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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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[Jul 19, 2018] The Russian US Election Meddling Big Lie Won't Die by Stephen Lendman

Notable quotes:
"... Propaganda works, proved effective time and again – why it's a key tool in America's deep state playbook. ..."
"... Virtually anything repeated enough, especially through the major media megaphone, gets most people to believe it – no matter how preposterous the claim. ..."
"... Normalized relations with Russia and world peace are anathema notions in Washington. Bipartisan neocons infesting the US political establishment want none of it. America's hegemonic aims matter most – wanting dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations. Endless wars of aggression, color revolutions, and other unlawful practices harmful to human rights and welfare are its favored strategies. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Propaganda works, proved effective time and again – why it's a key tool in America's deep state playbook.

Virtually anything repeated enough, especially through the major media megaphone, gets most people to believe it – no matter how preposterous the claim.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia meddled in America's political process – nothing.

Yet an earlier NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed most Americans believe the Russia did it Big Lie. A months earlier Gallup poll showed three-fourths of Americans view Vladimir Putin unfavorably.

Americans are easy marks to be fooled. No matter how many times they were deceived before, they're easily manipulated to believe most anything drummed into their minds by the power of repetitious propaganda – fed them through through the major media megaphone – in lockstep with the official falsified narrative.

America's dominant media serve as a propaganda platform for US imperial and monied interests – acting as agents of deception, betraying their readers and viewers time and again instead of informing them responsibly.

CNN presstitute Poppy Harlow played a clip on air of Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asking Putin in Helsinki the following question:

"Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?"

Putin said: "Yes," he wanted Trump to win "because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal," as translated from his Russian language response.

Here's the precise translation of his remark:

"Yes, I wanted him to win, because he talked about the need to normalize US-Russia relations," adding:

"Isn't it natural to have sympathy towards a man who wants to restore relations with your country? That's normal."

Putin did not address the fabricated official narrative notion that he directed his officials to help Trump win. Yet CNN's Harlow claimed otherwise, falsely claiming he ordered Kremlin officials to help Trump triumph over Hillary.

He did nothing of the kind or say it, nor did any other Kremlin officials. No evidence proves otherwise – nothing but baseless accusations supported only by the power of deceptive propaganda.

Time and again, CNN, the NYT, and rest of America's dominant media prove themselves untrustworthy.

They consistently abandon journalism the way it's supposed to be, notably on geopolitical issues, especially on war and peace and anything about Russia.

After rejecting, or at least doubting, the official narrative about alleged Russian meddling in the US political process to aid his election, Trump backtracked post-Helsinki – capitulating to deep state power.

First in the White House, he said he misspoke abroad – then on CBS News Wednesday night, saying it's "true," deplorably adding:

Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, and he "would" hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for the interference – that didn't occur, he failed to stress.

Here's his verbatim exchange with CBS anchor Jeff Glor :

GLOR: "You say you agree with US intelligence that Russia meddled in the election in 2016."

TRUMP: "Yeah and I've said that before, Jeff. I have said that numerous times before, and I would say that is true, yeah."

GLOR: "But you haven't condemned Putin, specifically. Do you hold him personally responsible?"

TRUMP: "Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country. So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes."

GLOR: "What did you say to him?"

TRUMP: "Very strong on the fact that we can't have meddling. We can't have any of that – now look. We're also living in a grown-up world."

"Will a strong statement – you know – President Obama supposedly made a strong statement. Nobody heard it."

"What they did hear is a statement he made to Putin's very close friend. And that statement was not acceptable. Didn't get very much play relatively speaking. But that statement was not acceptable."

"But I let him know we can't have this. We're not going to have it, and that's the way it's going to be."

There you have it – Trump capitulating to America's deep state over Russia on national television.

From day one in power, he caved to the national security state, Wall Street, and other monied interests over popular ones.

The sole redeeming part of his agenda was wanting improved relations with Russia and Vladimir Putin personally – preferring peace over possible confrontation, wanting the threat of nuclear war defused.

Despite tweeting post-Helsinki that he and Putin "got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match," his remarks on CBS News showed he'll continue dirty US business as usual toward Russia.

Anything positive from summit talks appears abandoned by capitulating to deep state power controlling him and his agenda.

Normalized relations with Russia and world peace are anathema notions in Washington. Bipartisan neocons infesting the US political establishment want none of it. America's hegemonic aims matter most – wanting dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations. Endless wars of aggression, color revolutions, and other unlawful practices harmful to human rights and welfare are its favored strategies.

Will Americans go along with sacrificing vital freedoms for greater security from invented enemies – losing both? Will US belligerent confrontation with Russia inevitably follow? Will mushroom-shaped denouement eventually kill us all?

*

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html "

[Jul 19, 2018] Strzokgate is a documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the US democratic process

Probably not so much to short-circuit democratic process that was short-circuited long before them, but clearly they acted as the guardians of the neoliberal state.
Which confirm the iron law of oligarchy in the most direct way: not only the elite gradually escapes all the democratic control, they use their power as oranized minority to defend the status quo, not stopping at the most dirty dirty methods.
Jan 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Extracted from: The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate, by Ray McGovern - The Unz Review by Ray McGovern

Russia-gate is becoming FBI-gate, thanks to the official release of unguarded text messages between loose-lipped FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his garrulous girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. (Ten illustrative texts from their exchange appear at the end of this article.)

Despite his former job as chief of the FBI's counterintelligence section, Strzok had the naive notion that texting on FBI phones could not be traced. Strzok must have slept through "Surity 101." Or perhaps he was busy texting during that class. Girlfriend Page cannot be happy at being misled by his assurance that using office phones would be a secure way to conduct their affair(s).

It would have been unfortunate enough for Strzok and Page to have their adolescent-sounding texts merely exposed, revealing the reckless abandon of star-crossed lovers hiding (they thought) secrets from cuckolded spouses, office colleagues, and the rest of us. However, for the never-Trump plotters in the FBI, the official release of just a fraction (375) of almost 10,000 messages does incalculably more damage than that.

We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process. And that puts in a new and dark context the year-long promotion of Russia-gate. It now appears that it was not the Russians trying to rig the outcome of the U.S. election, but leading officials of the U.S. intelligence community, shadowy characters sometimes called the Deep State.

... ... ...

Ironically, the Strzok-Page texts provide something that the Russia-gate investigation has been sorely lacking: first-hand evidence of both corrupt intent and action. After months of breathless searching for "evidence" of Russian-Trump collusion designed to put Trump in the White House, what now exists is actual evidence that senior officials of the Obama administration colluded to keep Trump out of the White House – proof of what old-time gumshoes used to call "means, motive and opportunity."

[Jul 19, 2018] A Failing Nation by Dan Corjescu

Notable quotes:
"... Why Nations Fail ..."
"... Both cases, the inclusive and the extractive, tend to reinforce themselves through time by a process known as institutional drift. This is an historical tendency for institutions to maintain, strengthen, and reproduce themselves over time similar to the biological processes involved in genetic drift. ..."
"... Importantly the authors also take the time to mention Robert Michel's seminal idea concerning the iron law of oligarchy ..."
"... Neo-Paternalism ..."
"... The Origins of Political Order. ..."
"... In short, much like the earlier Michel, Fukuyama sees present day democracies drifting towards ever more nepotistic patterns of behavior where elites seize power and reward and distribute the fruits of that power to their close associates within their networks of influence. ..."
"... In effect, both men, see, as did Marx before them, the "constitutional democracies" as a sham as a kind of theater behind which the levers of power are exercised authoritatively with little regard to the true interests of the masses below them. ..."
"... In such an environment of centralized elite control, "media openness" can do little to rout out the opaque workings of carefully, surreptitiously orchestrated power. ..."
Jun 28, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

What are the necessary elements for the success of a modern nation state?

According to one justifiably popular and well-written book, Why Nations Fail , it all has to do with inclusive political and economic institutions which foster technological change which in turn leads to increasing prosperity for the many.

Two key aspects upholding such institutions are a strong centralized state and the rule of law. Without these two, a nation cannot hope to advance socially, politically, or economically. The negative of this rosy picture are nations which maintain and promote extractive political and economic institutions which serve the interests of a narrow elite.

Both cases, the inclusive and the extractive, tend to reinforce themselves through time by a process known as institutional drift. This is an historical tendency for institutions to maintain, strengthen, and reproduce themselves over time similar to the biological processes involved in genetic drift.

Importantly the authors also take the time to mention Robert Michel's seminal idea concerning the iron law of oligarchy which explains the historically documented tendency that large, complex organizations of any kind (democratic, socialist, conservative) fall under the sway of a small elite exercising absolute if cosmetically hidden power.

Our authors optimistically suggest that this law is not destiny and can be sufficiently controlled by ever expanding democratic institutions in civil society.

Opposed to this buoyant idea of increasing mass prosperity and political participation is Francis Fukuyama's discussion of Neo-Paternalism in his thought provoking magnum opus The Origins of Political Order.

In short, much like the earlier Michel, Fukuyama sees present day democracies drifting towards ever more nepotistic patterns of behavior where elites seize power and reward and distribute the fruits of that power to their close associates within their networks of influence.

In effect, both men, see, as did Marx before them, the "constitutional democracies" as a sham as a kind of theater behind which the levers of power are exercised authoritatively with little regard to the true interests of the masses below them.

In such an environment of centralized elite control, "media openness" can do little to rout out the opaque workings of carefully, surreptitiously orchestrated power.

Thus, a superficial reading of history might lead us to believe that we live in an increasingly "inclusive" society reflecting a rising tide of technological progress and economic prosperity. However, a closer look, might reveal a modicum of beneficence bestowed upon the many; while the Machiavellian few have managed behind a facade of democracy and nationalism to achieve unheard of sums of wealth, power, and influence once only dreamed of by despots, dictators, and demagogues of the past.

[Jul 18, 2018] The US elite is not a monolith and Trump is part of a faction of the elite rather than a groomed puppet. I think two three factions have broken off and won power. These factions would be old US money, US nationalists and zionists with Iran derangement syndrome.

Notable quotes:
"... US is a mess with so many derangement syndromes, even amongst the elite. Trump is something like a catalyst that causes the elite, and much of the US to separate into two distinctly different groupings of derangement syndrome. ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Jul 18, 2018 12:11:36 AM | 191

Daniel
I'm of a different mind when it comes to the elites/money. Was it you or somebody commented some time back that the US elite is not a monolith? No matter, I think Trump is part of a faction of the elite rather than a groomed puppet. There are a number of factions in the US, who mostly act in unison, but now, As anywhere the factions will overlap in interests, as in many with Iran derangement syndrome will overlap with those who have Russia derangement syndrome and so forth.
US is a mess with so many derangement syndromes, even amongst the elite. Trump is something like a catalyst that causes the elite, and much of the US to separate into two distinctly different groupings of derangement syndrome.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 17, 2018 11:35:02 PM | 188

Peter AU 1 @184. I have written, and do still absolutely believe that the 0.01% is not a monolith, and that they do compete, sometimes with absolutely disastrous effects on humans.

I just don't see this Trump vs. "Deep State" or whatever as an example of that. The 0.01% and their MSM who we are told is "the resistance" helped create and bolster the Trump Brand, and are profiting mightily from his Administration.

I just saw an article showing Goldman Sachs' profits have gone up 44% since Trump. Again, not "The Grand Coincidence" that Trump stuffed the swamp with more GS creatures of the black lagoon than any other President in history.

Or, are GS now anti-globalists, playing along with Trump's brilliant 5-D chess? ;-)

Seriously, what AZ Empire elitists have suffered under the Trump Administration?

The extraction industries are flying high. The MIC is raking it in. The supra-national banksters.... well, they always do well, but they're obviously thrilled as is Wall Street in general.

As I noted above, even the failing media of the NY Times and MSDNC are in boon times! Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert were in the ratings cellar until Trump, now they're tops in their slots. Michael frigging Moore and U2 are relevant again! ;-)

Seriously, I had asked who benefits. But the easier question has to be who suffers?


Peter AU 1 , Jul 18, 2018 12:26:04 AM | 196

Daniel
Trump's swamp is very different from what most of us here at b's see as the swamp. Trump's swamp is what Pat Lang at SST terms as the borg. It is the pidgins strutting around shitting on the chessboard (Putin), the Zbig foreign policy 'ex-spurts' blinded by Russia derangement syndrome.
Circe , Jul 17, 2018 11:49:39 PM | 189
Methinks the media pot is calling the Trump kettle black; or is it the other way around? They're interchangeable; they're like a jacket that has two sides one can wear when the other side looks too dirty.

Same thing with the Washington duopoly. When one starts to look transparent; the other one takes over.

It's all a racket people. Stop buying into the media and duopoly system and it'll lose its power. They exist on your desperation, your need for illusion and your insanity i.e. doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result when you know it's clearly not working!

Trump is the master illusionist du jour even topping Obama, who was like the charming preacher minus the performing snakes. Perhaps the only true statement to come out of Hillary's mouth was about her rival.: "The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be heard and the world will be perfect.

She should know; she peddles the same.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day...err...once.

Daniel , Jul 17, 2018 11:23:48 PM | 184
Circe @| 173, why does the Zionist owned and controlled media in Israel LOVE Trump, but the Zionist owned and controlled media in the US/EU HATE him?

And that is one of the (many) reasons why I do not believe the MSM narrative that Trump is an outsider whom they hate. Trump fans know the MSM lies to us about everything, big and small. And yet, they totally believe the MSM narrative about Trump and their relationship with him.

I am reminded of the atheist challenge to believers in a monotheistic religion. "You are atheistic about all the other gods except one. I am merely atheistic about one more god than you."

Well, I disbelieve one more MSM narrative than most.

[Jul 18, 2018] National (In)Security by Rajan Menon

Notable quotes:
"... $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America ..."
"... Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America ..."
"... , is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the Powell School, City College of New York, and Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. He is the author, most recently, of ..."
Jul 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

So effectively has the Beltway establishment captured the concept of national security that, for most of us, it automatically conjures up images of terrorist groups, cyber warriors, or "rogue states." To ward off such foes, the United States maintains a historically unprecedented constellation of military bases abroad and, since 9/11, has waged wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere that have gobbled up nearly $4.8 trillion . The 2018 Pentagon budget already totals $647 billion -- four times what China, second in global military spending, shells out and more than the next 12 countries combined, seven of them American allies. For good measure, Donald Trump has added an additional $200 billion to projected defense expenditures through 2019.

Yet to hear the hawks tell it, the United States has never been less secure. So much for bang for the buck.

For millions of Americans, however, the greatest threat to their day-to-day security isn't terrorism or North Korea, Iran, Russia, or China. It's internal -- and economic. That's particularly true for the 12.7% of Americans (43.1 million of them) classified as poor by the government's criteria : an income below $12,140 for a one-person household, $16,460 for a family of two, and so on until you get to the princely sum of $42,380 for a family of eight.

Savings aren't much help either: a third of Americans have no savings at all and another third have less than $1,000 in the bank. Little wonder that families struggling to cover the cost of food alone increased from 11% (36 million) in 2007 to 14% (48 million) in 2014.

The Working Poor

Unemployment can certainly contribute to being poor, but millions of Americans endure poverty when they have full-time jobs or even hold down more than one job. The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that there are 8.6 million "working poor," defined by the government as people who live below the poverty line despite being employed at least 27 weeks a year. Their economic insecurity doesn't register in our society, partly because working and being poor don't seem to go together in the minds of many Americans -- and unemployment has fallen reasonably steadily. After approaching 10% in 2009, it's now at only 4% .

Help from the government? Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare " reform " program , concocted in partnership with congressional Republicans, imposed time limits on government assistance, while tightening eligibility criteria for it. So, as Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer show in their disturbing book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America , many who desperately need help don't even bother to apply. And things will only get worse in the age of Trump. His 2019 budget includes deep cuts in a raft of anti-poverty programs.

Anyone seeking a visceral sense of the hardships such Americans endure should read Barbara Ehrenreich's 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America . It's a gripping account of what she learned when, posing as a "homemaker" with no special skills, she worked for two years in various low-wage jobs, relying solely on her earnings to support herself. The book brims with stories about people who had jobs but, out of necessity, slept in rent-by-the-week fleabag motels, flophouses, or even in their cars, subsisting on vending machine snacks for lunch, hot dogs and instant noodles for dinner , and forgoing basic dental care or health checkups. Those who managed to get permanent housing would choose poor, low-rent neighborhoods close to work because they often couldn't afford a car. To maintain even such a barebones lifestyle, many worked more than one job.

Though politicians prattle on about how times have changed for the better, Ehrenreich's book still provides a remarkably accurate picture of America's working poor. Over the past decade the proportion of people who exhausted their monthly paychecks just to pay for life's essentials actually increased from 31% to 38%. In 2013, 71% of the families that had children and used food pantries run by Feeding America, the largest private organization helping the hungry, included at least one person who had worked during the previous year. And in America's big cities , chiefly because of a widening gap between rent and wages, thousands of working poor remain homeless , sleeping in shelters, on the streets, or in their vehicles, sometimes along with their families. In New York City, no outlier when it comes to homelessness among the working poor, in a third of the families with children that use homeless shelters at least one adult held a job.

The Wages of Poverty

The working poor cluster in certain occupations. They are salespeople in retail stores, servers or preparers of fast food, custodial staff, hotel workers, and caregivers for children or the elderly. Many make less than $10 an hour and lack any leverage, union or otherwise, to press for raises. In fact, the percentage of unionized workers in such jobs remains in the single digits -- and in retail and food preparation, it's under 4.5%. That's hardly surprising, given that private sector union membership has fallen by 50% since 1983 to only 6.7% of the workforce.

Low-wage employers like it that way and -- Walmart being the poster child for this -- work diligently to make it ever harder for employees to join unions. As a result, they rarely find themselves under any real pressure to increase wages, which, adjusted for inflation, have stood still or even decreased since the late 1970s. When employment is " at-will ," workers may be fired or the terms of their work amended on the whim of a company and without the slightest explanation. Walmart announced this year that it would hike its hourly wage to $11 and that's welcome news. But this had nothing to do with collective bargaining; it was a response to the drop in the unemployment rate, cash flows from the Trump tax cut for corporations (which saved Walmart as much as $2 billion ), an increase in minimum wages in a number of states, and pay increases by an arch competitor, Target. It was also accompanied by the shutdown of 63 of Walmart's Sam's Club stores, which meant layoffs for 10,000 workers. In short, the balance of power almost always favors the employer, seldom the employee.

As a result, though the United States has a per-capita income of $59,500 and is among the wealthiest countries in the world, 12.7% of Americans (that's 43.1 million people), officially are impoverished. And that's generally considered a significant undercount. The Census Bureau establishes the poverty rate by figuring out an annual no-frills family food budget, multiplying it by three, adjusting it for household size, and pegging it to the Consumer Price Index. That, many economists believe, is a woefully inadequate way of estimating poverty. Food prices haven't risen dramatically over the past 20 years, but the cost of other necessities like medical care (especially if you lack insurance) and housing have: 10.5% and 11.8% respectively between 2013 and 2017 compared to an only 5.5% increase for food.

Include housing and medical expenses in the equation and you get the Supplementary Poverty Measure (SPM), published by the Census Bureau since 2011. It reveals that a larger number of Americans are poor: 14% or 45 million in 2016.

Dismal Data

For a fuller picture of American (in)security, however, it's necessary to delve deeper into the relevant data, starting with hourly wages, which are the way more than 58% of adult workers are paid. The good news: only 1.8 million , or 2.3% of them, subsist at or below minimum wage. The not-so-good news: one-third of all workers earn less than $12 an hour and 42% earn less than $15. That's $24,960 and $31,200 a year. Imagine raising a family on such incomes, figuring in the cost of food, rent, childcare, car payments (since a car is often a necessity simply to get to a job in a country with inadequate public transportation), and medical costs.

The problem facing the working poor isn't just low wages, but the widening gap between wages and rising prices. The government has increased the hourly federal minimum wage more than 20 times since it was set at 25 cents under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Between 2007 and 2009 it rose to $7.25, but over the past decade that sum lost nearly 10% of its purchasing power to inflation, which means that, in 2018, someone would have to work 41 additional days to make the equivalent of the 2009 minimum wage.

Workers in the lowest 20% have lost the most ground, their inflation-adjusted wages falling by nearly 1% between 1979 and 2016, compared to a 24.7% increase for the top 20%. This can't be explained by lackluster productivity since, between 1985 and 2015, it outstripped pay raises, often substantially, in every economic sector except mining.

Yes, states can mandate higher minimum wages and 29 have, but 21 have not, leaving many low-wage workers struggling to cover the costs of two essentials in particular: health care and housing.

Even when it comes to jobs that offer health insurance, employers have been shifting ever more of its cost onto their workers through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as by requiring them to cover more of the premiums. The percentage of workers who paid at least 10% of their earnings to cover such costs -- not counting premiums -- doubled between 2003 and 2014.

This helps explain why, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , only 11% of workers in the bottom 10% of wage earners even enrolled in workplace healthcare plans in 2016 (compared to 72% in the top 10%). As a restaurant server who makes $2.13 an hour before tips -- and whose husband earns $9 an hour at Walmart -- put it , after paying the rent, "it's either put food in the house or buy insurance."

The Affordable Care Act, or ACA (aka Obamacare), provided subsidies to help people with low incomes cover the cost of insurance premiums, but workers with employer-supplied healthcare, no matter how low their wages, weren't covered by it. Now, of course, President Trump , congressional Republicans , and a Supreme Court in which right-wing justices are going to be even more influential will be intent on poleaxing the ACA.

It's housing, though, that takes the biggest bite out of the paychecks of low-wage workers. The majority of them are renters. Ownership remains for many a pipe dream. According to a Harvard study , between 2001 and 2016, renters who made $30,000-$50,000 a year and paid more than a third of their earnings to landlords (the threshold for qualifying as "rent burdened") increased from 37% to 50%. For those making only $15,000, that figure rose to 83%.

In other words, in an ever more unequal America, the number of low-income workers struggling to pay their rent has surged. As the Harvard analysis shows, this is, in part, because the number of affluent renters (with incomes of $100,000 or more) has leapt and, in city after city, they're driving the demand for, and building of, new rental units. As a result, the high-end share of new rental construction soared from a third to nearly two-thirds of all units between 2001 and 2016. Not surprisingly, new low-income rental units dropped from two-fifths to one-fifth of the total and, as the pressure on renters rose, so did rents for even those modest dwellings. On top of that, in places like New York City , where demand from the wealthy shapes the housing market, landlords have found ways -- some within the law, others not -- to get rid of low-income tenants.

Public housing and housing vouchers are supposed to make housing affordable to low-income households, but the supply of public housing hasn't remotely matched demand. Consequently, waiting lists are long and people in need languish for years before getting a shot -- if they ever do. Only a quarter of those who qualify for such assistance receive it. As for those vouchers, getting them is hard to begin with because of the massive mismatch between available funding for the program and the demand for the help it provides. And then come the other challenges : finding landlords willing to accept vouchers or rentals that are reasonably close to work and not in neighborhoods euphemistically labelled " distressed ."

The bottom line: more than 75% of "at-risk" renters (those for whom the cost of rent exceeds 30% or more of their earnings) do not receive assistance from the government. The real "risk" for them is becoming homeless, which means relying on shelters or family and friends willing to take them in.

President Trump's proposed budget cuts will make life even harder for low-income workers seeking affordable housing. His 2019 budget proposal slashes $6.8 billion (14.2%) from the resources of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) by, among other things, scrapping housing vouchers and assistance to low-income families struggling to pay heating bills. The president also seeks to slash funds for the upkeep of public housing by nearly 50%. In addition, the deficits that his rich-come-first tax "reform" bill is virtually guaranteed to produce will undoubtedly set the stage for yet more cuts in the future. In other words, in what's becoming the United States of Inequality, the very phrases "low-income workers" and "affordable housing" have ceased to go together.

None of this seems to have troubled HUD Secretary Ben Carson who happily ordered a $31,000 dining room set for his office suite at the taxpayers' expense, even as he visited new public housing units to make sure that they weren't too comfortable (lest the poor settle in for long stays). Carson has declared that it's time to stop believing the problems of this society can be fixed merely by having the government throw extra money at them -- unless, apparently, the dining room accoutrements of superbureaucrats aren't up to snuff.

Money Talks

The levels of poverty and economic inequality that prevail in America are not intrinsic to either capitalism or globalization. Most other wealthy market economies in the 36-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have done far better than the United States in reducing them without sacrificing innovation or creating government-run economies.

Take the poverty gap, which the OECD defines as the difference between a country's official poverty line and the average income of those who fall below it. The United States has the second largest poverty gap among wealthy countries; only Italy does worse.

Child poverty ? In the World Economic Forum's ranking of 41 countries -- from best to worst -- the U.S. placed 35th. Child poverty has declined in the United States since 2010, but a Columbia University report estimates that 19% of American kids (13.7 million) nevertheless lived in families with incomes below the official poverty line in 2016. If you add in the number of kids in low-income households, that number increases to 41%.

As for infant mortality , according to the government's own Centers for Disease Control, the U.S., with 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, has the absolute worst record among wealthy countries. (Finland and Japan do best with 2.3.)

And when it comes to the distribution of wealth, among the OECD countries only Turkey, Chile, and Mexico do worse than the U.S.

It's time to rethink the American national security state with its annual trillion-dollar budget. For tens of millions of Americans, the source of deep workaday insecurity isn't the standard roster of foreign enemies, but an ever-more entrenched system of inequality, still growing , that stacks the political deck against the least well-off Americans. They lack the bucks to hire big-time lobbyists. They can't write lavish checks to candidates running for public office or fund PACs. They have no way of manipulating the myriad influence-generating networks that the elite uses to shape taxation and spending policies. They are up against a system in which money truly does talk -- and that's the voice they don't have. Welcome to the United States of Inequality.

Rajan Menon, a TomDispatch regular , is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the Powell School, City College of New York, and Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. He is the author, most recently, of The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention .


ThreeCranes , July 16, 2018 at 1:56 am GMT

"the United States has a per-capita income of $59,500 and is among the wealthiest countries in the world"

"and 42% earn less than $15. That's ..$31,200 a year."

Something doesn't add up. There is no way that the per capita income of the United States is $59,500.

Ahh, upon clicking the link, I see it is the mean. Meaning it's meaningless.

anon [266] Disclaimer , July 16, 2018 at 2:56 am GMT
But Rajan ,the American can always " honor the military " at the fast food drive through, even send a few pennies for the Wounded Warrior Project ,in addition to buying lotteries, and writing the tithe to the Mega Churches seeking blessing for the military men and women in uniform . They can sing with Trump"Make America Great Again " . They can come out of the woodshed to support wars , say things against Mexican, listen to FOX,and gather around Prospect park to celebrate birthdays , hop into a bus and continue texting to update the status on social media . They can nod with MSNBC that they have the best freedom that any corner of the world can afford . They if white can claim being discriminated by Asian Americans,if black by Mexicans,if Latinos by whites .
Now it seems they could feel proud of the ability to guide China UK and Brazil/Argentina do the right things .
Carlton Meyer , Website July 16, 2018 at 4:32 am GMT
Why do these experts fail to understand that our national security budget is twice that of the Department of Defense? It is no secret, POGO runs a tally showing it's twice as much:

http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2018/americas-national-security-budget-nearing-1-trillion.html

For example, nuclear weapons are not included in our "defense budget" but eat up more than half of the budget for our Dept of Energy!

This author also fails to explain that mass immigration is the primary cause of stagnant wages for the working poor. From my blog:

Jul 16, 2018 – Illegal Immigration Replaced Slave Labor

In past blog posts, I explained how illegal immigration is a form of slave labor. It seems powerful people explained this to former President George W. Bush, but didn't tell him not to repeat it in public and that Americans no longer pick cotton by hand. As a result, Bush said this during a speech earlier this year:

"There are people willing to do jobs that Americans won't do. Americans don't want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want put food on their family's tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them."

https://www.apnews.com/fb98faa8f69b4135a9a866e0b61a6593/George-W.-Bush-says-Russia-meddled-in-2016-US-election

Bush failed to note that millionaires pay only $10 an hour with no benefits for these tough jobs, yet most field workers are US citizens or green card holders. Illegals are hired to hold down wages and deter unions and strikes. If they would pay $20 an hour, plenty of Americans would show up to work. Most Americans don't know that millions of white Americans once picked cotton by hand, and picked more than Blacks or Mexicans.

peterAUS , July 16, 2018 at 5:20 am GMT
Articles like this pop up here every now and then.
Something doesn't compute.

If the situation is as grim as the article says, why so many people do their best to immigrate into USA?

Why more, just Westerners, try to immigrate into USA then Americans into those, just Western, countries?

I've known some Americans around here where I live.
I've known many more locals who've gone to live in USA, let alone tried to get to live in USA.

Something simply does not compute.

A simple question for an American:
If a person is prudent and sensible, is it really that hard to get by, unemployed, there?

Now, in similar topic an American did explain, some time ago, that there are so many ways to help those unemployed/underpaid. That the social security net isn't worse, but actually overall better, then in other Western countries.
Plus, of course, opportunities.

Again, all that data from the article I can't challenge. What doesn't make sense is net migration, just within Western sphere.

I do know some people, several dozen I guess, who live in USA. They have been doing quite well. From a bus driver to a top medical professional.

Anyone cares to shed some light there ?

Biff , July 16, 2018 at 6:07 am GMT

For a fuller picture of American (in)security, however, it's necessary to delve deeper into the relevant data, starting with hourly wages, which are the way more than 58% of adult workers are paid. The good news: only 1.8 million, or 2.3% of them, subsist at or below minimum wage. The not-so-good news: one-third of all workers earn less than $12 an hour and 42% earn less than $15. That's $24,960 and $31,200 a year. Imagine raising a family on such incomes, figuring in the cost of food, rent, childcare, car payments (since a car is often a necessity simply to get to a job in a country with inadequate public transportation), and medical costs.

You forgot another expense poor communities have – governmental extraction forces GEF. Local law enforcement target the poor with the many petty offenses(they've purposely invented) to extract money for expanding and maintaining of their extortion racket. This no secret or conspiracy theory, for they readily admit to it. They target the poor because they understand that the poor do not have resources(lawyers, guns, and money) to fight back. They target the poor because they're poor, and the poor understand this as just another bill to pay – another added expense of living in their community.

Another indirect expense that makes all Americans a lot less rich – insurance. Everything that moves and everything that doesn't is at least singular insured or often double or tripled insured. Property is a good example of how one entity can be insured three times over by the owner, renter, contractor, sub-contractor. Your body is another example of how things "must be insured" ; no surprise when Obama care came along to do just that.

jilles dykstra , July 16, 2018 at 7:09 am GMT
Trump makes clear statements, I too like them.
For me the USA is a third world country, the exceptions are oversized cars and gated communities.
On one of my visits to the USA I was asked if a child could be medically treated in the Netherlands, the choice for the parents was letting the child die, or sell their house.
In the Netherlands we have treatments that cost several hundred thousands of euro's per year, paid for by our medical care system.
Per person we pay about € 100 per month.
Pensions, the same.
Though the EU is busy destroying the best pension systems in the world, those of the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, this has not yet succeeded.
A disaster as the ENRON pension fund cannot happen here.
The USA is a great country to live in if you're rich.
And, of course, if you're willing to have the illusion that the poor have only themselves to blame for being poor.
USA society, terrible, in my opinion, 19th century, a moneycracy.
Eisenhower in his farewell speech warned for the military industrial complex, do not have the impression that anything changed since then.
Stripes Duncan , July 16, 2018 at 7:24 am GMT
What percentage of the population growth of the United States since 1965 has been a result of immigrants and their descendants?

You cannot discuss the subject of this article without asking this question. It's at the very center of the issue.

H. T. , July 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT
3 weeks after the US-NATO FAILED coup attempt in Georgia (more than 2000 died), the petrodollar [i.e., the banks) "crashed" (and Bush gave more than additional weapons [for more than $1 Billion) to Sakashviili] .

Moreover, as Mr Kucinich explain, massive transfers occurred between certain banks :

ALSO, a must: The Truth About Glass-Steagall

https://www.corbettreport.com/the-truth-about-glass-steagall/

anon [228] Disclaimer , July 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

The USA is a great country to live in if you're rich."

And if you hold large number of slaves known as immigrants from Central and S America
Immigrants serve same purpose the slaves did . It balances the poor middle class white's rage that can tilt the anger and hatred against the rich ( mostly white ).

This situation goes right into the creation of US It missed the social and political and religious changes of 18 th and 19 the centuries which gave birth to pre 2000 political system and social systems of EU .

Implosion of Soviet lent more credence to the economic-political system of USA because the blind and the deaf evaluated it for teh blind and the deaf who missed the success of the system on the back of African Latin American and Asian poor newly independent ) confused ) countries. Those countries provided the ingredients- moral ,economic,emotional , – to the working white class . It b;bolstered their hatred dismissive attitude to the foreigners and cemented their love for a hateful system that hurt actually the interest of the middle class and poor whites but gave them a sense of connection ,belonging,and partnerships through color language and religion- all are false .
This is the same mindset that glues the the untouchables and the poor Hindus to the RSS- BJP – Brahmanical system of oppression

[Jul 17, 2018] All the post WWII wars were done in the same way: demonizing leaders, defending democracy , false flag ops.

Jul 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

silver140 -> Free This Tue, 07/17/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

Within minutes MSM had the theme to broadcast. It was from their puppet masters in the FBI/CIA. They're told what to say. There's no doubt about that now.

Also, there's no doubt that they are pushing for war with Russia, within months or a few years, depending on what happens to Trump.

The Russians will know this now. All the post WWII wars were done in the same way: demonizing leaders, "defending democracy", false flag ops. But this present push is for the end game of killing the host; which is the life strategy of the parasitoid. The complete destruction of humanity and total ecocide.

The parasitoid corporate fascists are now in full control of the media and their disease vector politicians/bureaucrats, not just in the US but the EU/NATO as well.

A parasitoid is an organism that lives in close association with its host and at the host's expense, and which sooner or later kills it. Parasitoidism is one of six major evolutionary strategies within parasitism . Parasitoidism is distinguished by the fatal prognosis for the host, which makes the strategy close to predation .

In epidemiology , a disease vector is any agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism; [1] [2]

[Jul 15, 2018] How Presidents Are Broken in by the Deep State by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... the first week when they get the full classified briefings that are carefully prepared both to inform and to enhance the value of the agency doing the briefing. In the case of the Central Intelligence Agency, the most secret clandestine operations are revealed in power point to convince the new chief executive that the intelligence community is keeping the nation safe. The Pentagon for its part unveils flashy new weapons systems either about to come on line or being planned to demonstrate its ability to deter aggression from any source. ..."
Jun 22, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

"The systematic attempts to get the president on one's side inevitably are more successful with chief executives lacking experience in government as they have nothing to measure the power points they are seeing against"

I recall how a friend of mine who once served as a senior Pentagon intelligence briefer described what he called "breaking in" a new president. Today, incoming presidents receive some intelligence briefings so that they do not land in office on a cold January day totally unprepared for what awaits them. But generally speaking, the real surprises are unveiled during the first week when they get the full classified briefings that are carefully prepared both to inform and to enhance the value of the agency doing the briefing. In the case of the Central Intelligence Agency, the most secret clandestine operations are revealed in power point to convince the new chief executive that the intelligence community is keeping the nation safe. The Pentagon for its part unveils flashy new weapons systems either about to come on line or being planned to demonstrate its ability to deter aggression from any source.

The thinking is that if you get the new president on board in his first few days he will be yours forever, signing off on budget increases year after year while also providing political cover when things go wrong. While the Defense Department and intelligence community benefit from the process and are frequently able to get the president's ear because they are able to unveil some sensational "secrets," other government agencies also competing for dollars do not have that appeal and do not do so well. State Department, for example, rarely makes much of an impression because its work is basically prosaic.

The systematic attempts to get the president on one's side inevitably are more successful with chief executives lacking experience in government as they have nothing to measure the power points they are seeing against. President George H. W. Bush, emerging from years spent as a naval officer, a congressman and CIA Director, is unlikely to have been much influenced by a briefing. President Bill Clinton, harboring a negative perception about CIA, did not even see his Director James Woolsey for over a year. But, on balance, most new presidents are willing to be seduced by the inside-the-Beltway establishment as represented by the Pentagon and the intelligence community.

Donald Trump in particular appears to have succumbed, deferring to generals and intelligence chiefs much more often than not, but he has also taken the message of American omnipotence too much to heart. Trump, with no military or government experience, defers to the national security advocates without any sense of the hard reality that all actions have consequences.

The Pentagon is still planning for a military parade in Washington on Veterans' Day in November, a huge waste of resources that will do little more than stroke the presidential ego. And the open admiration for the armed forces makes it easy for Trump to think first of using weapons and coercion instead of diplomacy, to launch cruise missiles and endorse an admitted torturer as the new CIA Chief. The president is very much wedded to the idea that the United States can go it alone if necessary and the rules that constrain other nations need not apply, a very dangerous conceit.

There have been several ominous developments in Syria, which could bring the U.S. nose-to-nose with Russian forces in the country. A recent Israeli airstrike , initially credited to Washington, appears to have killed 52 Syrian soldiers. There have also been rumors in Washington that the Administration is preparing for something "big" in Syria, possibly related to warnings from the Pentagon that Syrian forces have been threatening the unilaterally declared "de-escalation zone" in the country's southeast. This suggests that the U.S. will block attempts by the government in Damascus to regain control of areas until recently dominated by terrorists. Trump has also quietly restored funding to the so-called White Helmets, a terrorist front group much loved by Hollywood and Congress.

All of these steps in Syria serve no real American interest. More ominously, Trump has now revealed that he has ordered the Pentagon to create a military Space Force as a new branch of the armed forces. He explained " Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security. It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space."

How other nations will adapt to American rule over outer space and the planets is difficult to predict, but if the past seventeen years of Washington's assertion of its supremacy are anything to go by, the result will be very, very bad. And it is quite unsettling to also observe that a nation that clearly cannot provide access to decent health care for its citizens is now aspiring to turn the moon into a fortified bastion.


Source: Strategic Culture

[Jul 15, 2018] What Mueller won't find by Bob In Portland

Highly recommended!
So Mueller was a CIA mole in FBI fromthe very beginning. Interesting...
Notable quotes:
"... You could say that Mueller married into the CIA, except that his great uncle was Richard Bissell. So between his family and his wife's family Mueller had two of the three people that Kennedy fired before he was assassinated by a "lone nut", as well as the mayor who hosted the assassination. The third man fired was Allen Dulles, who sat on the Warren Commission and managed to keep the CIA out of the investigation into JFK's murder. Perhaps Dulles was a guest at the wedding. ..."
"... Mueller would invariably land on cases with Deep State intelligence connections. ..."
"... Mueller, who had been appointed Assistant U.S. Prosecutor under GHW Bush, became FBI Director under George W. Bush just in time not to see the CIA fingerprints on 9/11, which should not be surprising considering whom he didn't see when he investigated BCCI. ..."
"... Additionally, Mueller oversaw the anthrax letter case, never investigating Battelle Memorial Corporation, which had a building within a mile of the mailbox where the letters had been mailed. (Battelle Memorial's corporate motto is "It Can Be Done".) Instead, he centered FBI investigations on scientists in government labs in Fort Detrick, Maryland, who had neither the expertise nor the equipment to make the weaponized military grade anthrax found in the letters. One scientist sued and won millions. The other allegedly "committed suicide". Battelle is noteworthy because it handles the US military's anthrax program. Mueller had no interest that two of the targets who received anthrax letters were at the time the most vociferous opponents of the Bush Administration's Patriot Act. ..."
"... Perhaps his greatest accomplishment aiding the Deep State as FBI Director was his shutting down of Operation Green Quest, the FBI's investigation into the funding behind 9/11 and the terrorist network behind it. Names began popping up like Grover Norquist, the Muslim Brotherhood, old Nazis and the royal family of Luxembourg. Nothing to see here. Move along. ..."
"... @detroitmechworks ..."
"... Only thing missing for me was the tie in to Pappy Bush and the rest of the family. Mueller the consigliere of the CIA. Oh man how fucked are we? ..."
"... Great history of how corrupt Mueller has always been and how he has covered up for so many crimes. I'm just stunned by the number of people who have decided that Mueller's history and the history of the CIA, FBI and the other intelligence agencies wasn't that bad after all just because they are going after Trump. This selective amnesia is simply amazing, isn't it? ..."
"... Clinton's role in helping the CIA to smuggle drugs into Arkansas is never talked about either. Or if it is it's called "a right wing attempt to bring them down." ..."
"... that explains why centrist and liberal media have a disturbing tendency to rehabilitate some of the most vile, reactionary forces on the American right simply because they say vaguely negative things about Donald Trump -- a phenomenon we call "Trumpwashing." ..."
"... Just like Mueller, Brennan is one more war criminal whose actions seem to have been forgotten. ..."
"... Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing. ..."
"... Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump. ..."
"... Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing. ..."
"... Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump. ..."
"... The seas were calm and the skies were clear." ..."
"... "The reason why the ship went down is because of the massive storm that came out of nowhere." ..."
"... It would appear at first glance this is basically an effort at espionage only ..."
"... as it appears they don't ..."
"... I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. ..."
"... Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing. ..."
"... Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump. ..."
"... Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing. ..."
"... Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump. ..."
Jul 12, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

In the 1950s, when the science fiction genre started making itself felt in movies, there was always the pivotal scene where the protagonist discovers the dark secret but no one will believe him: a flying saucer hidden under the sand in a field, truckloads of pod people to replace real people, or that the friendly aliens' book "To Serve Man" wasn't a guide to helping humans, but a cookbook. It's that moment of sudden realization that no one will believe the hero because it sounds too crazy to believe.

