalism is. Do not buy this book. It is junk. Look at the idiotic quite beloe. Tha guy is unable to think coherently. When Hillary called her opponents "deplorable" she clearly means thos who oppose neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization and who suffered from outsourcing and financialization craziness, that destroyed the USA manufacturing. She means those who do not belong to the neoliberal elite, independent of their IQ.
Notable quotes:
"... The tragic flaw of elites is that they fail to see the hypocrisy in their own cries for tolerance and equality. ..."
"... It was the "deplorables" moment that opened my eyes to the current trajectory of America. I fear that intellectual elites, of which I am admittedly one, have not learned from this unfortunate blunder. And time is running out for us. Perhaps all we elites need to start toting Reader's Digest crosses. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | www.amazon.com

The populist revolution succeeded tonight for the same reason it did nearly two centuries ago. The main reason Trump won wasn't economic anxiety. It wasn't sexism. It wasn't racism. It was that he was anti-elitist. Hillary Clinton represented Wall Street, academics, policy papers, Davos, international treaties, and peo- ple who think they're better than you. People like me. Trump represented something far more appealing, which is beating up people like me. A poll taken a month before the 2016 election showed that only 24 percent of voters disagreed with the statement "The real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but between mainstream America and the ruling political elites."

People are foolish to get rid of us. Elites are people who think; populists are people who believe. Elites de- fer to experts; populists listen to their own guts. Elites value cooperation; populists are tribal. Elites arc masters at delayed gratification, long-range planning, and
controlling our emotions...

...We can t afford that. Populists believe our complex society is so secure that disaster is near impossible no matter who is in charge. Elites know it's not. Most of our work is calculating risk and planning for contingencies. We invented reinsurance, and if you give us a few years, we'll come up with rereinsurance. The myth that the elite are selfishly rigging the system while do- ing nothing useful conveniently ignores the fact that the system we've built is great. If this were a book about any other group of people besides the elite, this would be the part where I list all the amazing contributions we've made throughout history. I do not need to do that because elites created everything that ever existed...

4.0 out of 5 stars Hamartia of Elitism Exposed Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase With In Defense of Elitism, Joel Stein goes where few elites would dare step foot, intellectually or literally - to the panhandle, bible-thumping, gun-toting town of Miami, Texas.

At this first stop on his tour of populist and elite hotspots of America, Stein elucidates a no-brainer: nobody is always right all the time about everybody else. That includes we elites.

What is my takeaway from this marvelous book, besides the fact that Stein is completely hilarious? That elites need a crash course in tolerance. Populists could use a big dose of it too, but at least when they do not demonstrate this virtue, they don't pretend to possess it. The tragic flaw of elites is that they fail to see the hypocrisy in their own cries for tolerance and equality.

It was the "deplorables" moment that opened my eyes to the current trajectory of America. I fear that intellectual elites, of which I am admittedly one, have not learned from this unfortunate blunder. And time is running out for us. Perhaps all we elites need to start toting Reader's Digest crosses.

>

Bonnie Cobert Millender , Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2019

Important Message Delivered with Humor and Insight!

Joel Stein's new book is both engaging and enlightening. He begins by immersing himself in the small town culture of rural Miami, Texas, where he mingles with the locals and tries to understand their customs. He enjoys their hospitality but examines their values with a critical eye. The rest of the book is mostly a comparison of "elitism" with the ethos of Miami. He distinguishes between two kinds of elitism: "boat elitism" which worships money and power, and "intellectual elitism" which elevates reason and intelligence. Stein obviously champions intellectual elitism which he feels is imperative for a successful democracy: "Democracy is a government of the nerds, by the nerds and for the nerds. And the Boat Elite do not respect nerds." Ultimately, Stein concludes, "The elite, with our pesky qualifiers and annoying exceptions, are the thin line between democracy and tyranny." The great charm of this excellent book is that these very valid truths are presented with so much humor and insight that the reader cannot help but agree with Joel Stein's illuminating conclusions.

