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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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Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2012 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2010 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Mar 22, 2019] America's Apartheid of Dollars

Notable quotes:
"... The divisions can always be jacked up. "My opponent is a white nationalist!" and so he doesn't just think you're lazy, he wants to kill you. Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. ..."
"... Listen for what's missing in the speeches about inequality and injustice. Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support. ..."
Mar 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The birth lottery determines which of those three bands we'll sink or swim together in, because there is precious little mobility. In that bottom band, 81 percent face flat or falling net worths ( 40 percent of Americans make below $15 an hour) and so aren't going anywhere. Education, once a vehicle, is now mostly a tool for the preservation of current statuses across generations, to the point that it's worth paying bribes for. Class is sticky.

Money, not so much. Since the 9.9 percent have the most (except for the super wealthy at least), they have the most to lose. At their peak in the mid-1980s, the managers and technicians in this group held 35 percent of the nation's wealth. Three decades later, that fell 12 percent, exactly as much as the wealth of the 1 percent rose. A significant redistribution of wealth -- upwards -- took place following the 2008 market collapse, as bailouts, shorts, repossessions, and new laws helped the top end of the economy at cost to the bottom. What some label hardships are to others business opportunities.

The people at the top are throwing nails off the back of the truck to make sure no one else can catch up with them. There is a strong zero sum element to all this. The goal is to eliminate the competition . They'll have it all when society is down to two classes, the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and at that point we'll all be effectively the same color. The CEO of JP Morgan called it a bifurcated economy. Historians will recognize it as feudalism.

You'd think someone would sound a global climate change-level alarm about all this. Instead we divide people into tribes and make them afraid of each other by forcing competition for limited resources like health care. Identity politics sharpens the lines, recognizing increasingly smaller separations, like adding letters to LGBTQQIAAP.

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, herself with presidential ambitions, is an example of the loud voices demanding more division . Contrast that with early model Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, who pleaded, "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

The divisions can always be jacked up. "My opponent is a white nationalist!" and so he doesn't just think you're lazy, he wants to kill you. Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. Keep the groups fighting left and right and they'll never notice the real discrimination is up and down, even as massive economic forces consume all equally. Consumption becomes literal as Americans die from alcohol, drugs, and suicide in record numbers .

Meanwhile, no one has caught on to the fact that identity politics is a marketing tool for votes, fruit flavored vape to bring in the kiddies. Keep that in mind as you listen to the opening cries of the 2020 election. Listen for what's missing in the speeches about inequality and injustice. Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support.

** The author doesn't really drive for Uber but his conversation with the Spaniard was real.


JeffK March 22, 2019 at 7:39 am

Mr Van Buren. This piece nails it. The Democrats made a huge mistake focusing on race and LGBTQ instead of class. Their stated goal should be to replace race based affirmative action with class-based programs.

If there is serious violence coming to America it will come during the next major recession/financial crisis. The ARs will come out of the closet when, during the next financial crisis, the elites are bailed out (again), yet the riff raff lose their homes and pickups to foreclosure.

I am very pessimistic in this area. I believe the elites, in general, are agnostic to SJW issues, abortion, job loss, BLM, religious liberty, and on and on. The look at the riff raff with amusement, sparring over such trivial things. Meanwhile, the river of cash keeps flowing to their bank accounts.

Imagine if the digital transfer of money was abolished. Imagine if everybody had to have their money in a local bank instead of in an investment account of a major bank. Imagine if Americans saw, day after day, armored vehicles showing up at local banks to offload sacks of currency that went to only a few individual accounts held by the very rich.

Instead, the elites receive their financial statements showing an ever increasing hoard of cash at their disposal. They see it, but nobody else does. However, if everybody saw the river of wealth flowing to the elites, I believe things would change. Fast. Right now this transfer of wealth is all digital, hidden from the view of 99.99% of Americans and the IRS. And the elites, the banking industry, and the wealth management cabal prefer it that way.

It's easy to propose the ultimate goal of the elites is to have a utopian society to themselves, where the only interaction they have with the riff raff is with subservient technicians keeping it all running. Like the movie Elysium.

https://youtu.be/QILNSgou5BY

Oleg Gark , says: March 22, 2019 at 8:22 am
When feudalism comes to America, it will be justified by Libertarianism. With government defined as the bad guy, there's nothing to stop the 1% from organizing everything to their own benefit.

On the other side of the political spectrum, identity politics emphasizes people's differences and tribal affiliations over their shared citizenship. This prevents them from making common cause.

Fundamentally, these trends make the body politic so weak that it becomes susceptible to takeover by authoritarians that represent narrow interests.

Johann , says: March 22, 2019 at 8:31 am
"His skin was clearly a few shades darker than mine, though he pointed out that was only because my relatives came from the cold part of Europe and he came from the sunny part."

The Spanish in Europe got their color from the Moorish invasion, not the sun.

More of my annoying trivia that has little to do with the subject of an article.

John D. Thullen , says: March 22, 2019 at 9:15 am
Welp, the Democratic Party, by and large, believes all Americans regardless of class, race, religion, and gender should have guaranteed equal access to affordable healthcare, a substantial minimum wage, education and the rest.