Granted, to the uninitiated, coming to a realization so shocking and threatening to your current mental construction of the world can appear like paranoia. It becomes a question of the discoverer's knowledge and senses over what everyone else believes. Everyone else seems to be allowing him or herself to be absorbed into the great growing evil.

Today many of us, certainly readers here at Caucus99, are finding ourselves in similar positions. Our political structure is a lie, the people who are supposed to represent us and our interests don't, our law enforcement protects the property of the rich, not our lives, and often are in cahoots with the criminals from whom we are supposed to be protected. I am sure that many of our old friends and acquaintances have been alienated from some of us here when we began talking about Hillary's track record during the Presidential campaign, for example. In our current pasteboard world, if you are a Republican or Democrat you must assume that your designated political party, maybe with a couple of exceptions, are there to look after you.

And there that crazy friend goes, yelling about cookbooks.

I suppose my introduction to the corruption of those in power, at thirteen, was the assassination of JFK. Not actually the assassination, but the murder of Oswald two days later, in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters. I had slept overnight at a friend's and we came back from shooting basketballs to watch the transfer of Oswald to another facility. That was the moment that I realized all wasn't what it seemed. But, like most kids my age, the Beatles came along in a month or so and I was swept into the world of rock and roll, which kept me occupied until I began noticing girls. Until 1968. I was still noticing girls and rock and roll, but I was also noticing the number of progressives being gunned down by "lone nuts". And I was noticing Vietnam.

I'm not sharing this to explain to you how I became (that loathsome term) a "conspiracy theorist". I just want to explain to you that the democracy of the United States, and all the characters running across the stage in Washington, D.C., are the cookbook.

I wrote an essay here back in April of 2017 explaining how the Russiagate scandal had been designed to give Hillary Clinton a casus belli for her future war against Russia, and that what we were seeing since she lost has been a recycling of it to get Trump in line with the goals of the Deep State. So far nothing much has happened that has moved me from that belief. Now that the Deep State seems to have persuaded our Dear Leader that he can go on being himself as long as he understands the actual hierarchy and doesn't get in the way the Deep State, everything seems to be back on track. At least until Donald's next tweet.

But in order to understand the depth of criminality in our system one has to understand how things are done. After World War II a lot of social awareness began putting pressure on the old system that had driven the world into the Great Depression. FDR had demonstrated that the government could look out for the poor, could give them jobs when there were no other jobs to be had. The GI Bill sent millions of vets to college and helped to create the middle class we used to have. Unions had real power in negotiating wages and terms of service. Government could create a system to help the elderly. The African Americans, coming back home from fighting a war against fascism, refused go to the coloreds only water fountains. In short, the United States were in for some growing pains.

What happened? As I mentioned above there was a rash of murders of progressive political candidates and leaders in the sixties. But in order for the forces behind a return to the old rules to keep a lid on any revolutions there had to be something better than shooting every progressive who raised his head above the lectern. Thus the wave of recruitment of agents and assets in the late sixties by the CIA, FBI and other agencies. Although I didn't know it directly at the time, arriving on campus in 1968 it was evident that there was a "presence" of people looking over the shoulders of student activists.

Which brings me to another great revelation. It's not just politicians and political parties that are serving the Deep State. Any agency that can be corrupted by power will be, eventually.

Which brings us to the courts.

There are certain things that must be preserved for a ruling class to remain legitimate in the eyes of the public. Some people don't think much beyond the flag. But there are other things. The media is better than ever at keeping uncomfortable truths from the majority of Americans. But what happens where the criminality of the Deep State collides with our judicial system?

Let me introduce you to the man of the hour in Washington, Robert Swann Mueller III. Robert was born into the upper crust in our American class system. At one point in his education in private schools John Kerry was a classmate. (Kerry was also a fellow Bonesman with the Bushes.) Mueller met his eventual bride, Ann Cabell Standish, at one of the dances they attended. They married in 1966, three years after John Kennedy's assassination. If you have read much about the JFK assassination you would recognize her middle name. Her grandfather, Charles Cabell, had been second in command at the CIA when John Kennedy was elected President. In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy fired three men from leadership positions at the CIA: Director Allen Dulles, Cabell and Richard Bissell. Charles Cabell was Ann's grandfather. Her grand uncle, Earle Cabell, was the mayor of Dallas at the time of Kennedy's murder there. Recently declassified JFK documents revealed that Mayor Cabell was also an asset of the CIA at the time. Small world. You could say that Mueller married into the CIA, except that his great uncle was Richard Bissell. So between his family and his wife's family Mueller had two of the three people that Kennedy fired before he was assassinated by a "lone nut", as well as the mayor who hosted the assassination. The third man fired was Allen Dulles, who sat on the Warren Commission and managed to keep the CIA out of the investigation into JFK's murder. Perhaps Dulles was a guest at the wedding.

Soon thereafter Mueller decided to go to Vietnam because, he said, a classmate had died there and patriotism and so forth. He became an officer and eventually ended up as an aide-de-camp for the 3rd Marine Division's commanding general, General William K. Jones. Something else was going on in Vietnam. The CIA had installed its Phoenix Program. I cannot do justice to the Phoenix Program and won't considering Doug Valentine's work on it is available for everyone, but the Phoenix Program was the CIA's attempt to totally control the Vietnamese population. Besides massacres of villages, the program assassinated suspected leaders and spies for the Vietcong, coerced others into being their agents, and kept up files on all the relevant Vietnamese down to the village level. Like in later wars, the CIA incorporated torture, murder and psychological techniques in order to control their targets. As an aide-de-camp to a commanding Marine general, there is no way that Mueller didn't know about the Phoenix Program. He probably saw daily briefings.

When he came back to the US he studied law and quickly became a federal prosecutor.

One of the things to mark his career was to deny a pardon to Patty Hearst for her part in the whole Symbionese Liberation Army's "terror" campaign. What did the SLA have to do with anything? A short history: Donald DeFreeze, a small-time criminal in Los Angeles agreed to become an informant for the LAPD in order to stay out of jail. After awhile he got tired of ratting out others and asked to get out of the program. Instead, DeFreeze was incarcerated at the Vacaville Medical Facility for criminally insane prisoners in the California penal system. There DeFreeze met Colston Westbrook who gave classes for the "Black Cultural Association", an experimental behavior modification unit inside the prison. Who was Westbrook? He was a CIA agent, trained in psychological warfare and part of the Phoenix Program. DeFreeze was modified by Westbrook and company for two years. Soon thereafter, he was transferred to Soledad Prison, from which he "escaped" and became the infamous "Cinque". Then came the Symbionese Liberation Army, a caricature of a black militant group filled with mostly white people with military backgrounds. The murder of Marcus Foster, a progressive black leader in the San Francisco East Bay, was done by white men in blackface, according to eyewitnesses. The SLA claimed credit for it. The SLA kidnapped Hearst, subjected her to torture, rape, sensory deprivation and mind control tactics, just like the CIA did in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Then came the bank robberies.

I bring up the Patty Hearst case because, in 2000, decades after her prison sentence had been commuted, Mueller still opposed her pardon. Guess what he didn't notice when he rejected her pardon? This has been his pattern throughout his career. We'll return to Patty Hearst shortly.

Mueller has presided over many cases where it's been important for the prosecutor to overlook the fingerprints of the CIA. He prosecuted what was known in the San Francisco Bay Area as the "drug tug" case which had connections to an island in Panama. It was a drug smuggling case and had tentacles into things like bank frauds in Northern California. He prosecuted Manuel Noriega's drug-smuggling without noticing Oliver North's drug-smuggling, arms running and money laundering through Panama as a part of Iran-contra.

Mueller would invariably land on cases with Deep State intelligence connections.

For example, he prosecuted Pan Am 103. Initially, and then later confirmed by an insurance investigator's report, the bomb that brought down the airliner was believed to be placed onboard by baggage handlers working at the Frankfurt Airport. They were given the bomb by a terrorist cell who in turn got it from one Monzer al-Kassar, who was a very large heroin dealer, estimated at supplying twenty percent of the US's heroin at the time. A big operator. And, in fact, one of the passengers on the plane was a drug mule for al-Kassar. Al-Kassar also happened to be a part of the Iran-contra operation, supplying weapons for North's Enterprise. The operation was, according to the early reports, carried out by a cell of Palestinian terrorists based in Frankfurt, the Palestinian Liberation Front-General Command, who got the bomb from al-Kassar and put the bomb on that airline.

Mueller, put in charge of the case, pursued an entirely different direction, accusing two Libyans of bombing the plane. At the time Libya and Khadafy were getting blamed for a lot of terrorist activity, but the case against the two was so weak as to hardly be circumstantial.

There were other questions arising from Pan Am 103. A top official in the FBI, Oliver "Buck" Revell, rushed onto the tarmac in London to pull his son and daughter-in-law off of Pan Am 103 before it went on to explode over Lockerbie, Scotland. Also changing flight plans were South African President Pik Botha and his negotiating team. Apparently, someone that Revell and Pik Botha knew gave them the warning.

There was one group that didn't get warned. That was the McKee Team, an assembled group of US intelligence agents tasked to investigate American hostages in Beruit. They allegedly discovered a link between the hostage takers, drug traffickers and the CIA. They were returning to the US, against orders, presumably to spill the beans. This was essentially a clean-up operation, tying up loose strings of the Iran-contra operation. So was Noriega's prosecution.

That's why Mueller got the case. He knew where to look and where not to look.

He also prosecuted ancillary Iran-contra cases. He prosecuted John Gotti for dealing cocaine in the New York City area. The cocaine he sold was part of the the Iran-contra (CIA) plan where Southern Air Transport flew weapons to Latin America for the contras (whom Congress had voted against aiding) and bringing back cocaine from Latin America on its return flights, to include Mena, Arkansas. One of the CIA's pilots, Barry Seal, bragged that he had a "get-out-of-jail" letter written for him by then-Governor Bill Clinton. At the time, Asa Hutchinson was the federal prosecutor for that corner of Arkansas. He also didn't notice all that cocaine. Hutchson later served as George W. Bush's first "drug czar" before going into politics. How coincidental.

Mueller, who had been appointed Assistant U.S. Prosecutor under GHW Bush, became FBI Director under George W. Bush just in time not to see the CIA fingerprints on 9/11, which should not be surprising considering whom he didn't see when he investigated BCCI. As head of our country's biggest law enforcement agency Mueller did not pursue the House of Saud's part in 9/11 even though fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and a number of them could be traced to Saudi intelligence, and the money chain could be traced to Saudis living in the US, some of whom flew out of the US while all other US flights were grounded. He did not investigate Mohammed Atta's time in Frankfort, Germany, where he was employed by a front company for the BND, West Germany's equivalent to the CIA. Nor did Mueller investigate Huffman Aviation where Mo Atta and another hijacker matriculated in flying planes into buildings. Huffman is interesting because while Mo was studying in Huffman's Venice, Florida aviation school a Huffman plane was busted in Orlando with 43 pounds of heroin. Curiously, the pilot walked away from the DEA without being charged and no one was prosecuted at Huffman.

Ask Colleen Rowley about Mueller's leadership in the 9/11 investigation.

Additionally, Mueller oversaw the anthrax letter case, never investigating Battelle Memorial Corporation, which had a building within a mile of the mailbox where the letters had been mailed. (Battelle Memorial's corporate motto is "It Can Be Done".) Instead, he centered FBI investigations on scientists in government labs in Fort Detrick, Maryland, who had neither the expertise nor the equipment to make the weaponized military grade anthrax found in the letters. One scientist sued and won millions. The other allegedly "committed suicide". Battelle is noteworthy because it handles the US military's anthrax program. Mueller had no interest that two of the targets who received anthrax letters were at the time the most vociferous opponents of the Bush Administration's Patriot Act.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment aiding the Deep State as FBI Director was his shutting down of Operation Green Quest, the FBI's investigation into the funding behind 9/11 and the terrorist network behind it. Names began popping up like Grover Norquist, the Muslim Brotherhood, old Nazis and the royal family of Luxembourg. Nothing to see here. Move along.

A closer examination of Robert Mueller would probably find a lot more of these cases and I encourage others to continue the search. For example, it's been alleged that Mueller sent innocent men to jail for crimes committed by Whitey Bulger for the benefit of someone or something within the government and that this allowed Bulger to continue his criminal activities for years.

***

It's been seventy years since the CIA was created, fifty years since JFK was most likely murdered by them. In order to avoid any consequences for their crimes more and more institutions have had to be infiltrated and corrupted by them. Many of the heroes of the Left have turned out to be purveyors of "modified limited hangouts" which served the Deep State. Ramsey Clark, who was given the mantle of "good guy" by the media of the Left, was active as LBJ's Attorney General in blocking Jim Garrison's investigation into the JFK assassination and was named by Doug Valentine in his THE CIA AS ORGANIZED CRIME as a major proponent of the CIA's OPERATION CHAOS and the FBI's COINTELPRO. While the media spent a good deal of time talking about how great they were in releasing the Pentagon Papers to the public, the hero who exposed the military, Daniel Ellsberg, turns out to have been CIA, operating with CIA black ops in Vietnam. And while the Pentagon Papers exposed our military's great errors in Vietnam the CIA was generally spared. Again. Bob Woodward, our hero of Watergate, had been a courier for the Office of Naval Intelligence only a few years earlier. Thus, the CIA and Deep State, which had soured on Nixon, orchestrated that President's departure.

I raise this because Robert Mueller's current task is the investigation of our sitting President. No matter how much you dislike Trump you can't help but notice that the "evidence" against him conspiring with Putin and Russia is thin gruel. And while Trump, like most politicians who ascend to the big seat, has a lot of questionable, even indictable business connections around him, the great dangers of a Putin-Trump conspiracy trumpeted by the media have been fading because, apparently, there was never a there there. Thus, as Mueller oversees this case, he will find people surrounding Trump who have lied to FBI agents, who have perhaps not registered as foreign agents, and other crimes that routinely happen out of the public spotlight and aren't prosecuted. What was obvious to me from the start, that this was a psyop that involved U.S. intelligence, Ukrainian intelligence, Clinton and the DNC, will not be obvious to Mueller. Thus, as his career has shown, Mueller has been put in place not merely to prosecute those around Trump as a means of pressure on his administration, but to not see the CIA's hand in it.

When one begins examining high-profile court cases in post-1963 America one sees a cast of people who keep popping up. Prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, coroners, witnesses, reporters, authors. This ensemble keeps reappearing in these show trials. We may not know what Mueller will find, but we know what he won't find.

There was a review at Truthdig back in 2016 of Jeffrey Toobin's book on Patty Hearst, AMERICAN HEIRESS (Toobin himself worked as an associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh during the investigation Iran–Contra affair and Oliver North's criminal trial). In part it reads: "Toobin features the characters who populated the edges of Hearst's story. Robert Shapiro, who would later work with [F. Lee] Bailey on the O.J. Simpson case, makes a cameo appearance. Lance Ito, the judge in that case, briefly shared a shooting range with a machine-gun toting SLA member. Reverend Jim Jones offered to help with the food distribution effort; that enterprise also employed Sara Jane Moore, who served 32 years for attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford during his 1975 visit to San Francisco. Congressman Leo Ryan, who represented Randy and Catherine Hearst's district, endorsed the commutation of Patty's sentence. "Off to Guyana," he wrote Patty in 1978. "See you when I return. Hang in there." Jim Jones' henchmen shot and killed Ryan before he could board his flight home. Robert Mueller, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco before taking over as FBI director, strenuously opposed Hearst's pardon, claiming that her attitude, born of wealth and social position, "has always been that she is a person above the law.""

When Mueller wrote that line he must have laughed out loud.

Wow! Where did you get all those facts about Mueller.

That isn't connecting the dots. Its painting a bloody Mona Lisa.

I had no idea how dirty this man was. He is the CIA version of Zelig or Forest Gump. He makes Bill Clinton look like an amateur.

Beginning with the double CIA family ties and proceeding through whitewashing 911, this man is so central to our rotten government that its a wonder someone hasn't done what you just did a lot sooner.

My hat is off to you. Someone should post this article on our blog.

detroitmechworks on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:15pm
It's almost become a parody of a dystopia...

The one that keeps jumping to mind is the mid 80's game "Paranoia" which was a cartoonish comedy about the drugged citizens of a complex where the state oversaw everything, and the people were obsessed with celebrities and junk food and oh my goooooodd...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_ (role-playing_game)

Seriously though, so much of this makes absolute sense if you just abandon the concept that democracy has any play whatsoever in our society.

So with that in mind, a little music from the era, and a little self parody as well.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LR4XNqrqxrU?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

arendt on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 6:36pm
In my hatred of role-playing games, I missed Paranoia

@detroitmechworks

Thanks for pointing to it. I got laughs just reading the wikipedia page.

It sounds like Kafka meets that Russian guy who was simultaneously head of the secret police and leader of the resistance.

LOL.

The one that keeps jumping to mind is the mid 80's game "Paranoia" which was a cartoonish comedy about the drugged citizens of a complex where the state oversaw everything, and the people were obsessed with celebrities and junk food and oh my goooooodd...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_ (role-playing_game)

Seriously though, so much of this makes absolute sense if you just abandon the concept that democracy has any play whatsoever in our society.

So with that in mind, a little music from the era, and a little self parody as well.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LR4XNqrqxrU?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

detroitmechworks on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 6:48pm
West End Games had a lot of incredible hits...

@arendt even considering they were working from licenses half the time. They ended up essentially creating the universe bibles for Ghostbusters and the Star Wars EU prior to the reboots.

Unfortunately, that didn't translate into respect. However, I still to this day am amazed at the complexity of thought that went into many of the rules and the ability they had to match mechanics to maintaining the play feel.

Paranoia in particular was hilarious. Kafka and Three Stooges, and even a little Joseph Heller. Later editions even managed to work in criticisms of late stage capitalism by having players ALWAYS broke and any unexpected expenses needing to be made up through crime... which was illegal, to avoid budget shortfalls... which was also illegal...

#3

Thanks for pointing to it. I got laughs just reading the wikipedia page.

It sounds like Kafka meets that Russian guy who was simultaneously head of the secret police and leader of the resistance.

LOL.

Linda Wood on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 3:19pm
Brilliant and wonderful essay!

Bob, thank you. As detailed and extensive as it is, your essay is concise by making it clear exactly what's so wrong with Mueller:

Mueller has presided over many cases where it's been important for the prosecutor to overlook the fingerprints of the CIA...

Mueller would invariably land on cases with Deep State intelligence connections...

Thus, as his career has shown, Mueller has been put in place not merely to prosecute those around Trump as a means of pressure on his administration, but to not see the CIA's hand in it...

For me, the anthrax case is the most important. Biological weapons are no joke. I believe we learned, from whistle-blowing scientists, not from the FBI investigation, that the CIA had one of the many illegal biological weapons programs being run with our tax dollars leading up to the anthrax attack. So whether Battelle was one of the CIA's contractors or yet another cut out, the investigation by Mueller simply stated those entities, all of them, were eliminated from the investigation.

arendt on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 4:48pm
Some relevant quotes from Hannah Arendt

The chief difference between the despotic and the totalitarian secret police lies in the difference between the "suspect" and the "objective enemy". The latter is defined by the policy of the government and not by his own desire to overthrow it. He is never an individual whose dangerous thoughts must be provoked or whose past justifies suspicion, but a "carrier of tendencies" like a carrier of disease. Practically speaking, the totalitarian ruler behaves like a man who persistently insults another man until everybody knows that the latter is his enemy, so that he can, with some plausibility, go and kill him in self-defense.
p423-4

"From a legal point of view, even more interesting than the change from the suspect to the objective enemy is the totalitarian replacement of the suspected offense by the possible crime ...While the suspect is arrested because he is thought to be capable of committing a crime that more or less fits his personality, the totalitarian possible crime is based on the logical anticipation of objective developments.

The task of the totalitarian police is not to discover crimes, but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.

"The only rule of which everybody in a totalitarian state may be sure is that the more visible government agencies are, the less power they carry, and the less is known of the existence of an institution, the more powerful it will ultimately turn out to be...Real power begins where secrecy begins. (p403)

ggersh on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:32pm
And Mr. transparency was O himself

@arendt

"The only rule of which everybody in a totalitarian state may be sure is that the more visible government agencies are, the less power they carry, and the less is known of the existence of an institution, the more powerful it will ultimately turn out to be...Real power begins where secrecy begins. (p403)

The chief difference between the despotic and the totalitarian secret police lies in the difference between the "suspect" and the "objective enemy". The latter is defined by the policy of the government and not by his own desire to overthrow it. He is never an individual whose dangerous thoughts must be provoked or whose past justifies suspicion, but a "carrier of tendencies" like a carrier of disease. Practically speaking, the totalitarian ruler behaves like a man who persistently insults another man until everybody knows that the latter is his enemy, so that he can, with some plausibility, go and kill him in self-defense.
p423-4

"From a legal point of view, even more interesting than the change from the suspect to the objective enemy is the totalitarian replacement of the suspected offense by the possible crime ...While the suspect is arrested because he is thought to be capable of committing a crime that more or less fits his personality, the totalitarian possible crime is based on the logical anticipation of objective developments.

The task of the totalitarian police is not to discover crimes, but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.

"The only rule of which everybody in a totalitarian state may be sure is that the more visible government agencies are, the less power they carry, and the less is known of the existence of an institution, the more powerful it will ultimately turn out to be...Real power begins where secrecy begins. (p403)

on the cusp on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:13pm
This is the most interesting essay I have read here.

Bravo, Bob.

ggersh on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:36pm
Great story!!!

Only thing missing for me was the tie in to Pappy Bush and the rest of the family. Mueller the consigliere of the CIA. Oh man how fucked are we?

snoopydawg on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:45pm
Outstanding

Great history of how corrupt Mueller has always been and how he has covered up for so many crimes. I'm just stunned by the number of people who have decided that Mueller's history and the history of the CIA, FBI and the other intelligence agencies wasn't that bad after all just because they are going after Trump. This selective amnesia is simply amazing, isn't it?

Clinton's role in helping the CIA to smuggle drugs into Arkansas is never talked about either. Or if it is it's called "a right wing attempt to bring them down."

Good to see you writing here again, Bob.

Snode on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 5:52pm
Wow!

This awesome. I knew about Colleen Rowley, but the rest.....2 things, what about Comey? and Bush1 being in Dallas the day of the JFK assassination?

CS in AZ on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 6:02pm
Wow, thank you

I almost skipped reading this one, assumed at first from the headline it was going to be about the Russia "investigation" which I've been steadfast in not paying any attention to.

But wow, this is so much better than I'd expected, a fascinating tapestry. A lot to absorb. At this point I'm just feeling overwhelmed at how little "we the people" in this country have any say in, or even any knowledge about, what is going on.

Thank you for this excellent history and synthesis.

snoopydawg on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 7:04pm
Here's some history of another creep who has found redemption

from those who believe the fairy tale of Russia Gate. John Brennan has also become a darling of the left. Greenwald wrote about him after Obama appointed him to his cabinet.

Joe posted this link that explains why centrist and liberal media have a disturbing tendency to rehabilitate some of the most vile, reactionary forces on the American right simply because they say vaguely negative things about Donald Trump -- a phenomenon we call "Trumpwashing."

Just like Mueller, Brennan is one more war criminal whose actions seem to have been forgotten.

Wink on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:56pm
It's relatively safe to

conclude from this, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the Mueller investigation of "Russiagate" won't get anywhere near the Oval Office.
Mostly becuz "Deep State" itself is up to its eyebrows in the affair. And also becuz Trump has very little to do with it. I'm sure they'd Love to bury Hillary in this, but it looks like that won't happen either. A shame.

snoopydawg on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:21pm
Mueller doesn't want to show the Russians his evidence

I think if you charge someone with a crime then they get to see the evidence against them. Mueller charged 3 Russian companies for their interference with the election, but I guess he didn't think that their lawyers would bother to show up. Oops, they did.

Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters.

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Yep. Hillary spent $1-2 billion on her campaign, but it was the $100,000 worth of ads that a Russian advertising agency placed on Facebook that cost her the election. More than half of the ads were placed after the election though. But people still believe that the ads were what caused people not to vote for Herheinous!

Deja on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:46pm
A Red list?

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg
What the hell? Do these people even know they're on this list, or part of this evidence? Or, are they not even real people, or are they maybe even govt employees needed to play a role? There's that cookbook again, maybe. Yikes!

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors

I think if you charge someone with a crime then they get to see the evidence against them. Mueller charged 3 Russian companies for their interference with the election, but I guess he didn't think that their lawyers would bother to show up. Oops, they did.

Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters.

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Yep. Hillary spent $1-2 billion on her campaign, but it was the $100,000 worth of ads that a Russian advertising agency placed on Facebook that cost her the election. More than half of the ads were placed after the election though. But people still believe that the ads were what caused people not to vote for Herheinous!

snoopydawg on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:49am
Who knows?

@Deja

It's obvious that the whole damn Russia Gate conspiracy was just made up. It started when Wikileaks said that they were going to release the emails between Hillary and Podesta that showed how they rigged the primary against Bernie. The reason why they did it was to keep people from talking about the contents of the emails. And it worked. The media didn't focus on their contents, but only on how Wikileaks obtained them.

Another reason for the Russian propaganda crap is so people will give their permission for the upcoming war against Russia that had already been planned for over two years before the election. And they will. I've seen so many comments that says what Russia (Putin) did and is still doing was an act of war. Today on ToP one person said that "we need to assassinate Putin." Was that person HRd for promoting violence which is against the site rules? Nope. Those that believe Russia actually did interfere with the election also think that the republicans are also Putin's puppets and that is why they won't go against Trump. The front pagers have been pushing lies about Russia's actions it should be obvious to anyone with a working brain. I'll see a definitive statement like " The seas were calm and the skies were clear." But they will rewrite their statement to "The reason why the ship went down is because of the massive storm that came out of nowhere." Hopefully you get my drift on how they're blatantly lying in their statements.

Hillary's BFF, Nuland and McCain were the ones that worked the hardest on overthrowing the Ukraine government. The USA wanted to put its own puppet government on Russia's border. Plus the USA and NATO have been installing troops into countries that surround Russia's borders.

The original reason why the Mueller investigation was created was to find evidence that Trump colluded with Putin to win the election. None of the Mueller indictments have anything to do with that charge. This is why he was taken off guard when the Russian lawyers showed up to defend their clients. Hope that you read the entire article.

#13 #13
What the hell? Do these people even know they're on this list, or part of this evidence? Or, are they not even real people, or are they maybe even govt employees needed to play a role? There's that cookbook again, maybe. Yikes!

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors

snoopydawg on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:40am
Heh. This is being spun differently over on ToP

@snoopydawg

This also proves my point above how information is selectively posted over there. Just certain parts of the articles are posted, but the parts of the articles that show the information in a different light are left out. This is from a comment..

It would appear at first glance this is basically an effort at espionage only , but I'm not much more sure than you are.

If they don't have a US presence ( as it appears they don't ), I can't understand why they even care that Mueller has charged them. As you point out, they won't be extradited, so none of this really matters. They could have their lawyers just play a DVD of them confessing followed by giving Mueller the double birds all around and it wouldn't make any difference, so the only logical answer for this is to try and pry state secrets out legally via the courts instead of through hacking and spying.

Oops. From the article ..

I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges.

I think if you charge someone with a crime then they get to see the evidence against them. Mueller charged 3 Russian companies for their interference with the election, but I guess he didn't think that their lawyers would bother to show up. Oops, they did.

Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters.

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Yep. Hillary spent $1-2 billion on her campaign, but it was the $100,000 worth of ads that a Russian advertising agency placed on Facebook that cost her the election. More than half of the ads were placed after the election though. But people still believe that the ads were what caused people not to vote for Herheinous!

Wink on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 6:08pm
Well, it gets everyone

off the hook.
@snoopydawg
Especially Mueller. Finding the 13 Russians guilty that is. Mueller can then claim, "See! The Russians did it," which gives Hillbots a warm fuzzy and reason to scold BernieBros with a "told ya so!!" AND, no reason to investigate further. Investigation over. Case closed! Everyone gets what they want. Alas... Their lawyer showed up.

I think if you charge someone with a crime then they get to see the evidence against them. Mueller charged 3 Russian companies for their interference with the election, but I guess he didn't think that their lawyers would bother to show up. Oops, they did.

Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters.

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Yep. Hillary spent $1-2 billion on her campaign, but it was the $100,000 worth of ads that a Russian advertising agency placed on Facebook that cost her the election. More than half of the ads were placed after the election though. But people still believe that the ads were what caused people not to vote for Herheinous!

snoopydawg on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:30pm
Well of course it was a PR stunt!
As Powerline notes, Mueller probably didn't see that coming - and the indictment itself was perhaps nothing more than a PR stunt to bolster the Russian interference narrative.

I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys -- Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm -- filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting. Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico here. -Powerline Blog

Deja on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:49pm
Now I want to see it too

@snoopydawg
Especially since it's supposed to contain all these names of stooges, duped into participating in US politics by the Kremlin. It's ridiculous.

As Powerline notes, Mueller probably didn't see that coming - and the indictment itself was perhaps nothing more than a PR stunt to bolster the Russian interference narrative.

I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys -- Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm -- filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting. Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico here. -Powerline Blog

mimi on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 1:08am
I need to print this out and hang it at my bedside

because I believe it will be gone in its digital format in no time. Thank You for writing this out. You did good. Thank you.

GreyWolf on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:57pm
Bookmarked (with two separate archives)

@mimi This page is also at:archive.org archive.is because I believe it will be gone in its digital format in no time.

Thank You for writing this out. You did good. Thank you.

gulfgal98 on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 7:16pm
One of the best and most complete essays

I have read here in a long time. While I linked ot our Twitter account last night, I did not have time to read it before I posted it. I am going to link this again because I think it is such an important essay for others to read.

Thank you again for such an outstanding essay!

[Jul 13, 2018] Confronting the Global Power Elite Global Research by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

Notable quotes:
"... The world today is controlled by a small elite group that has been increasingly concentrating power and wealth in their own hands. There are many observable facets to this power structure, including the military security complex that president Eisenhower warned against, the fossil fuel interests, and the neocons that are promoting U.S. hegemony around the world, but the most powerful and overarching force is "the money power" that controls money, banking, and finance worldwide. It is clear that those who control the creation and allocation of money through the banking system are able to control virtually every other aspect of global society. ..."
"... Tragedy and Hope ..."
"... " the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."[ii] ..."
"... The End of Money and the Future of Civilization ..."
"... Thomas H. Greco, Jr . is an educator, author, and consultant dedicated to economic equity, social justice, and community empowerment. He specializes in the design and implementation of private and community currencies and mutual credit clearing networks. His latest book is The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. His main website is https://beyondmoney.net/ . He can be reached at thgreco@mindspring.com . ..."
"... A New Approach to Freedom ..."
"... The Essence of Money ..."
"... Disruptive Technologies Making Money Obsolete ..."
Jul 13, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The world today is controlled by a small elite group that has been increasingly concentrating power and wealth in their own hands. There are many observable facets to this power structure, including the military security complex that president Eisenhower warned against, the fossil fuel interests, and the neocons that are promoting U.S. hegemony around the world, but the most powerful and overarching force is "the money power" that controls money, banking, and finance worldwide. It is clear that those who control the creation and allocation of money through the banking system are able to control virtually every other aspect of global society.

Having taken control of the political leadership in North America and western Europe, they are determined to use military force, if necessary, to create a unipolar world order in which the power elite enjoy "full spectrum dominance." Based on a long established pattern of covert and overt interventions, it is evident that they are willing to employ, either directly or through proxies, a wide range of tactics, including propaganda, bribery, cooptation, deception, assassinations, false-flag attacks and war. Large segments of the media and entertainment industries, education, and the military power have been captured to help manufacture public consent.

Be that as it may, I believe that the natural course of human evolution tends toward a multi-polar world order based on honesty, openness, compassion, cooperation, and fairness, but that requires a well-educated and informed populace and "broad spectrum" participation in the political process. Fortunately, the internet and world wide web have enabled people to be better informed than ever before and to engage with one another directly, bypassing intermediaries that control and limit what people can share. On the other hand, the political machinery has been so thoroughly taken over by the power elite that the will of the people has thus far been of little consequence in deciding the course of world affairs.

So what can be done to turn the tide? How can we the people empower ourselves to effectively assert our desires for a more fair, humane and peaceful world order? Is it possible to influence the behavior of those in power? Or is it possible to install new leaders who will act more responsibly and in accordance with the popular will? Or is necessary, or even possible, to reinvent and deploy political and economic structures by which people can more directly assert themselves?

It seems reasonable to assert that action must be taken on all levels, but I am inclined to believe that the greatest possibility of bringing about the desired changes lies in economic and political innovation and restructuring.

The monopolization of credit

I came to realize many years ago that the primary mechanism by which people can be, and are controlled, is the system of money, banking, and finance. The power elite have long known this and have used it to enrich themselves and consolidate their grip on power. Though we take it for granted, money has become an utter necessity for surviving in the modern world. But unlike water, air, food, and energy, money is not a natural substance -- it is a human contrivance, and it has been contrived in such a way as to centralize power and concentrate wealth.

Money today is essentially credit, and the control of our collective credit has been monopolized in the hands of a cartel comprised of huge private banks with the complicity of politicians who control central governments. This collusive arrangement between bankers and politicians disempowers people, businesses, and communities and enables the elite super-class to use the present centralized control mechanisms to their own advantage and purpose. It misallocates credit, making it both scarce and expensive for the productive private sector while enabling central governments to circumvent, by deficit spending, the natural limits imposed by its revenue streams of taxes and fees. Thus, there is virtually no limit to the amounts of resources that are lavished on the machinery of war and domination.[i]

In today's world, banks get to lend our collective credit back to us and charge interest for it while central governments get to spend more than they earn in overt tax revenues, relying on the banking system to monetize government debts as needed. These two parasitic drains on the economy, interest and inflationary monetization of government debts, create a growth imperative that is destroying the environment, shredding the social fabric, and creating ever greater disparities of income and wealth. At the same time, this scarcity and misallocation of money, which belies the abundance that exists in the real economy, leads to violent conflicts and provides the power elite with the means to pursue policies of domination, even at the risk of global nuclear war.

Tragedy and Hope

What most people still fail to recognize is that regardless of the nominal form of their government, their political power has been neutralized and exhausted by the political money and banking system. Democratic government in today's world is more an illusion and a hope than a reality. As Prof. Carrol Quigley wrote in his book, Tragedy and Hope (1966),

" the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."[ii]

In the succeeding decades since Quigley's revelation, their control mechanisms have been refined and extended to include the intelligence services and military power, political think tanks, the media, and virtually every segment of society. The U.S. agenda of regime change over the past several years[iii] is not so much about taking mineral and petroleum resources, that is a side benefit. By examining the pattern of interventions by the U.S. and NATO powers, it is clear that the primary objective is to force every country of the world into a single global interest-based, debt-money regime. No exceptions will be tolerated. Thus, Saddam Hussein had to go, Gaddafi had to go, Assad has to go, and Putin has to go (but deposing Putin will not be so easy). The war against Islam is also related because a significant proportion of Islamists are serious about eliminating riba (usury) which is an essential feature in the creation of all political money throughout the world today. The United States military is the enforcer that is used when threats, bribes, cooptation and covert operations prove insufficient. Thus, the United States, Britain and their NATO allies have become the greatest perpetrators of state-sponsored terror in the post-World war II era.

The Dollar Crisis? Nine Mind-Blowing Facts About Money, Debt Default and Reserve Currencies

How can such a power be confronted?

EndofMoney cover448

Fortunately, we the people have in our hands the means of our own liberation. It is the power to allocate our credit directly without the use of banks or political money. How to effectively assert that power is the main theme of my most recent book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization .

Over the years there has been a long parade of "reformers" who wish to take the power to create money away from the banks. This is an admirable objective that I wholeheartedly endorse. But the alternatives that they propose have been either to revert to commodity money, like gold, which has proven to be inadequate, or to transfer the money-issuing power to the central government -- what I call the "greenback solution." The latter harks back to Abraham Lincoln's scheme for financing the Civil War. That proposal calls for the federal government to bypass the Federal Reserve and the banks by issuing a national currency directly into circulation from the Treasury. At first glance that may seem like a good idea, but there are many flies in that ointment. First of all, the greenback solution does not propose to end the money monopoly but merely to put it under new management. But it is a gross delusion to think that the Treasury is, or might become, independent of the interests that now control the Federal Reserve and the major banks. Consider the fact that most of the recent Treasury secretaries have been former executives of Goldman Sachs, the most powerful financial establishment in the country. It is naïve to expect that they will serve the common good rather than the money power that has spawned them.

Second, central planning of complex economic factors has been shown to be unworkable. That is especially true with regard to money. Neither the Fed nor the treasury is qualified to decide what kind of money and how much of it is necessary for the economy to function smoothly. The issuance and control of credit money should be decentralized in the hands of producers of needed and desired goods and services. Thus the supply of money (credit) must automatically rise and fall in accordance with the quantity of goods and services that are available to be bought and sold. If private currencies and credit clearing exchanges are allowed to develop and grow without interference from the vested interests in political money, their superiority will quickly become apparent.

Third, the greenback solution does nothing to eliminate deficit spending and inflation which are enabled by legal tender laws. As long as political currencies are legally forced to circulate at face value, the abusive issuance of money, the debasement of national currency value, and the centralization of power will continue. All government programs, including social programs and the military budget, ought to be funded by legitimate government revenues, not by the underhanded means of monetary debasement. Centralized control of credit money and the imposition of legal tender laws enable the hidden tax that is called inflation. Salmon P. Chase , who as Lincoln's Treasury Secretary presided over the issuance of greenbacks, argued later as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that the issuance of greenback currency was unconstitutional and exceeded the powers of the federal government. He said,

"the legal tender quality is only valuable for the purposes of dishonesty."

Finally, the political process has been so thoroughly corrupted and taken over by the power elite that political approaches to solving the money problem have virtually no chance of passage anyway.

... ... ...

*

Thomas H. Greco, Jr . is an educator, author, and consultant dedicated to economic equity, social justice, and community empowerment. He specializes in the design and implementation of private and community currencies and mutual credit clearing networks. His latest book is The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. His main website is https://beyondmoney.net/ . He can be reached at thgreco@mindspring.com .

Notes

[i] As E.C. Riegel put it in his book, A New Approach to Freedom , " as long as our governments are vast counterfeiting machines, Mars can laugh at peace projects."

[ii] This and other works of Carroll Quigley can be downloaded at the Quigley website, http://www.carrollquigley.net/ .

[iii] View General Wesley Clark's two minute revelation at https://youtu.be/9RC1Mepk_Sw .

[iv] An animated video that makes clear the credit nature of money and its sound basis is The Essence of Money , https://youtu.be/uO7uwCpcau8 .

[v] My 15 minute video, Disruptive Technologies Making Money Obsolete , https://youtu.be/ty7APADAa8g , describes how communities and businesses can escape the debt trap and become more resilient and self-reliant.

[vi] These arguments are more fully developed in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization . My Solar Dollar white paper at https://beyondmoney.net/2016/08/26/solar-dollars-a-private-currency-with-multiple-benefits/ provides the basic framework for the design and issuance of a private currency.

[vii] Some details on how to do this are outlined in chapter 15 of my book, an excerpt of which can be found at https://beyondmoney.net/excerpts/limiting-factors-in-the-operation-of-commercial-trade-exchanges/ .

The original source of this article is Beyond Money Copyright © Thomas H. Greco, Jr. , Beyond Money , 2018

[Jul 09, 2018] July 4th and What It Really Means for Us by Boyd D. Cathey

Later "eqality of means" was replaced by "equality of opportunity". Still huge discrepancy in wealth typical for neoliberalism is socially destructive. And election of Trump was partially a reaction on neoliberalism dominance for the last 40 ears.
"... The Founders rejected egalitarianism. They understood that no one is, literally, "created equal" to anyone else. Certainly, each and every person is created with no less or no more dignity, measured by his or her own unique potential before God. But this is not what most contemporary writers mean today when they talk of "equality." ..."
"... by our own maximum possibilities and potential ..."
Notable quotes:
"... The Founders rejected egalitarianism. They understood that no one is, literally, "created equal" to anyone else. Certainly, each and every person is created with no less or no more dignity, measured by his or her own unique potential before God. But this is not what most contemporary writers mean today when they talk of "equality." ..."
"... by our own maximum possibilities and potential ..."
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

For many Americans the Declaration of Independence is a fundamental text that tells the world who we are as a people. It is a distillation of American belief and purpose. Pundits and commentators, left and right, never cease reminding us that America is a new nation, "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Almost as important as a symbol of American belief is Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It is not incorrect to see a link between these two documents, as Lincoln intentionally placed his short peroration in the context of a particular reading of the Declaration.

Lincoln bases his concept of the creation of the American nation in philosophical principles he sees enunciated in 1776, and in particular on an emphasis on the idea of "equality." The problem is that this interpretation, which forms the philosophical base of both the dominant "movement conservatism" today -- neoconservatism -- and the neo-Marxist multicultural Left, is basically false.

... ... ...

Although those authors employed the phrase "all men are created equal," and certainly that is why Lincoln made direct reference to it, a careful analysis of the Declaration does not confirm the sense that Lincoln invests in those few words. Contextually, the authors at Philadelphia were asserting their historic -- and equal -- rights as Englishmen before the Crown, which had, they believed, been violated and usurped by the British government, and it was to parliament that the Declaration was primarily directed.

The Founders rejected egalitarianism. They understood that no one is, literally, "created equal" to anyone else. Certainly, each and every person is created with no less or no more dignity, measured by his or her own unique potential before God. But this is not what most contemporary writers mean today when they talk of "equality."

Rather, from a traditionally-Christian viewpoint, each of us is born into this world with different levels of intelligence, in different areas of expertise; physically, some are stronger or heavier, others are slight and smaller; some learn foreign languages and write beautiful prose; others become fantastic athletes or scientists. Social customs and traditions, property holding, and individual initiative -- each of these factors further discriminate as we continue in life.