Chele Hipp , Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2019
If This Book Were a High School Debate, Mr. Stein Would Lose

If this book was evaluated like an elite high school debate held on the Stanford campus each year, Mr. Stein would be winning the debate handily in each round and scoring exceedingly high speaker points. But, in the end, while he would still get the Top Speaker Award, he would not win the tournament trophy because he gave up his argument in his closing statement. This book is written five parts, four of which are hilarious and compelling arguments for finding connection with every type of elite and populist one can come across. Those four parts make equally compelling arguments for why having experts and intellectual elites run the world does the greatest good for society as a whole. Mr. Stein is winning the debate with compassion, good humor, and style. I'm rooting for him to win the debate! My debate judge objectivity has flown out the window. And then part five happens. His closing argument. Oh no! Mr. Stein decides to withdraw from the battle for expert and intellectual elite leadership. He says it's not our time. It's time to wait out the populists. That we can do that. That we must do that. And then he says that the need for human connection is greater than anything - that humility is the job elites need to pursue. Wait. What? You just contradicted your entire case. You surrendered your position. Your conclusion is the opposite of your thesis! That's it. You lose on technical failure. Victory awarded to your opponent. If this book were a research project using the scientific method, it would be entirely possible to have a conclusion that did not match the hypothesis. But the title of the book, "In Defense of Elitism" is suggestive of a debate or an argument. And, in such case, the conclusion must necessarily match the opening statement. If I were to recommend this book to a friend, which I still may very likely do, I would recommend that my friend read only parts one through four. Or, maybe read all five parts with very low expectations for intellectual follow-through on part five. Mr. Stein still has my utmost respect and admiration for both his efforts and his humor. I almost wonder if his editor insisted on a soft landing for the book and the conclusion was a negotiated settlement.

Flying Scot , Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2019
Elite People Make Superior Choices

The thing I most admire about intellectual elites is how skillfully they choose their parents.

José Sotolongo , Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2020
A Sly Sociological Study

In self-deprecating, often hilarious language, Joel Stein gives us a study of the gulf between the bicoastal United States and the heartland. The socially and politically conservative, religious citizens of Miami, Texas, vastly different from the author in values, religion, and background, are profiled with humor and affection. By establishing common ground with these citizens and shedding light on their beliefs, Stein lets us understand them despite the different, even foreign ideas compared to those of us who are "elites." By "elites" the author means reasonably educated, anti-racist, not-very-religious-if-at-all folks who tend to vote for progressive candidates. The middle of the book puts us back in California, where Stein lives, and his gimlet eye skewers the elites that surround him, again with humor and insight. I am somewhat surprised that this impressive work, which has so much to say about the present divisions and polarization in our country, has not been better promoted by the publisher. A search in the New York Times fails to find a review or even mention of it, and a full web search renders scant results. Highly recommended.

Reginald H. Henderson , Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2019
Elite by cheating your way to wealth, versus an elite level of intelligence

Being anti-elite can make sense if you're against the elite due to wealth gained by taking advantage of people (Stein refers to as the "boat elite"), but being against elite by intelligence doesn't make sense (the "intellectual elite"). Stein talks with anit-elite Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) who talks about a medical issue for which he had to go to the most elite doctor there was to be cured, and Scott somehow concludes that this is why doctors are useless and he knows better than them. Stein points out Sarah Palin bragging that she will never claim to know more than anyone else, instead of trying to study and learn more. You read about people striving to make a difference, and somehow Republican America rejecting intelligent elite and embracing wealthy elite (which is the opposite of what a democratic government should do, it should reign in those that gain all the power through wealth). The jokes make this serious and passionate subject fun to read.