None of this means that we are any less or more valued in the judgment of God, Who judges us based on our own, very unique capabilities. God measures us by ourselves, by our own maximum possibilities and potential , not by those of anyone else -- that is, whether we use our own, individual talents to the very fullest (recall the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of St. Matthew).

... ... ...


Echoes of History , July 6, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT

"All men are created equal" is a simply a rhetorical argument against the "divine right of kings" used to revive an ancient, fascist, Roman-style Republic style government, where men of equal political stature are bound together as a band of brothers into a "fasces" to form a militia, necessary to a free state like Rome once had in its beginning. No king, no standing army.

Which is why there are fascist symbols throughout the US government, including in the US Senate. Watch CSPAN if you don't believe me. See those fasces?

And do study what the Founders said more. Like the author of the term "all men are created equal." He wrote in the same document:

" the merciless Indian Savages " -- Declaration of Independence

Does that sound like he thought whites and Indians were equal? Nope.

He also wrote:

"Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them." (Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography)

Does that sound like he thought blacks and whites were equal? Nope.

So stop spouting false Leftist propaganda about what the term "all men are created equal" means. All it does is make you sound extremely uninformed.

Echoes of History , July 6, 2018 at 6:14 am GMT
@Dr. Doom

Yes, there is still an America, living and breathing, somewhat piled-on by Fake Americans at the moment. Don't give up on the Comeback Kid . You do not want to be as bitter and wrong as the defeatist Never Trumper" Cuckservatives. The Fake Americans will have to go back. Just like the Fake Europeans are already going back. Viktor Orban called Italy's decision to turn away rescue ship a "great moment." And the pendulum is just beginning to swing. The trend is your friend. Why don't you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?

Wizard of Oz , July 6, 2018 at 8:16 am GMT
@Dan Hayes

Thank you for mentioning Jaffa. I had to look him up. Only Wikipedia so far but I found something of interest that you might like to comment on. Mention is made of Lincoln rejecting the Douglas arguments for states's rights on the ground that (majoritarian) democracy should not be allowed to enslave anyone. Is it possible to say that America's original sin of slavery ensured that there was an insoluble problem left behind by the original constitution makers plus the extension of the franchise to all adult white males?

Anon [294] Disclaimer , July 6, 2018 at 11:44 am GMT
"..a careful analysis of the Declaration does not confirm the sense that Lincoln invests in those few words. Contextually, the authors at Philadelphia were asserting their historic -- and equal -- rights as Englishmen before the Crown, which had, they believed, been violated and usurped by the British government,.."

Thank you Mr Cathey. As a non American, I was always puzzled by the obvious falsehood of the statement "all men created equal" -- particularly in a nation that still legalized slavery -- and how it could still be repeated ad nauseaum. Interesting, how one victorious man and one victorious teaching can have such profound consequences for the way people live and think generations later.

'All men are created equal' is almost the opposite of that other common mistake, 'no pity for the weak'. Yet both lead to oppressive regimes. A true anthropology will lead to different healthy political systems. A twisted one, always to repressive institutions.

Crawfurdmuir , Next New Comment July 6, 2018 at 4:52 pm GMT

@Echoes of History

"All men are created equal" is a simply a rhetorical argument against the "divine right of kings" used to revive an ancient, fascist, Roman-style Republic style government, where men of equal political stature are bound together as a band of brothers into a "fasces" to form a militia, necessary to a free state like Rome once had in its beginning. No king, no standing army.

My take is a little different, but not incompatible with yours.

The Declaration's assertion is "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights "

So, to begin with, this is not a claim that all men are created equal in ability or character. The Founders recognized that they were not, and that ordinary social and economic inequalities, due to innate differences in ability or character, were natural, normal, and inevitable. The Declaration is first and foremost a legal document. It claims equality of rights – a legal claim, not a sociological, anthropological, or psychological one. Moreover, the rights are unalienable – that is, they cannot be alienated – sold, bartered, or given away – because someone entitled to them shall have moved from old England to the New World.

The grievance of the colonists was that taxes – the stamp tax, the tea tax, etc. – had been imposed upon them by the parliament at Westminster, an assembly in which they were not represented. Hence the slogan, "no taxation without representation." It was a principle based in the main non-religious issue of the English civil war (1642-1649). Charles I had attempted to levy "ship money" by royal prerogative, without the consent of Parliament. Unlike previous levies, which had been confined to coastal towns and were raised only in time of war, he did so in peacetime and extended the tax to inland areas. This provoked strong resistance; some local officials refused assistance to collection of the tax. The Petition of Right, written by Sir Edward Coke, complained:

Your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax, tallage, aid, or other like charge not set by common consent, in parliament.

Extra-parliamentary taxation was effectively ended by the Long Parliament of 1640. After the "Glorious Revolution" of 1689, it was formally prohibited by the English Bill of Rights.

All of this history was much more familiar to the Founders in 1776 than it is to Americans today. The point of the claim that "all men are created equal" was simply to argue that Englishmen, under English law, were equally entitled to representation in any assembly that levied taxes on them, whether they were resident in England or in its colonies.

The argument for levying taxes on the colonies was that they were needed to pay for the defense of the colonies during what we call the French and Indian War, which was in fact just the North American theatre of what in Europe is known as the Seven Years' War. That they may have been needed for this purpose was not in dispute. Englishmen in England were taxed to pay for the Seven Years' War, but they were represented in the Parliament that levied the tax. Americans were not. From their point of view the taxes levied on them were as objectionable as ship money had been to the people of England in the time of Charles I.

The Declaration is therefore a sort of American version of the Petition of Right. Jefferson was an admirer of Coke and undoubtedly saw the parallel. His high-flown language about equality was meant to make the case against George III on behalf of English subjects in North America in the same way that Coke's Petition of Right made the case against Charles I on behalf of English subjects in England. The colonists' objection was that English subjects, wheresoever domiciled within English jurisdiction, should have equal rights under English law.

Jefferson never intended to proclaim the equality of negro slaves or "Indian savages" with free whites. Jefferson's observations in his Notes on the State of Virginia make quite clear that he did not believe them to be equals with whites in ability or character. The Indians he regards as primitives, having some admirable and some frightful qualities, but above all, as formidable enemies. He despairs of the intelligence of blacks; he faults black slavery because it brings out lamentable tendencies of laziness and petty tyranny among whites. These remarks are striking for their candor and have the ring of truth even today.

Russ , Next New Comment July 6, 2018 at 5:08 pm GMT
I appreciate Mr. Cathey's work here. On Tuesday the 3rd, one of the many overemployed sycophants in the executive ranks of the corporation which employs me deemed it necessary to bulk-email all of us peons with the message of how vital diversity and inclusion are to proper celebration of the 4th. Right -- because reserving mid-January through February for the blacks, March for women or Hispanics (I forget which), and June for the tutti-fruttis isn't nearly enough

[Jul 06, 2018] It used to be that the only things one could be certain of were "death taxes." Now of course we must add to that list the very dependable presence of CIA / State Dept lies parroted by MSM all over the West.

Jul 06, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Gary Weglarz , July 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm

It used to be that the only things one could depend on were "death & taxes." Now of course we must add to that list the very dependable presence of CIA / State Dept lies parroted by MSM all over the West. Lies which are endlessly repeated in defiance of all physical reality and often in direct opposition to actual events in the actual world we live in.

From the Ukraine coup, to Russia-gate, to the "Assad's gassing his own people" regime change propaganda, to the totally surreal Alice in Wonderland Skripnal poisoning nonsense in the U.K, the Western MSM have been as dependable as the rising sun.

They can and do provide fact-free, evidence-free reporting directly from the bowels of the deep state in support of the neocolonial West, including unending support for the never ending resort to mass violence the West relies upon to keep the rest of the planet subjugated -- just as it has for the last 500+ years.

[Jul 06, 2018] Cannot see much difference between neocons and Deep State

Sanctions are always a prelude to war. Sanctions are in fact an act of war. that's why Russians have replaced Arabs as the go-to villains in propaganda and Hollywood movies.
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , June 14, 2018 at 7:22 am GMT

To me it is all quite simple. FDR's aim was to rule the war with junior aides USSR, China and a smaller Britain. Stalin had other ideas.

Even in 1946 FDR's main backer, Baruch pleaded for a world government, a USA government, in my view. Deep State still tries to impose this world government.

Despite Trump 'America first' we see a Bolton in the White House, as many see 'the neocons are back'.

Cannot see much difference between neocons and Deep State.

The big mistake of the British empire was unwillingness to realise that it could no longer maintain the empire. This already began before 1914, when the two fleet standards became too expensive, the one fleet standard expressed the inability to maintain the empire.

Obama was forcedto reduce the two war standard to one and half. What a half war accomplishes we see in Syria. Alas, seldom in history did reason rule. If it will in the present USA, I doubt it.


Parbes , June 14, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT

The neocons are a collection of sick, murderous, fanatical supremacist ideologues who have turned the U.S. into the most despicable criminal regime on earth. Because of their control and influence over the U.S. imperial military/political assets, combined with their psychopathic mentality and ideology, these scumbags pose a clear threat to the entire world, but especially to Russia and Europe (and to the U.S. itself, of course). The irony in all of this is that, although these mostly Jewish bottom-feeders like to smear any foreign leader they'd like to demonize as "the new Hitler" etc., they themselves are more nefarious and dangerous to the planet than Hitler and his German Nazis ever were.

Nothing will change until the major members of the neocon collective start getting individually singled out and receiving the harsh punishments they deserve.

Jake , June 14, 2018 at 11:48 am GMT
@jilles dykstra

"Cannot see much difference between neocons and Deep State."

And that means that the US Deep State can NOT have a Jewish creation, because it existed a long time before 1948, a long time before 1939, a long time before the creation of the Federal Reserve.

There is a reason that Neocons love Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln: the former was an apologist for the nascent American Deep State, and the latter its perfect tool right down to being ready and able to slaughter huge numbers of non-Elite whites so the then virtually 100% WASP-in-blood Elite Deep State could totally control the growing nation.

The source of the American Deep State is the same as England's Deep State: Oliver Cromwell's deal with Jews, a deal granting Jews special rights and privileges and made precisely in order to have the money to wage total war to exterminate non-WASP white Christian cultures and identities.

That is exactly what the Neocons are determined to continue, and they are correct whenever they assert that they are being loyal to the history and heritage of the Puritans and of Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party and of the US in the Spanish-American War, World War 1 and World War 2.

What is different about today's Neocons and, say, the growing number of Jews with major voices among the British Deep State at the height of Victorianism is that now the original junior partner has become the acting partner, the dominant partner.

But the original alliance is the same.

You cannot separate the Neocon problem from the WASP problem. You cannot solve the Neocon problem without also solving the WASP problem.

DESERT FOX , June 14, 2018 at 12:42 pm GMT
The business of the Zionist controlled U.S. gov is WAR and this has been the agenda since 1913 and the establishment of the Zionist FED and the Zionist IRS and thus began the WAR agenda and the American people were set up to pay for the Zionist created wars and the Zionist agenda of a Zionist NWO.

Thus the Zionists need an enemy and have created enemies where none existed, the case in point being Russia and lesser created enemies the case in point being any given country in the Mideast that Israel and the Zionists wish to destroy. In the case of Russia the Zionists have the added incentive of trying to destroy a Christian country as Russia is now and historically has been Christian with the exception of the Satanist Zionist takeover of Russia in 1917 and the murder of some 60 million Russian people by the Satanist ie Zionist communists.

The U.S. gov is under satanic Zionist control and proof of this is the fact that Israel and the Zionist controlled deep state did 911 and got away with and every thinking person knows this to be the truth, may GOD help we the people of America.

jilles dykstra , June 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
@Jake

From the other side of the Atlantic, what is the WASP problem ?
Whatever one thinks of the USA, protestants from NW Europe created the USA.
Their descendants, in my view, defend their culture.
Hardly any culture in the world goes under without a fight.
Some, maybe many, Germans, again the exception.

Cyrano , June 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
The Neocons are mad at Russia for standing in their way of taking over the world. All in the name of "democracy" of course, nothing sinister there. Russia, and as a matter of fact, the whole world stood by and let the US have their way for almost 25 years. What did they accomplish? Diddly. So now, they want Russia to get out of the way for another (at least) 25 years, so they can spread some more "democracy". Let me tell you something, if they couldn't do it with virtually no opposition between 1991 -2014, and on a trillion dollar "defence" budgets, maybe there is something else that should be blamed other than Russia. Maybe it's their incompetence.
AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
There is a lot of truth in this piece, but I think that the overall spin is misleading. Putin's orthodox faith (likely pretended; he seems to be too intelligent for a true believer), history of Jewish persecution in Russia, etc., are secondary factors. The US elites (neocons are just one type of servants they hired) are mad that the world refuses to be unipolar. Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and many lesser countries, arouse "righteous indignation" of the robbers because they refuse to let themselves be looted and bossed by the US elites. All sorts of thieves joined the choir: Jewish and gentile, "right" and "left", military and civilian, the only common denominator being that they stole a lot and resent being thwarted from stealing even more.

Moreover, the almighty dollar is about to be exposed as a king with no clothes by various countries switching the trade to their own currencies, undermining the Ponzi schemes of the US dollar and US government debt. The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain, like all dominant Empires before it, but cannot do anything about inevitable course of history.

redmudhooch , June 14, 2018 at 7:56 pm GMT
War on the poor and defenseless, it what the Neocon and Zionist-puppet traitors do best. Terrorists in Syria (white helmets) getting 7 million in new funding from Trump, just as Russia warns of new chemical attack false flag is in the works. Must kill evil dicktater Assad for protecting those Christians inside Syria

Russia Warns "Credible Information" Of Impending Staged Chemical Attack In Syria

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-14/russia-warns-credible-information-impending-staged-chemical-attack-syria

White House Tied to Terrorists, Trump Authorizes $6.6M in Aid to White Helmets

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/06/14/white-house-tied-to-terrorists-trump-authorizes-6-6m-in-aid-to-white-helmets/

Starvation Holocaust in Yemen.

Yemen – The Starvation Siege Has Begun

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/06/the-starvation-siege-on-yemen-has-begun.html#more

By the time the American people realize that the war on terror was designed for them to be the final victim, it will be too late.

AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Rurik

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.
The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Rurik , June 14, 2018 at 10:43 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

some perhaps, but the middle class is dying (literally in the case of middle aged white men), and the working class is languishing.

It's true the 1% are gorging on a frenzy of corruption and graft, and a no doubt there are a few who prosper by serving that class, but the Main Streets of America are not, in any way, profiting off the exploitation of Africa or S. America or anywhere else. Indeed, it is them that are being exploited.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey

no argument there!

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India.

India and China (and Ethiopia and Somalia and Mexico and Brazil and so many other places) are not poor due to the oppression of Americans. Sure, Goldman Sachs and a thousand other vultures and thieves have done a lot of damage, but no more that the leadership of those respective lands.

Has India ever heard of birth control, (for God's sake!) Or Indonesia or a hundred other places, like Haiti, that overbreed their finite resources and limited space until their countries are reduced to shitholes.

If a coal miner in West Virginia is doing a little better than an Untouchable in India, then trust me when I tell you I'm not going to blame the miner (or janitor or mechanic) in America for the poverty in the corrupt and stupid third world.

As far as the suffering that the ZUSA has actually caused, and is causing in places like Syria and Yemen, none of that is being done on behalf of the American people, but rather the typical American is taxed to support these wars and atrocities on behalf of Israel or Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

recently I was ranting on the terrible folly of this very thing.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

Yes, they're just as selfish and greedy, but they aren't as filled with genocidal hatred.

It's because of Zionist Jews that Americans were dragged into both world wars.

It's because of Zionist Jews (and assorted corrupt Gentiles) that Israel (with help from the CIA and ((media)), did 9/11, in order to plunge this century into horrors writ large like the last Zio-century.

That there are legions of corrupt and soulless Gentiles willing and eager to jump on that gravy train, is a shame and a sin, but it doesn't excuse the people who are the motivation behind the wars.

The Kochs (and Chamber of Commerce and other Gentile scum) want massive immigration out of pure, raw, insatiable greed.

Whereas the Jewish supremacist Zionists want it out of genocidal tribal hatreds.

The typical American middle and working class are ground into the dirt between these two pillars of Satanic iniquity.

I agree with much of what you're saying, and it's true about the elites in general. But the ZUSA is completely controlled by Zionist Jews, and I think that's pretty obvious.

This man knew that 9/11 was going to happen, if he wasn't part of the planning. And yet look at how they abase themselves

[Jun 28, 2018] How America's Wars Fund Inequality at Home by Stephanie Savell

Notable quotes:
"... The implications for today are almost painfully straightforward: the current combination of deficit spending and tax cuts spells disaster for any hopes of shrinking America's striking inequality gap . Instead, credit-card war spending is already fueling the dramatic levels of wealth inequality that have led some observers to suggest that we are living in a new Gilded Age , reminiscent of the enormous divide between the opulent lifestyles of the elite and the grinding poverty of the majority of Americans in the late nineteenth century. ..."
"... Today's wars are paid for almost entirely through loans -- 60% from wealthy individuals and governmental agencies like the Federal Reserve, 40% from foreign lenders. Meanwhile, in October 2001, when Washington launched the war on terror, the government also initiated a set of tax cuts, a trend that has only continued. The war-financing strategies that President George W. Bush began have flowed on without significant alteration under Presidents Obama and Trump. (Obama did raise a few taxes, but didn't fundamentally alter the swing towards tax cuts.) President Trump's extreme tax "reform" package, which passed Congress in December 2017 -- a gift-wrapped dream for the 1% -- only enlarged those cuts. ..."
"... However little the public may realize it, Americans are already feeling the costs of their post-9/11 wars. Those have, after all, massively increased the Pentagon's base budget and the moneys that go into the expanding national security budget , while reducing the amount of money left over for so much else from infrastructure investment to science. In the decade following September 11, 2001, military spending increased by 50% , while spending on every other government program increased only 13.5%. ..."
Jun 28, 2018 | www.tomdispatch.com

Credit-Card Wars
Today's War-Financing Strategies Will Only Increase Inequality
By Stephanie Savell

In the name of the fight against terrorism, the United States is currently waging " credit-card wars " in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. Never before has this country relied so heavily on deficit spending to pay for its conflicts. The consequences are expected to be ruinous for the long-term fiscal health of the U.S., but they go far beyond the economic. Massive levels of war-related debt will have lasting repercussions of all sorts. One potentially devastating effect, a new study finds, will be more societal inequality.

In other words, the staggering costs of the longest war in American history -- almost 17 years running, since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 -- are being deferred to the future. In the process, the government is contributing to this country's skyrocketing income inequality.

Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent $5.6 trillion on its war on terror, according to the Costs of War Project, which I co-direct, at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs . This is a far higher number than the Pentagon's $1.5 trillion estimate, which only counts expenses for what are known as "overseas contingency operations," or OCO -- that is, a pot of supplemental money, outside the regular annual budget, dedicated to funding wartime operations. The $5.6 trillion figure, on the other hand, includes not just what the U.S. has spent on overseas military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria, but also portions of Homeland Security spending related to counterterrorism on American soil, and future obligations to care for wounded or traumatized post-9/11 military veterans. The financial burden of the post-9/11 wars across the Greater Middle East -- and still spreading , through Africa and other regions -- is far larger than most Americans recognize.

During prior wars, the U.S. adjusted its budget accordingly by, among other options, raising taxes to pay for its conflicts. Not so since 2001, when President George W. Bush launched the "Global War on Terror." Instead, the country has accumulated a staggering amount of debt. Even if Washington stopped spending on its wars tomorrow, it will still, thanks to those conflicts, owe more than $8 trillion in interest alone by the 2050s.

Putting the Gilded Age to Shame

It's hard to fathom what that enormous level of debt will do to our economy and society. A new Costs of War study by political scientist and historian Rosella Capella Zielinski offers initial clues about its impact here. She takes a look at how the U.S. has paid for its conflicts from the War of 1812 through the two World Wars and Vietnam to the present war on terror. While a range of taxes, bond sales, and other mechanisms were used to raise funds to fight such conflicts, no financial strategy has relied so exclusively on borrowing -- until this century. Her study also explores how each type of war financing has affected inequality levels in this country in the aftermath of those conflicts.

The implications for today are almost painfully straightforward: the current combination of deficit spending and tax cuts spells disaster for any hopes of shrinking America's striking inequality gap . Instead, credit-card war spending is already fueling the dramatic levels of wealth inequality that have led some observers to suggest that we are living in a new Gilded Age , reminiscent of the enormous divide between the opulent lifestyles of the elite and the grinding poverty of the majority of Americans in the late nineteenth century.

Capella Zielinski carefully breaks down what effects the methods used to pay for various wars have had on subsequent levels of social inequality. During the Civil War, for example, the government relied primarily on loans from private donors. After that war was over, the American people had to pay those loans back with interest, which proved a bonanza for financial elites, primarily in the North. Those wealthy lenders became wealthier still and everyone else, whose taxes reimbursed them, poorer.

In contrast, during World War I, the government launched a war-bond campaign that targeted low-income people. War savings stamps were offered for as little as 25 cents and war savings certificates in denominations starting at $25. Anyone who could make a small down payment could buy a war bond for $50 and cover the rest of what was owed in installments. In this way, the war effort promoted savings and, in its wake, a striking number of low-income Americans were repaid with interest, decreasing the inequality levels of that era.

Taxation strategies have varied quite significantly in various war periods as well. During World War II, for instance, the government raised tax rates five times between 1940 and 1944, levying progressively steeper ones on higher income brackets (up to 65% on incomes over $1 million). As a result, though government debt was substantial in the aftermath of a global struggle fought on many fronts, the impact on low-income Americans could have been far worse. In contrast, the Vietnam War era began with a tax cut and, in the aftermath of that disastrous conflict, the U.S. had to deal with unprecedented levels of inflation. Low-income households bore the brunt of those higher costs, leading to greater inequality.

Today's wars are paid for almost entirely through loans -- 60% from wealthy individuals and governmental agencies like the Federal Reserve, 40% from foreign lenders. Meanwhile, in October 2001, when Washington launched the war on terror, the government also initiated a set of tax cuts, a trend that has only continued. The war-financing strategies that President George W. Bush began have flowed on without significant alteration under Presidents Obama and Trump. (Obama did raise a few taxes, but didn't fundamentally alter the swing towards tax cuts.) President Trump's extreme tax "reform" package, which passed Congress in December 2017 -- a gift-wrapped dream for the 1% -- only enlarged those cuts.

In other words, in this century, Washington has combined the domestic borrowing patterns of the Civil War with the tax cuts of the Vietnam era. That means one predictable thing: a rise in inequality in a country in which the income inequality gap is already heading for record territory.

Just to add to the future burden of it all, this is the first time government wartime borrowing has relied so heavily on foreign debt. Though there is no way of knowing how this will affect inequality here in the long run, one thing is already obvious: it will transfer wealth outside the country.

Economist Linda Bilmes has argued that there's another new factor involved in Washington's budgeting of today's wars. In every other major American conflict, after an initial period, war expenditures were incorporated into the regular defense budget. Since 2001, however, the war on terror has been funded mainly by supplemental appropriations (those Overseas Contingency Operations funds), subject to very little oversight. Think of the OCO as a slush fund that insures one thing: the true impact of this era's war funding won't hit until far later since such appropriations are exempt from spending caps and don't have to be offset elsewhere in the budget.

According to Bilmes, "This process is less transparent, less accountable, and has rendered the cost of the wars far less visible." As a measure of the invisible impact of war funding in Washington and elsewhere, she calculates that, while the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense discussed war financing in 79% of its hearings during the Vietnam era, since 9/11, there have been similar mentions at only 17% of such hearings. For its part, the Senate Finance Committee has discussed war-funding strategy in a thoroughgoing way only once in almost 17 years.

Hidden Tradeoffs and Deferred Costs

The effect of this century's unprecedented budgetary measures is that, for the most part, the American people don't feel the financial weight of the wars their government is waging -- or rather, they feel it, but don't recognize it for what it is. This corresponds remarkably well with the wars themselves, fought by a non-draft military in distant lands and largely ignored in this country (at least since the vast public demonstrations against the coming invasion of Iraq ended in the spring of 2003). The blowback from those wars, the way they are coming home, has also been ignored, financially and otherwise.

However little the public may realize it, Americans are already feeling the costs of their post-9/11 wars. Those have, after all, massively increased the Pentagon's base budget and the moneys that go into the expanding national security budget , while reducing the amount of money left over for so much else from infrastructure investment to science. In the decade following September 11, 2001, military spending increased by 50% , while spending on every other government program increased only 13.5%.

How exactly does this trade-off work? The National Priorities Project explains it well. Every year the federal government negotiates levels of discretionary spending (as distinct from mandatory spending, which largely consists of Social Security and Medicare). In 2001, there were fewer discretionary funds allocated to defense than to non-defense programs, but the ensuing war on terror dramatically inflated military spending relative to other parts of the budget. In 2017, military and national security spending accounted for 53% of discretionary spending. The 2018 congressionally approved omnibus spending package allocates $700 billion for the military and $591 billion for non-military purposes, leaving that proportion about the same. (Keep in mind, that those totals don't even include all the money flowing into that Overseas Contingency Operations fund). President Trump's proposals for future spending, if accepted by Congress, would ensure that, by 2023, the proportion of military spending would soar to 65% .

In other words, the rise in war-related military expenditures entails losses for other areas of federal funding. Pick your issue: crumbling bridges, racial justice, housing, healthcare, education, climate change -- and it's all being affected by how much this country spends on war.

Nonetheless, thanks to its credit-card version of war financing, the government has effectively deferred most of the financial costs of its unending conflicts to the future. This, in turn, contributes to how detached most Americans tend to feel from the very fact that their country is now eternally at war. Political scientist and policy analyst Sarah Kreps argues that Americans become invested in how a war is being conducted only when they're asked to pay for it. In her examination of the history of the financing of American wars, she writes , "The visibility and intrusiveness of taxes are exactly what make individuals scrutinize the service for which the resources are being used." If there were war taxes today, their unpopularity would undoubtedly lead Americans to question the costs and consequences of their country's wars in ways now missing from today's public conversation.

Pressing for a real war budget, though, is not only a mechanism to alert Americans to the effects (on them) of the wars their government is fighting. It is also a potential lever through which citizens could affect the country's foreign policy and pressure elected officials to bring those wars to an end. Some civic groups and activists from across the political spectrum have indeed been pushing to reduce the Pentagon budget, bloated by war, corruption , and fear-mongering . They are, however, up against both the power of an ascendant military-industrial complex and wars that have been organized, in their funding and in so many other ways, not to be noticed.

Those who care about this country's economic future would be remiss not to include today's war financing strategy among the country's most urgent fiscal challenges. Anyone interested in improving American democracy and the well-being of its people should begin by connecting the budgetary dots. The more money this country spends on military activities, the more public coffers will be depleted by war-related interest payments and the less public funding there will be for anything else. In short, it's time for Americans worried about living in a country whose inequality gap could soon surpass that of the Gilded Age to begin paying real attention to our " credit-card wars ."

Stephanie Savell, a TomDispatch regular , is co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs . An anthropologist, she conducts research on security and civic engagement in Brazil and in the U.S. She co-authored The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life .

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook . Check out the newest Dispatch Books, Beverly Gologorsky's novel Every Body Has a Story and Tom Engelhardt's A Nation Unmade by War , as well as Alfred McCoy's In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power , John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II , and John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands .

Copyright 2018 Stephanie Savell

[Jun 28, 2018] At War With Ourselves The Domestic Consequences of Foreign Policies

Notable quotes:
"... Special to Consortium News ..."
"... In 2015, suicides accounted for over 60 percent of gun deaths in the U.S., while homicides made up around 36 percent of that year's total. Guns are consistently the most common method by which people take their own lives. ..."
"... When veterans return home from chaotic war zones, resuming normal civilian life can present major difficulties. The stresses of wartime create a long-term, sustained "fight-or-flight" response, not only producing physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking or a racing heart rate, but inflicting a mental and moral toll as well. ..."
"... "Over the course of the year I was there, the units I was embedded with lost three men, and all of them were lost to suicide, not to enemy action," Van Buren said. "This left an extraordinary impression on me, and triggered in me some of the things that I write about." ..."
"... If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one. ..."
Jun 28, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

At War With Ourselves: The Domestic Consequences of Foreign Policies June 25, 2018 • 72 Comments

There is a direct connection between gun violence and suicide rates in the United States and America's aggressive foreign policy, argues Will Porter.

How America's Gun Violence Epidemic May Have Roots in Overseas War Zones

By Will Porter
Special to Consortium News

In recent months a string of school shootings in the United States has rekindled the debate over gun violence, its causes and what can be done to stop it. But amid endless talk of school shootings and AR-15s, a large piece of the puzzle has been left conspicuously absent from the debate.

Contrary to the notion that mass murderers are at the heart of America's gun violence problem, data from recent years reveals that the majority of gun deaths are self-inflicted.

In 2015, suicides accounted for over 60 percent of gun deaths in the U.S., while homicides made up around 36 percent of that year's total. Guns are consistently the most common method by which people take their own lives.

While the causes of America's suicide-driven gun epidemic are complex and myriad, it's clear that one group contributes to the statistics above all others: military veterans.

Beyond the Physical

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, on average some 20 veterans commit suicide every single day, making them among the most prone to take their own lives compared to people working in other professions. Though they comprise under 9 percent of the American population, veterans accounted for 18 percent of suicides in the U.S. in 2014.

When veterans return home from chaotic war zones, resuming normal civilian life can present major difficulties. The stresses of wartime create a long-term, sustained "fight-or-flight" response, not only producing physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking or a racing heart rate, but inflicting a mental and moral toll as well.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) accounts for some of the physiological effects of trauma, the "fight-or-flight" response, but the distinct mental, moral and spiritual anguish experienced by many veterans and other victims of trauma has been termed " moral injury ."

A better understanding of that concept and the self-harm it motivates could go a long way toward explaining, and ultimately solving, America's suicide epidemic.

"Moral injury looks beyond the physical and asks who we are as people," Peter Van Buren, a former State Department Foreign Service officer, said in an interview. "It says that we know right from wrong, and that when we violate right and wrong, we injure ourselves. We leave a scar on ourselves, the same as if we poked ourselves with a knife."

While not a veteran himself, during his tenure with the Foreign Service Van Buren served for one year alongside American soldiers at a forward operating base in Iraq. His experiences there would stick with him for life.

"Over the course of the year I was there, the units I was embedded with lost three men, and all of them were lost to suicide, not to enemy action," Van Buren said. "This left an extraordinary impression on me, and triggered in me some of the things that I write about."

Van Buren: A profound sense of guilt.

After retiring from the Foreign Service, Van Buren began research for his novel " Hooper's War ," a fictional account set in WWII Japan. The book centers on American veteran, Nate Hooper, and explores the psychological costs paid by those who survive a war. Van Buren said if he set the book in the past, he thought he could better explore the subject matter without the baggage of current-day politics.

In his research, Van Buren interviewed Japanese civilians who were children at the time of the conflict and found surprising parallels with the soldiers he served with in Iraq. Post-war guilt, he found, does not only afflict the combatants who fight and carry out grisly acts of violence, but civilians caught in the crossfire as well.

For many, merely living through a conflict when others did not is cause for significant distress, a condition known as "survivor's guilt."

"In talking with them I heard so many echoes of what I'd heard from the soldiers in Iraq, and so many echoes of what I felt myself, this profound sense of guilt," Van Buren said.

'We Killed Them'

Whether it was something a soldier did, saw or failed to prevent, feelings of guilt can leave a permanent mark on veterans after they come home.

Brian Ellison, a combat veteran who served under the National Guard in Iraq in 2004, said he's still troubled by his wartime experiences.

Stationed at a small, under protected maintenance garage in the town of ad-Diwaniyah in a southeastern province of Iraq, Ellison said his unit was attacked on a daily basis.

"From the day we got there, we would get attacked every night like clockwork -- mortars, RPGs," Ellison said. "We had no protection; we had no weapons systems on the base."

On one night in April of 2004, after a successful mission to obtain ammunition for the base's few heavy weapons, Ellison's unit was ready to hit back.

"So we got some rounds for the Mark 19 [a belt-fed automatic grenade launcher] and we basically used it as field artillery, shot it up in the air and lobbed it in," Ellison said. "Finally on the last night we were able to get them to stop shooting, but that was because we killed 5 of them. At the time this was something I was proud of. We were like 'We got them, we got our revenge.'"

U.S. military poster. (Health.mil)

"In retrospect, it's like here's this foreign army, and we're in their neighborhood," Ellison said. "They're defending their neighborhood, but they're the bad guys and we're the good guys, and we killed them. I think about stuff like that a lot."

Despite his guilt, Ellison said he was able to sort through the negative feelings by speaking openly and honestly about his experiences and actions. Some veterans have a harder time, however, including one of Ellison's closest friends.

"He ended up going overseas like five times," Ellison said. "Now he's retired and he can't even deal with people. He can't deal with people, it's sad. He was this funny guy, everybody's friend, easy to get along with, now he's a recluse. It's really weird to see somebody like that. He had three young kids and a happy personality, now he's broken."

In addition to the problems created in their personal relationships, the morally injured also often turn to self-destructive habits to cope with their despair.

"In the process of trying to shut this sound off in your head -- this voice of conscience -- many people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of shutting that voice up, at least temporarily," Van Buren said. "You hope at some point it shuts up permanently . . . Unfortunately, I think that many people do look for the permanent silence of suicide as a way of escaping these feelings."

A Hero's Welcome?

By now most are familiar with the practice of celebrating veterans as heroes upon their return from war, but few realize what psychological consequences such apparently benevolent gestures can have.

"I think the healthiest thing a vet can do is to come to terms with reality," Ellison said. "It's so easy to get swept up -- when we came home off the plane, there was a crowd of people cheering for us. I just remember feeling dirty. I felt like 'I don't want you to cheer for us,' but at the same time it's comforting. It's a weird dynamic. Like, I could just put this horror out of my mind and pretend we were heroes."

"But the terrible part is that, behind that there's reality," Ellison said. "Behind that, we know what we were doing; we know that we weren't fighting for freedom. So when somebody clings onto this 'we were heroes' thing, I think that's bad for them. They have to be struggling with it internally. I really believe that's one of the biggest things that contributes to people committing suicide. They're not able to talk about it, not able to bring it to the forefront and come to terms with it."

Unclear Solution

According to the 2016 VA study, 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide are not regular users of VA services.

The Department of Veteran Affairs was set up in 1930 to handle medical care, benefits and burials for veterans, but some 87 years later, the department is plagued by scandal and mismanagement. Long wait times, common to many government-managed healthcare systems, discourage veterans from seeking the department's assistance, especially those with urgent psychiatric needs.

An independent review was carried out in 2014 by the VA's Inspector General, Richard Griffin, which found that at one Arizona VA facility, 1,700 veterans were on wait lists, waiting an average of 115 days before getting an initial appointment.

"People don't generally seek medical help because the [VA] system is so inefficient and ineffective; everyone feels like it's a waste of time," said a retired senior non-commissioned officer in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) who wished to remain anonymous.

"The system is so bad, even within the SOF world where I work, that I avoid going at all costs," the retired officer said. "I try to get my guys to civilian hospitals so that they can get quality healthcare instead of military healthcare."

Beyond institutions, however, both Ellison and Van Buren agreed that speaking openly about their experiences has been a major step on their road back to normalcy. Open dialogue, then, is not only one way for veterans and other victims of trauma to heal, it may ultimately be the key to solving America's epidemic of gun violence.

The factors contributing to mass murders, school shootings and private crime are, no doubt, important to study, but so long as suicide is left out of the public discourse on guns, genuine solutions may always be just out of reach.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/puAJcGfIq7U?feature=oembed

Will Porter is a journalist who specializes in U.S. foreign policy and Middle East affairs. He writes for the Libertarian Institute and tweets at @WKPancap.

If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.

[Jun 26, 2018] This banking and finance cartel (which, as you say, is interlocked with big oil, the military/industrial, big tech, etc.) forms the core of what are called the 'Globalists', an international financial elite that use their wealth to exert political control over as much of the world as possible.

Notable quotes:
"... This banking and finance cartel (which, as you say, is interlocked with big oil, the military/industrial, big tech, etc.) forms the core of what are called the 'Globalists', an international financial elite that use their wealth to exert political control over as much of the world as possible. In addition to the banking families, the 'Globalists' include any number of extremely wealthy people, (Industrialists, Tech Entrepreneurs, Middle-East Sheiks, Saudi Royals, and Nouveaux Riches such as Soros, Ukranian and Russian Oligarchs, etc.). The 'Globalists' directly control virtually all Western NGOs (Soros), think tanks and major media. ..."
Jun 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Re Reading Recommendations

Thanks, everyone, for all the book recommendations – several I had not read. I would add "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn, "The Shame of the Cities" by Lincoln Steffens, and "Who Will Tell the People" by William Greider, and in that order.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 25, 2018 5:01:26 PM | 78


dh-mtl , Jun 25, 2018 5:01:46 PM | 79

Noirette@62,

I agree with your points, but would like to build on them a bit.

The 'Banking and Finance' cartel behind the U.S. deep state is said to consist of eight families, half American and half European. (The Federal Reserve Cartel: The Eight Families, Dean Henderson, Global Research, May 19, 2016)

This banking and finance cartel (which, as you say, is interlocked with big oil, the military/industrial, big tech, etc.) forms the core of what are called the 'Globalists', an international financial elite that use their wealth to exert political control over as much of the world as possible. In addition to the banking families, the 'Globalists' include any number of extremely wealthy people, (Industrialists, Tech Entrepreneurs, Middle-East Sheiks, Saudi Royals, and Nouveaux Riches such as Soros, Ukranian and Russian Oligarchs, etc.). The 'Globalists' directly control virtually all Western NGOs (Soros), think tanks and major media.

The 'Globalists' control not only the U.S. Deep State, but also the European Union structures. They also have purchased a large number of politicians throughout the Western World. Through this control they have stripped sovereignty from both the U.S. and Europe, and converted them into effective 'Oligarchic Dictatorships'. These dictatorships are set-up for the benefit of the 'Globalists' themselves, and have little interest in the well-being of their citizens. This is seen in the impoverishment and societal collapse rapidly progressing in both the U.S. and Europe.

Globalization is the 'Globalists' project of Global Governance, which effectively strips nation-states of their sovereignty (and democracy) and transfers it to 'Global Institutions' (IMF, World Bank, International Trade Agreements, U.N., Climate Agreements, etc.), enforced by U.S. military might.

The 'Project for a New American Century' was the 'Globalists' blueprint to 'Globalize' over the parts of the world that they did not already control. Almost all current and recent international conflicts, from the Middle-Eastern Wars, to Ukraine, the Korean crisis, the cornering of Russian and Obama's 'Pivot to Asia' are all related to this project.

Unfortunately for the 'Globalists', Global Governance is extremely harmful to citizens that are subject to it. That is why we see 'populism/nationalism' rising throughout the U.S. and Europe, in an attempt to block the stripping of these citizens' democracy, their nations' sovereignty and their personal security and well-being.

I believe that President Trump is part of this populism/nationalism movement, and almost all of his actions can be interpreted as an attempt to counter Globalization, to restore U.S. sovereignty and to redevelop the U.S. economy, which has been devastated over the past four decades by the 'Globalist' elites.

karlof1 , Jun 25, 2018 5:54:42 PM | 83
AntiSpin @78, et al--

I second those 3!! Greider's Secrets of the Temple is a good primer on The Fed. The Age of Federalism by Elkins and McKitrick documents the first undeclared war of too many, this one with France during its revolutionary period prior to Napoleon. The Seminoles and other Floridian tribes were used as proxies to force the Spanish out of the Floridas; and too many forget that Louisiana was Spanish before its very short ownership by France. Jefferson's purchase and dispatch of Lewis and Clarke educated him as to the wide-open, unregulated nature of the Executive under the 1787 Constitution, which represents the current plague on our planet today.

But the initial germ beyond Tordesillas of a continent spanning empire was the brain child of one Richard Hakluyt whose ideas for planting North America infected many other English elites. His idea was incorporated into the Charter for the Virginia Company--it went all the way to the as yet undiscovered boundary of the Pacific Ocean. This slide shows the continental extent of the charters grated Virginia and New England.

One last book endorsement for two of Bernard Bailyn's many works: The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson . If you have a good university library close by, it ought to have the entire work, Pamphlets of the American Revolution , from which Ideological Origins was just the introduction.

One of my research methods was to find an author whose authority I trust, like Bailyn, then read everything he wrote since I can't have him tutor me--and follow his footnotes to where he got his information. Sure, that leads to a very extensive reading list; but if you're going to become a historian, reading lots of books and journals is what you do. Same thing with Chomsky; all his works are rife with footnotes. And don't just read the radical or leftist historians; you must read the Court Historians too and thus discover their many omissions--we all know history's manipulated, but that's not sufficient: just how and why are necessary.

frances , Jun 25, 2018 7:08:16 PM | 90
reply to:Posted by: dh-mtl | Jun 25, 2018 5:01:46 PM | 79
"The 'Project for a New American Century' was the 'Globalists' blueprint to 'Globalize' over the parts of the world that they did not already control."
I agree, their plan is to open up the Schengen region to ALL of Africa destroying/diluting all allegiance to nations in Europe under the 2018 Marrakesh Declaration (ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/20180503_declaration-and-action-plan-marrakesh_en.pdf) signed by the EU and 40 African nations thereby ushering in the return of feudalism under UN 2050 plan.
Well worth a read if you are not familiar with it, it will chill your blood, chilled mine anyway.