Reviewer Dr. Beth , Reviewed in the United States on December 30, 2019
Make America elite again

How can one be both self-deprecating and aggrandizing at the same time? Somehow author Joel Stein manages this. A long-time humorist writer for TIME (who was eventually fired, as he points out), Stein offers a book that is as insightful as it is funny. Stein's humor ranges from cheap to clever, and yet is unfailingly smart and on the mark. The premise of this book has already been thoroughly covered. Stein seeks to explain the backlash against so-called elites which led to the election of Trump. He starts by visiting the county in the US which had the highest percentage of Trump voters in the 2016 election. He finds many things that he expected to find (religion, guns) and many things he did not. Does he leave Miami, Texas thinking that the Trump voters were right? No. But he leaves with a better appreciation of people different from him and less of an us versus them mindset. After spending time with the populists, Stein visits with his own group, the elites, providing a short and somewhat mocking look at our country's most privileged...living in ivory towers, maybe, but also doing great work. Next come the populist elites, a group which includes Stein's "boat elites," or people like Trump. The section on elite populists is the shortest in the book; obviously elites generally aren't wining any popularity contests. Finally, in "Saving the Elite," Stein attempts to figure out how elites can re-emerge on top, where they belong. Solutions include fighting back, which many liberals seem to be doing to little or no avail; taking the high road, which appeals to the self-satisfied nature of elitists but which tends to be ultimately frustrating; and moving towards change, perhaps through greater humility, kindness, and--dare we say it?--love. Stein himself admits both that he is smug...and also that his smugness is his downfall. We cannot dismiss those with whom we do not agree. Stein makes this point in a way that is intelligent, compelling, moving...and also very, very funny.

Ryan Mease , Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2019
Fun Tour of (Right-Wing) Populism in America

This is a sometimes-humorous, sometimes-serious review of different populist voices in the Trump era. Klein scored a number of perfect interviews with figureheads in / critics of the populist movement -- Tucker Carlson, the Dilbert guy and Bill Kristol. It's a shame he couldn't get Steve Bannon. He's very effective at interviewing opponents. I actually walked away from the Tucker chapter feeling less confused about Tucker's position on race and immigration. I can see his journey and his current rhetorical postures seem wrong, but reasonable. He has a point of view that's well-reasoned. The Dilbert guy is another story. I'm not even sure if he belongs in this book; he's just a sophist like Ann Coulter or Milo. I'm trying to use that term precisely, in the elitist Plato's dialogue sense of the term. If you read the book or listen to an interview with him, you'll understand what I mean. He's a bad faith relativist who enjoys attention. There's a lot more to this book! I didn't even mention the long opening section where the author travels to Texas to interview Trump supporters while living with them for an extended period. There are moments in the book where we're allowed to see how we might heal our national wounds. The major flaw here is the lack of depth concerning left-wing populism. The author points to Bernie Sanders and the populist left without really interviewing anyone or considering those voices too carefully. That's a shame, because they would have made an excellent companion chapter to the content on Tucker. The author ends up luring elite readers to a place where they feel comfortable receiving criticism. It would have been nice to hear that critique from each side. This was a fun read. Definitely recommended.

plubius tullius , Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2020
Less about elite, more about [neoliberal] aristocracy

I listened to this as an audiobook, read by Joel Stein himself. Even as read by the author, I can't tell if this book is a joke or supposed to be taken seriously. An honest discussion of experts vs non-experts would be useful. This is not it. Stein picks points that back his views up, which extend well beyond expertise, and into entitlement, connection, and general condescension to the "great unwashed." For example, he interviews cartoonist Scott Adams... why not Nassim Nicholas Taleb - on the fallacy of expertise. Of course, lots and lots of name dropping in this book. Figures - thats how those insecure in their elitist claims attempt to establish their membership.

[Mar 01, 2020] Countering Nationalist Oligarchy by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
The article is mostly junk. But it contains some important insights into the rise of Trympism (aka "national neoliberalism") -- nationalist oligarchy. Including the following " the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist."
The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change. The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change.
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism: A Warning ..."
"... Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America ..."
"... the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist. ..."
"... The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy ..."
"... Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them. ..."
"... Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. ..."
"... Classical Greek Oligarchy ..."
"... Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." ..."
"... We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. ..."
"... The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship. ..."
"... The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars ..."
"... The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic ..."
Dec 31, 2019 | democracyjournal.org
from Winter 2019, No. 51 – 31 MIN READ

Tagged Authoritarianism Democracy Foreign Policy Government nationalism oligarchy

Ever since the 2016 election, foreign policy commentators and practitioners have been engaged in a series of soul-searching exercises to understand the great transformations taking place in the world -- and to articulate a framework appropriate to the challenges of our time. Some have looked backwards, arguing that the liberal international order is collapsing, while others question whether it ever existed. Another group seems to hope the current messiness is simply a blip and that foreign policy will return to normalcy after it passes. Perhaps the most prominent group has identified today's great threat as the rise of authoritarianism, autocracy, and illiberal democracy. They fear that constitutional democracy is receding as norms are broken and institutions are under siege.

Unfortunately, this approach misunderstands the nature of the current crisis. The challenge we face today is not one of authoritarianism, as so many seem inclined to believe, but of nationalist oligarchy. This form of government feeds populism to the people, delivers special privileges to the rich and well-connected, and rigs politics to sustain its regime.

... ... ..

Authoritarianism or What?

Across the political spectrum, commentators and scholars have identified -- and warned of -- the global rise of autocracies and authoritarian governments. They cite Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, and Turkey, among others. Distinguished commentators are increasingly worried. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently published a book called Fascism: A Warning . Cass Sunstein gathered a variety of scholars for a collection titled, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America .

The authoritarian lens is familiar from the heroic narrative of democracy defeating autocracies in the twentieth century. But as a framework for understanding today's central geopolitical challenges, it is far too narrow. This is mainly because those who are worried about the rise of authoritarianism and the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics. Their emphasis is almost exclusively political and constitutional -- free speech, voting rights, equal treatment for minorities, independent courts, and the like. But politics and economics cannot be dissociated from each other, and neither are autonomous from social and cultural factors. Statesmen and philosophers used to call this "political economy." Political economy looks at economic and political relationships in concert, and it is attentive to how power is exercised. If authoritarianism is the future, there must be a story of its political economy -- how it uses politics and economics to gain and hold power. Yet the rise-of-authoritarianism theorists have less to say about these dynamics.

To be sure, many commentators have discussed populist movements throughout Europe and America, and there has been no shortage of debate on the extent to which a generation of widening economic inequality has been a contributing factor in their rise. But whatever the causes of popular discontent, the policy preferences of the people, and the bloviating rhetoric of leaders, the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist.

The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy , Jeffrey Winters calls it "wealth defense." Elites engage in "property defense," protecting what they already have, and "income defense," preserving and extending their ability to hoard more. Importantly, oligarchy as a governing strategy accounts for both politics and economics. Oligarchs use economic power to gain and hold political power and, in turn, use politics to expand their economic power.

Those who worry about the rise of authoritarianism and fear the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics.

The trouble for oligarchs is that their regime involves rule by a small number of wealthy elites. In even a nominally democratic society, and most countries around the world today are at least that, it should be possible for the much larger majority to overthrow the oligarchy with either the ballot or the bullet. So how can oligarchy persist? This is where both nationalism and authoritarianism come into play. Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them.

The divide-and-conquer strategy is an old one, and it works through a combination of coercion and co-optation. Nationalism -- whether statist, ethnic, religious, or racial -- serves both functions. It aligns a portion of ordinary people with the ruling oligarchy, mobilizing them to support the regime and sacrifice for it. At the same time, it divides society, ensuring that the nationalism-inspired will not join forces with everyone else to overthrow the oligarchs. We thus see fearmongering about minorities and immigrants, and claims that the country belongs only to its "true" people, whom the leaders represent. Activating these emotional, cultural, and political identities makes it harder for citizens in the country to unite across these divides and challenge the regime.

Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. Tactics like these are not new. They have existed, as Matthew Simonton shows in his book Classical Greek Oligarchy , since at least the time of Pericles and Plato. The consequence, then as now, is that nationalist oligarchies can continue to deliver economic policies to benefit the wealthy and well-connected.

It is worth noting that even the generation that waged war against fascism in Europe understood that the challenge to democracy in their time was not just political, but economic and social as well. They believed that the rise of Nazism was tied to the concentration of economic power in Germany, and that cartels and monopolies not only cooperated with and served the Nazi state, but helped its rise and later sustained it. As New York Congressman Emanuel Celler, one of the authors of the Anti-Merger Act of 1950, said, quoting a report filed by Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, "Germany under the Nazi set-up built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power, and forced virtually the whole world into war." After World War II, Marshall Plan experts not only rebuilt Europe but also exported aggressive American antitrust and competition laws to the continent because they believed political democracy was impossible without economic democracy.

Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. Electoral losers in places like North Carolina seek to entrench their power rather than accept defeat. The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship.

Addressing our domestic economic and social crises is critical to defending democracy, and a grand strategy for America's future must incorporate both domestic and foreign policy. But while many have recognized that reviving America's middle class and re-stitching our social fabric are essential to saving democracy, less attention has been paid to how American foreign policy should be reformed in order to defend democracy from the threat of nationalist oligarchy.

The Varieties of Nationalist Oligarchy

Just as there are many variations on liberal democracy -- the Swedish model, the French model, the American model -- there are many varieties of nationalist oligarchy. The story is different in every country, but the elements of nationalist oligarchy are trending all over the world.

... ... ...

... the European Union funds Hungary's oligarchy, as Orbán draws on EU money to fund about 60 percent of the state projects that support "the new Fidesz-linked business elite." Nor do Orbán and his allies do much to hide the country's crony capitalist model. András Lánczi, president of a Fidesz-affiliated think tank, has boldly stated that "if something is done in the national interest, then it is not corruption." "The new capitalist ruling class," one Hungarian banker comments, "make their money from the government."

The commentator Jan-Werner Müller captures Orbán's Hungary this way: "Power is secured through wide-ranging control of the judiciary and the media; behind much talk of protecting hard-pressed families from multinational corporations, there is crony capitalism, in which one has to be on the right side politically to get ahead economically."

Crony capitalism, coupled with resurgent nationalism and central government control, is also an issue in China. While some commentators have emphasized "state capitalism" -- when government has a significant ownership stake in companies -- this phenomenon is not to be confused with crony capitalism. Some countries with state capitalism, like Norway, are widely seen as extremely non-corrupt and, indeed, are often held up as models of democracy. State capitalism itself is thus not necessarily a problem. Crony capitalism, in contrast, is an "instrumental union between capitalists and politicians designed to allow the former to acquire wealth, legally or otherwise, and the latter to seek and retain power." This is the key difference between state capitalism and oligarchy.

... ... ...

Ganesh Sitaraman is a professor of law and Chancellor's faculty fellow at Vanderbilt Law School, and the author of The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic .

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 28, 2020] What Is The Deep State

Feb 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Via GreatGameIndia.com,

A new focus on the Deep State in undermining the national interests has become a serious thought for many citizens. Not known to many, the Deep State has its origin in the British Empire and how the Round Table infiltrated former British colonies (including India) through America.

Last year, fuel was added to this fire when internal memos were leaked from the British-run Integrity Initiative featuring a startling account of the techniques deployed by the anti-Russian British operation to infiltrate American intelligence institutions, think tanks and media.