[Jun 16, 2018] The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain

Rumors about the death of the US global neoliberal empire are probably slightly exaggerated. Trump did damaged it, but the neoliberal system proved to be really resilient in 2008 and might prove this again.
Notable quotes:
"... The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader. ..."
"... However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family. ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT

@Rurik

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Rurik , June 14, 2018 at 10:43 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

some perhaps, but the middle class is dying (literally in the case of middle aged white men), and the working class is languishing. It's true the 1% are gorging on a frenzy of corruption and graft, and a no doubt there are a few who prosper by serving that class, but the Main Streets of America are not, in any way, profiting off the exploitation of Africa or S. America or anywhere else. Indeed, it is them that are being exploited.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey

no argument there!

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India.

India and China (and Ethiopia and Somalia and Mexico and Brazil and so many other places) are not poor due to the oppression of Americans. Sure, Goldman Sachs and a thousand other vultures and thieves have done a lot of damage, but no more that the leadership of those respective lands. Has India ever heard of birth control, (for God's sake!) Or Indonesia or a hundred other places, like Haiti, that overbreed their finite resources and limited space until their countries are reduced to shitholes.

If a coal miner in West Virginia is doing a little better than an Untouchable in India, then trust me when I tell you I'm not going to blame the miner (or janitor or mechanic) in America for the poverty in the corrupt and stupid third world.

As far as the suffering that the ZUSA has actually caused, and is causing in places like Syria and Yemen, none of that is being done on behalf of the American people, but rather the typical American is taxed to support these wars and atrocities on behalf of Israel or Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

recently I was ranting on the terrible folly of this very thing.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

Yes, they're just as selfish and greedy, but they aren't as filled with genocidal hatred.

It's because of Zionist Jews that Americans were dragged into both world wars.

It's because of Zionist Jews (and assorted corrupt Gentiles) that Israel (with help from the CIA and ((media)), did 9/11, in order to plunge this century into horrors writ large like the last Zio-century.

That there are legions of corrupt and soulless Gentiles willing and eager to jump on that gravy train, is a shame and a sin, but it doesn't excuse the people who are the motivation behind the wars.

The Kochs (and Chamber of Commerce and other Gentile scum) want massive immigration out of pure, raw, insatiable greed.

Whereas the Jewish supremacist Zionists want it out of genocidal tribal hatreds.

The typical American middle and working class are ground into the dirt between these two pillars of Satanic iniquity.

I agree with much of what you're saying, and it's true about the elites in general. But the ZUSA is completely controlled by Zionist Jews, and I think that's pretty obvious.

This man knew that 9/11 was going to happen, if he wasn't part of the planning. And yet look at how they abase themselves

[Jun 15, 2018] Ralph Peters as one of the nuttiest neocons around. But as far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson

Notable quotes:
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.) ..."
"... A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy". ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. ..."
"... However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money. ..."
"... Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job. ..."
"... The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.g2mil.com
AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Rurik

The US elites (neocons are just one type of servants they hired)

ah, so it was Dubya all along! What a clever little schemer he was! Pretending all that time to be dumb as a rock, and a tool of organized Zionism, while he was using the neocons to his own advantage! So while ((Wolfowitz and Feith and Pearl and Kristol)) were being schooled at the feet of ((Leo Strauss)), it was Dubya the college cheerleader all along who was the mastermind behind the Project for a New American Century and 9/11 !

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_KhlRzZj7HG8/SylVO1ygOeI/AAAAAAAAQ1s/2ms5qnctt4Y/s320/Dubya+phone.jpg

sure, Goldman Sachs and Hollywood get federal subsidies, but it's the (dying) American middle class that has been exploiting the world's poor!

The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain,
what's been going down the drain has been the blood and tears and future of working class Americans, forced to suit up their children to go slaughter innocent Arabs and others in a transparent and treasonous policy intended to bolster Israel - at the direct and catastrophic expense of America and the American people.

I wonder, as the American people are taxed to the tune of billions every year, to send to Israel as tribute, is that also a case of US elites using Israel to their own devices? As Americas roads and bridges crumble, and veterans are denied care?

Or, is it just possible, that the ((owners)) of the Federal Reserve Bank, have used that printing press as a weapon to consolidate absolute power over the institutions of the ZUSA?

Do you suppose that when France bombs Libya or menaces Syria, that they're doing it to benefit the French elite? And that Israel is their dupe, who give them a pretext for doing so? Or that the French (and British and Polish and Ukrainian, etc..) elite are getting their marching orders from Jewish supremacist Zionists who're hell bent on using Gentile Christians to slaughter Gentile Muslims while they laugh and count the shekels? Eh?

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Carlton Meyer says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

Ralph Peters is one of the nuttiest neocons around, and Fox was smart to dump him. I recall an article long ago where he suggested that the US Govt. should address the drug addition problem in the USA by assassinating drug dealers on the streets in the USA.

He lives off scraps from neocons by selling his soul for BS talking points and collects a monthly check from Uncle Sam after 20 years of sitting at a desk doing BS intel work, as I once did for a year. It seems he missed his chance at killing commies in Nam by touring Europe, as Fred Reed explained:

https://fredoneverything.org/dulce-et-decorum-est-if-someone-else-has-to-do-it/

Mikhail says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 6:18 am GMT
Nothing new in the above article. That such people are elevated to the stature of cushy mainstream propping and ridicule by some non-mainstream others is a tell all sign on what's wrong with the coverage.

Regarding this excerpt:

A prime example of this comes in a recent volume authored by prominent Neocon journalist and homosexual activist (yes, the two traits often seem to go together), James Kirchick: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, 2017). In his jumble of Neocon ideology and prejudice, Kirchick evaluates what for him seems to be happening ominously in Europe. He is deeply fearful of the efforts to "close borders" against Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. He blasts Marine Le Pen as a racist -- and most likely a subtle "holocaust denier!" -- and attacks the attempts in places like Hungary and Poland to reassert national traditions and Christian identity; for him these are nothing less than attempts to bring back "fascism."

Russia comes in for perhaps his harshest criticism, and the reason is unmistakable: Russia seems to be returning to its older national and pre-Communist heritage, to its age-old Orthodox Christian faith. Russians are returning by the millions to the church and the "old-time" religion. For Kirchick this can only mean one thing: the triumph of bigotry, anti-semitism, and "extreme right wing" ideology, and the failure of what he terms "liberal democracy and equality" (including, he would no doubt include, feminism, same sex marriage, across-the-board equality, and all those other "conservative values"!).

Kirchick's critique, shared by many of the leaders of the national Republican Party and dominating the pages of most establishment "conservative" publications and talk radio these days, joins him arm-in-arm with globalist George Soros in efforts to undermine the Russian state and its president all in the name of "democracy" and "equality." [See, "George Soros Aghast as Collapsing EU, while Russia Resurgent," January 19, 2018]

But, just what kind of "democracy" and what kind of "equality" do Kirchick and Soros defend?

JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.)

A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy".

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT • 100 Words
@Andrei Martyanov
As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.
As I always say -- as repulsive and debilitating Jewish influence on US body politic is, this influence, now transformed in almost complete "intellectual" dominance, it wouldn't have been possible without willing accomplices from radical Christian Zionists and a massive corruption in the highest echelons of power.

Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. The crisis is systemic and Jews are only one, however important, part of that. In the end, Bolton is a practicing Lutheran but look at him -- the guy is completely mad. And I mean this in purely psychiatric terms -- he has some real serious demons haunting him and I even have suspicion about what some of those are. Just an example.

Yes, sick ideology often attracts nutcases. I know a guy in Ukraine with a history of mental illness who is a staunch supporter of current "president" Poroshenko.

However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money.

Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job.

The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. The greatest sin of Russia and Putin is that they got in the way of thieves who wanted to loot the whole world but encountered resistance. Assad in Syria, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela committed the same sin: got between the thieves and their intended loot.

[Jun 06, 2018] The Gilded Zip Code

Notable quotes:
"... You arrive at the Supercuts fresh from your stroll, but the nice lady who cuts your hair is looking stressed. You'll discover that she commutes an hour through jammed highways to work. The gas guy does, too, and the tile guy comes in from another state. None of them can afford to live around here. The rent is too damn high. ..."
"... The Gated City ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

From my Brookline home, it's a pleasant, 10-minute walk to get a haircut. Along the way, you pass immense elm trees and brochure-ready homes beaming in their reclaimed Victorian glory. Apart from a landscaper or two, you are unlikely to spot a human being in this wilderness of oversize closets, wood-paneled living rooms, and Sub-Zero refrigerators.

If you do run into a neighbor, you might have a conversation like this: "Our kitchen remodel went way over budget. We had to fight just to get the tile guy to show up!" "I know! We ate Thai takeout for a month because the gas guy's car kept breaking down!"

You arrive at the Supercuts fresh from your stroll, but the nice lady who cuts your hair is looking stressed. You'll discover that she commutes an hour through jammed highways to work. The gas guy does, too, and the tile guy comes in from another state. None of them can afford to live around here. The rent is too damn high.

From 1980 to 2016, home values in Boston multiplied 7.6 times. When you take account of inflation, they generated a return of 157 percent to their owners. San Francisco returned 162 percent in real terms over the same period; New York, 115 percent; and Los Angeles, 114 percent. If you happen to live in a neighborhood like mine, you are surrounded by people who consider themselves to be real-estate geniuses.

(That's one reason we can afford to make so many mistakes in the home-renovation department.) If you live in St. Louis (3 percent) or Detroit (minus 16 percent), on the other hand, you weren't so smart. In 1980, a house in St. Louis would trade for a decent studio apartment in Manhattan.

Today that house will buy an 80-square-foot bathroom in the Big Apple.

Related Story

The returns on (the right kind of) real estate have been so extraordinary that, according to some economists, real estate alone may account for essentially all of the increase in wealth concentration over the past half century. It's not surprising that the values are up in the major cities: These are the gold mines of our new economy. Yet there is a paradox. The rent is so high that people -- notably people in the middle class -- are leaving town rather than working the mines. From 2000 to 2009, the San Francisco Bay Area had some of the highest salaries in the nation, and yet it lost 350,000 residents to lower-paying regions.

Across the United States, the journalist and economist Ryan Avent writes in The Gated City , "the best opportunities are found in one place, and for some reason most Americans are opting to live in another."

According to estimates from the economists Enrico Moretti and Chang-Tai Hsieh, the migration away from the productive centers of New York, San Francisco, and San Jose alone lopped 9.7 percent off total U.S. growth from 1964 to 2009 .

It is well known by now that the immediate cause of the insanity is the unimaginable pettiness of backyard politics. Local zoning regulation imposes excessive restrictions on housing development and drives up prices. What is less well understood is how central the process of depopulating the economic core of the nation is to the intertwined stories of rising inequality and falling social mobility.

Real-estate inflation has brought with it a commensurate increase in economic segregation. Every hill and dale in the land now has an imaginary gate, and it tells you up front exactly how much money you need to stay there overnight. Educational segregation has accelerated even more. In my suburb of Boston, 53 percent of adults have a graduate degree. In the suburb just south, that figure is 9 percent.

This economic and educational sorting of neighborhoods is often represented as a matter of personal preference, as in red people like to hang with red, and blue with blue. In reality, it's about the consolidation of wealth in all its forms, starting, of course, with money. Gilded zip codes are located next to giant cash machines: a too-big-to-fail bank, a friendly tech monopoly, and so on. Local governments, which collected a record $523 billion in property taxes in 2016, make sure that much of the money stays close to home.

But proximity to economic power isn't just a means of hoarding the pennies; it's a force of natural selection. Gilded zip codes deliver higher life expectancy, more-useful social networks, and lower crime rates. Lengthy commutes, by contrast, cause obesity, neck pain, stress, insomnia, loneliness, and divorce, as Annie Lowrey reported in Slate . One study found that a commute of 45 minutes or longer by one spouse increased the chance of divorce by 40 percent .

Nowhere are the mechanics of the growing geographic divide more evident than in the system of primary and secondary education. Public schools were born amid hopes of opportunity for all; the best of them have now been effectively reprivatized to better serve the upper classes. According to a widely used school-ranking service, out of more than 5,000 public elementary schools in California, the top 11 are located in Palo Alto. They're free and open to the public. All you have to do is move into a town where the median home value is $3,211,100. Scarsdale, New York, looks like a steal in comparison: The public high schools in that area funnel dozens of graduates to Ivy League colleges every year, and yet the median home value is a mere $1,403,600.

Racial segregation has declined with the rise of economic segregation. We in the 9.9 percent are proud of that. What better proof that we care only about merit? But we don't really want too much proof. Beyond a certain threshold -- 5 percent minority or 20 percent, it varies according to the mood of the region -- neighborhoods suddenly go completely black or brown. It is disturbing, but perhaps not surprising, to find that social mobility is lower in regions with high levels of racial segregation. The fascinating revelation in the data, however, is that the damage isn't limited to the obvious victims. According to Raj Chetty's research team , "There is evidence that higher racial segregation is associated with lower social mobility for white people." The relationship doesn't hold in every zone of the country, to be sure, and is undoubtedly the statistical reflection of a more complex set of social mechanisms. But it points to a truth that America's 19th-century slaveholders understood very well: Dividing by color remains an effective way to keep all colors of the 90 percent in their place.

With localized wealth comes localized political power, and not just of the kind that shows up in voting booths. Which brings us back to the depopulation paradox. Given the social and cultural capital that flows through wealthy neighborhoods, is it any wonder that we can defend our turf in the zoning wars? We have lots of ways to make that sound public-spirited. It's all about saving the local environment, preserving the historic character of the neighborhood, and avoiding overcrowding. In reality, it's about hoarding power and opportunity inside the walls of our own castles. This is what aristocracies do.

Zip code is who we are. It defines our style, announces our values, establishes our status, preserves our wealth, and allows us to pass it along to our children. It's also slowly strangling our economy and killing our democracy. It is the brick-and-mortar version of the Gatsby Curve. The traditional story of economic growth in America has been one of arriving, building, inviting friends, and building some more. The story we're writing looks more like one of slamming doors shut behind us and slowly suffocating under a mass of commercial-grade kitchen appliances.

7. Our Blind Spot

In my family, Aunt Sarah was the true believer. According to her version of reality, the family name was handed down straight from the ancient kings of Scotland. Great-great-something-grandfather William Stewart, a soldier in the Continental Army, was seated at the right hand of George Washington. And Sarah herself was somehow descended from "Pocahontas's sister." The stories never made much sense. But that didn't stop Sarah from believing in them. My family had to be special for a reason.

The 9.9 percent are different. We don't delude ourselves about the ancient sources of our privilege. That's because, unlike Aunt Sarah and her imaginary princesses, we've convinced ourselves that we don't have any privilege at all.

Consider the reception that at least some members of our tribe have offered to those who have foolishly dared to draw attention to our advantages. Last year, when the Brookings Institution researcher Richard V. Reeves, following up on his book Dream Hoarders , told the readers of The New York Times to "Stop Pretending You're Not Rich," many of those readers accused him of engaging in "class warfare," of writing "a meaningless article," and of being "rife with guilt."

In her incisive portrait of my people, Uneasy Street , the sociologist Rachel Sherman documents the syndrome. A number among us, when reminded of our privilege, respond with a counternarrative that generally goes like this: I was born in the street. I earned everything all by myself. I barely get by on my $250,000 salary. You should see the other parents at our kids' private school.

In part what we have here is a listening problem. Americans have trouble telling the difference between a social critique and a personal insult. Thus, a writer points to a broad social problem with complex origins, and the reader responds with, "What, you want to punish me for my success?"

In part, too, we're seeing some garden-variety self-centeredness, enabled by the usual cognitive lapses. Human beings are very good at keeping track of their own struggles; they are less likely to know that individuals on the other side of town are working two minimum-wage jobs to stay afloat, not watching Simpsons reruns all day. Human beings have a simple explanation for their victories: I did it . They easily forget the people who handed them the crayon and set them up for success. Human beings of the 9.9 percent variety also routinely conflate the stress of status competition with the stress of survival. No, failing to get your kid into Stanford is not a life-altering calamity.

The recency of it all may likewise play a role in our failure to recognize our growing privileges. It has taken less than one lifetime for the (never fully formed) meritocracy to evolve into a (fledgling) aristocracy. Class accretes faster than we think. It's our awareness that lags, trapping us within the assumptions into which we were born.

And yet, even allowing for these all-too-human failures of cognition, the cries of anguish that echo across the soccer fields at the mere suggestion of unearned privilege are too persistent to ignore. Fact-challenged though they may be, they speak to a certain, deeper truth about life in the 9.9 percent. What they are really telling us is that being an aristocrat is not quite what it is cracked up to be.

A strange truth about the Gatsby Curve is that even as it locks in our privileges, it doesn't seem to make things all that much easier. I know it wasn't all that easy growing up in the Colonel's household, for example. The story that Grandfather repeated more than any other was the one where, following some teenage misdemeanor of his, his father, the 250-pound, 6-foot-something onetime Rough Rider, smacked him so hard that he sailed clear across the room and landed flat on the floor. Everything -- anything -- seemed to make the Colonel angry.

Jay Gatsby might have understood. Life in West Egg is never as serene as it seems. The Princeton man -- that idle prince of leisure who coasts from prep school to a life of ease -- is an invention of our lowborn ancestors. It's what they thought they saw when they were looking up. West Eggers understand very well that a bad move or an unlucky break (or three or four) can lead to a steep descent. We know just how expensive it is to live there, yet living off the island is unthinkable. We have intuited one of the fundamental paradoxes of life on the Gatsby Curve: The greater the inequality, the less your money buys.

We feel in our bones that class works only for itself; that every individual is dispensable; that some of us will be discarded and replaced with fresh blood. This insecurity of privilege only grows as the chasm beneath the privileged class expands. It is the restless engine that drives us to invest still more time and energy in the walls that will keep us safe by keeping others out.

Perhaps the best evidence for the power of an aristocracy is the degree of resentment it provokes. By that measure, the 9.9 percent are doing pretty well indeed.

Here's another fact of life in West Egg: Someone is always above you. In Gatsby's case, it was the old-money people of East Egg. In the Colonel's case, it was John D. Rockefeller Jr. You're always trying to please them, and they're always ready to pull the plug.

The source of the trouble, considered more deeply, is that we have traded rights for privileges. We're willing to strip everyone, including ourselves, of the universal right to a good education, adequate health care, adequate representation in the workplace, genuinely equal opportunities, because we think we can win the game. But who, really, in the end, is going to win this slippery game of escalating privileges?

Under the circumstances, delusions are understandable. But that doesn't make them salutary, as Aunt Sarah discovered too late. Even as the last few pennies of the Colonel's buck trickled down to my father's generation, she still had the big visions that corresponded to her version of the family mythology. Convinced that she had inherited a head for business, she bet her penny on the dot-com bubble. In her final working years, she donned a red-and-black uniform and served burgers at a Wendy's in the vicinity of Jacksonville, Florida.

[Jun 06, 2018] The Privilege of an Education

Notable quotes:
"... At this point, I'm wondering whether life was easier in the old days, when you could buy a spot in the elite university of your choice with cold cash. Then I remind myself that Grandfather lasted only one year at Yale. In those days, the Ivies kicked you out if you weren't ready for action. Today, you have to self-combust in a newsworthy way before they show you the door. ..."
"... Excellent Sheep ..."
"... The Price of Admission ..."
"... In the United States, the premium that college graduates earn over their non-college-educated peers in young adulthood exceeds 70 percent. ..."
"... All of this comes before considering the all-consuming difference between "good" schools and the rest. Ten years after starting college, according to data from the Department of Education, the top decile of earners from all schools had a median salary of $68,000 . But the top decile from the 10 highest-earning colleges raked in $220,000 -- make that $250,000 for No. 1, Harvard -- and the top decile at the next 30 colleges took home $157,000. (Not surprisingly, the top 10 had an average acceptance rate of 9 percent, and the next 30 were at 19 percent.) ..."
"... But the fact is that degree holders earn so much more than the rest not primarily because they are better at their job, but because they mostly take different categories of jobs. Well over half of Ivy League graduates, for instance, typically go straight into one of four career tracks that are generally reserved for the well educated: finance, management consulting, medicine, or law. To keep it simple, let's just say that there are two types of occupations in the world: those whose members have collective influence in setting their own pay, and those whose members must face the music on their own. It's better to be a member of the first group. Not surprisingly, that is where you will find the college crowd. ..."
"... The candy-hurling godfather of today's meritocratic class, of course, is the financial-services industry. Americans now turn over $1 of every $12 in GDP to the financial sector; in the 1950s, the bankers were content to keep only $1 out of $40. ..."
"... It isn't a coincidence that the education premium surged during the same years that membership in trade unions collapsed. In 1954, 28 percent of all workers were members of trade unions, but by 2017 that figure was down to 11 percent. ..."
"... Education -- the thing itself , not the degree -- is always good. A genuine education opens minds and makes good citizens. It ought to be pursued for the sake of society . In our unbalanced system, however, education has been reduced to a private good, justifiable only by the increments in graduates' paychecks. Instead of uniting and enriching us, it divides and impoverishes. ..."
"... If the system can be gamed, well then, our ability to game the system has become the new test of merit. ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | newrepublic.com

My 16-year-old daughter is sitting on a couch, talking with a stranger about her dreams for the future. We're here, ominously enough, because, she says, "all my friends are doing it." For a moment, I wonder whether we have unintentionally signed up for some kind of therapy. The professional woman in the smart-casual suit throws me a pointed glance and says, "It's normal to be anxious at a time like this." She really does see herself as a therapist of sorts. But she does not yet seem to know that the source of my anxiety is the idea of shelling out for a $12,000 "base package" of college-counseling services whose chief purpose is apparently to reduce my anxiety. Determined to get something out of this trial counseling session, I push for recommendations on summer activities. We leave with a tip on a 10-day "cultural tour" of France for high schoolers. In the college-application business, that's what's known as an "enrichment experience." When we get home, I look it up. The price of enrichment: $11,000 for the 10 days.

That's when I hear the legend of the SAT whisperer. If you happen to ride through the yellow-brown valleys of the California coast, past the designer homes that sprout wherever tech unicorns sprinkle their golden stock offerings, you might come across him. His high-school classmates still remember him, almost four decades later, as one of the child wonders of the age. Back then, he and his equally precocious siblings showed off their preternatural verbal and musical talents on a local television program. Now his clients fly him around the state for test-prep sessions with their 16-year-olds. You can hire him for $750, plus transportation, per two-hour weekend session. (There is a weekday discount.) Some of his clients book him every week for a year.

Affirmative-action programs are to some degree an extension of the system of wealth preservation. They indulge rich people in the belief that their college is open to all.

At this point, I'm wondering whether life was easier in the old days, when you could buy a spot in the elite university of your choice with cold cash. Then I remind myself that Grandfather lasted only one year at Yale. In those days, the Ivies kicked you out if you weren't ready for action. Today, you have to self-combust in a newsworthy way before they show you the door.

Inevitably, I begin rehearsing the speech for my daughter. It's perfectly possible to lead a meaningful life without passing through a name-brand college, I'm going to say. We love you for who you are. We're not like those tacky strivers who want a back-windshield sticker to testify to our superior parenting skills. And why would you want to be an investment banker or a corporate lawyer anyway? But I refrain from giving the speech, knowing full well that it will light up her parental-bullshit detector like a pair of khakis on fire.

The skin colors of the nation's elite student bodies are more varied now, as are their genders, but their financial bones have calcified over the past 30 years. In 1985, 54 percent of students at the 250 most selective colleges came from families in the bottom three quartiles of the income distribution. A similar review of the class of 2010 put that figure at just 33 percent. According to a 2017 study, 38 elite colleges -- among them five of the Ivies -- had more students from the top 1 percent than from the bottom 60 percent . In his 2014 book, Excellent Sheep , William Deresiewicz, a former English professor at Yale, summed up the situation nicely: "Our new multiracial, gender-neutral meritocracy has figured out a way to make itself hereditary."

The wealthy can also draw on a variety of affirmative-action programs designed just for them. As Daniel Golden points out in The Price of Admission , legacy-admissions policies reward those applicants with the foresight to choose parents who attended the university in question. Athletic recruiting, on balance and contrary to the popular wisdom, also favors the wealthy, whose children pursue lacrosse, squash, fencing, and the other cost-intensive sports at which private schools and elite public schools excel. And, at least among members of the 0.1 percent, the old-school method of simply handing over some of Daddy's cash has been making a comeback. ( Witness Jared Kushner, Harvard graduate .)

The mother lode of all affirmative-action programs for the wealthy, of course, remains the private school. Only 2.2 percent of the nation's students graduate from nonsectarian private high schools, and yet these graduates account for 26 percent of students at Harvard and 28 percent of students at Princeton. The other affirmative-action programs, the kind aimed at diversifying the look of the student body, are no doubt well intended. But they are to some degree merely an extension of this system of wealth preservation. Their function, at least in part, is to indulge rich people in the belief that their college is open to all on the basis of merit.

The plummeting admission rates of the very top schools nonetheless leave many of the children of the 9.9 percent facing long odds. But not to worry, junior 9.9 percenters! We've created a new range of elite colleges just for you. Thanks to ambitious university administrators and the ever-expanding rankings machine at U.S. News & World Report , 50 colleges are now as selective as Princeton was in 1980, when I applied. The colleges seem to think that piling up rejections makes them special. In fact, it just means that they have collectively opted to deploy their massive, tax-subsidized endowments to replicate privilege rather than fulfill their duty to produce an educated public.

The only thing going up as fast as the rejection rates at selective colleges is the astounding price of tuition. Measured relative to the national median salary, tuition and fees at top colleges more than tripled from 1963 to 2013. Throw in the counselors, the whisperers, the violin lessons, the private schools, and the cost of arranging for Junior to save a village in Micronesia, and it adds up. To be fair, financial aid closes the gap for many families and keeps the average cost of college from growing as fast as the sticker price. But that still leaves a question: Why are the wealthy so keen to buy their way in?

The short answer, of course, is that it's worth it.

In the United States, the premium that college graduates earn over their non-college-educated peers in young adulthood exceeds 70 percent. The return on education is 50 percent higher than what it was in 1950, and is significantly higher than the rate in every other developed country. In Norway and Denmark, the college premium is less than 20 percent; in Japan, it is less than 30 percent; in France and Germany, it's about 40 percent.

All of this comes before considering the all-consuming difference between "good" schools and the rest. Ten years after starting college, according to data from the Department of Education, the top decile of earners from all schools had a median salary of $68,000 . But the top decile from the 10 highest-earning colleges raked in $220,000 -- make that $250,000 for No. 1, Harvard -- and the top decile at the next 30 colleges took home $157,000. (Not surprisingly, the top 10 had an average acceptance rate of 9 percent, and the next 30 were at 19 percent.)

It is entirely possible to get a good education at the many schools that don't count as "good" in our brand-obsessed system. But the "bad" ones really are bad for you. For those who made the mistake of being born to the wrong parents, our society offers a kind of virtual education system. It has places that look like colleges -- but aren't really. It has debt -- and that, unfortunately, is real. The people who enter into this class hologram do not collect a college premium; they wind up in something more like indentured servitude.

So what is the real source of this premium for a "good education" that we all seem to crave?

One of the stories we tell ourselves is that the premium is the reward for the knowledge and skills the education provides us. Another, usually unfurled after a round of drinks, is that the premium is a reward for the superior cranial endowments we possessed before setting foot on campus. We are, as some sociologists have delicately put it, a "cognitive elite."

Behind both of these stories lies one of the founding myths of our meritocracy. One way or the other, we tell ourselves, the rising education premium is a direct function of the rising value of meritorious people in a modern economy. That is, not only do the meritorious get ahead, but the rewards we receive are in direct proportion to our merit.

But the fact is that degree holders earn so much more than the rest not primarily because they are better at their job, but because they mostly take different categories of jobs. Well over half of Ivy League graduates, for instance, typically go straight into one of four career tracks that are generally reserved for the well educated: finance, management consulting, medicine, or law. To keep it simple, let's just say that there are two types of occupations in the world: those whose members have collective influence in setting their own pay, and those whose members must face the music on their own. It's better to be a member of the first group. Not surprisingly, that is where you will find the college crowd.

why do America's doctors make twice as much as those of other wealthy countries? Given that the United States has placed dead last five times running in the Commonwealth Fund's ranking of health-care systems in high-income countries, it's hard to argue that they are twice as gifted at saving lives. Dean Baker, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has a more plausible suggestion : "When economists like me look at medicine in America -- whether we lean left or right politically -- we see something that looks an awful lot like a cartel." Through their influence on the number of slots at medical schools, the availability of residencies, the licensing of foreign-trained doctors, and the role of nurse practitioners, physicians' organizations can effectively limit the competition their own members face -- and that is exactly what they do.

Lawyers (or at least a certain elite subset of them) have apparently learned to play the same game. Even after the collapse of the so-called law-school bubble, America's lawyers are No. 1 in international salary rankings and earn more than twice as much, on average, as their wig-toting British colleagues. The University of Chicago law professor Todd Henderson, writing for Forbes in 2016, offered a blunt assessment : "The American Bar Association operates a state-approved cartel."

Similar occupational licensing schemes provide shelter for the meritorious in a variety of other sectors. The policy researchers Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles detail the mechanisms in The Captured Economy . Dentists' offices, for example, have a glass ceiling that limits what dental hygienists can do without supervision, keeping their bosses in the 9.9 percent. Copyright and patent laws prop up profits and salaries in the education-heavy pharmaceutical, software, and entertainment sectors. These arrangements are trifles, however, compared with what's on offer in tech and finance, two of the most powerful sectors of the economy.

By now we're thankfully done with the tech-sector fairy tales in which whip-smart cowboys innovate the heck out of a stodgy status quo. The reality is that five monster companies -- you know the names -- are worth about $3.5 trillion combined, and represent more than 40 percent of the market capital on the nasdaq stock exchange. Much of the rest of the technology sector consists of virtual entities waiting patiently to feed themselves to these beasts.

Let's face it: This is Monopoly money with a smiley emoji. Our society figured out some time ago how to deal with companies that attempt to corner the market on viscous substances like oil. We don't yet know what to do with the monopolies that arise out of networks and scale effects in the information marketplace. Until we do, the excess profits will stick to those who manage to get closest to the information honeypot. You can be sure that these people will have a great deal of merit.

The candy-hurling godfather of today's meritocratic class, of course, is the financial-services industry. Americans now turn over $1 of every $12 in GDP to the financial sector; in the 1950s, the bankers were content to keep only $1 out of $40. The game is more sophisticated than a two-fisted money grab, but its essence was made obvious during the 2008 financial crisis. The public underwrites the risks; the financial gurus take a seat at the casino; and it's heads they win, tails we lose. The financial system we now have is not a product of nature. It has been engineered, over decades, by powerful bankers, for their own benefit and for that of their posterity.

Who is not in on the game? Auto workers, for example. Caregivers. Retail workers. Furniture makers. Food workers. The wages of American manufacturing and service workers consistently hover in the middle of international rankings. The exceptionalism of American compensation rates comes to an end in the kinds of work that do not require a college degree.

You see, when educated people with excellent credentials band together to advance their collective interest, it's all part of serving the public good by ensuring a high quality of service, establishing fair working conditions, and giving merit its due. That's why we do it through "associations," and with the assistance of fellow professionals wearing white shoes. When working-class people do it -- through unions -- it's a violation of the sacred principles of the free market. It's thuggish and anti-modern. Imagine if workers hired consultants and "compensation committees," consisting of their peers at other companies, to recommend how much they should be paid. The result would be -- well, we know what it would be, because that's what CEOs do.

It isn't a coincidence that the education premium surged during the same years that membership in trade unions collapsed. In 1954, 28 percent of all workers were members of trade unions, but by 2017 that figure was down to 11 percent.

Education -- the thing itself , not the degree -- is always good. A genuine education opens minds and makes good citizens. It ought to be pursued for the sake of society . In our unbalanced system, however, education has been reduced to a private good, justifiable only by the increments in graduates' paychecks. Instead of uniting and enriching us, it divides and impoverishes. Which is really just a way of saying that our worthy ideals of educational opportunity are ultimately no match for the tidal force of the Gatsby Curve. The metric that has tracked the rising college premium with the greatest precision is -- that's right -- intergenerational earnings elasticity, or IGE. Across countries, the same correlation obtains: the higher the college premium, the lower the social mobility.

As I'm angling all the angles for my daughter's college applications -- the counselor is out, and the SAT whisperer was never going to happen -- I realize why this delusion of merit is so hard to shake. If I -- I mean, she -- can pull this off, well, there's the proof that we deserve it! If the system can be gamed, well then, our ability to game the system has become the new test of merit.

So go ahead and replace the SATs with shuffleboard on the high seas, or whatever you want. Who can doubt that we'd master that game, too? How quickly would we convince ourselves of our absolute entitlement to the riches that flow directly and tangibly from our shuffling talent? How soon before we perfected the art of raising shuffleboard wizards? Would any of us notice or care which way the ship was heading?

Let's suppose that some of us do look up. We see the iceberg. Will that induce us to diminish our exertions in supreme child-rearing? The grim truth is that, as long as good parenting and good citizenship are in conflict, we're just going to pack a few more violins for the trip.

[Jun 06, 2018] Top 10 percent of US households control nearly 75 percent of all wealth Average Americans pretend to be temporarily embarrassed millionaires by going further into debt

Top ten percent are millionaires. you need approximately 1,2 million dollars of net worth to get into this category. United States Net Worth Brackets, Percentiles, and Top One Percent - DQYDJ
Jun 06, 2018 | www.mybudget360.com

We currently exist in a land of financial contradictions. US household incomes adjusting for inflation are back to levels last seen in the late 1980s. However, holiday spending is going strongly largely by people going into big debt . Many are going to be paying for the holiday season of 2013 deep into years to come. More troubling than spending via debt is the record level of wealth inequality in the United States.

We would need to go back to the Gilded Age to find similar levels of wealth inequality.

The latest data shows that roughly 75 percent of the financial wealth in America is held in the hands of the top 10 percent of households. Or to invert this, 25 percent of all US wealth is divided up amongst the bottom 90 percent of the population.

Wealth is the true measure of financial stability. It used to be the case that housing was the one safe store of wealth for Americans but Wall Street has hijacked this asset class and has converted it to another commodity to speculate on. Yet by looking at spending habits and financial behavior many Americans think they are simply temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

They act against their own interests while wealth inequality rages on.

[Jun 06, 2018] The Birth of the New American Aristocracy

Images were deleted. Refer to the original link for full text.
Notable quotes:
"... According to Miles Corak, an economics professor at the City University of New York, half a century ago IGE in America was less than 0.3 . Today, it is about 0.5. In America, the game is half over once you've selected your parents. IGE is now higher here than in almost every other developed economy. On this measure of economic mobility, the United States is more like Chile or Argentina than Japan or Germany. ..."
"... Social Register ..."
"... Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease are all two to three times more common in individuals who have a family income of less than $35,000 than in those who have a family income greater than $100,000. Among low-educated, middle-aged whites, the death rate in the United States -- alone in the developed world -- increased in the first decade and a half of the 21st century. Driving the trend is the rapid growth in what the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton call "deaths of despair" -- suicides and alcohol- and drug-related deaths. ..."
"... Why can't they get their act together? ..."
"... This article appears in the June 2018 print edition with the headline "The Birth of a New American Aristocracy." ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

... ... ...

At the end of each week, we would return to our place. My reality was the aggressively middle-class world of 1960s and '70s U.S. military bases and the communities around them. Life was good there, too, but the pizza came from a box, and it was Lucky Charms for breakfast. Our glory peaked on the day my parents came home with a new Volkswagen camper bus. As I got older, the holiday pomp of patriotic luncheons and bridge-playing rituals came to seem faintly ridiculous and even offensive, like an endless birthday party for people whose chief accomplishment in life was just showing up. I belonged to a new generation that believed in getting ahead through merit, and we defined merit in a straightforward way: test scores, grades, competitive résumé-stuffing, supremacy in board games and pickup basketball, and, of course, working for our keep. For me that meant taking on chores for the neighbors, punching the clock at a local fast-food restaurant, and collecting scholarships to get through college and graduate school. I came into many advantages by birth, but money was not among them.

The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people's children.

I've joined a new aristocracy now, even if we still call ourselves meritocratic winners. If you are a typical reader of The Atlantic , you may well be a member too. (And if you're not a member, my hope is that you will find the story of this new class even more interesting -- if also more alarming.) To be sure, there is a lot to admire about my new group, which I'll call -- for reasons you'll soon see -- the 9.9 percent. We've dropped the old dress codes, put our faith in facts, and are (somewhat) more varied in skin tone and ethnicity. People like me, who have waning memories of life in an earlier ruling caste, are the exception, not the rule.

By any sociological or financial measure, it's good to be us. It's even better to be our kids. In our health, family life, friendship networks, and level of education, not to mention money, we are crushing the competition below. But we do have a blind spot, and it is located right in the center of the mirror: We seem to be the last to notice just how rapidly we've morphed, or what we've morphed into.

Related Story

The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people's children. We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy. Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club. But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we're playing, everybody loses badly in the end.

2. The Discreet Charm of the 9.9 Percent

Let's talk first about money -- even if money is only one part of what makes the new aristocrats special. There is a familiar story about rising inequality in the United States, and its stock characters are well known. The villains are the fossil-fueled plutocrat, the Wall Street fat cat, the callow tech bro, and the rest of the so-called top 1 percent. The good guys are the 99 percent, otherwise known as "the people" or "the middle class." The arc of the narrative is simple: Once we were equal, but now we are divided. The story has a grain of truth to it. But it gets the characters and the plot wrong in basic ways.

It is in fact the top 0.1 percent who have been the big winners in the growing concentration of wealth over the past half century. According to the UC Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the 160,000 or so households in that group held 22 percent of America's wealth in 2012 , up from 10 percent in 1963. If you're looking for the kind of money that can buy elections, you'll find it inside the top 0.1 percent alone.


A Tale of Three Classes ( Figure 1 ):
The 9.9 percent hold most of the wealth in the United States.

Saez / Zucman

Every piece of the pie picked up by the 0.1 percent, in relative terms, had to come from the people below. But not everyone in the 99.9 percent gave up a slice. Only those in the bottom 90 percent did. At their peak, in the mid-1980s, people in this group held 35 percent of the nation's wealth. Three decades later that had fallen 12 points -- exactly as much as the wealth of the 0.1 percent rose.

In between the top 0.1 percent and the bottom 90 percent is a group that has been doing just fine. It has held on to its share of a growing pie decade after decade. And as a group, it owns substantially more wealth than do the other two combined. In the tale of three classes (see Figure 1), it is represented by the gold line floating high and steady while the other two duke it out. You'll find the new aristocracy there. We are the 9.9 percent.

So what kind of characters are we, the 9.9 percent? We are mostly not like those flamboyant political manipulators from the 0.1 percent. We're a well-behaved, flannel-suited crowd of lawyers, doctors, dentists, mid-level investment bankers, M.B.A.s with opaque job titles, and assorted other professionals -- the kind of people you might invite to dinner. In fact, we're so self-effacing, we deny our own existence. We keep insisting that we're "middle class."

As of 2016, it took $1.2 million in net worth to make it into the 9.9 percent; $2.4 million to reach the group's median; and $10 million to get into the top 0.9 percent. (And if you're not there yet, relax: Our club is open to people who are on the right track and have the right attitude.) "We are the 99 percent" sounds righteous, but it's a slogan, not an analysis. The families at our end of the spectrum wouldn't know what to do with a pitchfork.

We are also mostly, but not entirely, white. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, African Americans represent 1.9 percent of the top 10th of households in wealth; Hispanics, 2.4 percent; and all other minorities, including Asian and multiracial individuals, 8.8 percent -- even though those groups together account for 35 percent of the total population.

One of the hazards of life in the 9.9 percent is that our necks get stuck in the upward position. We gaze upon the 0.1 percent with a mixture of awe, envy, and eagerness to obey. As a consequence, we are missing the other big story of our time. We have left the 90 percent in the dust -- and we've been quietly tossing down roadblocks behind us to make sure that they never catch up.

Let's suppose that you start off right in the middle of the American wealth distribution. How high would you have to jump to make it into the 9.9 percent? In financial terms, the measurement is easy and the trend is unmistakable. In 1963, you would have needed to multiply your wealth six times. By 2016, you would have needed to leap twice as high -- increasing your wealth 12-fold -- to scrape into our group. If you boldly aspired to reach the middle of our group rather than its lower edge, you'd have needed to multiply your wealth by a factor of 25 . On this measure, the 2010s look much like the 1920s.

If you are starting at the median for people of color, you'll want to practice your financial pole-vaulting. The Institute for Policy Studies calculated that, setting aside money invested in "durable goods" such as furniture and a family car, the median black family had net wealth of $1,700 in 2013, and the median Latino family had $2,000, compared with $116,800 for the median white family. A 2015 study in Boston found that the wealth of the median white family there was $247,500, while the wealth of the median African American family was $8. That is not a typo. That's two grande cappuccinos. That and another 300,000 cups of coffee will get you into the 9.9 percent.

Video: America's Class Problem

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hb28kAavh0M?enablejsapi=1

N one of this matters, you will often hear, because in the United States everyone has an opportunity to make the leap: Mobility justifies inequality. As a matter of principle, this isn't true. In the United States, it also turns out not to be true as a factual matter. Contrary to popular myth, economic mobility in the land of opportunity is not high, and it's going down.

Imagine yourself on the socioeconomic ladder with one end of a rubber band around your ankle and the other around your parents' rung. The strength of the rubber determines how hard it is for you to escape the rung on which you were born. If your parents are high on the ladder, the band will pull you up should you fall; if they are low, it will drag you down when you start to rise. Economists represent this concept with a number they call "intergenerational earnings elasticity," or IGE, which measures how much of a child's deviation from average income can be accounted for by the parents' income. An IGE of zero means that there's no relationship at all between parents' income and that of their offspring. An IGE of one says that the destiny of a child is to end up right where she came into the world.

According to Miles Corak, an economics professor at the City University of New York, half a century ago IGE in America was less than 0.3 . Today, it is about 0.5. In America, the game is half over once you've selected your parents. IGE is now higher here than in almost every other developed economy. On this measure of economic mobility, the United States is more like Chile or Argentina than Japan or Germany.

The story becomes even more disconcerting when you see just where on the ladder the tightest rubber bands are located. Canada, for example, has an IGE of about half that of the U.S. Yet from the middle rungs of the two countries' income ladders, offspring move up or down through the nearby deciles at the same respectable pace. The difference is in what happens at the extremes. In the United States, it's the children of the bottom decile and, above all, the top decile -- the 9.9 percent -- who settle down nearest to their starting point. Here in the land of opportunity, the taller the tree, the closer the apple falls.

All of this analysis of wealth percentiles, to be clear, provides only a rough start in understanding America's evolving class system. People move in and out of wealth categories all the time without necessarily changing social class, and they may belong to a different class in their own eyes than they do in others'. Yet even if the trends in the monetary statistics are imperfect illustrations of a deeper process, they are nonetheless registering something of the extraordinary transformation that's taking place in our society.

A few years ago, Alan Krueger, an economist and a former chairman of the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisers, was reviewing the international mobility data when he caught a glimpse of the fundamental process underlying our present moment . Rising immobility and rising inequality aren't like two pieces of driftwood that happen to have shown up on the beach at the same time, he noted. They wash up together on every shore. Across countries, the higher the inequality, the higher the IGE (see Figure 2). It's as if human societies have a natural tendency to separate, and then, once the classes are far enough apart, to crystallize.


The Great Gatsby Curve ( Figure 2 ): Inequality and class immobility go together.

Miles Corak

Economists are prudent creatures, and they'll look up from a graph like that and remind you that it shows only correlation, not causation. That's a convenient hedge for those of us at the top because it keeps alive one of the founding myths of America's meritocracy: that our success has nothing to do with other people's failure. It's a pleasant idea. But around the world and throughout history, the wealthy have advanced the crystallization process in a straightforward way. They have taken their money out of productive activities and put it into walls. Throughout history, moreover, one social group above all others has assumed responsibility for maintaining and defending these walls. Its members used to be called aristocrats. Now we're the 9.9 percent. The main difference is that we have figured out how to use the pretense of being part of the middle as one of our strategies for remaining on top.

Krueger liked the graph shown in Figure 2 so much that he decided to give it a name: the Great Gatsby Curve. It's a good choice, and it resonates strongly with me. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel about the breakdown of the American dream is set in 1922, or right around the time that my great-grandfather was secretly siphoning money from Standard Oil and putting it into a shell company in Canada. It was published in 1925, just as special counsel was turning up evidence that bonds from that company had found their way into the hands of the secretary of the interior. Its author was drinking his way through the cafés of Paris just as Colonel Robert W. Stewart was running away from subpoenas to testify before the United States Senate about his role in the Teapot Dome scandal. We are only now closing in on the peak of inequality that his generation achieved, in 1928. I'm sure they thought it would go on forever, too.

3. The Origin of a Species

Money can't buy you class, or so my grandmother used to say. But it can buy a private detective. Grandmother was a Kentucky debutante and sometime fashion model (kind of like Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby , weirdly enough), so she knew what to do when her eldest son announced his intention to marry a woman from Spain. A gumshoe promptly reported back that the prospective bride's family made a living selling newspapers on the streets of Barcelona. Grandmother instituted an immediate and total communications embargo. In fact, my mother's family owned and operated a large paper-goods factory. When children came, Grandmother at last relented. Determined to do the right thing, she arranged for the new family, then on military assignment in Hawaii, to be inscribed in the New York Social Register .

Sociologists would say, in their dry language, that my grandmother was a zealous manager of the family's social capital -- and she wasn't about to let some Spanish street urchin run away with it. She did have a point, even if her facts were wrong. Money may be the measure of wealth, but it is far from the only form of it. Family, friends, social networks, personal health, culture, education, and even location are all ways of being rich, too. These nonfinancial forms of wealth, as it turns out, aren't simply perks of membership in our aristocracy. They define us.

We are the people of good family, good health, good schools, good neighborhoods, and good jobs. We may want to call ourselves the "5Gs" rather than the 9.9 percent. We are so far from the not-so-good people on all of these dimensions, we are beginning to resemble a new species. And, just as in Grandmother's day, the process of speciation begins with a love story -- or, if you prefer, sexual selection.

The polite term for the process is assortative mating . The phrase is sometimes used to suggest that this is another of the wonders of the internet age, where popcorn at last meets butter and Yankees fan finds Yankees fan. In fact, the frenzy of assortative mating today results from a truth that would have been generally acknowledged by the heroines of any Jane Austen novel: Rising inequality decreases the number of suitably wealthy mates even as it increases the reward for finding one and the penalty for failing to do so. According to one study, the last time marriage partners sorted themselves by educational status as much as they do now was in the 1920s .

For most of us, the process is happily invisible. You meet someone under a tree on an exclusive campus or during orientation at a high-powered professional firm, and before you know it, you're twice as rich. But sometimes -- Grandmother understood this well -- extra measures are called for. That's where our new technology puts bumbling society detectives to shame. Ivy Leaguers looking to mate with their equals can apply to join a dating service called the League. It's selective, naturally: Only 20 to 30 percent of New York applicants get in. It's sometimes called "Tinder for the elites."


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It is misleading to think that assortative mating is symmetrical, as in city mouse marries city mouse and country mouse marries country mouse. A better summary of the data would be: Rich mouse finds love, and poor mouse gets screwed. It turns out -- who knew? -- that people who are struggling to keep it all together have a harder time hanging on to their partner. According to the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, 60 years ago just 20 percent of children born to parents with a high-school education or less lived in a single-parent household; now that figure is nearly 70 percent. Among college-educated households, by contrast, the single-parent rate remains less than 10 percent. Since the 1970s, the divorce rate has declined significantly among college-educated couples, while it has risen dramatically among couples with only a high-school education -- even as marriage itself has become less common. The rate of single parenting is in turn the single most significant predictor of social immobility across counties, according to a study led by the Stanford economist Raj Chetty.

None of which is to suggest that individuals are wrong to seek a suitable partner and make a beautiful family. People should -- and presumably always will -- pursue happiness in this way. It's one of the delusions of our meritocratic class, however, to assume that if our actions are individually blameless, then the sum of our actions will be good for society. We may have studied Shakespeare on the way to law school, but we have little sense for the tragic possibilities of life. The fact of the matter is that we have silently and collectively opted for inequality, and this is what inequality does. It turns marriage into a luxury good, and a stable family life into a privilege that the moneyed elite can pass along to their children. How do we think that's going to work out?

This divergence of families by class is just one part of a process that is creating two distinct forms of life in our society. Stop in at your local yoga studio or SoulCycle class, and you'll notice that the same process is now inscribing itself in our own bodies. In 19th-century England, the rich really were different. They didn't just have more money; they were taller -- a lot taller. According to a study colorfully titled "On English Pygmies and Giants," 16-year-old boys from the upper classes towered a remarkable 8.6 inches, on average, over their undernourished, lower-class countrymen. We are reproducing the same kind of division via a different set of dimensions.

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease are all two to three times more common in individuals who have a family income of less than $35,000 than in those who have a family income greater than $100,000. Among low-educated, middle-aged whites, the death rate in the United States -- alone in the developed world -- increased in the first decade and a half of the 21st century. Driving the trend is the rapid growth in what the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton call "deaths of despair" -- suicides and alcohol- and drug-related deaths.

The sociological data are not remotely ambiguous on any aspect of this growing divide. We 9.9 percenters live in safer neighborhoods, go to better schools, have shorter commutes, receive higher-quality health care, and, when circumstances require, serve time in better prisons. We also have more friends -- the kind of friends who will introduce us to new clients or line up great internships for our kids.

These special forms of wealth offer the further advantages that they are both harder to emulate and safer to brag about than high income alone. Our class walks around in the jeans and T‑shirts inherited from our supposedly humble beginnings. We prefer to signal our status by talking about our organically nourished bodies, the awe-inspiring feats of our offspring, and the ecological correctness of our neighborhoods. We have figured out how to launder our money through higher virtues.

Most important of all, we have learned how to pass all of these advantages down to our children. In America today, the single best predictor of whether an individual will get married, stay married, pursue advanced education, live in a good neighborhood, have an extensive social network, and experience good health is the performance of his or her parents on those same metrics.

We're leaving the 90 percent and their offspring far behind in a cloud of debts and bad life choices that they somehow can't stop themselves from making. We tend to overlook the fact that parenting is more expensive and motherhood more hazardous in the United States than in any other developed country, that campaigns against family planning and reproductive rights are an assault on the families of the bottom 90 percent, and that law-and-order politics serves to keep even more of them down. We prefer to interpret their relative poverty as vice: Why can't they get their act together?

New forms of life necessarily give rise to new and distinct forms of consciousness. If you doubt this, you clearly haven't been reading the "personal and household services" ads on Monster.com. At the time of this writing, the section for my town of Brookline, Massachusetts, featured one placed by a "busy professional couple" seeking a "Part Time Nanny." The nanny (or manny -- the ad scrupulously avoids committing to gender) is to be "bright, loving, and energetic"; "friendly, intelligent, and professional"; and "a very good communicator, both written and verbal." She (on balance of probability) will "assist with the care and development" of two children and will be "responsible for all aspects of the children's needs," including bathing, dressing, feeding, and taking the young things to and from school and activities. That's why a "college degree in early childhood education" is "a plus."

In short, Nanny is to have every attribute one would want in a terrific, professional, college-educated parent. Except, of course, the part about being an actual professional, college-educated parent. There is no chance that Nanny will trade places with our busy 5G couple. She "must know the proper etiquette in a professionally run household" and be prepared to "accommodate changing circumstances." She is required to have "5+ years experience as a Nanny," which makes it unlikely that she'll have had time to get the law degree that would put her on the other side of the bargain. All of Nanny's skills, education, experience, and professionalism will land her a job that is "Part Time."

The ad is written in flawless, 21st-century business-speak, but what it is really seeking is a governess -- that exquisitely contradictory figure in Victorian literature who is both indistinguishable in all outward respects from the upper class and yet emphatically not a member of it. Nanny's best bet for moving up in the world is probably to follow the example of Jane Eyre and run off with the lord (or lady) of the manor.

If you look beyond the characters in this unwritten novel about Nanny and her 5G masters, you'll see a familiar shape looming on the horizon. The Gatsby Curve has managed to reproduce itself in social, physiological, and cultural capital. Put more accurately: There is only one curve, but it operates through a multiplicity of forms of wealth.

Rising inequality does not follow from a hidden law of economics, as the otherwise insightful Thomas Piketty suggested when he claimed that the historical rate of return on capital exceeds the historical rate of growth in the economy. Inequality necessarily entrenches itself through other, nonfinancial, intrinsically invidious forms of wealth and power. We use these other forms of capital to project our advantages into life itself. We look down from our higher virtues in the same way the English upper class looked down from its taller bodies, as if the distinction between superior and inferior were an artifact of nature. That's what aristocrats do.

... ... ...

5. The Invisible Hand of Government

As far as Grandfather was concerned, the assault on the productive classes began long before the New Deal. It all started in 1913, with the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment. In case you've forgotten, that amendment granted the federal government the power to levy a direct personal-income tax. It also happens that ratification took place just a few months after Grandfather was born, which made sense to me in a strange way. By far the largest part of his lifetime income was attributable to his birth.

Grandfather was a stockbroker for a time. I eventually figured out that he mostly traded his own portfolio and bought a seat at the stock exchange for the purpose. Politics was a hobby, too. At one point, he announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Connecticut. (It wasn't clear whether anybody outside the clubhouse heard him.) What he really liked to do was fly. The memories that mattered most to him were his years of service as a transport pilot during World War II. Or the time he and Grandmother took to the Midwestern skies in a barnstorming plane. My grandparents never lost faith in the limitless possibilities of a life free from government. But in their last years, as the reserves passed down from the Colonel ran low, they became pretty diligent about collecting their Social Security and Medicare benefits.

There is a page in the book of American political thought -- Grandfather knew it by heart -- that says we must choose between government and freedom. But if you read it twice, you'll see that what it really offers is a choice between government you can see and government you can't. Aristocrats always prefer the invisible kind of government. It leaves them free to exercise their privileges. We in the 9.9 percent have mastered the art of getting the government to work for us even while complaining loudly that it's working for those other people.

Consider, for starters, the greatly exaggerated reports of our tax burdens. On guest panels this past holiday season, apologists for the latest round of upwardly aimed tax cuts offered versions of Mitt Romney's claim that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax in a typical year have "no skin in the game." Baloney. Sure, the federal individual-income tax, which raised $1.6 trillion last year, remains progressive. But the $1.2 trillion raised by the payroll tax hits all workers -- but not investors, such as Romney -- and it hits those making lower incomes at a higher rate, thanks to a cap on the amount of income subject to the tax. Then there's the $2.3 trillion raised by state and local governments, much of it collected through regressive sales and property taxes. The poorest quintile of Americans pays more than twice the rate of state taxes as the top 1 percent does , and about half again what the top 10 percent pays.

Our false protests about paying all the taxes, however, sound like songs of innocence compared with our mastery of the art of having the taxes returned to us. The income-tax system that so offended my grandfather has had the unintended effect of creating a highly discreet category of government expenditures. They're called "tax breaks," but it's better to think of them as handouts that spare the government the inconvenience of collecting the money in the first place. In theory, tax expenditures can be used to support any number of worthy social purposes, and a few of them, such as the earned income-tax credit, do actually go to those with a lower income. But more commonly, because their value is usually a function of the amount of money individuals have in the first place, and those individuals' marginal tax rates, the benefits flow uphill.

Let us count our blessings: Every year, the federal government doles out tax expenditures through deductions for retirement savings (worth $137 billion in 2013); employer-sponsored health plans ($250 billion); mortgage-interest payments ($70 billion); and, sweetest of all, income from watching the value of your home, stock portfolio, and private-equity partnerships grow ($161 billion). In total, federal tax expenditures exceeded $900 billion in 2013. That's more than the cost of Medicare, more than the cost of Medicaid, more than the cost of all other federal safety-net programs put together. And -- such is the beauty of the system -- 51 percent of those handouts went to the top quintile of earners, and 39 percent to the top decile.

The best thing about this program of reverse taxation, as far as the 9.9 percent are concerned, is that the bottom 90 percent haven't got a clue. The working classes get riled up when they see someone at the grocery store flipping out their food stamps to buy a T-bone. They have no idea that a nice family on the other side of town is walking away with $100,000 for flipping their house.

But wait, there's more! Let's not forget about the kids. If the secrets of a nation's soul may be read from its tax code, then our nation must be in love with the children of rich people. The 2017 tax law raises the amount of money that married couples can pass along to their heirs tax-free from a very generous $11 million to a magnificent $22 million. Correction: It's not merely tax-free; it's tax-subsidized. The unrealized tax liability on the appreciation of the house you bought 40 years ago, or on the stock portfolio that has been gathering moths -- all of that disappears when you pass the gains along to the kids. Those foregone taxes cost the United States Treasury $43 billion in 2013 alone -- about three times the amount spent on the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Grandfather's father, the Colonel, died in 1947, when the maximum estate-tax rate was a now-unheard-of 77 percent. When the remainder was divvied up among four siblings, Grandfather had barely enough to pay for the Bentley and keep up with dues at the necessary clubs. The government made sure that I would grow up in the middle class. And for that I will always be grateful.

... ... ...

8. The Politics of Resentment

The political theology of the meritocracy has no room for resentment. We are taught to run the competition of life with our eyes on the clock and not on one another, as if we were each alone. If someone scores a powerboat on the Long Island waterways, so much the better for her. The losers will just smile and try harder next time.

In the real world, we humans are always looking from side to side. We are intensely conscious of what other people are thinking and doing, and conscious to the point of preoccupation with what they think about us. Our status is visible only through its reflection in the eyes of others.

Perhaps the best evidence for the power of an aristocracy is to be found in the degree of resentment it provokes. By that measure, the 9.9 percent are doing pretty well indeed. The surest sign of an increase in resentment is a rise in political division and instability. We're positively acing that test. You can read all about it in the headlines of the past two years.

The 2016 presidential election marked a decisive moment in the history of resentment in the United States. In the person of Donald Trump, resentment entered the White House. It rode in on the back of an alliance between a tiny subset of super-wealthy 0.1 percenters (not all of them necessarily American) and a large number of 90 percenters who stand for pretty much everything the 9.9 percent are not.

According to exit polls by CNN and Pew, Trump won white voters by about 20 percent. But these weren't just any old whites (though they were old, too). The first thing to know about the substantial majority of them is that they weren't the winners in the new economy. To be sure, for the most part they weren't poor either. But they did have reason to feel judged by the market -- and found wanting. The counties that supported Hillary Clinton represented an astonishing 64 percent of the GDP, while Trump counties accounted for a mere 36 percent. Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at Zillow, found that the median home value in Clinton counties was $250,000, while the median in Trump counties was $154,000. When you adjust for inflation, Clinton counties enjoyed real-estate price appreciation of 27 percent from January 2000 to October 2016; Trump counties got only a 6 percent bump.

The residents of Trump country were also the losers in the war on human health. According to Shannon Monnat, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse, the Rust Belt counties that put the anti-government-health-care candidate over the top were those that lost the most people in recent years to deaths of despair -- those due to alcohol, drugs, and suicide. To make all of America as great as Trump country, you would have to torch about a quarter of total GDP, wipe a similar proportion of the nation's housing stock into the sea, and lose a few years in life expectancy. There's a reason why one of Trump's favorite words is unfair . That's the only word resentment wants to hear.

Even so, the distinguishing feature of Trump's (white) voters wasn't their income but their education, or lack thereof. Pew's latest analysis indicates that Trump lost college-educated white voters by a humiliating 17 percent margin. But he got revenge with non-college-educated whites, whom he captured by a stomping 36 percent margin. According to an analysis by Nate Silver, the 50 most educated counties in the nation surged to Clinton : In 2012, Obama had won them by a mere 17 percentage points; Clinton took them by 26 points. The 50 least educated counties moved in the opposite direction; whereas Obama had lost them by 19 points, Clinton lost them by 31. Majority-minority counties split the same way: The more educated moved toward Clinton, and the less educated toward Trump.

The historian Richard Hofstadter drew attention to Anti-intellectualism in American Life in 1963; Susan Jacoby warned in 2008 about The Age of American Unreason ; and Tom Nichols announced The Death of Expertise in 2017. In Trump, the age of unreason has at last found its hero. The "self-made man" is always the idol of those who aren't quite making it. He is the sacred embodiment of the American dream, the guy who answers to nobody, the poor man's idea of a rich man. It's the educated phonies this group can't stand. With his utter lack of policy knowledge and belligerent commitment to maintaining his ignorance, Trump is the perfect representative for a population whose idea of good governance is just to scramble the eggheads. When reason becomes the enemy of the common man, the common man becomes the enemy of reason.

Did I mention that the common man is white? That brings us to the other side of American-style resentment. You kick down, and then you close ranks around an imaginary tribe. The problem, you say, is the moochers, the snakes, the handout queens; the solution is the flag and the religion of your (white) ancestors. According to a survey by the political scientist Brian Schaffner, Trump crushed it among voters who "strongly disagree" that "white people have advantages because of the color of their skin," as well as among those who "strongly agree" that "women seek to gain power over men." It's worth adding that these responses measure not racism or sexism directly, but rather resentment. They're good for picking out the kind of people who will vehemently insist that they are the least racist or sexist person you have ever met, even as they vote for a flagrant racist and an accused sexual predator.

No one is born resentful. As mass phenomena, racism, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, narcissism, irrationalism, and all other variants of resentment are as expensive to produce as they are deadly to democratic politics. Only long hours of television programming, intelligently manipulated social-media feeds, and expensively sustained information bubbles can actualize the unhappy dispositions of humanity to the point where they may be fruitfully manipulated for political gain. Racism in particular is not just a legacy of the past, as many Americans would like to believe; it also must be constantly reinvented for the present. Mass incarceration, fearmongering, and segregation are not just the results of prejudice, but also the means of reproducing it.

The raging polarization of American political life is not the consequence of bad manners or a lack of mutual understanding. It is just the loud aftermath of escalating inequality. It could not have happened without the 0.1 percent (or, rather, an aggressive subset of its members). Wealth always preserves itself by dividing the opposition. The Gatsby Curve does not merely cause barriers to be built on the ground; it mandates the construction of walls that run through other people's minds.

But that is not to let the 9.9 percent off the hook. We may not be the ones funding the race-baiting, but we are the ones hoarding the opportunities of daily life. We are the staff that runs the machine that funnels resources from the 90 percent to the 0.1 percent. We've been happy to take our cut of the spoils. We've looked on with smug disdain as our labors have brought forth a population prone to resentment and ripe for manipulation. We should be prepared to embrace the consequences.

The first important thing to know about these consequences is the most obvious: Resentment is a solution to nothing. It isn't a program of reform. It isn't "populism." It is an affliction of democracy, not an instance of it. The politics of resentment is a means of increasing inequality, not reducing it. Every policy change that has waded out of the Trump administration's baffling morass of incompetence makes this clear. The new tax law; the executive actions on the environment and telecommunications, and on financial-services regulation; the judicial appointments of conservative ideologues -- all will have the effect of keeping the 90 percent toiling in the foothills of merit for many years to come.

The second thing to know is that we are next in line for the chopping block. As the population of the resentful expands, the circle of joy near the top gets smaller. The people riding popular rage to glory eventually realize that we are less useful to them as servants of the economic machine than we are as model enemies of the people. The anti-blue-state provisions of the recent tax law have miffed some members of the 9.9 percent, but they're just a taste of the bad things that happen to people like us as the politics of resentment unfolds.

The past year provides ample confirmation of the third and most important consequence of the process: instability. Unreasonable people also tend to be ungovernable. I won't belabor the point. Just try doing a frequency search on the phrase constitutional crisis over the past five years. That's the thing about the Gatsby Curve. You think it's locking all of your gains in place. But the crystallization process actually has the effect of making the whole system more brittle. If you look again at history, you can get a sense of how the process usually ends.

10. The Choice

I like to think that the ending of The Great Gatsby is too down-beat. Even if we are doomed to row our boats ceaselessly back into the past, how do we know which part of the past that will be?

History shows us a number of aristocracies that have made good choices. The 9.9 percenters of ancient Athens held off the dead tide of the Gatsby Curve for a time, even if democracy wasn't quite the right word for their system of government. America's first generation of revolutionaries was mostly 9.9 percenters, and yet they turned their backs on the man at the very top in order to create a government of, by, and for the people. The best revolutions do not start at the bottom; they are the work of the upper-middle class.

These exceptions are rare, to be sure, and yet they are the story of the modern world. In total population, average life expectancy, material wealth, artistic expression, rates of violence, and almost every other measure that matters for the quality of human life, the modern world is a dramatically different place than anything that came before. Historians offer many complicated explanations for this happy turn in human events -- the steam engine, microbes, the weather -- but a simple answer precedes them all: equality. The history of the modern world is the unfolding of the idea at the vital center of the American Revolution.

The defining challenge of our time is to renew the promise of American democracy by reversing the calcifying effects of accelerating inequality. As long as inequality rules, reason will be absent from our politics; without reason, none of our other issues can be solved. It's a world-historical problem. But the solutions that have been put forward so far are, for the most part, shoebox in size.

Well-meaning meritocrats have proposed new and better tests for admitting people into their jewel-encrusted classrooms. Fine -- but we aren't going to beat back the Gatsby Curve by tweaking the formulas for excluding people from fancy universities. Policy wonks have taken aim at the more-egregious tax-code handouts, such as the mortgage-interest deduction and college-savings plans. Good -- and then what? Conservatives continue to recycle the characterological solutions, like celebrating traditional marriage or bringing back that old-time religion. Sure -- reforging familial and community bonds is a worthy goal. But talking up those virtues won't save any families from the withering pressures of a rigged economy. Meanwhile, coffee-shop radicals say they want a revolution. They don't seem to appreciate that the only simple solutions are the incredibly violent and destructive ones.

The American idea has always been a guide star, not a policy program, much less a reality. The rights of human beings never have been and never could be permanently established in a handful of phrases or old declarations. They are always rushing to catch up to the world that we inhabit. In our world, now, we need to understand that access to the means of sustaining good health, the opportunity to learn from the wisdom accumulated in our culture, and the expectation that one may do so in a decent home and neighborhood are not privileges to be reserved for the few who have learned to game the system. They are rights that follow from the same source as those that an earlier generation called life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


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Yes, the kind of change that really matters is going to require action from the federal government. That which creates monopoly power can also destroy it; that which allows money into politics can also take it out; that which has transferred power from labor to capital can transfer it back. Change also needs to happen at the state and local levels. How else are we going to open up our neighborhoods and restore the public character of education?

It's going to take something from each of us, too, and perhaps especially from those who happen to be the momentary winners of this cycle in the game. We need to peel our eyes away from the mirror of our own success and think about what we can do in our everyday lives for the people who aren't our neighbors. We should be fighting for opportunities for other people's children as if the future of our own children depended on it. It probably does.


This article appears in the June 2018 print edition with the headline "The Birth of a New American Aristocracy."

[Jun 06, 2018] What is the "optimum" level of inequality in the society?

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Janeee -> Jas636 , 3 Jun 2018 21:52

There are many societies that tolerate a certain degree of economic inequality, but still provide decent living conditions, services and infrastructure for most citizens. The notion that we either have extreme inequality or extreme poverty is empirically and morally empty.

[Jun 05, 2018] Some people think that they are prisoners of neoliberal democracy.

Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Stephen J. June 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm

I believe we are prisoners of so-called "democracy"
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
July 13, 2017
The Prisoners of "Democracy"

Screwing the masses was the forte of the political establishment. It did not really matter which political party was in power, or what name it went under, they all had one ruling instinct, tax, tax, and more taxes. These rapacious politicians had an endless appetite for taxes, and also an appetite for giving themselves huge raises, pension plans, expenses, and all kinds of entitlements. In fact one of them famously said, "He was entitled to his entitlements." Public office was a path to more, and more largesse all paid for by the compulsory taxes of the masses that were the prisoners of "democracy."
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

[Jun 05, 2018] Is Democracy to Blame for Our Present Crisis by Alexander William Salter

Notable quotes:
"... Just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it is self-governing, as America is quickly discovering. ..."
"... John Adams warned that democracy "soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." ..."
"... James Madison was equally concerned with the pernicious consequences of large-scale democracy, arguing that democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." ..."
"... Even George Washington had his doubts about whether democracy was consistent with wise government. Democracies are slow to correct their errors, and those who try to guide the public down a wise course frequently become the object of popular hatred ..."
"... What we've got now is the tyranny of the ..."
"... minority . It is not "the people" who govern the nation. Instead, the state is run by permanent civil servants, largely unaccountable to any popular control, and professional politicians who are usually hand-picked by party insiders (Hillary over Bernie, anyone?). This has made it such that the actual 2016 election was more akin to ratifying a foregone conclusion than a substantive choice over the direction of future policy. ..."
"... If you're a student of politics, you've probably heard of the iron law of oligarchy . The phrase was coined by Robert Michels, an early 20th-century social scientist, in his landmark study of political parties. The iron law of oligarchy is simple: minorities rule majorities, because the former are organized and the latter are not. This is true even within democratic institutions. As power was concentrated in the federal government, the complexity of the tasks confronting civil servants and legislators greatly increased. This required a durable, hierarchical set of institutions for coordinating the behavior of political insiders. Durability enabled political insiders to coordinate their plans across time, which was particularly useful in avoiding the pesky constraints posed by regular elections. Hierarchy enabled political insiders to coordinate plans across space, making a permanently larger government both more feasible and more attractive for elites. The result, in retrospect, was predictable: a massive executive branch bureaucracy that's now largely autonomous, and a permissive Congress that's more than happy to serve as an institutionalized rubber stamp. ..."
"... One of the cruel ironies of the political status quo is that democracy is unquestioningly associated with self-governance, yet in practice, the more democratic a polity grows, the less self-governing it remains. ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it is self-governing, as America is quickly discovering.

Something has gone wrong with America's political institutions. While the United States is, on the whole, competently governed, there are massive problems lurking just beneath the surface. This became obvious during the 2016 presidential election. Each party's nominee was odious to a large segment of the public; the only difference seemed to be whether it was an odious insurgent or an odious careerist. Almost two years on, things show little signs of improving.

What's to blame? One promising, though unpopular, answer is: democracy itself. When individuals act collectively in large groups and are not held responsible for the consequences of their behavior, decisions are unlikely to be reasonable or prudent. This design flaw in popular government was recognized by several Founding Fathers. John Adams warned that democracy "soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

James Madison was equally concerned with the pernicious consequences of large-scale democracy, arguing that democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."

Even George Washington had his doubts about whether democracy was consistent with wise government. Democracies are slow to correct their errors, and those who try to guide the public down a wise course frequently become the object of popular hatred : "It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evil of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure," Washington wrote. "It is to be lamented, nevertheless, that the remedies are so slow, and that those, who may wish to apply them seasonably are not attended to before they suffer in person, in interest and in reputation."

Is Democracy in a Death Spiral? Is Democracy to Blame for the Loneliness Epidemic?

Given these opinions, it is unsurprising that the U.S. Constitution contains so many other mechanisms for ensuring responsible government. Separation of powers and checks and balances are necessary to protect the people from themselves. To the extent our political institutions are deteriorating, the Founders' first instinct would be to look for constitutional changes, whether formal or informal, that have expanded the scope of democracy and entrusted to the electorate greater power than they can safely wield, and reverse them.

This theory is simple, elegant, and appealing. But it's missing a crucial detail.

American government is largely insulated from the tyranny of the majority. But at least since the New Deal, we've gone too far in the opposite direction. What we've got now is the tyranny of the minority . It is not "the people" who govern the nation. Instead, the state is run by permanent civil servants, largely unaccountable to any popular control, and professional politicians who are usually hand-picked by party insiders (Hillary over Bernie, anyone?). This has made it such that the actual 2016 election was more akin to ratifying a foregone conclusion than a substantive choice over the direction of future policy.

But now we confront a puzzle: the rise of the permanent government did coincide with increased democratization. The administrative-managerial state, and its enablers in Congress, followed from creative reinterpretations of the Constitution that allowed voters to make decisions that the Ninth and Tenth amendments -- far and away the most ignored portion of the Bill of Rights -- should have forestalled. As it turns out, not only are both of these observations correct, they are causally related . Increasing the scope of popular government results in the loss of popular control.

If you're a student of politics, you've probably heard of the iron law of oligarchy . The phrase was coined by Robert Michels, an early 20th-century social scientist, in his landmark study of political parties. The iron law of oligarchy is simple: minorities rule majorities, because the former are organized and the latter are not. This is true even within democratic institutions. As power was concentrated in the federal government, the complexity of the tasks confronting civil servants and legislators greatly increased. This required a durable, hierarchical set of institutions for coordinating the behavior of political insiders. Durability enabled political insiders to coordinate their plans across time, which was particularly useful in avoiding the pesky constraints posed by regular elections. Hierarchy enabled political insiders to coordinate plans across space, making a permanently larger government both more feasible and more attractive for elites. The result, in retrospect, was predictable: a massive executive branch bureaucracy that's now largely autonomous, and a permissive Congress that's more than happy to serve as an institutionalized rubber stamp.

The larger the electorate, and the more questions the electorate is asked to decide, the more important it is for the people who actually govern to take advantage of economies of scale in government. If the federal government were kept small and simple, there would be little need for a behemoth public sector. Developing durable and hierarchical procedures for organizing political projects would be unfeasible for citizen-statesmen. But those same procedures become essential for technocratic experts and career politicians.

One of the cruel ironies of the political status quo is that democracy is unquestioningly associated with self-governance, yet in practice, the more democratic a polity grows, the less self-governing it remains. This is why an upsurge of populism won't cure what ails the body politic. It will either provoke the permanent and unaccountable government into tightening its grip, or those who actually hold the power will fan the flames of popular discontent, channeling that energy towards their continued growth and entrenchment. We have enough knowledge to make the diagnosis, but not to prescribe the treatment. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing what political health looks like. G.K. Chesterton said it best in his insight about the relationship between democracy and self-governance:

The democratic contention is that government is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly . In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves

The first step towards renewed self-governance must be to reject the false dichotomy between populism and oligarchy. A sober assessment shows that they are one in the same.

Alexander William Salter is an assistant professor in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. He is also the Comparative Economics Research Fellow at TTU's Free Market Institute. See more at his website: www.awsalter.com .



Steve Miller June 4, 2018 at 11:49 pm

This was going fine until the author decided to blame civil servants for our nation's problems. How about an electoral system that denies majority rule? A Congress that routinely votes against things the vast majority want? A system that vastly overpriveleges corporations and hands them billions while inequality grows to the point where the UN warns that our country resembles a third world kleptocracy? Nope, sez this guy. It's just because there are too many bureaucrats.
tz , , June 5, 2018 at 12:37 am
He avoids the 17th amendment which was one of the barriers to the mob, and the 19th that removed the power of individual states to set the terms of suffrage.
Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Katy Stanton could simply have moved to Wyoming.
It might be useful to only have property taxpayers vote.
And the problem is the left. When voters rejected Gay Marriage (57% in California!) or benefits for illegals, unelected and unaccountable judges reversed the popular will.
S , , June 5, 2018 at 3:38 am
I find your use of the word populism interesting. Inasmuch the word is generally used when the decisions of the populace is different from that which the technocrats or oligarchs would have made for them. The author being part of the technocratic elite thinks that he and his ilk know best. This entire article is just a lot of arguments in support of this false and self serving idea.
Realist , , June 5, 2018 at 5:11 am
When a populous isn't controlled by the electorate democracy is dead.
Rotunda , , June 5, 2018 at 5:47 am
The libertarian political philosopher Jason Brennan made small waves with his book "Against Democracy", published last year.
Voltaire's Ghost , , June 5, 2018 at 6:03 am
Making the federal government "small" will not solve the problems the author describes or really alludes to. The power vacum left by a receding federal government will just be occupied by an unaccountable corporate sector. The recent dismantling of Toys R Us by a spawn of Bain Capital is the most recent manifestation of the twisted and pathological thought process that calls itself "free market capitalism." A small federal government did not end child labor, fight the Depression, win WW II or pioneer space exploration. Conservatives love the mythology of a government "beast" that must be decapitated so that "Liberty" may reign. There are far more dangerous forces at work in American society that inhibit liberty and tax our personal treasuries than the federal government.
TJ Martin , , June 5, 2018 at 9:23 am
1) The US is not and never has been a ' democracy ' It is a Democratic Republic ' which is not the same as a ' democracy ' ( one person -- one vote period ) of which there is only one in the entire world . Switzerland

2) A large part of what has brought us to this point is the worn out well past its sell by Electoral College which not only no longer serves its intended purpose .

3) But the major reason why we're here to put it bluntly is the ' Collective Stupidity of America ' we've volitionally become : addled by celebrity , addicted to entertainment and consumed by conspiracy theory rather than researching the facts

cj , , June 5, 2018 at 9:41 am
The US has a democracy? Were'nt two of the last 3 presidents placed into office via a minority of the vote?

We have instead what Sheldon Wolin called a 'managed democracy'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guided_democracy

It's time to end the pretension that we live in a democracy. It maybe useful to claim so when the US is trying to open markets or control resources in 3rd world countries. It's at that time that we're 'spreading democracy'. Instead it's like spreading manure.

Jon , , June 5, 2018 at 9:43 am
The managerial state arose to quell the threat of class warfare. Ironically those who sought to organize the proletariat under a vision of class-based empowerment clamored for the same. The response over time was fighting fire with fire as the cliche goes becoming what the opposition has sought but only in a modified form.

If we were able to devise a way for distributive justice apart from building a bloated bureaucracy then perhaps this emergence of oligarchy could have been averted. What alternative(s) exist for an equitable distribution of wealth and income to ameliorate poverty? Openly competitive (so-called) markets? And the charity of faith-based communities? I think not.

Youknowho , , June 5, 2018 at 10:39 am
Democracy, like all systems requires maintenace. Bernard Shaw said that the flaw of pragmatism is that any system that is not completely idiotic will work PROVIDED THAT SOMEONE PUT EFFORT IN MAKING IT WORK.

We have come to think that Democracy is in automatic pilot, and does not require effort of our part See how many do not bother to vote or to inform themselves.

Democracy is a fine, shiny package with two caveats in it "Batteries not included" And "Some assembly required" FAilure to heed those leads to disaster.

TG , , June 5, 2018 at 12:21 pm
I see where you are coming from, but I must disagree. We don't have a democracy in any real way, so how can it have failed?

Despite massive propaganda of commission and omission, the majority of the American people don't want to waste trillions of dollars on endless pointless oversees wars. The public be damned: Trump was quickly beaten into submission and we are back to the status quo. The public doesn't want to give trillions of dollars to Wall Street while starving Main Street of capital. The public doesn't want an abusively high rate of immigration whose sole purpose is to flood the market for labor, driving wages down and profits up. And so on.

Oswald Spengler was right. " in actuality the freedom of public opinion involves the preparation of public opinion, which costs money; and the freedom of the press brings with it the question of possession of the press, which again is a matter of money; and with the franchise comes electioneering, in which he who pays the piper calls the tune."

JJ , , June 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm
"If the federal government were kept small and simple, there would be little need for a behemoth public sector. Developing durable and hierarchical procedures for organizing political projects would be unfeasible for citizen-statesmen. But those same procedures become essential for technocratic experts and career politicians."

True, but this implies retarding government power as is will lead to an ultimate solution. It will not. The sober truth is that a massive centralized national government has been inevitable since the onset of the second world war or even beforehand with American intervention in the colonoal Phillippines and the Great War. Becoming an empire requires extensive power grabbing and becoming and maintaining a position as a world power requires constant flexing of that power. Maintaining such a large population, military, and foreign corps requires the massive public-works projects you speak of in order to keep the population content and foreign powers in check. Failure to do so leads to chaos and tragic disaster that would lead to such a nation a collapse in all existing institutions due to overcumbersome responsibilities. These cannot be left to the provinces/states due to the massive amounts of resources required to maintain such imperial ambitions along with the cold reality of state infighting and possible seperatist leanings.

If one wishes to end the power of the federal government as is, the goal is not to merely seek reform. The goal is to dismantle the empire; destroy the military might, isolate certain diplomatic relations, reduce rates of overseas trade and reduce the economy as a whole, and then finally disband and/or drastically reduce public security institutions such as the FBI, CIA, and their affiliates. As you well know, elites and the greater public alike consider these anathema.

However, if you wish to rush to this goal, keep in mind that dismantling the American empire will not necessarily lead to the end of oppression and world peace even in the short term. A power vacuum will open that the other world powers such as the Russian Federation and the PRC will rush to fill up. As long as the world remains so interconnected and imperialist ambitions are maintained by old and new world powers, even the smallest and most directly democratic states will not be able to become self-governing for long.

Chris in Appalachia , , June 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm
Well, when, statistically speaking, half of the population has an IQ of less than 100 (probably more than half now that USA has been invaded by the Third World) then a great number of people are uninformed and easily manipulated voters. That is one of the great fallacies of democracy.
Robert Charron , , June 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm
In an era when the word "democracy" is regarded as one of our deities to worship, this article is a breath of fresh air. Notice how we accuse the Russians of trying to undermine our hallowed "democracy." We really don't know what we mean when we use the term democracy, but it is a shibboleth that has a good, comforting sound. And this idea that we could extend our "democracy" by increasing the number of voters shows that we don't understand much at all. Brilliant insights.
Stephen J. , , June 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm
I believe we are prisoners of so-called "democracy"
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
July 13, 2017
The Prisoners of "Democracy"

Screwing the masses was the forte of the political establishment. It did not really matter which political party was in power, or what name it went under, they all had one ruling instinct, tax, tax, and more taxes. These rapacious politicians had an endless appetite for taxes, and also an appetite for giving themselves huge raises, pension plans, expenses, and all kinds of entitlements. In fact one of them famously said, "He was entitled to his entitlements." Public office was a path to more, and more largesse all paid for by the compulsory taxes of the masses that were the prisoners of "democracy."
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

[Jun 05, 2018] "'Greater education and the need for more workers to receive it are not adequate explanations of inequality

Jun 05, 2018 | twitter.com

The decline in union density is.' @LipstickEcon on new research that links declining unionization to rising #inequality, via @Slate https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/05/study-unions-increasingly-represent-educated-workers.html #EGgrantee..."

[May 27, 2018] The Code Name Crossfire Hurricane Undermines The FBI s Russia Story by Lee Smith

So Strzok was involved with this part of the story too. Strzokgate now has distinct British accent and probably was coordinated by CIA and MI6.
Harper was definitely acted like an "agent provocateur", whose job was to ask leading questions to get Trump campaign advisers to say things that would corroborate-or seem to corroborate-evidence that the FBI believed it already had in hand. It looks like among other things Halper was tasked with the attempt elaborate on the claims made in Steele's September 14 dossier memo: "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and considering disseminating it."
London was the perfect place for such dirty games -- the territory where the agent knew he could operate safely.
"Halper's fishing expedition therefore came up with nothing to suggest the Steele dossier was true. The real story is therefore the continuing attempt to assert that the dossier, or key parts of it, are true, after large-scale investigations by the FBI, and now by special counsel Robert Mueller, have failed to turn up any evidence of a plot hatched between Trump and Vladimir Putin to take over the White House."
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times' ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... So, how many "informants" targeted the Trump campaign? Were they being paid by the U.S. government? What are their names? What were they doing? ..."
"... Under whose authority were they spying on a political campaign? Did FBI and DOJ leadership sign off? Did FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch know about it? What about other senior Obama administration officials? CIA Director John Brennan? Did President Obama know the FBI was spying on a presidential campaign? Did Hillary Clinton know? What about Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta? ..."
May 27, 2018 | thefederalist.com

The New York Times' 4,000-word report last week on the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign's possible ties to Russia revealed for the first time that the investigation was called "Crossfire Hurricane."