The Integrity Initiative

For those who may not know, The Integrity Initiative is an anti-Russian propaganda outfit funded to the tune of $140 million by the British Foreign office. Throughout 2019, leaks have been released featuring documents dated to the early period of Trump's election, demonstrating that this organization, already active across Europe promoting anti-Russian PR and smearing nationalist leaders such as Jeremy Corbyn, was intent on spreading deeply into the State Department and setting up "clusters" of anti-Trump operatives. The documents reveal high level meetings that Integrity Initiative Director Chris Donnelly had with former Trump Advisor Sebastien Gorka, McCain Foundation director Kurt Volker, Pentagon PR guru John Rendon among many others.

The exposure of the British hand behind the scenes affords us a unique glimpse into the real historical forces undermining America's true constitutional tradition throughout the 20th century, as Mueller/the Five Eyes/ Integrity Initiative are not new phenomena but actually follow a modus operandi set down for already more than a century. One of the biggest obstacles to seeing this modus operandi run by the British Empire is located in the belief in a mythology which has become embedded in the global psyche for over half a century and which we should do our best to free ourselves of.

Myth of the "American Empire"

While there has been a long-standing narrative promoted for over 70 years that the British Empire disappeared after World War II having been replaced by the "American Empire", it is the furthest thing from the truth. America, as constitutionally represented by its greatest presidents (who can unfortunately be identified by their early deaths while serving in office), were never colonialist and were always in favor of reining in British Institutions at home while fighting British colonial thinking abroad.

Franklin Roosevelt's thirteen year-long battle with the Deep State, which he referred to as the "economic royalists who should have left America in 1776″, was defined in clear terms by his patriotic Vice-President Henry Wallace who warned of the emergence of a new Anglo-American fascism in 1944 when he said :

"Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes."

The fact is that already in 1944, a policy of Anglo-Saxon imperialism had been promoted subversively by British-run think tanks known as the Round Table Movement and Fabian Society, and the seeds had already been laid for the anti-Russian cold war by those British-run American fascists. It is not a coincidence that this fascist Cold War policy was announced in a March 5, 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri by none other than Round Table-follower and the butcher of Bengal, Winston Churchill .

The Round Table Movement

When the Round Table Movement was created with funds from the Rhodes Trust in 1902, a new plan was laid out to create a new technocratic elite to manage the re-emergence of the new British Empire and crush the emergence of nationalism globally. This organization would be staffed by generations of Rhodes Scholars who would receive their indoctrination in Oxford before being sent back to advance a "post-nation state" agenda in their respective countries.

As this agenda largely followed the mandate set out by Cecil Rhodes in his Seventh Will who said "Why should we not form a secret society with but one object: the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilized world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States , and for the making of the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire?"

Q: Is @ShashiTharoor serving the RETURN OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY ecosystem? His new boss is Shoaib Bajwa, son of British spy, and from same community as Pakistan's General Bajwa head of military. https://t.co/f74pgkDfQU

-- Rajiv Malhotra (@RajivMessage) November 30, 2019

With the help of an anglophile, racist president in America, leading figures organizing these think tanks first advanced a program to create a "League of Nations" as the solution to the "nationalist problem" which humanity was told "caused" World War One. Nationalist forces in America rejected the idea that the constitution should be rendered obsolete and the plan for global governance failed. However that did not stop the Round Table Movement from trying again. Leading Round Table controller Lord Lothian (British Ambassador to the USA) complained of the "American problem" in 1918.

There is a fundamentally different concept in regard to this question between Great Britain and the United States as to the necessity of civilized control over politically backward peoples . The inhabitants of Africa and parts of Asia have proved unable to govern themselves . Yet America not only has no conception of this aspect of the problem but has been led to believe that the assumption of this kind of responsibility is iniquitous imperialism.

They take an attitude towards the problem of world government exactly analogous to the one they [earlier] took toward the problem of the world war. If they are slow in learning we shall be condemned to a period of strained relations between the various parts of the English-speaking world. [We must] get into the heads of Canadians and Americans that a share in the burden of world government is just as great and glorious a responsibility as participation in the war ".