The name, explains the paper, refers to the Rolling Stones lyric "I was born in a crossfire hurricane," from the 1968 hit "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Mick Jagger, one of the songwriters, said the song was a "metaphor" for psychedelic-drug induced states. The other, Keith Richards, said it "refers to his being born amid the bombing and air raid sirens of Dartford, England, in 1943 during World War II."

Investigation names, say senior U.S. law enforcement officials, are designed to refer to facts, ideas, or people related to the investigation. Sometimes they're explicit, and other times playful or even allusive. So what did the Russia investigation have to do with World War II, psychedelic drugs, or Keith's childhood?

The answer may be found in the 1986 Penny Marshall film named after the song, "Jumpin' Jack Flash." In the Cold War-era comedy, a quirky bank officer played by Whoopi Goldberg comes to the aid of Jonathan Pryce, who plays a British spy being chased by the KGB.

The code name "Crossfire Hurricane" is therefore most likely a reference to the former British spy whose allegedly Russian-sourced reports on the Trump team's alleged ties to Russia were used as evidence to secure a Foreign Intelligence Service Act secret warrant on Trump adviser Carter Page in October 2016: ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele.

Helping Spin a New Origin Story

It is hardly surprising that the Times refrained from exploring the meaning of the code name. The paper of record has apparently joined a campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Justice, FBI, and political operatives pushing the Trump-Russia collusion story, to minimize Steele's role in the Russia investigation.

After an October news report showed his dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, facts that further challenged the credibility of Steele's research, the FBI investigation's origin story shifted.

In December, The New York Times published a "scoop " on the new origin story. In the revised narrative, the probe didn't start with the Steele dossier at all. Rather, it began with an April 2016 meeting between Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. The professor informed him that "he had just learned from high-level Russian officials in Moscow that the Russians had 'dirt' on Mrs. Clinton in the form of 'thousands of emails.'"

Weeks later, Papadopoulos boasted to the Australian ambassador to London, Alexander Downer, that he was told the Russians had Clinton-related emails. Two months later, according to the Times , the Australians reported Papadopoulos' boasts to the FBI, and on July 31, 2016, the bureau began its investigation.

Further reinforcement of the new origin story came from congressional Democrats. A January 29 memo written by House Intelligence Committee minority staff under ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff further distances Steele from the opening of the investigation. "Christopher Steele's raw reporting did not inform the FBI's decision to initiate its counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016. In fact, the FBI's closely-held investigative team only received Steele's reporting in mid-September."

Last week's major Times article echoes the Schiff memo. Steele's reports, according to the paper, reached the "Crossfire Hurricane team" "in mid-September."

Yet the new account of how the government spying campaign against Trump started is highly unlikely. According to the thousands of favorable press reports asserting his credibility, Steele was well-respected at the FBI for his work on a 2015 case that helped win indictments of more than a dozen officials working for soccer's international governing body, FIFA. In July 2016, Steele met with the agent he worked with on the FIFA case to show his early findings on the Trump team's ties to Russia.

The FBI took Steele's reporting on Trump's ties to Russia so seriously it was later used as evidence to monitor the electronic communications of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. But, according to Schiff and the Times , the FBI somehow lost track of reports from a "credible" source who claimed to have information showing that the Republican candidate for president was compromised by a foreign government. That makes no sense.

The code name "Crossfire Hurricane" is further evidence that the FBI's cover story is absurd. A reference to a movie about a British spy evading Russian spies behind enemy lines suggests the Steele dossier was always the core of the bureau's investigation into the Trump campaign.

Was Halper an Informant, Spy, Or Agent Provocateur?

Taken together with the other significant revelation from last Times story, the purpose and structure of Crossfire Hurricane may be coming into clearer focus. According to the Times story: "At least one government informant met several times with [Trump campaign advisers Carter] Page and [George] Papadopoulos, current and former officials said."

As we now know, the informant is Stefan Halper, a former classmate of Bill Clinton's at Oxford University who worked in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations. Halper is known for his good connections in intelligence circles. His father-in-law was Ray Cline , former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Halper is also reported to have led the 1980 Ronald Reagan campaign team that collected intelligence on sitting U.S. President Jimmy Carter's foreign policy.

So what was Halper doing in this instance? He wasn't really a spy (a person who is generally tasked with stealing secrets) or an informant (a person who provides information about criminal activities from the inside). Rather, it seems he was more like an agent provocateur, whose job was to ask leading questions to get Trump campaign advisers to say things that would corroborate -- or seem to corroborate -- evidence that the bureau believed it already had in hand.

It appears Halper's job was to induce inexperienced Trump campaign figures to say things.

Halper met with at least three Trump campaign advisers: Sam Clovis, Page, and George Papadopoulos. The latter two he met with in London, where Halper had reason to feel comfortable operating.

Halper's close contacts in the intelligence world weren't limited to the CIA. They also include foreign intelligence officials like Richard Dearlove , the former head of the United Kingdom's foreign intelligence service, MI6. According to a Washington Times report , Halper and Dearlove are partners in a UK consulting firm, Cambridge Security Initiative.

Dearlove is also close to Steele. According to the Washington Post , Dearlove met with Steele in the early fall of 2016, when his former charge shared his "worries" about what he'd found on the Trump campaign and "asked for his guidance."

London was therefore the perfect place for Halper to spring a trap -- outside the direct purview of the FBI, but on territory where he knew he could operate safely. It appears Halper's job was to induce inexperienced Trump campaign figures to say things that corroborated the 35-page series of memos written by Steele -- the centerpiece of the Russiagate investigation -- in order to license a broader campaign of government spying against Trump and his associates in the middle of a presidential election.

Halper Reached Out to Trump Campaign Members

Chuck Ross's reporting in The Daily Caller provides invaluable details and insight. As Ross explained in The Daily Caller back in March, Halper emailed Papadopoulos on September 2, 2016 with an invitation to write a research paper, for which he'd be paid $3,000, and a paid trip to London. According to Ross, "Papadopoulos and Halper met several times during the London trip," with one meeting scheduled for September 13 and another two days later.

Ross writes: "According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: 'George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?' Papadopoulos told Halper he didn't know anything about emails or Russian hacking." It seems Halper was looking to elaborate on the claims made in Steele's September 14 dossier memo : "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and considering disseminating it."

Halper's fishing expedition therefore came up with nothing to suggest the Steele dossier was true.

Had Papadopoulos confirmed that a shadowy Maltese academic had told him in April about Russians holding Clinton-related emails, presumably that would have entered the dossier as something like, "Trump campaign adviser PAPADOPOULOS confirms knowledge of Russian 'kompromat.'"

Another Trump campaign adviser Halper contacted was Page. They first met in Cambridge, England at a July 11, 2016 symposium. Halper's partner Dearlove spoke at the conference, which was held just days after Page had delivered a widely reported speech at the New Economic School in Moscow. According to another Ross article reporting on Page and Halper's interactions, the Trump adviser "recalls nothing of substance being discussed other than Halper's passing mention that he knew then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Page and Manafort both figure prominently in the Steele dossier's July 19 memos. According to the document , Manafort "was using foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries." Page had also, according to the dossier, met with senior Kremlin officials -- a charge he later denied in his November 2, 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Evidently, he also gave Halper nothing to use in verifying the charges made against him.

Halper's fishing expedition therefore came up with nothing to suggest the Steele dossier was true. The real story is therefore the continuing attempt to assert that the dossier, or key parts of it, are true, after large-scale investigations by the FBI, and now by special counsel Robert Mueller, have failed to turn up any evidence of a plot hatched between Trump and Vladimir Putin to take over the White House.

Using Spy Powers on Political Opponents Is a Big Problem

That portions of the American national security apparatus would put their considerable powers -- surveillance, spying, legal pressure -- at the service of a partisan political campaign is a sign that something very big is broken in Washington. Our Founding Fathers would not be surprised to learn that the post-9/11 surveillance and spying apparatus built to protect Americans from al-Qaeda has now become a political tool that targets Americans for partisan purposes. That the rest of us are surprised is a sign that we have stopped taking the U.S. Constitution as seriously as we should.

The damage done to the American press is equally large. Since the November 2016 presidential election, a financially imperiled media industry gambled its remaining prestige on Russiagate. Yet after nearly a year and a half filled with thousands of stories feeding the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy, last week still represented a landmark moment in American journalism. The New York Times , which proudly published the Pentagon Papers, provided cover for an espionage operation against a presidential campaign.

The New York Times , which proudly published the Pentagon Papers, provided cover for an espionage operation against a presidential campaign.

There are significant errors and misrepresentations in the article that the Times could've easily checked, if it weren't in such a hurry to hide the FBI and DOJ's crimes and abuses. Perhaps most significantly, the Times avoided asking the key questions that the article raised with its revelation that "at least one government informant" met with Trump campaign figures.

So, how many "informants" targeted the Trump campaign? Were they being paid by the U.S. government? What are their names? What were they doing?

Under whose authority were they spying on a political campaign? Did FBI and DOJ leadership sign off? Did FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch know about it? What about other senior Obama administration officials? CIA Director John Brennan? Did President Obama know the FBI was spying on a presidential campaign? Did Hillary Clinton know? What about Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta?

These questions are sure to be asked. What we know already is that the Times reporters did not ask them, because they do not bother to indicate that the officials interviewed for the story had declined to answer. That they did not ask these questions is evidence the Times is no longer a newspaper that sees its job as reporting the truth or holding high government officials responsible for their crimes. Lee Smith is the media columnist at Tablet.

[May 04, 2018] Sic Semper Tyrannis The Skripals survived, but their cat and rodents ... not so much.

Notable quotes:
"... I am reading Taleb's recent book "Skin in the game" which has interesting material about the disconnection between risky behaviors and their consequences in modern USA. He also has a chapter about the mechanics involved in why minority viewpoints in our culture become dominant. It's an interesting read. ..."
"... Finally, the Police partially acknowledged their mistake and accused the Russians of not having been completely fair play. Indeed, these thuriferous bastards of Vlad the Impaler had put poison on the OUTDOOR handle of the front door of the house. It's infinitely subtle of these savages. The Brit Police did not suspect what strong part it had to make, the unexpected thwarting its learned calculations. Presumption, again and again. Nevertheless, the detectives are formal: the Russians did the trick well. The evidence is obvious. In this dramatic case, we are not going to make a comparison between insular and continental logic. The hour is too serious for these trifles. Lots of laughter. ..."
"... It's very difficult in any case to believe that such a notice could have been issued. Can't see why it would be needed. The scripting of the official story on such matters as this seems to be a joint enterprise between the media and the press officers. That's a time-honoured consensus so why would the media need bullying to stay in line? ..."
"... My personal view on all this is that the No. 10 press officers aren't that good at this new-fangled information stuff. They don't seem to have their hearts in it somehow. Time for them to go back to counting paperclips and for information campaigns to be handled by the experts. The BBC have a proven track record in this field and it's time that was officially recognised. ..."
May 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sir Mark, bless him, has told an MP during a committee meeting, that the armed forces, MI-5, MI-6 and GCHQ do not know who or indeed what sickened the Skripals, pere et fille , in Salisbury. He doesn't seem to have mentioned the police. So, basically, pilgrims, Teresa May, the queen's first minister has insistently and incessantly accused the Russians of a crime of which our British cousins know precious little. In a closely related development, it is now revealed that the Britishers sealed up Skripal's house after the poisoning event leaving the black Persian shown above and two guinea pigs to die of thirst and hunger within. It would seem likely that they knew they were doing this since they would have searched the house first. No? Perhaps they thought that the cat might be a threat as a being of possible Iranian descent. This is impressive stuff. pl https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-05-01/uk-has-not-yet-identified-skripal-poisoning-suspects


Eric Newhill , 11 hours ago

These false flag ops are all so shabby in their execution. The lack of thoroughness and imagination on the part of the governments running them is really disappointing. For example, if I was running an investigation into the Skripal incident, I would have captured the cat and rodents and run pathology tests on them to see what bio/chem agents might be in their systems. Also, because they might escape and become a vector of further infection. That seems like it would be SOP. So I'd do it even if I knew the story was BS to create the appearance of reality. Then, I could always state that the pets should signs of Russian engineered bio/chem agents. Could even create a video of the pets dying some horrible death due to the agents. That's more better BS.
Threadzilla , 11 hours ago
And yet, this appears to be a lie as well. An earlier piece in the British news claims the pets were taken to Porton Down for examination and testing soon after the incident. Seems more likely they eliminated evidence and then came up with the cover story about how the animals were "forgotten about" and locked in the house for a month, implying totally unimportant for the investigation. http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/...
JohnA , 12 hours ago
I am truly dis-May-ed!

I hope she and Johnson pay the price for this folly. May it be steep! Very. very steep.

How these two suckered so many nations foolishly into sending diplomats home reflected respect for UK policy toward Russia. These nations will need to think long and hard about following any such UK lead in future.

This week, the US took down the Russian flag flying over Russian real estate in Seattle. Shameful!

Sid Finster -> JohnA , 9 hours ago
Sociopaths care nothing for law and everything for enforcement.
Jack , 4 hours ago
I don't know much about the dynamics of British politics but as a light observer of British news I wonder why Theresa May remains prime minister? She became prime minister after the historic Brexit vote. Promptly takes the country to an election and botches it for the Tories. Then bungles the Brexit negotiations. Runs a floundering government. Now comes up with accusations against the Russians in the Skripal affair with no evidence presented but looking more foolish as her story comes under scrutiny.
DH , 11 hours ago
Thirst, yes, hunger, not so much.
Tony , 11 hours ago
I am reading Taleb's recent book "Skin in the game" which has interesting material about the disconnection between risky behaviors and their consequences in modern USA. He also has a chapter about the mechanics involved in why minority viewpoints in our culture become dominant. It's an interesting read.
Sid Finster , 10 hours ago
http://www.theblogmire.com/...
France74 , 10 hours ago
A french view and laughter.

2 cats and 2 guinea pigs were locked up for 9 days in Skipal's house, in the hope of proving that the Russians are guilty.
When the police reopened the house, they found four bodies. the veterinary faculty is positive, both cats died of starvation. Guinea pigs, some say, began to be worked by hungry cats, accelerating their deaths. Unspeakable bloodshed. In this whole case, it's THE revolting detail, among many others. Poor beasts.

Finally, the Police partially acknowledged their mistake and accused the Russians of not having been completely fair play. Indeed, these thuriferous bastards of Vlad the Impaler had put poison on the OUTDOOR handle of the front door of the house. It's infinitely subtle of these savages. The Brit Police did not suspect what strong part it had to make, the unexpected thwarting its learned calculations. Presumption, again and again. Nevertheless, the detectives are formal: the Russians did the trick well. The evidence is obvious. In this dramatic case, we are not going to make a comparison between insular and continental logic. The hour is too serious for these trifles.
Lots of laughter.

kao_hsien_chih , 11 hours ago
Great. There was once a war for Jenkins' ear. I guess we should now have a nuclear war for Skripals' cat.
English Outsider -> kao_hsien_chih , 9 hours ago
Colonel,

There's talk of a D-Notice covering the Skripal affair. Seems unlikely. All concerned were being sat on quite satisfactorily anyway.

I Looked up D-notices on WIKI -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

Presumably there are bigger guns in the background if information that would really threaten national security or the lives of serving officers is in danger of being released. The D-Notice system itself seems to be a more or less voluntary affair -

https://www.theguardian.com...

It's very difficult in any case to believe that such a notice could have been issued. Can't see why it would be needed. The scripting of the official story on such matters as this seems to be a joint enterprise between the media and the press officers. That's a time-honoured consensus so why would the media need bullying to stay in line?

My personal view on all this is that the No. 10 press officers aren't that good at this new-fangled information stuff. They don't seem to have their hearts in it somehow. Time for them to go back to counting paperclips and for information campaigns to be handled by the experts. The BBC have a proven track record in this field and it's time that was officially recognised.

[May 04, 2018] Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such by b

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation. ..."
"... Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma. ..."
"... The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation. ..."
"... Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them. ..."
"... No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered. ..."
"... Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation. ..."
"... The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote." ..."
"... Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?" ..."
"... Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth. ..."
"... 1984, anyone? ..."
"... The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. ..."
"... Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right. ..."
"... Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. ..."
"... One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; ..."
"... while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned. ..."
"... Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation. ..."
"... Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™. ..."
"... Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar. ..."
"... And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus. ..."
"... Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school. ..."
"... In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting. ..."
May 04, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Grauniad is slipping deeper into the disinformation business: Revealed: UK's push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance is the headline of a page one piece which reveals exactly nothing. There is no secret lifted and no one was discomforted by a questioning journalist.

Like other such pieces it uses disinformation to accuse Russia of spreading such.

The main 'revelation' is stenographed from a British government official. Some quotes from the usual anti-Russian propagandists were added. Dubious or false 'western' government claims are held up as truth. That Russia does not endorse them is proof for Russian mischievousness and its 'disinformation'.

The opener:

The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin's aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria.
...
"The foreign secretary regards Russia's response to Douma and Salisbury as a turning point and thinks there is international support to do more," a Whitehall official said. "The areas the UK are most likely to pursue are countering Russian disinformation and finding a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons."

There is a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons. It is the Chemical Weapon Convention and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It was the British government which at first rejected the use of these instruments during the Skripal incident:

Early involvement of the OPCW, as demanded by Russia, was resisted by the British government. Only on March 14, ten days after the incident happened and two days after Prime Minister Theresa may had made accusations against Russia, did the British government invite the OPCW. Only on March 19, 15 days after the incident happen did the OPCW technical team arrive and took blood samples.

Now back to the Guardian disinformation:

In making its case to foreign ministries, the UK is arguing that Russian denials over Salisbury and Douma reveal a state uninterested in cooperating to reach a common understanding of the truth , but instead using both episodes to try systematically to divide western electorates and sow doubt.

A 'common understanding of the truth' is an interesting term. What is the truth? Whatever the British government claims? It accused Russia of the Skripal incident a mere eight days after it happened. Now, two month later, it admits that it does not know who poisoned the Skripals:

Police and intelligence agencies have failed so far to identify the individual or individuals who carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the UK's national security adviser has disclosed.

Do the Brits know where the alleged Novichok poison came from? Unless they produced it themselves they likely have no idea. The Czech Republic just admitted that it made small doses of a Novichok nerve agent for testing purposes. Others did too.

Back to the Guardian :

British politicians are not alone in claiming Russia's record of mendacity is not a personal trait of Putin's, but a government-wide strategy that makes traditional diplomacy ineffective.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, famously came off one lengthy phone call with Putin – she had more than 40 in a year – to say he lived in a different world.

No, Merkel never said that. An Obama administration flunky planted that in the New York Times :

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. "In another world," she said.

When that claim was made in March 2014 we were immediately suspicious of it:

This does not sound like typically Merkel but rather strange for her. I doubt that she said that the way the "people briefed on the call" told it to the Times stenographer. It is rather an attempt to discredit Merkel and to make it more difficult for her to find a solution with Russia outside of U.S. control.

A day later the German government denied (ger) that Merkel ever said such (my translation):

The chancellery is unhappy about the report in the New York Times. Merkel by no means meant to express that Putin behaved irrational. In fact she told Obama that Putin has a different perspective about the Crimea [than Obama has].

A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation.

That disinformation, spread by the Obama administration but immediately exposed as false, is now held up as proof by Patrick Wintour, the Diplomatic editor of the Guardian , that Russia uses disinformation and that Putin is a naughty man.

The British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson wants journalists to enter the UK reserve forces to help with the creation of propaganda:

He said army recruitment should be about "looking to different people who maybe think, as a journalist: 'What are my skills in terms of how are they relevant to the armed forces?'

Patrick Wintour seems to be a qualified candidate.

Or maybe he should join the NATO for Information Warfare the Atlantic Council wants to create to further disinform about those damned Russkies:

What we need now is a cross-border defense alliance against disinformation -- call it Communications NATO. Such an alliance is, in fact, nearly as important as its military counterpart.

Like the Guardian piece above writer of the NATO propaganda lobby Atlantic Council makes claims of Russian disinformation that do not hold up to the slightest test:

By pinning the Novichok nerve agent on Sweden or the Czech Republic, or blaming the UK for the nerve gas attack in Syria, the Kremlin sows confusion among our populations and makes us lose trust in our institutions.

Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma.

The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation.

The bigger aim behind all these activities, demanding a myriad of new organizations to propagandize against Russia, is to introduce a strict control over information within 'western' societies.

Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.

That scheme will be used against anyone who deviates from the ordered norm. You dislike that pipeline in your backyard? You must be falling for Russian trolls or maybe you yourself are an agent of a foreign power. Social Security? The Russians like that. It is a disinformation thing. You better forget about it.


c1ue , May 4, 2018 2:27:27 PM | 1

Excellent article, in an ongoing run of great journalism.
I am curious - have you read this? https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/
It purports to be a book by an American military man intimately familiar with the covert ops portion of the US government. The internal Kafka-esque dynamics described certainly feel true.
Mike Maloney , May 4, 2018 2:44:12 PM | 3
One of the reasons newspapers are getting worse is the economics. They aren't really viable anymore. Their future is as some form of government sanctioned oligopoly. Two national papers -- a "left" and a "right" -- and then a handful of regional papers. All spouting the same neoliberal, neoconservative chicanery.
CD Waller , May 4, 2018 2:57:20 PM | 4
Genuine journalist Matt Taibbi warned of this sort of branding of disparate views as enemy a month ago. He was also correct. Evil and insidious. The enemy of a free society.
chet380 , May 4, 2018 2:58:22 PM | 5
Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:02:57 PM | 6
The later history of the 20th century will one day be read as the triumph and normalization of the Nazi state through liberal democratic capitalism.
Laguerre , May 4, 2018 3:07:19 PM | 7
I agree that it's difficult to see how the drive to renew the Cold War is going to be stopped. I presume that, with the exception of certain NeoCon circles, there isn't a desire for Hot War. Certainly not in the British sources you quote. Britain wouldn't want Hot War with Russia. It's all a question of going to the limit for internal consumption. Do a 1984, in order to keep the population in-line.
james , May 4, 2018 3:11:05 PM | 8
thanks b... i can't understand how any intelligent thinking person would read the guardian, let alone something like the huff post, and etc. etc... why? the propaganda money that pays for the white helmets, certainly goes to these outlets as well..

the uk have gone completely nuts! i guess it comes with reading the guardian, although, in fairness, all british media seems very skewed - sky news, bbc, and etc. etc.

it does appear as though Patrick Wintour is on Gavin Williamson's propaganda bandwagon/payroll already... in reading the comments and articles at craig murrays site, i have become more familiar with just how crazy things are in the uk.. his latest article freedom no more sums it up well... throw the uk msm in the trash can... it is for all intensive purposes, done..

mk , May 4, 2018 3:31:41 PM | 9
Meanwhile, OPCW chief Uzumcu seems to have been pranked again, this time by his own staff (this is how I interpret it):

He claimed that the amount of Novichok found was about 100 g and therefore more than research laboratories would produce, i.e. this was weaponized Novichok.

http://www.startribune.com/large-dose-of-nerve-agent-was-used-in-spy-s-poisoning-watchdog-says/481687061/

However, the story is being retracted right now because OPCW staff says it was only 100 mg .

Uzumcu looks like a fool.

b , May 4, 2018 3:49:03 PM | 10
The Russian embassy in the UK must be reading MoA. It just now tweeted this press release: Embassy press officer comments on the Guardian article concerning a new British anti-Russian strategy
Q: What is our reaction to the Guardian article on a "comprehensive strategy" to "deepen the alliance against Russia" to be pursued by the UK Government at international forums?

A: Judging by the publication, the main current challenge for Whitehall is to preserve the anti-Russian coalition that the Conservatives tried to build after the Salisbury incident. This task is challenging indeed. The "fusion doctrine" promoted by the national security apparatus has led to the Western bloc taking hasty decisions that, as life has shown, were not based on any facts.

No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered.

Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation.

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 3:52:31 PM | 11
Hmmm... My reply to c1ue went sideways it seems. Yes, The late Mr. Prouty's book's the real deal and the website hosting his very rare book is a rare gem itself. Click the JFK at page top left to be transported to that sites archive of writings about his murder. The very important essay by Prouty's there too.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:53:30 PM | 12
The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote."

This one detail tells us so much about how propaganda works, and about how it can be defeated. Successful propaganda both depends upon and seeks to accelerate the erasure of historical memory. This is because its truths are always changing to suit the immediate needs of the state. None of its truths can be understood historically. b makes the connection between the documented but forgotten past "truth" of Merkel's quote and its present reincarnation in the Guardian, and this is really all he *needs* to do. What b points out is something quite simple; yet the ability to do this very simple thing is becoming increasingly rare and its exercise increasingly difficult to achieve. It is for me the virtue that makes b's analysis uniquely indispensable.

Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?"

Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth.

Jose Garcia , May 4, 2018 3:56:03 PM | 13
1984, anyone?
john wilson , May 4, 2018 4:03:04 PM | 14
The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. This implies that the Skripals both closed the door together and then went off on their day spreading the stuff everywhere, yet no one else was contaminated (apart from the fantasy policeman).

Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right.

ken , May 4, 2018 4:03:13 PM | 15
The problem is,,, most know it's all BS but find it 'easier' to believe or at most ignore, as then there is no responsibility to 'do something'. Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. (Yes,,, I'm a PCR reader) :))
karlof1 , May 4, 2018 4:05:15 PM | 16
b @10--

Did you catch the Lavrov interview I linked to on previous Yemen thread? As you might imagine, the verbiage used is quite similar. One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; and that while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned.

I won't omit linking to Craig Murray's conclusion :

"I cannot sufficiently express my outrage that Leeds City Council feels it is right to ban a meeting with very distinguished speakers, because it is questioning the government and establishment line on Syria. Freedom of speech really is dead."

Ort , May 4, 2018 4:22:35 PM | 17
Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.
_______________________________________

Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™.

This isn't a new insight, but it's worth repeating. It struck me anew while I was listening to a couple of UK "journalists" hectoring OPCW Representative Shulgin, and directing scurrilous and provocative innuendo disguised as "questions" to Mr. Shulgin and the Syrian witnesses testifying during his presentation.

It flashed upon me that there is no longer a reasonable expectation that the Perpetual Big Liars must eventually abandon, much less confess, their heinous mendacity. Just as B points out, there are no countervailing facts, evidence, rebuttals, theories, or explanations that can't be countered with further iterations of Big Lies, however offensively incredible and absurd.

Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar.

And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus.

Even as the Big Liars reach a point of diminishing returns, they respond with more of the same. I wish I were more confident that this reprehensible practice will eventually fail due to the excess of malignant hubris; I'm not holding my breath.

Passer by , May 4, 2018 4:24:44 PM | 18

Is Putin capitulating? Pro US Alexei Kudrin could join new government to negotiate "end of sanctions" with the West.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin will be brought back to "mend fences with the West" in order to revive Russia's economy. Kudrin has repeatedly said that unless Russia makes her political system more democratic and ends its confrontation with Europe and the United States, she will not be able to achieve economic growth. Russia's fifth-columnists were exalted: "If Kudrin joined the administration or government, it would indicate that they have agreed on a certain agenda of change, including in foreign policy, because without change in foreign policy, reforms are simply impossible in Russia," said Yevgeny Gontmakher . . . who works with a civil society organization set up by Mr. Kudrin. "It would be a powerful message, because Kudrin is the only one in the top echelons with whom they will talk in the west and towards whom there is a certain trust."

Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school.

It would mark Putin's de facto collapse as a leader. We shall know very soon. Either way, if anyone wondered what the approach to Russia would be from Bolton and Pompeo, we now know: they will play very hard ball with Putin, regardless of what he does (or doesn't do), and with carefree readiness to risk an eventual snap.

https://archive.is/1Ynms#selection-1641.0-1641.66

Formerly T-Bear , May 4, 2018 4:57:25 PM | 21
@ 20 Laguerre

Certainly looks like @ 18 is a fine example of what b is presenting.

A good way to extract one's self from the propaganda is to refuse using whatever meme the disinformation uses, e.g. that Sergei Skripal was a double agent -- that is not a known, only a convenient suggestion.

Military intelligence is far better described as military information needed for some project or mission. Not surreptitious cloak and dagger spying. This is not to say Sergei Scripal was a British spy for which he was convicted, stripped of rank and career and exiled through a spy swap. To continue using Sergei Scripal was a double agent only repeats and verifies the disinformation meme and all the framing that goes with it. Find some alternative to what MSM produces that does not embed truthiness to their efforts.

Peter Schmidt , May 4, 2018 5:08:52 PM | 23
In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting.
Emily Dickinson , May 4, 2018 5:09:00 PM | 24
@Michael Weddington 19

I realize it's from one of the biggest propaganda organs in the world... take this New York Times report of the OPCW's retraction with a 100 grams -- 100mg? -- of salt:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/world/europe/opcw-skripal-attack.html

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 5:12:57 PM | 25
Passer by @18--

This same narrative was put forth in 2016 and is just as false now as then. As I posted on Yemen thread earlier, Putin on 5 May is likely to announce the formation of a Stavka.

Kudrin is a neoliberal and as such is an enemy of humanity and will never again be allowed to hold a position of power within Russia's government. Let him emigrate to the West like his fellow parasites and teach junk economics at some likeminded university.

jalp , May 4, 2018 5:30:35 PM | 26
Anyone seen this reported elsewhere? https://www.rt.com/news/425810-white-helmets-us-funding-freeze/

[Apr 26, 2018] Drones, Baby, Drones! The Rise of Americas High-Tech Assassins

Apr 03, 2015 | Alternet
...President Barack Obama, who had run a quasi-antiwar liberal campaign for the White House, had embraced the assassination program and had decreed, "the CIA gets what it wants." Intelligence budgets were maintaining the steep upward curve that had started in 2001, and while all agencies were benefiting, none had done as well as the CIA At just under $15 billion, the agency's budget had climbed by 56 percent just since 2004.

Decades earlier, Richard Helms, the CIA director for whom the event was named, would customarily refer to the defense contractors who pressured him to spend his budget on their wares as "those bastards." Such disdain for commerce in the world of spooks was now long gone, as demonstrated by the corporate sponsorship of the tables jammed into the Grand Ballroom that evening. The executives, many of whom had passed through the revolving door from government service, were there to rub shoulders with old friends and current partners. "It was totally garish," one attendee told me afterward. "It seemed like every arms manufacturer in the country had taken a table. Everyone was doing business, right and left."

In the decade since 9/11, the CIA had been regularly blighted by scandal-revelations of torture, renditions, secret "black site" prisons, bogus intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq, ignored signs of the impending 9/11 attacks-but such unwholesome realities found no echo in this comradely gathering. Even George Tenet, the CIA director who had presided over all of the aforementioned scandals, was greeted with heartfelt affection by erstwhile colleagues as he, along with almost every other living former CIA director, stood to be introduced by Master of Ceremonies John McLaughlin, a former deputy director himself deeply complicit in the Iraq fiasco. Each, with the exception of Stansfield Turner (still bitterly resented for downsizing the agency post-Vietnam), received ringing applause, but none more than the night's honoree, former CIA director and then-current secretary of defense Robert M. Gates.

Although Gates had left the CIA eighteen years before, he was very much the father figure of the institution and a mentor to the intelligence chieftains, active and retired, who cheered him so fervently that night at the Ritz-Carlton. He had climbed through the ranks of the national security bureaucracy with a ruthless determination all too evident to those around him. Ray McGovern, his supervisor in his first agency post, as an analyst with the intelligence directorate's soviet foreign policy branch, recalls writing in an efficiency report that the young man's "evident and all-consuming ambition is a disruptive influence in the branch." There had come a brief check on his rise to power when his involvement in the Iran-Contra imbroglio cratered an initial attempt to win confirmation as CIA director, but success came a few years later, in 1991, despite vehement protests from former colleagues over his persistent willingness to sacrifice analytic objectivity to the political convenience of his masters.

Book cover of 'Kill Chain.'

Photo Credit:

Henry Holt

Click to enlarge.

Gates's successful 1991 confirmation as CIA chief owed much, so colleagues assessed, to diligent work behind the scenes on the part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's staff director, George Tenet. In 1993, Tenet moved on to be director for intelligence programs on the Clinton White House national security staff, in which capacity he came to know and esteem John Brennan, a midlevel and hitherto undistinguished CIA analyst assigned to brief White House staffers. Tenet liked Brennan so much that when he himself moved to the CIA as deputy director in 1995, he had the briefer appointed station chief in Riyadh, an important position normally reserved for someone with actual operational experience. In this sensitive post Brennan worked tirelessly to avoid irritating his Saudi hosts, showing reluctance, for example, to press them for Osama bin Laden's biographical details when asked to do so by the bin Laden unit back at headquarters.

Brennan returned to Washington in 1999 under Tenet's patronage, initially as his chief of staff and then as CIA executive director, and by 2003 he had transitioned to the burgeoning field of intelligence fusion bureaucracy. The notion that the way to avert miscommunication between intelligence bureaucracies was to create yet more layers of bureaucracy was popular in Washington in the aftermath of 9/11. One concrete expression of this trend was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, known as T-TIC and then renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center a year later. Brennan was the first head of T-TIC, distinguishing himself in catering to the abiding paranoia of the times. On one occasion, notorious within the community, he circulated an urgent report that al-Qaeda was encrypting targeting information for terrorist attacks in the broadcasts of the al-Jazeera TV network, thereby generating an "orange" alert and the cancellation of dozens of international flights. The initiative was greeted with malicious amusement over at the CIA's own Counterterrorism Center, whose chief at the time, José Rodríguez, later opined that Brennan had been trying to build up his profile with higher authority. "Brennan was a major factor in keeping [the al-Jazeera/al-Qaeda story] alive. We thought it was ridiculous," he told a reporter. "My own view is he saw this, he took this, as a way to have relevance, to take something to the White House." Tellingly, an Obama White House spokesman later excused Brennan's behavior on the grounds that though he had circulated the report, he hadn't believed it himself.

Exiting government service in 2005, Brennan spent the next three years heading The Analysis Corporation, an obscure but profitable intelligence contractor engaged in preparing terrorist watch lists for the government, work for which he was paid $763,000 in 2008. Among the useful relationships he had cultivated over the years was well-connected Democrat Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to Bill Clinton, who recommended him to presidential candidate Barack Obama. Meeting for the first time shortly after Obama's election victory, the pair bonded immediately, with Obama "finishing Brennan's sentences," by one account. Among their points of wholehearted agreement was the merit of a surgical approach to terrorist threats, the "need to target the metastasizing disease without destroying the surrounding tissue," as Brennan put it, for which drones and their Hellfire missiles seemed the ideal tools. Obama was initially balked in his desire to make Brennan CIA director because of the latter's all-too-close association with the agency's torture program, so instead the new president made him his assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, with an office down the hall from the Oval Office. Two years into the administration, everyone in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom knew that the bulky Irishman was the most powerful man in U.S. intelligence as the custodian of the president's kill list, on which the chief executive and former constitutional law professor insisted on reserving the last word, making his final selections for execution at regularly scheduled Tuesday afternoon meetings. "You know, our president has his brutal side," a CIA source cognizant of Obama's involvement observed to me at the time.

Now, along with the other six hundred diners at the Helms dinner, Brennan listened attentively as Gates rose to accept the coveted award for "exemplary service to the nation and the Central Intelligence Agency." After paying due tribute to previous honorees as well as his pride in being part of the CIA "family," Gates spoke movingly of a recent and particularly tragic instance of CIA sacrifice, the seven men and women killed by a suicide bomber at an agency base, Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. All present bowed their heads in silent tribute.

Gates then moved on to a more upbeat topic. When first he arrived at the Pentagon in 2007, he said, he had found deep-rooted resistance to "new technology" among "flyboys with silk scarves" still wedded to venerable traditions of fighter-plane combat. But all that, he informed his rapt audience, had changed. Factories were working "day and night, day and night," to turn out the vital weapons for the fight against terrorism. "So from now on," he concluded, his voice rising, "the watchword is: drones, baby, drones!"

The applause was long and loud.

Excerpted from Andrew Cockburn's new book, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins Henry Holt, 2015). Reprinted here with permission from the author.

[Apr 24, 2018] Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be." That's now very true for neoclassic economy courses. Many students understand the game and hate it

Notable quotes:
"... cognitive infiltration ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith, April 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Nudge was the title of a book by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein on how to manipulate people in their supposed best interest, like in cafeteria lines, to put whole fruit before desserts made with sugar.

See here for more detail:

blennylips , April 21, 2018 at 1:49 pm

If you liked Nudge , you'll love " cognitive infiltration ":

Conspiracy Theories
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03

Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.
Keywords: conspiracy theories, social networks, informational cascades, group polarization
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

Is not this what discerning MIC's all do these days, via FBI FB?

Synoia , April 21, 2018 at 11:25 am

A nudge too far?

Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be."

JTMcPhee , April 21, 2018 at 12:40 pm

And of course we mopes have been "nudged" into pretty much that blind serfdom alluded to. Back in the Cave, with not much chance of dispelling the belief in and subjection to the shadows projected on the wall we are forced to face

oaf , April 21, 2018 at 1:52 pm

manipulation is the sowing of a Karmic garden

Tom_Doak , April 21, 2018 at 6:09 pm

The classic nudge example is opting you into a 401(k) unless you opt out.

That's supposedly better for you but it is DEFINITELY better for the brokerage handling your account.

none , April 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_theory

I hadn't heard of it before.

Tyronius , April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

I rather detest the notion of someone or entity 'nudging' me in the direction of some behavior, especially in a paternalistic mode where the assumption is that they know better than I what I 'should' be doing or thinking.

On one level, isn't that a working definition of advertising? On another, it smacks of authoritarianism. Don't we have enough of this kind of thing already? Worse, what's the first reaction one naturally has when they realize they're being manipulated? Seems to be a strategy fraught with risk of getting exactly the wrong response.

If I'm to be encouraged to behave in a given way, show me the respect of offering a conscious, intelligent argument to do so on the merits, or kindly go (family blog) yourself!

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:18 am

In economics, the single most important thing to understand is debt.
If you understand debt; you won't have any debt.
Debt and freedom are the antithisis of each other.
Without debt; nudges have no influence.

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:24 am

A follow up:
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/money/a19181300/nassim-nicholas-taleb-money-advice/
A very frank discussion of debt and freedom.

[Apr 22, 2018] The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite

Highly recommended!
The quotes are from A Conversation on Race, by Paul Craig Roberts - The Unz Review
Notable quotes:
"... The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers. ..."
"... Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 2:43 am GMT

PCR's latest is really good. I love it when he gets to ripping, and doesn't stop for 2000+ words or so. It reads a lot better than Toynbee, fersher.

The working class, designated by Hillary Clinton as "the Trump deplorables," is now the victimizer, not the victim. Marxism has been stood on its head.

The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers.

The ruling elite favors a "conversation on race," because the ruling elite know it can only result in accusations that will further divide society. Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history.

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT

Just a bit more real truth from PCR. Carry on

All of America, indeed of the entire West, lives in The Matrix, a concocted [and false] reality. Western peoples are so propagandized, so brainwashed, that they have no understanding that their disunity was created in order to make them impotent in the face of a rapacious ruling class, a class whose arrogance and hubris has the world on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

History as it actually happened is disappearing as those who tell the truth are dismissed as misogynists, racists, homophobes, Putin agents, terrorist sympathizers, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists. Liberals who complained mightily of McCarthyism now practice it ten-fold.

The United States with its brainwashed and incompetent population -- indeed, the entirety of the Western populations are incompetent -- and with its absence of intelligent leadership has no chance against Russia and China, two massive countries arising from their overthrow of police states as the West descends into a gestapo state. The West is over and done with. Nothing remains of the West but the lies used to control the people. All hope is elsewhere.

[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 11, 2018] It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

Apr 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , April 10, 2018 at 5:33 am GMT

It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

This is worrying. Nobody is that stupid so it's more like they don't care about credibility going forward. Like it won't matter.

Kiza , April 10, 2018 at 5:40 am GMT
We have moved way beyond the Skripals case now. Simply put, if US shoots in Syria, Russia will shoot back this time, yes back at US. USS Donald Duck has been placed as a bait to be sent to the bottom of Mediterrenain sea by the Russians, similar to Arizona et al at Pearl Harbour.

Many dissenter websites are currently under attack by the cyber forces of the Western regimes and Israel, one of them being this one. Another site under attack is my favorite johnhelmer.com. In addition to saying that he is under attack, the current message from John is:
WHEN THE RULE OF LAW WAS DESTROYED IN SALISBURY, LONDON AND THE HAGUE, AND THE RULE OF FRAUD DECLARED IN WASHINGTON, THAT LEAVES ONLY THE RULE OF FORCE IN THE WORLD. THE STAVKA MET IN MOSCOW ON GOOD FRIDAY AND IS READY. THE FOREIGN MINISTRY ANNOUNCED ON SUNDAY "THE GRAVEST CONSEQUENCES". THIS MEANS ONE AMERICAN SHOT AT A RUSSIAN SOLDIER, THEN WE ARE AT WAR. NOT INFOWAR, NOT CYBERWAR, NOT ECONOMIC WAR, NOT PROXY WAR. WORLD WAR.

The West is utterly bankrupt, morally as well as financially and we are experiencing the Western remedial plan and actions – war!

annamaria , April 10, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
"In 2016 an official British government inquiry determined that Bush and Blair had indeed together rushed to war. The Global Establishment has nevertheless rewarded Tony Blair for his loyalty with Clintonesque generosity. He has enjoyed a number of well-paid sinecures and is now worth in excess of $100 million."

– The character of Blair and the Establishment is well established: Blair is a major war criminal supported by the major war profiteers. His children and grandchildren are a progeny of a horrible criminal.

What is truly amazing is the complacency of the Roman Catholic Church that still has not excommunicated and anathematized the mass murderer. Blair should be haunted and hunted for his crimes against humanity.

With age, Blair's face has become expressively evil. His wife Theresa Cara "Cherie" Blair shows the same acute ugliness coming from her rotten soul of a war profiteer.

Blanco Watts , April 10, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
The UK is governed by the same Neo-liberal psychotic cabal that runs the US, Israel and France.
JR , April 10, 2018 at 7:06 am GMT
Keep in mind how long ago all this is:
Skripal was recruited around 1990 and arrested in 2004. Guess that the Russian attitude towards Skripal took the chaos of the 90′s as mitigating circumstances into account.
Skripal served his sentence of only 13 years till 2010 when he was pardoned and given the option to leave. Russia did not revoke Skripal's citizenship. The UK issued Skripal a passport too. On arrival in the UK Skripak was extensively debriefed by UK intelligence services. Skripal has lived for 8 years in the UK now.

And now out of the blue this incident nicely dovetailing with May ratcheted up anti Russia language only a few months before this false flag incident and the rapidly failing traction of the Steele/Orbis/MI6 instigated Russia collusion story on the basis of that fake Trump Dossier. By the way Orbis affiliated Steele and Miller have been among Skripal's handlers.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am GMT
From the Steele dossier lies falling apart to the Skripal lies falling apart to the 'Assad did it' lies falling apart:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

^

Paul Craig Roberts is correct when quoting The Saker:

"The Russian view is simple: the West is ruled by a gang of thugs supported by an infinitely lying and hypocritical media while the general public in the West has been hopelessly zombified." -- The Saker

I expect that makes the Russians right

[Apr 11, 2018] Unfortuntely, even among friends and aquaintances, the story about evil Assad killing Children is often readily believed

White Helmets was the greatest war propaganda invention since Goebbels "big lie"
The sheeple might realize that they were duped only when it's too late... It's all very darwinian: Elite is too nasty and common people are too stupid and too busy with surviving in economic uncertanty to decipher lies
Notable quotes:
"... "the West is ruled by a gang of thugs" ..."
"... It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson. ..."
"... The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative. ..."
"... Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika. ..."
Apr 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Stuck on Zero -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:16 Permalink

No other nation will go to war with the U.S. They are too smart. All they have to do is wait till we burn ourselves out and fight amongst ourselves.

IridiumRebel -> Stuck on Zero Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

This is my hope.....

beepbop -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

"the West is ruled by a gang of thugs"

Those THUGS are Jewish Neocons/Zionists/Bolsheviks. They've got the USG in their pockets. They're the HIDDEN HAND .

Let's tell it like it is.

Dutti -> DownWithYogaPants Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson.

Unfortunately, even among friends and acquaintances, the story about "evil Assad killing Children" is often readily believed.

The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative.

Very sad and disheartening.

FBaggins -> Dutti Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:45 Permalink

Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika.

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=168513

[Apr 09, 2018] In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.

Notable quotes:
"... Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience). ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Babak Makkinejad -> Prince Monolulu , 4 hours ago

Reasonably intelligent people? Like this Iranian woman (in US) whose postings during the war for Aleppo was full of righteous indignation for the rebels. when I told her that the people whose fate she was bemoaning would do many evil things to her as a Shia Iranian woman; she would not hear of it.
ceasley7 -> Babak Makkinejad , 2 hours ago
Couldn't agree with you more Babak. My dad is a 78 year old Orthopedic physician here in the US. He would be considered intelligent by most people. And he is. Except when it comes to Geopolitics. He believes everything the MSM parrots and I gave up long ago in voicing my opinion to him. It's hopeless. And consider the vast majority of the citizens of my country are far less intelligent than him. In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.
Prince Monolulu -> Babak Makkinejad , 4 hours ago
Yes, people like that. Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience).

[Apr 09, 2018] Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you

The Brits blinked and did not punish the criminal liar Blair. Since then, the war profiteering based on false flag operations has become a national British pastime.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> DuneCreature Sun, 04/08/2018 - 17:56 Permalink

Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you. I have so many lies on top of other lies that sometimes they are true. Even the government has lost track. I am not sure if even MIC or Israel knows anymore.

GreatUncle Sun, 04/08/2018 - 10:51 Permalink

The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. Human minds are reinforcing the concept of untrustworthy governments that actually lasts far longer than the elected period of time of those who purport to represent the population we now know to be a deceit.

As example, take Blair ex-UK prime minister who concocted the whole Iraq dodgy dossier in the UK who most people I know now call him a war criminal but nobody will put on trial in the Hague. He has not been PM since 2007 but nobody forgets the criminal acts he instigated and supported and will be remembered for a long time for this. So how do you make Blair appear human again to the population?

You can apply this concept to so many elected criminals in the west ... join it up those that rule us are in fact criminals not ordinary people. The psychos rule over us and to them we are no more than dead meat.

[Apr 08, 2018] Do brighter minds incline to honesty by James Thompson

Apr 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Simon Gächter & Jonathan F. Schulz. Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies. Nature, Letter doi:10.1038/nature17160

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3c4TxciNeJZS0JfOGZQNnBhVkE/view?usp=sharing

The authors argued thus:

Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development. Yet, even very strong institutions cannot control all situations that may allow for cheating. Well-functioning societies also require the intrinsic honesty of citizens. Cultural characteristics, such as whether people see themselves as independent or part of a larger collective, that is, how individualist or collectivist a society is, might also influence the prevalence of rule violations due to differences in the perceived scope of moral responsibilities, which is larger in more individualist cultures.

If cheating is pervasive in society and goes often unpunished, then people might view dishonesty in certain everyday affairs as justifiable without jeopardising their self-concept of being honest. Experiencing frequent unfairness, an inevitable by-product of cheating, can also increase dishonesty. Economic systems, institutions and business cultures shape people's ethical values, and can likewise impact individual honesty.

I described Gachter and Schultz's work in April 2016, and thought I could immediately see a problem with the interpretation that the authors placed on the results. Putting forward a different perspective took a few days. Getting that new approach published has taken 2 years. For how long will researchers put up with these absurd delays which impede the prompt assessment of arguments?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/honestly

The authors of this very interesting study, having revealed the cheats, interpreted the national differences as being due to cultural factors, particularly whether there were institutions in each society which encouraged honesty. Of course, this leaves open why one society would have such institutions and another would not. Culture must come from somewhere. A reasonable hypothesis is that the institutions of a county are built by the people who live there. Here is our reply:

Honesty, rule violation and cognitive ability: A reply to Gächter and Schulz
Heiner Rindermann, David Becker, James Thompson.
Intelligence, Volume 68, May–June 2018, Pages 66–69.

https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Wl5h_3fG8aUwo

Our argument is that both institutions and honesty are determined by the intelligence of people, and that bright people can see the long-term benefits of honesty and of institutions that support honest behaviour. Any institution with a code of conduct leads its members toward probity, and shows prospective applicants what standards are expected of them. However, those institution do not arise randomnly.

Gächter & Schulz assumed that institutional rules affect individual honesty.
We added cognitive ability as further factor explaining national differences.
Stronger effect of IQ (total 0.55) than of rule violation (total −0.34) on honesty.
Stronger effect of IQ (total −0.68) than of honesty (total −0.26) on rule violation.
________________________________________
Abstract
Gächter and Schulz (2016) assumed an effect of institutional rule violation on individual honesty within societies. In this reply we challenge this approach by including a nation's cognitive ability as a further factor for cross-national variations in the prevalence of rule violations and intrinsic honesty. Theoretical considerations, correlational and path analyses show that a nation's cognitive ability level (on average β = |.62|) better explains and predicts honesty and rule violation. While institutional and cultural factors are not unimportant, cognitive factors are more relevant.

The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

Cognitive ability seems to have the strongest causal effect on the honesty of a society:

The same pattern holds true if you assume that social levels of honesty intermediate individual levels of honesty as shown by rule violation.

Either way, it seems that intelligence explains whether some societies cheat at games and cheat in real life.


KA , March 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm GMT

Society rots from top and doesn't matter who is at the top. It still remains valid even when the so called least intellectually developed honest poor people get shafted for hundred of years by so called high IQ nations who bring cheating,dishonesty,and violations of existing laws and destruction of existing institutions without replacing them nationwide. Often these newly created institutions are nothing but vehicle to whitewash the corrupting and corrupted new system.

Public moral status has a lot to do with corruption at the top -both local and international in these days of neoliberalism and post -colonization. It sounds painful and hurtful though.

res , March 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
Interesting work! I am amazed academics have the patience to deal with such a long lag time for letting arguments play out.

Is there any chance of you publishing a scatter plot matrix of the variables you used and/or the data itself?

Do you have the correlation matrix for your variables? By any chance did you try single and multiple variable models to try to predict rule violation from the other variables? It would be interesting to see how much variance an assortment of those models explained.

Has anyone explored the idea of "cheater fraction" (analogous to smart fraction) to explain dishonesty in societies?

James Thompson , Website March 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@res

Cheater fraction sounds interesting. I assume that if it is higher than 16% then the society in question is worth avoiding, if at all possible.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm GMT
Honesty can be anything, it's look like obedience to authority instead true or pure honesty
Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
@Santoculto

I mean, based on proto-concept used.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
So ashekl jews [on very avg or not] are the exception in collective terms **
Miro23 , March 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm GMT
It's an interesting question. Some years ago The Economist did a "European Honest Test " leaving a wallet with a fair amount of cash in it (but also including clear contact details of the owner), in capital cities around Europe.

The test was to see how many wallets were returned – and they found that the Scandinavians returned almost all of them, and the Italians returned almost none – with a clear North/South gradient in the results.

By coincidence, at about the same time, I found a wallet beside some rubbish bins with € 400 in it and some credit cards (one from my own bank). So on my next visit, I told them about it and soon got a call from the owner ( a Spanish carpenter working in Germany). His reaction was 1) to check that the money was still in the wallet 2) say that not many people would return a wallet with € 400 in it 3) leave 2 bottles of wine at my front gate.

I checked this reaction with my secretary at the time, and asked her what she would have done, with the answer that it would be a "Regalo de Dios" (Gift of God), i.e. it was not going to be returned to the owner, so there seems to be some anecdotal evidence for the result.

Godfree Roberts , Website March 24, 2018 at 12:31 am GMT
China's position on the Intrinsic Honesty chart is puzzling both at the macro level (remarkably honest, competent policy-makers) and at the individual level (above average IQ).

The Edelman Corporation, which has a lock on international surveys of personal and institutional honesty has consistently found the Chinese to be among the most trusting people on earth, as have World Values Surveys in their own, independent polls of the Chinese.

The source of the discrepancy appears to be the source of the data: "a n indicator of political rights by Freedom House that measures the democratic quality of a country's political practices; the size of a country's shadow economy as a proxy for tax evasion; and corruption as measured by the World Bank's Control of Corruption Index (Supplementary Methods)".

Relying on George Soros' Freedom House for information about China is akin to relying on the neighborhood fox to keep an eye on your chickens while you go on vacation. Garbage in, garbage out

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSwBCAPkkvGYMGa-7qn79nTF-eX-EnPauQYK8a_NqIAxY7nO7gwjp-m4u9BpRpcOOGZXnkrfe65MOaz/pub .

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Miro23

Regalado.

Anonymous [388] Disclaimer , March 24, 2018 at 10:30 am GMT
I would rate Japan pretty high for getting things returned, but this ethic has eroded over the past three or four decades.

Also, in the past you'd see adult males scolding unrelated misbehaving teens in public, who'd slink away with their tails between their legs. This you do not currently see: men are less masculine and assertive and some teens at least are more beligerant.

Dieter Kief , March 24, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
I think, David Perkins' findings about high IQ-people being also very tribal would make for a nice addendum here, to better understand how IQ and honesty are related.

I refer to Jonathan Haidt's argument, that he bases explicitly on Perkins' findings, that because of the tendency of high IQ-people to be even more tribal than the lower IQ ranks, ist is so crucial, to understand with J. S. Mill's On Liberty (and I add: with Kant and – – the Kantian Habermas' "Theory of Communicative Action"), that the core achievement of modernity is the institutionalization of disconformation in the democratic/liberal rational discourse and liberal public sphere (universities, the media, etc.).

Here's Jonathan Haidt, referring to Perkins and Mill to make clear, how important the institutionalization of disconformation actually is:

Ilya G Poimandres , March 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm GMT
Correlation≠causation. Maybe honesty leads to brighter minds. Is it your knowing the right answer that makes you follow it, or is it you looking at the situation, as it is, considering evidence and proof, and getting the right answer through correct deductive reasoning, which is then to be followed? You can't be honest and act ideologically, because by definition you follow your observations of the world, not your ideas of the world. An honest person is bound to direct observation, an intelligent person is not. Honesty is probably primary to an accurate understanding of the world.
Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@James Thompson

I think that 16 per cent is a bit arbitrary. In a class or caste dominated society you might, if of a class which can choose to avoid countries, decide that it really doesn't matter if your butler and housekeeper have to terrify the lower orders to stop them ripping you off (and the butler and housekeeper have enough relations they want to place in employment to keep them to the rules as to how much they cheat you).

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm GMT
@Miro23

I recently lost my wallet for a short time in a supermarket-plus-other-shops complex as I wheeled my trolley to the car park. I thought my pocket had been picked so went to a nearby poluce station to see if they could accelerate access to CCTV. Mr Plod was useless and unhelpful. (Fortunately I didn't start cancelling credit cards immediately as he pretty well demanded). Back in the shopping centre I was directed to a caretaker's office where a 30 ish man of Pakistani origin had my wallet that had fallen out of my pocket as I went up a ramp. He had taken the trouble to count the cash and wrap it separately with a note on it that the amount was $915 or whatever. I never bothered to count it myself or even unwrap it for several days. What does that say about the standard of civilisation in one of Australia's biggest cities?

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
As anyone who has seen how inadequate religion is today to form moral young people may have thought, the obvious starting point is to ask oneself how I bring up my children and what moral rules I rub in (preferably by example as well as preaching). One knows children are not going to be cunning ruthless sophisticates by nature – unless psychopaths – and will not benefit from being taught to think immediately how they can get away with some theft or lie. So you bring them up with rules which will help to make sure they are both trusted and trustworthy – seeing you return the small amount of change over paid for exsmple to rub in the message about rules they should still be obeying without thought when they have children. Morality is about the customs of the tribe, its mores, and children are rarely done any sort of favour by not being trained to be strictly moral (even if taught Christian forgiveness, especially for the "poor in spirit"). However ..

It occurs to me that the place of intelligence in this may extend to what hss been called Divergent Thinking (does this overlap with Lateral Thinking? Or imagination?)
A quick imaginative laterally thinking brain may think of several ways some dishonest subterfuge may go wrong almost st the moment temptation arises. So honesty for him he quickly concludes is the best policy. And so down the speculative path on which little evidence is to be found. After all what is one to make of the arrogant lawyer that one reads about in the big tax case who thought arrogantly he could get away with something and the Mr Plods of the tax office would never sus him out and prove his wrongdoing to a court?

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

I was guided by my recollection of the modelling of neighbourhood crime risk, but it is a sliding scale, I agree. I assumed, years ago, that at the 16-20% level one would begin to notice a difference from base rate. See, in this particular example, Fig 2 and Fig 3

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/hood.htm

Miro23 , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

What does that say about the standard of civilization in one of Australia's biggest cities?

It doesn't really say anything. You need some standardized parameters and a reasonable sample size. Then you can draw some conclusions and assess the level of accuracy – like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment.

However , at the individual level, a continuing positive outcome would be the wallet owner saying thank you, and being more inclined to return the favor one day.

Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 1:52 am GMT
Yep. Fair enough. (All of it).
Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 2:08 am GMT
@James Thompson

It occurs to me that 5 per cent might be a horrible worrying prospect if you, as a lawyer or doctor, thought it applied to the five or ten thousand you might come across as fellow professionals in your city or state. But then it could be that you rarely gossip about others and only regard as liars and cheats those who have done it to you (apart from the few who have been busted for insurance fraud). Maybe 16 per cent sometimes fudge or fiddle something but you don't know so you remain happily (and honestly) complacent, and proud of your profession.

Jonathan Mason , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 am GMT
More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.
Drapetomaniac , March 25, 2018 at 4:13 am GMT
@Miro23

I only look at the lost wallet in one light: it's not my property.

One of the factors I consider when looking at whether a person is a member of mankind or humankind – property.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 8:57 am GMT
@Miro23

I've lost a wallet once and then I was visited home by shop owner, who carefuly tracked where I could live by using data from the wallet. She wanted nothing in exchange.

On university, I also was also given back a wallet once; I got back also a cellphone (which was quite expansive at the time) I left somewhere few years ago.

OTOH once I left a wallet with cash at university and it was not returned.

So, here you are my anecdotal evidence from Poland: three wallets and one cellphone, one time not returned, two plus one times returned.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT
@James Thompson

"my recollection", " _I_ assumed, years ago" ??? Does that mean La Griffe du Lion is you?!?

Svigor , March 25, 2018 at 9:28 am GMT

More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.

The purpose of the institution in question is to "figure out ways to rip off customers." It's neither dishonesty nor cheating. The trick is not to have a culture that puts corporate/employer concerns first.

Obviously smarter people are going to tend to be more moral; you need to know what the fuck morality and ethics even are, and assess the circumstances, before you can make your decisions. Retards can't even get to the point of making a decision. Stupid people are great at missing the moral implications of their behavior. Smart people are the ones who need to come up with rationalizations.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 9:54 am GMT
All "honesty" begins with the self. Lying to your self, about your self is the basis of delusion and
in-authenticity. How can you know reality when reality is constantly reinterpreted to fit the needs of a run-away ego ?
The general point, that intelligence is linked to long term thinking seems sound to me. Dishonestly is often about immediate gratification: a question of gaining or avoiding immediate pleasure/displeasure. Honesty is a strategy that "pays off" over the long term.
Honesty, or truth telling (in so far as one can) is also a factor in an Honour culture. The liar is a "base" person, a person who has no sense (or no care about) their own social (self conscious) standing. Honesty also has a close correlation with such things as "loyalty", "promising" etc.
animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:02 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Oh yes !
That's the joy of the corporate structure: no one is responsible. EVERYONE acts because they "owe" obligations to another. (Executives to higher executives; Higher executives to the Board; the Board to Shareholders) Personal, moral responsibility becomes entirely lost in this deliberately confected ethical melange. The Large organisation is the perfect environment for crafting crimes safe from individual consequence.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:06 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

It says you are damn lucky. If I had $ 915 in my wallet I'd super-glue the damn thing to my chest. Rather lose a couple layers of skin than that kind of dosh.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@Ilya G Poimandres

Self honesty is a long tortuous process.
Ideology is a relief: it removes the constant anxiety of needing to "question".
Science is -- should be -- the strictest form of public honesty.
Its frightening how many reports we so often get now about the systemic "dishonesty" in the scientific realm. (Dishonesty driven usually (not exclusively) by the demands of corporate profits)

m___ , March 25, 2018 at 10:46 am GMT
Sublime opportunism, entwined inside collective incentives, converges into supreme ethics, moral behaviour.
Sadly, the convergence is beyond the gradients of our elites.
The why of hard-wired human elites as are, cannot transcend to long term survival strategies, and society resembles a chicken coop.

To add another factor randomly, embedded into the above, it does not matter, how intelligence plays out between individuals, because individual opportunity feeds back into a pool of extended family, group, tribe, waves of culture and ad-hocs, lastingly and durably not encased in cognitive ambition, itself a consequence of cognitive genetic effort. Colleges and universities worldwide are a better example of petty games.

The "truth" and other concepts of "honesty" are a psychological, relative variant, depending on context. The agnostic concept of real and it's pursuit is unknown to our archaic, analogue brain without the preposition of a limited context, opportune in the now.

EliteCommInc. , March 25, 2018 at 1:35 pm GMT
I would be interested in how honesty was explicated. And the valuation of cross cultural rules that note the value of said rule equally across cultures. Now perhaps, these are fully layed out in the study, but I was unable to access the sight provided.

I would also be interested how the study rated honesty as a national value. Thus far the model looks to be applied by survey data. As I was reading I kept thinking of the multiple national scandals in which dishonesty played a central role. Once one figures out the definition and meaning of what constitutes honesty among individuals and or societal groups as agreed upon by those groups, then a model of measuring said honesty is built. This is essential because the article indicates that the difference in variable is largely cultural. So I have to conclude that a standard was established that recognizes what honesty is across cultures.

Because even withing culture, honesty varies. If intelligence is the key demarcation than one would expect those groupings with supposedly higher intelligence to have a higher degree of honesty. But again, even withing culture an agreed upon understanding of honesty is required.
Assuming intelligence matters to some set post of morality, in this case honesty -- could the model replicate supposed intelligence to honesty withing a given system in which the rules are more readily identifiable and agreed upon. Assuming that the students at the US military academies rank higher in intelligence than say the students at any comparable sized university would the students among the military academies rank higher or lower as to the being or practicing honesty. Considering the value placed on meritocratic institutions such as Harvard when measuring that intelligence grouping demonstrate a higher degree of honesty than a comparable public university.

Assuming we agree what the rules are,

"The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others"

it could be interesting whether said tested data is measuring awareness verses adherence.

Here are a bare list of some developed nation's honesty issues regarding rule adherence.

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Scientific-misconduct

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheating (rare use of Wikipedia)

https://phys.org/news/2014-11-business-culture-banking-industry-favors.html

Again assuming that the players agree on what the rules are across countries or cultures a comparison of honesty across varying fields as to scandals and or practices might tell us something regarding the impact of intelligence to honesty across said cultures.

Found the article interesting and just expressed to thoughts on the read.

James Thompson , Website March 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@szopen

No, someone else.

ThreeCranes , March 26, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
Well, I'll speak (honestly) from the other perspective.

I used to ride my bike of a Sunday morning on a scenic route that boasted a few first class restaurants. Twice I found wallets lying on the pavement just downstream from these establishments. Apparently, the owners, a little tipsy, had set their wallets on top of their cars while they fumbled for their keys and then drove off.

The first I took to the local police station. The second I took home and called the owner (who lived in Canada) using their credit card number to pay for the call and left a message reassuring her that her wallet (and money) was safe and sound, not to worry (because I knew she would, having lost it outside her home country). I didn't want to take it to the police because I figured they'd begin to suspect me of stealing the wallets if I kept showing up with them.

She and her husband drove down to a prearranged place to meet me for the return. She was very grateful.

The owner of the first lost wallet called me and asked if they could donate $100 in my name to my favorite charity.

Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you.

I don't know if I'm inclined to honesty because I'm bright, it's just that I've lost my wallet in the past and it's such a pain in the butt that I feel sorry for anyone who shares that fate. Credit cards, ID etc. the money is the least of it.

Mishra , March 26, 2018 at 7:14 am GMT
Honesty and trust are just two more archaic notions to be discarded along the way toward our new third-world future.
The Alarmist , March 26, 2018 at 11:08 am GMT

"Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development."

I'd argue that these institutions derive from a well-functioning, high-trust society and are rarely a catalyst for more honesty in other societies.

As for the connection to intelligence, look at India and China to test your hypothesis.

JackOH , March 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

"Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you."

TC, yep. I found a wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards on the campus of our local state university. A campus policeman was nearby so I turned the wallet over to him. He cautioned me that people who recover lost or abandoned property are sometimes blamed by the owners of that property for any real or imagined loss, damage, or inconvenience to the owners.

My rough rule of thumb is that if the property can be readily linked to an owner, I return it. If not, and the property has trivial value, say under USD $100, it's a judgment call. Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. Kept them. Found an untagged but well-kept dog once, which I judged to have strong sentimental value to its owner, so I placed an ad in a local newspaper, got a response, and returned the dog. His children were very grateful.

Santoculto , March 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm GMT
@Mishra

Most of corruption in third world countries came back from the top of social hierarchy, i mean, higher IQ.

dux.ie , March 27, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
The Gachter experiment on rule violation is based on die throwing in sterile experimental conditions where the financial incentives are trivial and more seriously there are no competition between the participants and there are no mechanism to identify specific individual cheating and no resulting blemish to ones' reputation. So how much of that are relevant to real life situations?

Real life cheating data where there are great advantage to be gained and also with consequences that might affect ones future are more appropriate to be studied. One aspect of the OECD TALIS project dealt with real life cheating in 8645 schools and over 100K? teachers globally,

"TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning – © OECD 2014″

http://www.oecd.org/education/talis/

Table 2.20.Web. School climate – Frequency of student-related factors (cheating)
Percentage of lower secondary education teachers whose school principal reports that the following student behaviours occurred 1 Never, 2 Rarely, 3 Monthly, 4 Weekly, 5 Daily in their schools.

Answers 3, 4 and 5 are considered to be serious indicator of cheating in schools. With the intention to mash the TALIS data with the PISA 2012 data, the primary school data were excluded.

Many popular pre-conceived ideas about cheating in schools were not proven by the data. In fact considerable efforts were needed to find any significant statistical trend. For example at the national levels cheating were not correlated to the average PISA scores, fraction of top or bottom PISA scores, teachers' practice of spliting the class to teach and to test part of the class differently, etc.

The factor that show statistical significance is the proxy factor for competition or meritocracy. Countries have adopted various shades of "no child left behind" policy and that is reflected in the age profile of the class. In country that practice strict "no child left behind", the students are automatically promoted to the next grade in the next academic year regardless of the ability of the students with the results that the student will be exclusive of the same 'academic age'. When meritocracy is practiced, poorly performing students might have to repeat the same grade one or more times resulting in 'academic age' distribution in class. Since the PISA project has data of percentage of 15 yo for that grade, the idea can be tested. To be polite, the marked datapoints are not labelled. Two countries separated by a narrow channel can have drastically different cheating levels.

Q32CheatRpt = -0.404*PctGrade +56.76; #n=32; Rsq=0.1891; p=0.01287 *

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=axb52h&s=9

The school cheating levels is statistically significant to be linearly dependent on the percent of the 15 yo in class. The levels of cheating is dependent on the level of meritocracy practiced. With automatic promotion to the next academic grade there is little need for the students to cheat. The governments are doing the cheating instead. The out-criers of cheating in other countries do not realized that they are in countries with lesser meritocracy.

Peter Frost , Website March 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

This is what Jean Piaget concluded from his studies of Swiss children. He believed that empathy was an integral part of a child's intellectual development. It doesn't follow, however, that there is some kind of genetic linkage between intellectual capacity and the capacity for empathy. These are two different mental traits. It's more likely that the same selection pressure that favored an increase in intellectual capacity also favored an increase in the capacity for empathy.

It's impossible to build an advanced society unless most of its members have a high capacity for both intelligence and empathy. On an individual level, however, high intelligence can co-exist with low empathy. There have been many cases of ruthless sociopaths who are very intelligent and yet totally self-centered. Such people can be very successful as long as they aren't too numerous. Otherwise, they'll destroy the very society that makes their existence possible.

An advanced society requires a combination of high intelligence and high empathy, although this may come about in different ways. In northwest Europeans, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for guilt proneness and affective empathy. In East Asians, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for cognitive empathy and pro-social behavior. In other words, there is more emphasis in East Asian societies on learning correct moral rules.

J.Ross , Website March 27, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
@Peter Frost

I am not following the credit gift of empathy to East Asians, or the connection of morality and intelligence to the obeying of complex rules, because of the stolen oranges in the Book of Rites and the counterfeit antiques that impressed the Emperor. The Chinese literally explain how to lie in their moral teachings. "Lying" is right there among the morality-guaranteeing complex rules. There are examples in the Talmud I will not specify, or regard as unreasonable, but I will note that nobody saw the Talmud as less than a downright complex system of rules. Some African tribes have rules so stringent (eg, no wet dreams) that nobody could possibly obey them. If anything I would expect that systems of compelled obedience to complex rules guarantee dishonesty. The only alternative is Billy Budd getting the captain to take his side.
What I would start with is power. In China, even in periods of decay or civil war, power is always centralized to a degree only approached in Europe by a few temporarily competent monarchs, and with an effectiveness that has never been accomplished in Europe. I think this and not math scores or cheap shoes is the basis of the elite adoration of the Han. The man who observes that a cow is not a nightingale, or that two and two are four, when the opposite is being claimed by an officer of the government (be it communist, imperial, or partisan) is an idiot. He, and probably his family, maybe his hamlet, will be exterminated with efficiency the European Enlightened Despots could only dream of. Truth, insofar as it is objective, is the hair of Liberty. It cannot exist at all except in the empty space left by the rolling back of power. The trick here is embracing negativism instead of falling into the positivistic trap. We in the West accidentally stumbled across Liberty and Truth and Science, not because we are good, objectively not because we are smarter, but because we just couldn't get that mandate of heaven thing together, despite the unambiguous desires of numerous monarchs. I predict that this will be an unpopular answer but it will not go away.
(but the Japanese are massively more ethical than the Chinese. Yeah. And they are also all but European, especially in a lot of their political history. They dreamed of imitating Chinese centralization but never came close.)
Also, how soon can we expect an update to that graph, now plotting IQ (or PISA, or tetris scores, etc) against something like the Transparency Index? Apologies if this has already been done and I missed it.

James Thompson , Website March 28, 2018 at 9:27 am GMT
@dux.ie

thanks for this interesting additional measure of cheating.

Steve Sailer , Website March 30, 2018 at 6:27 am GMT
Personally, I have a hard time understanding scams. I would make a terrible white collar criminal.
Wally , March 30, 2018 at 7:03 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Got examples?

Biff , March 30, 2018 at 7:31 am GMT
Those studies are bunk because everybody lies:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/09/everybody-lies-how-google-reveals-darkest-secrets-seth-stephens-davidowitz

What can we learn about ourselves from the things we ask online? US data scientist Seth Stephens‑Davidowitz analysed anonymous Google search results, uncovering disturbing truths about our desires, beliefs and prejudices

Tbbh , March 30, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Santoculto

I almost thought I had found a thread on unz where somebody didn't mention joos. Thanks for not disappointing me.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT
Have no idea where the data come from, but scandals with Dutch politicians seem to increase all the time, most with Rutte's VVD.

Condemned politicians for fraud etc., a novelty.
But until now just one behind bars.

But about honesty, our prime minister Rutte is nicknamed Pinocchio for his lies.
The VVD quickly rid itself of the chairman Keiser, who manipulated himself into possession of the crematoria of the organisation he advised.
The Dutch tax authority presented him with a claim of € 12 million, our FIOD, the authority for fiscal crimes is investigating him.

Condemned business men for fraud, more than we like.
Even the former Philips CEO Boonstra was condemned for trade with foreknowledge.
Solicitors also are not above suspicion any more.

At the recent municipality elections measures were applied to prevent criminals being elected.

Unreliable policemen, also a novelty, the first serious conviction was a short time ago, he sold information from police data bases to criminals.
How he was not discovered earlier, unbelievable, police salaries are insufficient for driving Porsches.

Wizard of Oz , March 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm GMT
Your last paragraph is ill timed and at best insensitive in the opinion of this Australian who once got some pleasure from the game of cricket
anarchyst , March 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen said it best: "It is much easier for an educated person to rationalize evil".
All one has to do is look at abortion supporters who insist that abortion merely removes "a clump of cells", when they damn well know better, that it is HUMAN LIFE that they are destroying.
The old "ends justifies the means" excuse also comes into play, which is used by communist societies to purge millions of those who oppose them, not unlike the purges in the old Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other communist "paradises".
I would state that it is easier for an educated person to rationalize evil–this including dishonesty
ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Do I detect a matter of class? The golfer seems not to have been a gentleman belonging to a golf club where proper behaviour was de rigeur, very likely passed from father, uncle and club pro to son. The sort of chap who pays green fees could be a wannabe upwardly mobile agent for subdivided swamp land

ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

PS I gave up golf after my father died 20+ years ago. Not so much that I couldn't match his ethical standards but that after two heart attacks and hip replacements he was still a scratch golfer and all I could do was occasionally outdrive him if my slice or pull allowed.

TG , March 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm GMT
Interesting post. Some additional thoughts.

1. Perhaps smart people are just better at not getting caught?

2. Overall, there is one major factor in the honesty of a society, and that is poverty. When an overpopulated third-world society is crushed into misery, when people cannot earn a half-way decent living – or indeed, any living – through honest effort, eventually they come to cheat. This has been demonstrated in all cultures and all races.

Does integrity promote prosperity? Surely. But the reverse is if anything more powerful: poverty promotes corruption and nepotism. For people to behave honorably, yes there must be a culture of this, but it must also be the case that behaving honorably is not cutting your own throat. Because few people are saints.

Cindy , March 30, 2018 at 2:37 pm GMT
@JackOH

"Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. "

Dumpster-diving is a different thing than keeping lost goods. I think you're *morally* in the clear, there, even if sorely lacking in judgement. This doesn't seem very wise. Did it not occur to you that they were probably in the TRASH for a reason? Probably not poisonous or anything, since the seals were on. Probably some alcoholic decided to quit drinking. But do you want to take the chance that this wasn't a bootleg batch full of lead? Obviously the answer was yes. Your butt, I reckon

Anonymous [739] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm GMT
We have been flooded here at the University of Chicago by Mainland/Communist Chinese students. There are lots of accusations that the Chinese Communist government assists these students by cheating, getting other English language proficient students to take the English part of the SAT tests.

There appear to be lots and lots of Mainland Chinese/Communist China students here who supposedly aced the English SAT test but can't seem to speak English.

Twodees Partain , March 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Miro23

"like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment."

But, The Economist is hardly a bastion of truth. I would tend to dismiss their entire story of the wallet experiment as a fabrication, having caught their writers in so many lies.

Willem , March 30, 2018 at 4:06 pm GMT
I interpreted the Simon Gächter graph as follows: the more money a country has, the more honest the citizens are.

Perhaps one should do an experiment and make countries like Tanzania as rich as e.g. The Netherlands, and then do the comparisons.

Same applies to IQ.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

Possibly.

But certainly that accounts for the fact that politicians are dull, ignorant, dissemblers at best.

In many governments the candidates for the highest stations are above the law; and, if they can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often endeavour, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal; but sometimes by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes, by murder and assassination, by rebellion and civil war, to supplant and destroy those who oppose or stand in the way of their greatness.

Adam Smith, Essays Pt I, Sec III, Chap III. ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton (London: Alex. Murray & Son, 1869). 3/30/2018. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2721#Smith_Essays1649_206

denk , March 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm GMT
Uk, the perpetrator of Iraq WMD and the current Russiagate, a more 'ethical' country than China ?

What a joke !

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Willem

Honesty to me seems a cultural phenomenon.
Once people get away with dishonesty, others think 'why not me ?'.

The Dutch erosion, in my recollection, already began in the seventies, with leftist people, at the time social democrats.
It was said then 'thinking left, filling pockets at the right'.
People as my father, life long socialists, left the party in great numbers.
It took a long time for THE socialist party, PvdA, to disappear, until the last parliamentary elections.
The self destruction had much to do with EU support, socialism is at odds with globalisation, even within the EU.

Few in the USA will have followed all the French scandals before the last presidential elections.
Even Macron was accused of not declaring all his possessions.
And indeed, I also cannot understand how he spent or lost the millions he got while working for the Rothschild bank.

Another well known politician, presidential candidate, cannot now remember the name, disappeared after gifts for suits for some € 50.000 were published, there was also a very expensive watch, the job his wife had, what she in fact did, nobody understands, and the temporary jobs for his children.
When one sees the small castle where the family lives one understands that he could not buy his suits himself.

Now at last there seems to be sufficient proof against Sarkozy.

Now many French presidents were persecuted after their immunity ended, when they no longer were president.
But the frauds etc. they seem to have perpetrated seem worse and worse, in the Sarko case, intimidating a judge, among other things.
When Hollande will be persecuted, I wonder.
He had a reputation for sacking editors in chief.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT
@denk

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.
Just a few years ago, in BBCW Hard Talk, I saw an Indian minister getting quite angry 'the British did not have to teach the Indians anything'.

JackOH , March 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Cindy

Cindy, both gut and butt survived my "rescue" hooch. I did some due diligence: examined the bottles, carefully tasted the contents, etc. My guess was a domestic quarrel in the parking garage over the high-end vodka and liqueurs, perhaps over someone's drinking problem, and the quarrel was settled by chucking the booze.

" . . . [S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay, because I was informed by the totality of the circumstances and then made my call. Had the booze been low-end stuff found in an unfamiliar location, etc., I might have judged differently.

BTW-I didn't dumpster-dive. The booze was clearly visible at the top of the trash can.

denk , March 30, 2018 at 6:19 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

How did they measure such 'honesty index' ?
Placing 100 wallets in a park and observe how many are returned to the owners ?

But when the anglos lie, they always lie big time !

Goebel famously oberved .

The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous

Waging wars by false pretexts surely is the highest form of duplicity ?
They dont call them perfidious albions for nuthin you know !

Another Realist , March 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
How does the author explain the link between the supposed highest IQ group – the Jews, and their reputation for utmost dishonesty, greed and lust throughout history? Same goes for the Chinese.

Propensity for Honesty is the biggest reason why we need to restrict immigration from low trust cultures, i.e. all 3rd world countries. It's why they're 3rd world, because they are low trust, everyone is dishonest from the top down, the few honest ones are called "stupid" and get ripped off left and right. The more we import from these cultures, the more dishonest our society will become, this includes all of Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Southern & Eastern Europe esp. Russia. The only truly honest people in the world are Northwestern Protestant Europeans, and maybe the Japanese. All other groups are dishonest.

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 8:18 pm GMT
@res

Interesting work? This article is a pure misuse of statistics, a fabrication and a classic work of evil minded Eurocentrist attempting to give a new lease of life to their declining rotten Eurocentrism in facing of the rising progressive, peaceful, and pragmatic East.

Look at the graph, its racist Eurocentrism is glaring, all the Western nations are on the good side while rest of the world on the bad side. History has shown all those on the good side are liars, cheaters, murderers, bandits, and pirates, while those on the bad side are the victims of those perpetrators on the good side. The missing of the USA in the chart makes this article an unapologetic white supremacy lie.

To study the link between brightness and honesty, it should pull data from the same pool of population who are in the same environment, i.e. within a nation, then we even can study whether cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor, and institutions have any effect on honesty and their relationships.

Besides in spite of being bright, and having cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor and strong institutions, the West still bombs, kills and waterboards others on the fabricated phantom allegations as humanitarian intervention without showing remorse; and recently the West lied about the poisoning episode in UK, and brought the world to the edge of anther world war crisis, those evidences prove the Western societies are not honest despite the qualities they processed as prerequisite for honesty, it seems it proves the West is either hypocritical or innate psychopathic.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.

Exactly. What a pack of criminals. They were much worse and for a longer period of time, than what they accused the Nazis of doing.

Churchill refused to divert supplies away from already well-supplied British troops at the same time he allegedly blocked American and Canadian ships from delivering aid to India either. Nor would he allow the Indians to help themselves: the colonial government forbade the country from using its own ships or currency reserves to help the starving masses. Meanwhile, London pushed up the price of grain with hugely inflated purchases, making it unaffordable for the dying and destitute. Most-chillingly of all, when the government of Delhi telegrammed to tell him people were dying, Churchill allegedly only replied to ask why Gandhi hadn't died yet.

If all this is true -- and documents support it -- then Winston Churchill may well have starved to death as many innocent people as Stalin did in the Ukrainian genocide. Could the man who held out against Hitler really be capable of such an atrocity? Judging by the rest of this list, it wouldn't be surprising.

https://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-evil-crimes-of-the-british-empire/

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm GMT
The honest and bright Brits are responsible for starvation in prison camps decades before the Nazis were supposed to have done their thing.:

Picture of Brit camp victim (Boer War) according to the article linked above.:

lavoisier , Website March 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
@ANON

I cannot play golf without committing a certain amount of larceny. In my mind a mulligan is a reasonable option to excuse a particularly poorly played shot. And I have been known to sweeten my lie on the not rare occasion, which, of course, is a form of lying.

I have often wondered if my ease at dishonesty on the links might suggest a propensity towards darker deeds?

And don't even ask me about gimme putts. That for sure must reflect a lower intelligence!

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 10:33 pm GMT
@James Thompson

Who decides who cheats or being dishonesty? Is misleading advertising cheating? Is empty campaign promises cheating? Is abusing legal loopholes cheating? Is putting one's self-interest ahead of the ones they supposed to serve cheating? Is price fixing cheating? Are cartels of all kind cheating? Are selective reporting, wrongful labelling, and spreading ideology cheating? . . .

Mind you, the people involved in the above activities are all bright, well educated, intelligent, having strong institutions, within well-functioning societies, and a sense of moral responsibilities too, would they be more than 16% in the western societes?

Sollipsist , March 30, 2018 at 11:08 pm GMT
The assumptions behind this are so fragile and unsupportable.

Honesty, as with most of the Judeo-Christian values, largely serves to keep the compliant majority self-correcting while the predatory and parasitic top and bottom of society maintain a more productive relativistic approach – long term dishonesty for the elites, short term dishonesty for the undesirables. In-group honesty is always far more valued than universal honesty – whether you're talking about stockbrokers or Romani.

The most intelligent in any class or group are far more likely to utilize dishonesty when it best serves their needs. To do otherwise would be a clear sign of lack of intelligence.