A Chinese leader of the American-inspired republican revolution of 1911 named Sun Yat-sen warned of the likes of Lord Lothian and the League of Nations in 1924 when he said:

"The nations which are employing imperialism to conquer others and which are trying to maintain their own favored positions as sovereign lords of the whole world are advocating cosmopolitanism [aka: global governance/globalization -ed] and want the world to join them Nationalism is that precious possession by which humanity maintains its existence. If nationalism decays, then when cosmopolitanism flourishes we will be unable to survive and will be eliminated".

Council on Foreign Relations

By 1919, the Round Table Movement changed its name to the Royal Institute for International Affairs (aka: Chatham House) with the "Round Table" name relegated to its geopolitical periodical. In Canada and Australia, branches were created in 1928 under the rubrics of "Canadian and Australian Institutes for International Affairs" (CIIA, AIIA). However in America, where knowledge of the British Empire's subversive role was more widely known, the name "American Institute for International Affairs" was still too delicate. Instead the name "Council on Foreign Relations" was chosen and was chartered in 1921.

Rhodes Scholar William Yandall Elliot surrounded by a few of his leading disciples: Sir Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski Samuel Huntington and Pierre Trudeau

Staffed with Rhodes Scholars and Fabians, the CFR (and its International Chatham House counterparts) dubbed themselves "independent think tanks" which interfaced with Rhodes Scholars and Fabians in academia, government and the private sector alike with the mission of advancing a foreign policy agenda that was in alignment with the British Empire's dream of an Anglo-American "special relationship" . One such Rhodes Scholar was William Yandall Elliot, who played a major role mentoring Henry Kissinger and a generation of geo-politicians from Harvard, not the least of whom include Zbigniew Brzezinski, Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Samuel (Clash of Civilizations) Huntington.

Coup Against FDR

In Canada, five leading Rhodes Scholars were busy creating the League of Social Reconstruction as a self-described "Fabian Society of Canada" in 1931 which was meant to be a fascist/technocratic answer to the chaos of "greedy nationalism" that supposedly caused the economic collapse of Black Friday in 1929. During the same time in America, a different path to fascism was taken by these networks during the early 1930s. This plan involved installing a General named Smedley Butler into power as a puppet dictator steered by the Anglo-American establishment. Luckily for America and the world, General Butler blew the whistle on the coup against Franklin Roosevelt at the last minute.

Kissinger's British Takeover of America

Though it took a few assassinations throughout the post war years, Kissinger's takeover of the State Department ushered in a new era of British occupation of American foreign policy, whereby the republic increasingly became the "Dumb Giant" acting as " American Brawn for the British brains " using Churchill's words. While a nihilistic generation of youth were tuning in on LSD, and an old guard of patriots surrounding Wallace and Kennedy had fallen to the "red scare" witch hunt, geopolitical theory was fed like a sweet poison down the throat of a sleeping nation, replacing a policy of peace and "win-win cooperation" advanced by true nationalist patriots as FDR, Wallace and the Kennedys, with an imperial clone masquerading as a republic.

Sir Kissinger did nothing less than reveal his total allegiance to the British Empire on May 10, 1981 during a Chatham House conference in Britain when he described his relationship with the British Foreign office in the following terms:

"The British were so matter-of-factly helpful that they became a participant in internal American deliberations, to a degree probably never practiced between sovereign nations In my White House incarnation then, I kept the British Foreign Office better informed and more closely engaged than I did the American State Department It was symptomatic ".

During this period, Kissinger worked closely with CIA director George Bush Senior, who was later rewarded for his role in advancing the British-planned first war on Kuwait with a knighthood. This war set the stage for the second wave of Middle East wars beginning with the Anglo-Saudi orchestrated operation known as 9/11 and the ushering in of the new "post-nation state order" by Kissinger and Blair.

This was the era which was celebrated by both Kissinger and Bush in sundry places as "the New World Order".

CTD Advisors – Rebuilding British Empire of Modern Times

CTD Advisors is a UK-based advisory that with insider informat