The idea that intelligent people are more likely to see the purpose of honesty in the long term is not only an unsupportable assumption, it's also ignoring the countless undeniable historical instances of intelligent leaders deploying adaptive fictions to achieve positive social goals (anything from religion to the concept of inalienable rights).

Anyone who uses the phrase "speaking truth to power" can absolutely be counted upon to be utterly dishonest when that power comes knocking.

Art , March 30, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
As a boy I had the privilege to attend a Catholic grade school. Part of the education was to go to confession. Admitting to a third party your wrongs, is very powerful. Forgiving the past frees one. Being truthful builds character, and getting over the past is a blessing. It was a struggle to be totally truthful all the time. As a mid to late teen, I fell away from Catholicism.

In my early twenties I came back to believing that truthfulness is the best policy. I attribute that to the Catholic culture and the confessional. I would not say that it was my intelligence that led me.

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@Art

Confession has nothing to do with honesty; it breeds psychopath, unrepentance, irresponsibility and repeat offending. The churches use confession to cleanse perpetrators' sins, so the perpetrators can repeat their crimes without moral burden; this is not hypothesis, history bear witness of such fact. This is the trait of the Western culture, it reflects in all aspects of the westerners' behaviour. Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing. The Native Americans are the most abused victim of such morally defunct practice.

The churches use confession to recruit and dominate its members (mentally colonized serfs), expand their domains. Confession is one of the most effective mechanisms that corrupt the basic decency of humanity.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Here's another ROFLLMAO,

China much more aggressive than UK ,
WTF !

How did they deduce that ,
Comparing how many people jump queue in UK and China ?

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Coming from those who hog the top 100 hoax of the century chart.

hehehhehe

utu , March 31, 2018 at 2:13 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Perhaps going to confession or a dose of Christianity would be good for Chinese.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:20 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Adam Smith apparently had their number when he was alive. It seems that little has changed in the quality of politicians between the 19th and 21st centuries. If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

I really enjoyed reading Henry Mencken's observations on political campaigns of the early 20th century. He also seemed to enjoy making those observations as well. It comes through in the way he describes the candidates.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@denk

The government of the UK seems completely unconcerned with ethics, in the same way the US government is. Most members of both governments seem, to me, to be morally retarded.

Malcolm Y , March 31, 2018 at 2:54 am GMT
Since this is statistics there are no counterexamples. But there is one giant "counterexample"
denk , March 31, 2018 at 3:27 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

dux.ie , March 31, 2018 at 5:45 am GMT
Flash! Flash! Flash! Stop the press. This is not yet 1st April.

Currently there are a lot of news about cheating in sports, e.g. cricket. Out of a whim the relationship of sports with academic cheating is tested. The OECD PISA project has data on the percentage of students who exercise before or after school PctExercise, and

PctCheatRpt=+1.044*PctExercise-46.25; #n=29; Rsq=0.234; p=0.007889 ** (V Sig)

It is very statistically significant that PctExercise is positively highly correlated to academic cheating. The effect is more than double that for the other percentage variables whether they are statistically significant or not. If students spend too much time on tracks and fields and little time at home studying the results can easily be inferred. Now you know those loud mouths screaming about cheating in another countries and that the students there spend too much time studying, they are on average themselves doing most of the academic cheatings and they might be trying to divert attention away from them.

To be fair, the situation for the nerds should also be checked. The OECD PISA has data on the percentage of students who have more than 4 hours per week of off-school maths tuition PctMathTuitGt4hr,

PctCheatRpt=-0.835*PctMathTuitGt4hr+31.81; #n=28; Rsq=0.0552; p=0.2287 (NotSig)

It is statisticaly not significant. What about those academically very competitive, the percentage who wanted to be the best PctWantBest,

PctCheatRpt=-0.445*PctWantBest+54.07; #n=29; Rsq=0.222; p=0.009944 ** (V Sig)

It is statistically very significant that PctWantBest negatively correlated with cheating, i.e, on average the more academically competitive they are the lesser they will cheat.

It is intuitively that most self-confident students will not cheat. The OECD data can be transformed and normalized into confident quotient CQ similar to the IQ scale where CQ ≥ 115 is considered to be over-confident. However,

PctCheatRpt = -0.362*ConfidantQuotient +61.62; #n=29; Rsq=0.1289; p=0.05581 (NotSig)

Two datapoints are far from the rest and are on opposite sides of the regression line, by excluding them,

PctCheatRpt = -0.473*ConfidentQuotient2 +73.25; #n=27; Rsq=0.1653; p=0.03535 * (SIg)

CQ is negatively correlated to cheating rate as expected.

The summary of the results,

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=10pvbyt&s=9

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing.

Amen!

What's even worse is the goofy idea that one is automatically "forgiven" if s/he's a "believer." It's the works vs faith idea. Some of those people feel free to break every rule in the book (even the 10 supposedly written in stone) with complete impunity.

Those people routinely engage in behavior that's as disgusting as those from the the tribe who think they're "chosen."

G-wd's special ones, goy and non-goy, are forgiven in advance I guess.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:05 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

True.

I think much the same could be said for all hierarchical systems and that includes religious as well as academic ones. I've always been as much amused as amazed at how dimwitted and venal priests and professors usually are.

Frauds-R-Us.

jilles dykstra , March 31, 2018 at 11:19 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Rereading this reaction comes to mind
Edward W. Said & Christopher Hitchens, ed., Blaming the Victims, Spurious scholarship and the Palestinian question', 1988, London

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
@JackOH

"[S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay"

No, it was a bad call regardless of how it turned out. The risk-reward ratio was off the chart.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:30 am GMT
@denk

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

Beg no longer, fine sir! This dude may have an answer.

Henceforth, Britain will do the bidding of her real masters ; she has
become the tool of the schemers against all she holds dear, namely, her
faith, her patriotism, traditions, civilisation. She grants the " returned "
aliens equality of civil rights ; they may and do become mayors over
Christian population, and within a short time Britain is ruled by a
Jewish Prime Minister, Disraeli, first and foremost a Jew and the
flunkey of the powerful Rothschild financiers.

One of the consequences of this disastrous political mistake is the
transformation of the national attitude of Great Britain and her
colonies into that of the British Empire. Disraeli who inspired it
knew what he was scheming for, the British people did not. But with
him, Zionism is carried up to the very heights of the British Throne, a
Zionist World Empire is on the high road to realisation.

-Leslie Fry, "the Jews and the British Empire," 1935

https://archive.org/stream/FryLeslieTheJewsAndTheBritishEmpire/Fry_Leslie_-_The_jews_and_the_British_Empire_djvu.txt

He musta been a kunspirasee theerist er an antee-Semite er sumpin. Prolly lo IQ and jellis too.

Dieter Kief , March 31, 2018 at 11:37 am GMT
@Dieter Kief

In the light of what Jonathan Haidt in the above linked video says with regards to David Perkin's findings, I tend to say this question of yours

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

has to be answered: "Yes. But ."

The But has to do with the the history of the term "honesty".

People might say wrong things, while being (and feeling!) honest, because honesty is not necessarily rooted in speaking the truth.

Honesty is a social category alltogether (with close ties to knighthood, chivalry and the like). It therefor is a category, which in it's very core hints at obedience and fellowship, and that's at times what keeps people away from speaking the truth – cf. David Perkins and Jonathan Haidt above (ok – full circle).

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 12:42 pm GMT
@utu

Hit-and-run is common all over the world not just in China, it is a sign of moral decay, confusion, and irresponsibility. Those perpetrators must be denounced.

But if one follows the West or the unrepentant war criminal Japanese, it is easy to white wash those hit-and-run crimes by saying the percentage of such crime in China is way lower than in the US though the absolute number might be higher, so Chinese is more honest than average in the world.

On the other hand killing people with car faces less consequences in the West, most perpetrators in the West get slap on the wrist for such crime, such as suspension of driving license, insurance company paid compensation, short term imprisonment, or get way free by claiming medical conditions, but in China the perpetrators may have to pay their lives for their crimes. It seems the West does not have a balanced morality, harsh on the victims and lenient on the criminals.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

In the honesty index graph,
Germany is higher than China, OK, thats fair.

As for the five eyes lies , their rightful place is right at the bottom.

UK [half of fukus] the ethical country ?
hehehehhe

Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy
by Mark Curtis

In his explosive new book, Mark Curtis reveals a new picture of Britain's role in the world since 1945 and in the 'war against terrorism' by offering a comprehensive critique of the Blair government's foreign policy. Curtis argues that Britain is an 'outlaw state', often a violator of international law and ally of many repressive regimes. He reasons not only that Britain's foreign policies are generally unethical but that they are also making the world more dangerous and unequal.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1128541.Web_Of_Deceit

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm GMT
@utu

kid,

You believe in gawd ?
I pray to the all mighty every day to stop the great satan,
a fat lot of good it does tho !

so how ?

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

that utu kid oughtta go out more .

He spend all day in the basement and he thought he knows the world by watching some dubious youtube videos, forchrissake !

hehehhe

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 2:59 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Interesting. Reverse Midas Touch can be a very real phenomenon, apparently.

So who chose them and what were they chosen for?

Anon [436] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@anarchyst

Why do you condemn over 100,000 years of homo sapiens behaviour. Destroying human lives has been continuously the most effective natural way to achieve important utilitarian ends tight up to today. And given the ancient Hebrew enthusiasm for genocide is it surprising that God's Ten Commandments not only said nothing about abortion but assumed that limiting killing was about the best that could be hoped for.

utu , March 31, 2018 at 6:16 pm GMT
@denk

Quality is also an aspect of honesty: both individual and institutional.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm GMT
Did I mention the top 100 hoaxes of the century chart, kid ?

Here's a partial list,

Iraq WMD
IRAQ babies incubators
Racak 'massacre'
RUSSIAGATE,
Chinagate,
Indo./China war 1962
Indon genocide 1965
GCHQ fake foto
Tibet fake foto,
Tibet genocide,
Libya
Syria
Sinking of the Maine,
Gulf of Tonkin,
911
War OF terror,
R2p[lunder]
TAM 'massacre'
Tibet 2008
Xinjiang 2009

100 reasons why fukus should be at the bottom of the 'honesty' chart !

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:13 pm GMT
Chinese the most dishonest, Japanese and British the least, study finds

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1879850/chinese-most-dishonest-japanese-and-british-least-study-finds

Why do Chinese students think it's OK to cheat?

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1974986/why-do-chinese-students-think-its-ok-cheat

99% OF PUBG'S BANNED CHEATERS ARE FROM CHINA

http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/02/16/99-of-pubgs-banned-cheaters-are-from-china

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

those hit-and-run crimes

These are not just hit and run. In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead. And if the victim is not dead you hit them second time to make sure he/she is dead and then you run. This is very pragmatic and congruent with all Chinese philosophical systems. That's why I suggested to your compatriot (denk) here that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do Chinese some good.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

As Amryata Sen has pointed out. The problem in Bengal was not a lack of food but the lack of purchasing power by the poorest peasants. Hoarding by merchants is a traditional driver of famine in India. The Punjab actually had a good harvest but Bengal ate rice. Churchill's nvolvement was ncidental. India was governed com India, often by Indians. Churchill was an outrageous racist but by no means representative of the British of the time. He lost the post war election.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

WYes. Grotesque incompetence rather than the intended result but morally wrong just the same.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@utu

I am surprised that you posted that first link. Its 1500 tested people (selected how?) from 15 countries simply reminded me that the "Climategate" emails also belonged to the University of East Anglia.

I didn't take the time to understand WTF PUBG was all about (third link).

As to the second link it is indeed interesting to learn of what appears to be a formal recognition by the Chinese Communist Party that part of what contributed to the earlier economic success of the West was trust and comparative honesty (as Amy Wax might point out).

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 1:58 am GMT
@utu

First of all Christians have no mercy, and they only have crusade and conversion. Christians are cult. The Christians have been committing crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes using evil and sadist inquisition methods for a very very long time. Their forte is racial and culture genocide. Before Columbus time they only did their carnage between themselves and Muslims within the European continent and ME. After Columbus they spread their plague all over the world.

The most unfortunate victims are the Americans (from North to South). Christian not only took the American's land, and killed them into nearly extinct, they also burnt all books of South Americans, so that there is no indigenous South American civilization left to tell their history and to refute what the Christian casted them as savages.

In China during the late Qing time, the Christians treated Chinese culture and traditions as witchcraft, backed by their governments' guns they used extraterritorial right to expand their control of people and land with organized violence and insidious crimes. Their unscrupulous activities forced Chinese to resist thru Boxer movement because Qing Court was incompetent. The West labelled Boxer as terrorists and crashed them with Eight Nations Alliance armed intervention, Christian was a major force that caused China Century Humiliation.

Since WWII all wars were led by the Christians, their false Christian mercy calls paved the way for the Western governments and war mongers to bomb, kill and waterboard on moral high ground just like their barbaric Christian forebears who have done to the native South Americans and rest of the world.

That kind of morally defunct drivers are not unique to China, they appeare in the West too. In some incidences the driver in the West made sure nobody survives in the other car by pushing the car over the road side, so they have better chance not to be convicted due to no witness.

While guys using assault rifles mowing down tens of school kids for no reasons and claim it is their constitution rights to do so, and tens of millions of killed, tortured and maimed by the NATO false flag wars, why don't you suggest your compatriots in the USA and other NATO nations that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do their souls some good? Is it because Christian mercy is myth, fantasy and snakeoil?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:37 am GMT
@utu

You are being racist, propagating the pink skin pigs' trashes in HK irresponsibly. You should know those noxious racist trolls in the SCMP are posted by the pink skin pigs and their mentally colonized wannabes in HK out of resentment and frustration, because they lost their colonial privileges in HK and they are being rejected as uneducated unscrupulous colonials back home. They fell from master caste to the bottom of the society and become worthless trash.

Japanese are unrepentant war criminals, their whole society are liars and they have been lying since WWII about their war crimes, their past, their present and their future, they even are lying about the massive toxic nuclear leaking in the Fukushima cripple nuclear power plants that are causing millions of people died of cancer and extinction of marine creatures. While the British is the mentor of the Japanese.

Britain was a ruthless global tyrant and liar, but you seem to believe that all the crimes against humanity and peace and war crimes British committed around the world can be forgiven and glossed over by claiming Britain a democracy; what a lie and morally defunct double think evil psychopathic expression. People said British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, no wonder the American is adopting the same double think logic to white wash and gloss over the war crimes, crimes against humanity and peace they have been committing around the world.

Winston Churchill was a classic imperialist with no moral bearing, he believed for the empire everything goes. WWII is nothing but a dog-eat-dog play rough over the monopoly to plunder the rest of the world; they squandered all the wealth they obtained thru stealing, looting and murdering hundreds of millions of people all over the world in that scrabbling.

About cheating in the exams you must have never seen what the Greeks and Indian are capable of. PUBG is sour grape, they cannot beat the Chinese so they banned Chinese on the fabricated allegation, just like the Opium Wars, the British could not beat Chinese manufactured goods, so they used Opium and wars to steal and cheat Chinese wealth.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:44 am GMT
@denk

Death should be knocking on Iran's door and wearing a Star of David effacing the American flag.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:50 am GMT
@denk

Why do you waste time displaying your prejudices without even acknowledging what question was asked? Your English is up to it – just – so you have no excuse.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Your diatribe is a bit on the simplistic side.

All Utu was pointing out is that deliberately killing someone with a car to escape prosecution is pretty heinous behavior and does suggest something really wrong with the Chinese culture at a fundamental level.

And the treatment of animals in China is generally deplorable compared with Western standards with little concern for their well being. How does this obvious cruelty fit on the ethical plane?

Ethical behavior among human beings is probably more unusual than we would like to believe and we can all be better people. The Chinese are no exception to that rule. If Christian ethics or Buddhist ethics can advance that cause, I support this.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@jacques sheete

I was intrigued to find on the listverse.com site some readable and/or intriguing stuff, e.g. on Charles Darwin, but your particular, well debunked, choice of anachronistic and inaccurate story to believe and post suggests to me that anyone whose intellectual standards allow them to rely on one of those list (usually of 10) sites should not pollute UR. Are you aware that people are paid $100 (with possibility of bonuses) for those lists?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@utu

You are wrong, not everybody demands the same quality, and Chinese provides different quality for different needs in the market. Besides you get what you paid for, it is fundamental principle of capitalism if you don't count the first principle of capitalism which is monopoly which is charge as much as you can bear and cost is irrelevant, that is not only cheating and it is also blackmailing and looting.

The video just claims but shows no proof what the guy claims. Chinese machinery and parts are taking more markets around the world, this simply fact proves the video is made out of bad faith, and pure propaganda.

Coins can stand up on Chinese High Speed Rail running more than 300km/hr, no German, Japanese or any other nation can do that, it proves the bearing quality in China HSR is unprecedented, it further proves the guys in the video is a troll out of jealous, resentful and fear Chinese achievements.

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:33 am GMT
@utu

hey kiddie,

Spare me all those China videos' [1]

In case you still havent noticed,
Im not here to defend China.
I allow its position below Germany is quite fair.

But,
Can you give me one good reason why UK , that agent provocateur extraordinaire , is so high up that honesty chart ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:41 am GMT
@utu

In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead.

cuz you watch some videos from youtube,
forchrissake !

Can you give me some credible statistics , the percentage of such alleged crimes in China ?

How does such alleged crimes stack up against fukus state terrorism like double tapping , sniping at women and chidlren, obliterating the whole neighborhood of a suspect hideout just to make sure, ?

And .
How does this elevate fukus from its rightful position at the bottom of that honesty chart,
thats all I wanna know ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:44 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

To think that I recently commended you for some improvement on your comprehension !
, now you go back to my bozo file,

Anonymous [216] Disclaimer , April 1, 2018 at 8:03 am GMT
@Joe Wong

It is propaganda. People tell me that the same stories were circulated when Japan was becoming a tech powerhouse. It will probably take another 5-10 years before it dissipates.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@denk

Don't avoid the issue. How do you justify your use of the word "aggressive"?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:42 am GMT
@lavoisier

I merely point out the misconception about Christians supported by historical facts. Indian treats animals even worse while China has humane protection laws, it seems you are as impartial as utu.

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:58 am GMT
@Anonymous

Chinese is not Japanese. Japanese only steals, their forte is made refinement on the stolen.

A lot of the American and British have been saying China will collapse 30 years already, you are one of them.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
Your first paragraph comes over as so silly that perhaps it shouldn't surprise that your second paragraph is, to say the least, extremely puzzling. Where did Anonymous [216] say or suggest that China eould collapse? The post you are replying to implies no such thing.
utu , April 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

After every of your visit by you at unz.com I keep wondering to what degree your primitive chauvinism is representative of China. How many millions primitive and hateful Joe Wongs are there? Then I wonder that perhaps you are not Chinese. That you are employed by enemies of China. That Chinese are too smart to show their cards that early in the game. If they really hate they would not show it because only fools show hate.

You, see I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience with them but you and your sidekick deng do everything possible to undermine it and change it into: Yes, Chinese can be really stupid and thus more dangerous than we thought. Watch, out for stupid and dangerous Chinese. Go to the Plan B: Poke NK and the Rocket Man more to the point that Japan get so paranoid that it starts arming itself with nukes. If there is to be a war let it start with the yellow races killing each other. They hate each other anyway. Ask Joe Wong if you have any doubts.

So what is it? Are you Chinese or an agent of revanchist militarist unreformed Chinese hating interests of Japanese imperialism? And then, if you are Chinese, how many more stupid ones like you are there?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
@utu

I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience

sic !

your sidekick deng

Ad hominem is the last resort of the scoundrel.

Why dont you try answering my questions kid ?

*How do you propose to get rid of that plague of the 21C ?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/do-brighter-minds-incline-to-honesty/#comment-2267831

Why are you evading the issue but indulge in China bashing ?
Are you a diversion agent ?

*Do you agree that UK should be right at the bottom of that honesty chart ?

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 5:45 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

No. I am unimpressed with the morality of most humans and suspicious of attempts to paint ourselves as more virtuous than we are.

But there are certainly aspects of Christian morality that can serve as a framework to guide human behavior–wherever one lives or whoever you are.

Your diatribe blaming Christians for all the evil of the world is incredibly dishonest and naive.

Anonymous [442] Disclaimer , Website April 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
What is the difference in per capita income between southern europeans and scandinavians? I think this also plays a role.
Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
@lavoisier

It seems your only defense for the Christians is denying historical facts, and stating something that Christians are not.

Naïve? Are you saying the crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes committed by the Christians were carefully planned, deeply thought through, determined and maturely decided like holocaust?

Bible is zero-sum based narrative, the fundamental dogma of Christianity is "you are either with us or you are with the devil" therefore all Christians have a mission to convert everyone else into "one of us" on the moral high ground with whatever means necessary, Christians believe whatever the Christians do it is necessary with good intention, even bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated allegations is humanitarian intervention.

Christianity assumes humans are primitive and born evil, they need divine force to threaten (go to hell) them not to do harm, and it is tribal. While some other civilizations believe humans are sane, rational, intelligent and compassionate, humans do not need divine force to tell them how to behave properly in order to achieve peace, harmony, cooperation, development and mutual benefits, just logical explanation and some directions will be suffice.

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality, mind you it does not mean the Bible does not have good points in it, there are other way better ways and means to serve as a framework to guide human behaviour for the good.

Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 2:25 am GMT
@utu

Chauvinism is someone claims what he is not and based that false claim to demonize others what they are not on the moral high ground, this is what the West has been doing since 1492.

Stating facts does not involve emotion, so please refrain yourself from sensationalize any topic unnecessary that makes dialog on difficult issues impossible, Theresa May and Nikki Haley are not your role model to follow.

For over seventy years the US has dominated Asia, ravaging the continent with two major wars in Korea and Indo-China with millions of casualties, and multiple counter-insurgency interventions in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The strategic goal has been to expand its military and political power, exploit the economies and resources.

Before WWII, the American is just one of the Western imperialists ravaged and wreaked havoc of Asia with barbaric wars, illicit drugs like Opium, slavery, stealing, robbing, looting, plundering, murdering, torturing, exploiting, polluting, culture genocide, 'pious' fanaticism, unmatchable greed and extreme brutality. In fact it is hard to tell the difference between the American and the unrepentant war criminal Japanese who is more lethal and barbaric to Asians until the Pearl Harbour incident.

James Thompson , Website April 2, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@utu

instructive comparison

lavoisier , Website April 2, 2018 at 3:57 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality

Do you really believe this???? No morality in any Christians?

You are even more locked into hate and racism than I thought possible.

Have you attended any of the lectures by the anti-racist Tim Wise??

You might get some talking points from him that can help you in your future postings.

And keep up the good work, you have a bright future in any number of our MSM outlets.

Daniel Chieh , April 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
@utu

And you have not even met the hardcore commies, who would like to explain that the only thing that Mao did wrong, terribly wrong was that he did not kill nearly enough people.

And the answer to your question is that there are idiots in every country and race, though in China they are mostly excluded from political positions(because insanity is not welcome), so they troll online message boards within and without China.

Like various other fanatics and crazies, they can be entertaining in the appropriate context. If you've been to Finland, he's the equivalent of the old drunk men yelling propositions at girls in some train stations of the small towns. Entertaining in small doses.

utu , April 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Entertaining in small doses.

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

denk , April 3, 2018 at 4:46 am GMT
@utu

So you couldnt even give one good reason why UK should be on top of that 'honesty chart' eh ?

well I can give you 100 why UK should be right at the bottom,

Perfidious albions
exhibit one

How to ethnic cleanse an entire island ?
Declare the residents as tresspassers !

'What the files also reveal is an imperious attitude of brutality. In August 1966, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, wrote: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours.

There will be no indigenous population except seagulls." At the end of this is a handwritten note by DH Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill:

"Along with the Birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays " Under the heading, "Maintaining the fiction", another official urges his colleagues to reclassify the islanders as "a floating population" and to "make up the rules as we go along".

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/oct/02/foreignpolicy.comment

Perfidious albions at its best !

heheheheheh

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

yEAH,
Scurry away with tail between your legs and declare victory,

that'd be
perfidious albions exhibit 2

hehehhehe

Chris2345 , April 3, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
@joe Wong You are a foolish, ignorant person. At least in regard to Christianity. The perpetrators of the holocaust and genocide are Christians? You absolutely have no clue about Christianity. Yes, they came from a Christian based culture but Nazis (and American war criminals) have nothing in common with Christianity. The best countries in the world are ones based on Protestant Christianity, meaning Christianity that is the closest to the Biblical teachings. I admire Chinese culture and history (especially the technology which benefited the West) but you need the ability to admit the faults of your culture which has some serious problems.
JackOH , April 4, 2018 at 9:53 am GMT
@Anonymous

Thanks for the concern, but the risk of harm to me was near zero. Numeracy and all that.

Vojkan , April 5, 2018 at 6:13 am GMT
Though I am convinced that honesty is more rational in the long term than lying, I definitely don't believe that people with high IQ are more honest than those more modestly gifted with intellectual talent. Smart people just know better to juggle with fallacies so they are more likely to get away with it than dummies, that's all.
Logic does say that truth is lower maintenance, as it exists per se and is always consistent, and lies so they are not exposed need to be cared of constantly, as they are always intrinsically inconsistent with reality, but people are people, driven by the seven sins, of which greed and vanity are possibly the worst, with the former being more evenly distributed while the latter tends to affect the bright rather than the dim.
Logic and ethics are different categories. Equating them is a sign of, well, vanity.
TT , April 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
@utu

Only a moron equate honesty = quality using ball bearing as example. There are countries may be very honest like Bhutan, yet they don't produce high quality product.

The US top elites are very intelligent, are producing lots of quality products like Boeing plane & precision weapons for murdering everywhere, yet their politicians & bankers are known habitual liars, with British & French close behind, and Germans reluctantly.

Japanese is producing high quality products, look how frequently their politicians are caught outright lying, corrupted & nepotism, and researchers are now caught recently in their published papers using fake data, with big corporates like Toshiba, Nissan, Steel factories caught cheating systematically for long period.

Its true Germany make top notch quality, undisputed, better than Japan imo.

But look at the chart, beside Germany, who else is producing better ball bearings than China, or precision tools that run aerospace, manned space craft, rockets, 5th gen J20, satellites, nuclear plants(light water pebble), nuclear sub, FSR, a long list to go yet they are rated more honest than China.

Fyi, only 2 countries are able to produce precision steel ball bearings for tiny ball point pen tip, Germany & Japan. So China is importing billion of them for its ball point pen production annually.

Why can't China factory produce it? There was some uproar in China media over this last year. Guess what? Within a mth, some factory is churning out perfect ball bearings, but in better material – ceramic that is cheaper & longer lasting. And the producer explained, its not economical worth the effort & machining to produce those bearings as they cost only $200K p. a. to import. But for national pride, they do it.

And i highly suspect you are either from HK or Taiwan with some bad memory of old China that you simply like to smear China without taking a fairer stand that, out of 1.4B Chinese how many % is doing those crimes, vs 400M murkans more serious crimes.

The new generation Chinese should not be continuously viewed through old communist color lens & West propaganda, they are not responsible for the history but the future. Pres Xi is a good example, he is leading China to their peaceful rise now. He suffered in culture revolution, do you want to blame him for those history?

TT , April 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm GMT
This chart simply look so questionable. Why not include US, France, Oz, Canada, Bhutan, India, Brazil, Agentina, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, HK, Japan, Korea, HK, Taiwan, to give a wider comparison. And how the author do his samplings to derive this graph is very much questionable.

And to say brighter mind = honesty, just look at how honest are most world politicians that are generally top intellectuals of their cohort. I would say more wise = more honesty.

To use wallets returning as a test of honesty is also overly simplified. When a country is poor, these are godsend present unless they are true perfect communist.

As a country get wealthier, their people generally get better education & well off, become indoctrine with social norm of what is so called good behavior(persuaded by praise & blame). They are more inclined to return a wallet found with money that aren't so attractive to them compare to poor. But that can never be equate to genuine honest, im sure most US Pres & UK PM will return wallets.

Take UK as the most glaring example, with its brightest in parliament are consistently been outright shameless liars, such as Blairs lies for Iraq WMD war, and now May's lies of Skripal case, which all getting near unanimous support from their parliament members speak great volumes.

There is a Unz article written on how UK has been the mecca of paedophiles, global capital in grooming children for sexual exploitation, with systematic covered up over decades by their politicians because they & those powerful elites were all involved.

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/the-telford-child-sex-scandal-and-the-end-of-england/

Their police chief even suggested not to criminalize Britons watching/owned child porno as so high a proportion of their nation are doing will overwhelm their prisons & judicial system.

So what honesty are we talking about here, UK as over 60% honest? Even their moral value is highly questionable if you ask most UK white people.

And Malaysia getting 3rd highest honesty of near 80% is a great joke just shy from UK. Its one of well known highest crimes & corruption that the West themselves criticized much, even Spore ex-PM LKY openly condemn as violent crime infested. I never know violent criminal is honest, may be yes for the author country when compared to their politicians.

[Apr 07, 2018] Richest one percent will own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030 by Michael Savage

Neoliberalism as a social system is self-destructive -- similar to Trotskyism from which it was derived.
World leaders urged to act as anger over inequality reaches a 'tipping point'
Typical neoliberal mantra "need to rise productivity" is a typical neoliberal fake: look at Amazon for shining example here.
Notable quotes:
"... The real focus of our taxation system should be to tax wealth and recipients of silly amounts of annual income. ..."
"... Ur talking about something called "Reagan-nomics" or what was commonly and lovingly referred to as "trickle down economics". After the destruction of unionized labor, years of globalization, record profits for corporations & wall street and a high octane doze of Reagan / Thatcher Neoliberalism, "trickle down" has obviously been a complete failure. ..."
Apr 07, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

An alarming projection produced by the House of Commons library suggests that if trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, then the top 1% will hold 64% of the world's wealth by 2030. Even taking the financial crash into account, and measuring their assets over a longer period, they would still hold more than half of all wealth.

Since 2008, the wealth of the richest 1% has been growing at an average of 6% a year – much faster than the 3% growth in wealth of the remaining 99% of the world's population. Should that continue, the top 1% would hold wealth equating to $305tn (£216.5tn) – up from $140tn today.


BrianSand , 7 Apr 2018 14:53

The population of third world countries is skyrocketing. The population of developed countries, outside the importation of poor immigrants, is static. The top 1% of world population will continuously become comparatively richer as long as this is the case.
feliciafarrel -> apaliteno , 7 Apr 2018 14:50

but there's no way the UK has 10 million of the world's richest 75 million.

You need £550,000 to be in the top 1% in the world.

In the UK there are 27m households with an average of 1.94 adults per household.

25% of households have £550,000 or more.

That means 6.75m households are in the top 1% of the world, At 1.94 adults per household, that's 13,000,000 people.

However, assuming households are not 'legal people' but the adults within them are, then you'd have to divide household income by the number of adults (1.94) to get the wealth per person. So to reach £550,000 per person, a household would have to have net wealth of £1.067m, and only 10% of households have that wealth.

10% of 27m is 2.7m and that equates to only 5,240,000 people.

So in terms of households we easily reach 10m mark, but in terms of individual people, you are correct, it is 'only' 5.24m. Still and awful lot of people though.

Landlord52 -> Whattayagonnado huh , 7 Apr 2018 14:46
A single mother get £20k on benefits per years. Over 18 years that is £360,000. She has two kids, so that iwill cost £3,000 in education per years. 2 kids x 14 years x £3,500 per years = £98,000. We pay for child birth costs, free vaccinations, anti-natal care, free prescriptions, free eye care, free dental care, free school meals, we pay her countal tax bil. Plus if she is lucky, she get a free £450,000 council home.

Even if she works for a few years, it will never be enough to pay what she has received from the state. PLus we have to make provisions for her pension and her elderly care, meals on wheels, elderly health care etc...

That is easily £1m to £2million per single mother....

yeah... we are such a terrible society....

PotholeKid -> counttrumpage , 7 Apr 2018 14:45
The plebs are well on the way to figuring it out alright and so have the 1%. That's we now live under a militarized surveillance state which serves the elites.. Think again if voting will ever change this.. Bernie was doomed from the getgo.
hundredhander , 7 Apr 2018 14:42
I think the principle here is that the longer this goes on and the greater inequality becomes then the more extreme will be the countervailing force.

It is in everybody's interest that the world becomes fairer. That governments govern in the interests of as many people as possible. That public services like health and education are available to all regardless. That taxes are progressive and that governments have international treaties to deal with tax avoidance and evasion. That our democratic processes are as robust as possible and that all our organs of state are as transparent as possible and open to scrutiny to the public.

If the accumulation of wealth on this scale continues unabated it will end in tears... inevitably.

Furthermore I believe that there is a relationship between inequality - and all the things that go with it and follow from it - and environmental degradation.

Greater fairness between individuals and between countries is, in my opinion, one of the essential requirements for us to surmount the epic problems that we face in the world today.

DogsLivesMatter , 7 Apr 2018 14:41
I think most of us have are aware of what really happens at Davos. The wealthy and powerful are cooking up more schemes to screw the 99% over. Your Bono's and your Bill Gates are no friends to the working class or the working poor. Take Jeff Bezos for example. He has a mass of wealth totaling $112 Billion.

Jeff Bezos, or even Bill Gates could do that in an instant and still have Billions to spare. The super rich don't care about "regular" people, and never have.


Peter Rabbit ComfortablyPlumb 7 Apr 2018 14:25

This is the Osborne analogy regurgitated.

If you live in a £2.5 million house, you are wealthy, not average or poor. To be wealthy is not some form of human rights entitlement, especially if it is at the cost of the overwhelming majority. This concept is known as "greed" and "selfishness". Obviously your mantra is that of Gordon Gekko "greed is good".

The real focus of our taxation system should be to tax wealth and recipients of silly amounts of annual income.

All these arguments are dated and are applicable to the Thatcher era of the early 1980s which has long gone and is not going to return. The problem facing our society currently is run away social and economic inequality and the entrenchment of substantial wealth for a very small number of people which is fuelling generational social and inequality.


TakoradiMan BrotherLead 7 Apr 2018 14:24

I presume that most those living in the U.K. will fall within top 1% which the Guardianista loath so much.

I'm sorry but this post is utterly clueless.

To be in the top 1% you need to have a household income of well over £50k per annum (closer to £100k I suspect - no one here has yet given very authoritative figures); only a fraction of the UK population are that well off.

AnneK1 Landlord52 7 Apr 2018 14:24

Except that they don't and the charities have to come along and ask us for more money because the public sector haven't used tax revenue efficiently. I would say Britain's ineffective public sector are the greatest threat to Corbyn's chances of forming the government we need to rid us of these dangerous Tories.

PeterlooSunset 7 Apr 2018 14:24

The richest 1% own the corporate media (including the private equity firms keeping the Guardian afloat) that keep telling us we have to focus our attention on identity politics while they loot all the wealth.


prematureoptimsim -> Inthesticks 7 Apr 2018 14:23

Ur talking about something called "Reagan-nomics" or what was commonly and lovingly referred to as "trickle down economics". After the destruction of unionized labor, years of globalization, record profits for corporations & wall street and a high octane doze of Reagan / Thatcher Neoliberalism, "trickle down" has obviously been a complete failure.

U need proof ? Just examine recent history of presidential elections. . . .

  1. Barack Obama - ( Mr. Hope and Change )
  2. Donald Trump - ( Mr. Make America Great Again ).

And in the end it's the same as it ever was. The rich get richer and. . . . Well u know the rest. Good luck to u. Enjoy ur crumbs.

[Mar 29, 2018] High Ranking CIA Agent Blows Whistle On The Deep State And Shadow Government

I have fuzzy feeling is that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4). Looks like Brennan machinations as a part of a larger trend.
So while those fears might look exaggerated, in no way they represent outlier in the spectrum of the opinion of the commentarial. There are also people like Kevin Shipp who might agree with me more then you do.
Moreover, the gradual shift toward some kind of "MIC leadership" was really noticeable in Trump administration just my the number of retired generals inhis administration. It might be just a beginning of the process of shifting the power, as military now are respected more then elected representatives. And CIA will be the key player is any such shift.
Existence of almost five million people with security clearance creates kind of "state within the state" situation. This is the point when quantity turns into quality.
Mar 29, 2018 | www.lewrockwell.com

Shipp expressed that the CIA was created through the Council on Foreign relations with no congressional approval, and historically the CFR is also tied into the mainstream media (MSM.) He elaborated that the CIA was the "central node" of the shadow government and controlled all of other 16 intelligence agencies despite the existence of the DNI. The agency also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate the president and political decisions, has the power to start wars, torture, initiate coups, and commit false flag attacks he said.

As Shipp stated, the CIA was created through executive order by then President Harry Truman by the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Shipp, the deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyist, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks.

In the shocking, explosive presentation, Shipp went on to express that there are "over 10,000 secret sites in the U.S." that formed after 9/11. There are "1,291 secret government agencies, 1,931 large private corporations and over 4,800,000 Americans that he knows of who have a secrecy clearance, and 854,000 who have Top Secret clearance, explaining they signed their lives away bound by an agreement.

[Mar 29, 2018] It's Not a Conspiracy Anymore; Public Belief in 'Deep State' Soars by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... The problem is CIA impunity. CIA uses it to make money -- and to make plutocrats and keep them in line. You don't like plutocrats? Good for you. Lock up some CIA scumbags, storm Langley and take the files, problem solved. ..."
Mar 29, 2018 | www.unz.com

CIA Imfrickinpunity , March 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT

This article is a tour de force of beating around the bush. It relates a campaign initiated and led by CIA DCI John Brennan, prosecuted with illegal secret government surveillance, coerced confessions, and suppressed investigation of the murder of Seth Rich. And it blames the Plutocrat Class.

How many divisions does the Plutocrat Class have? Does the Plutocrat Class have impunity for murder, torture, and denial of the rights of trial? Does the Plutocrat Class have anything like these get-out-jail-free cards?

The Central Intelligence Agency Act, which put CIA covert crime beyond the reach of any court. The Rogers-Houston MOU permitting the DCI to abort DoJ investigations with the magic words 'national security.'

The Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes the identity of CIA criminals a state secret. The operational files exemption to FOIA, which prohibits public scrutiny of evidence of CIA crime.

The 'political questions' judicial doctrine which stops judicial review of CIA crimes condoned, however vaguely or unwittingly, by Congress.

The article outlines criminal coup de main by domestic enemies, and sics us on cartoon Rich Uncle Pennybags.

Don't get wrapped around the axle overthinking some rock-paper-scissors transitivity relations of abstract political and economic power -- that's CIA-infiltrated Paris Review bullshit. Impunity beats money every time. To understand this, just watch what happens when a plutocrat gets in CIA's way. You see right away who's in charge. Plutocrat Ralph Nacchio learned his lesson, didn't he?

Plutocrat Elliot Spitzer learned his lesson. Dynastic plutocrats John and Bobby Kennedy didn't learn their lesson fast enough, but everybody else got the message.

The problem is CIA impunity. CIA uses it to make money -- and to make plutocrats and keep them in line. You don't like plutocrats? Good for you. Lock up some CIA scumbags, storm Langley and take the files, problem solved.

[Mar 28, 2018] Deep State and False Flag Attacks

Highly recommended!
Pretty interesting presentation; almost two hours long.
Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

wayfarer , March 24, 2018 at 4:05 am GMT

"Deep State – False Flag Attacks"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNA4f45F5II

[Mar 28, 2018] You are quite right, Power Elite is more accurate description, but now that the term Deep State has reached common parlance, is it useful to try to rebrand them?

Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

RobinG , March 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm GMT

@Bardon Kaldian

You are quite right, Power Elite is more accurate description, but now that the term Deep State has reached common parlance, is it useful to try to rebrand them?

Well, perhaps, because what we have now is a general misidentification (misdirection!) of defining the Deep State. Some single out the Intel agencies, others blame think-tanks, some even blame career civil servants (the 'bureaucrat' smear). Are these accusers really gatekeepers for the deep money interests?

All the same, how would you do it, and is it worthwhile? We've had the same chatter about the Fake News, i.e. MSM vs. Legacy News vs. Corporate News vs. Big News, etc. Some good work is coming out under Deep State -

Misunderstanding the Deep State

CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government

deschutes , March 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm GMT
The 'deep state' is not a 'conspiracy theory', it is a basic fact beyond debating. The deep state by definition means the USA's military industrial complex, i.e. all of the massive security agencies (Dept of Defense; CIA; State Dept; Pentagon; US Army; CentComm; Navy; Marines; NSA; NSC; etc) combined with their partners in the corporate sector who sell them the equipment: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, SAIC, Huntington Ingalls, etc. The 'revolving door' between these two sectors is a key aspect of the deep state: top ranking brass leave public service to take top positions at these defense corporations, or become lobbyists for them to continue their multi-billion dollar contracts at the government trough. The top officials at the security agencies often have careers spanning decades: these people are 'the deep state' personified. Presidents come and go, they are window dressing. The deep state calls the shots.
jilles dykstra , March 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@deschutes

Maybe better to say 'Deep State shoots, and wants far more shooting'. Just this day a former member of the EU Commission, he did Foreign Affairs, retired, appeared on the leading German tv channel, with deep doubts about May's assertions, and deep concern where the anti Russia propaganda will lead to.

He had negotiated with Putin, who he described a very rational man. He still was quite emotional about the western lies that lead to the attack on Iraq.

BBC, or BBCW, did not watch it myself, broadcast the same interview, also, today. One cannot fool all people for all times.

ValmMond , March 28, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

BS. The "power elite" in the US is associated with a clearly identifiable group, which doesn't even hide its own tribal interest and allegiances. A parasite lodged in a host. Its messianic DNA slowly unfolds and takes over the host's vital functions. Loss of identity and cognitive ability are only phases preceding total destruction. The complicit host is apparently fully and gleefully embracing its fate.

AnonFromTN , March 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm GMT
It takes a lot of effort to make