Stacy Abrams wants these items too, along with equal access to the voting franchise.

"Until slavery was ended in the United States, human beings were legally considered capital, just like owning stocks and bonds today. But the Spaniard knew enough about history to wonder what reparations would be offered to the thousands of Chinese treated as animals to build the railroads or the 8,000 Irish who died digging the New Basin Canal or the whole families of Jews living on the Lower East Side of New York who were forced to employ their children to make clothing for uptown "white" stores. Later in the same century, wages were "voluntarily" cut to the bone at factories in Ohio to save jobs that disappeared anyway after the owners had wrung out the last profits."

That would be an excellent point if your inner Spaniard concluded reparations should be offered to the others as well, but ends up being merely tendentious if he contends that no one gets reparations.

But will you like it if the Democratic Party makes that part of their platform too?

I was born in Middletown, Ohio alongside the elegiacal hillbillies, who, by the way, didn't care for the blacks on the other side of the tracks anymore than my Armco-employed grandfather did, and certainly the business owners who disappeared the jobs and cut wages while voting for the so-called free traders were of the same ilk.

I didn't know any Democrats among any of my family's circle and, by the way, Middletown might as well have been south of the Mason Dixon anyway for all the white Democrats in town who gave not a crap about their fellow black citizens, certainly not the business owners who disappeared the jobs while voting for the so-called free traders.

It was the Republican Party (Larry Kudlow, I'm gunning for you) who championed creative destruction and the red tooth and claw of unfettered worldwide competition without asking, in fact jumping for joy, what the unintended consequences would be because the consequences were intended smash the unions for all, cut wages and benefits and hand the booty to shareholders, move operations to lower-tax, lower wage, environmentally unregulated parts of the globe to manufacture them thar high margin MAGA hats for the aggrieved.

What a beautiful grift!

Hello, Marianas.

That Democrats jumped on the bandwagon is no credit to them, especially while assuming the prone position as the republican party frayed the safety net.

True, the republicans laid off everyone, regardless of race, gender, and class and then cut everyone's benefits.

How equable of them.

TomG , says: March 22, 2019 at 9:44 am
As the Spaniard rightly understood, one can look way back into our history and see that the moneyed class has always used identity politics in economic control games to divide and conquer. That the Republicans rail on this as some evil creation of the modern Democrat is laughable at best. That the sheep who follow the party mouth pieces of the moneyed class in this media age can still be so easily manipulated is rather pitiful. Making common cause for the general welfare has never really sunk in as an American value.

Divide and conquer remains our true ethos. As the dole gets evermore paltry the only seeming options remaining are common cause for a common good or greater violence. One requires us to find a contentment beyond the delusional American dream of becoming that 1 to 10%. The other just requires continued anger, division and despair.

JoS. S. Laughon , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:12 am
Ironically the view that race/culture isn't at all important and should be disregarded in view of the class division (a "distraction"), is pretty much endorsing the classic Marxist critique.
ProletroleumCole , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:27 am
It's easy to notice divide and conquer when it's hate against those of the same class but are of a different culture/race.

But what's *difficult* to notice is identifying with the elites of your race in a positive way.
A lot of people, especially with the onset of realityTV, tend to think rich people are just like them (albeit a little smarter). The methods and systems to keep power aren't considered. They're made non-threatening. So many billionaires and politicians act effete today to stoke this image.

Lynn Robb , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:31 am
"Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support."

So we're supposed to vote for Bernie Sanders?

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 22, 2019 at 11:30 am
" Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage tax deduction "

This jumped off the screen. I wonder how many people even realize that. Probably the same number who still believe that social security is a "forced savings".

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 22, 2019 at 11:47 am
Not to put too fine a point on it but clearly we are wasting our time arguing. As long as the current system of government remains in effect it will be same old same old.

Many changes are in order–starting with this archaic remnant of a bygone era called "The Two Party System".

Lert345 , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm
Spaniards are indeed Hispanic. The definition of Hispanic relates to a linguistic grouping – that is, relating to Spain or Spanish speaking countries. Your friend would indeed qualify for all sorts of preferences according to the definition.

As to being a POC, I could not locate any definition as to what threshold of skin tone qualifies someone as a POC. I wager none yet exists but will be forthcoming.

Johann

As for the skin tone of Spaniards, many in the south have the Moorish influence,however, in the rest of the country skin tones range from light beige to very fair. Rather similar to Italians, actually.

Dave , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:18 pm
First, kudos to Van Buren for getting a Seamless delivery while driving. That's not easy to coordinate. Second, I look forward to more conservative policies addressing poverty, drug addiction and access to health care. This article adds to the 10-year rant against what Democrats have done or want to do.

Like nearly every Republican of the last 10 years, Van Buren offers none here. But I'm sure once the complaining is out of his system, they will arrive.

david , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:31 pm
" Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage tax deduction "

Sorry, not taking your money is NOT subsidizing!

I thought this is a "conservative" idea to begin with? Apparently, it is not true even here.

Jealousy that others can keep their money is driving the worse instinct of many republicans.

Sigh.

Vincent , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Your Spaniard friend also has it all wrong. The real division line is between those willing to initiate coercion for their own self-righteousness and those who refuse to. Anyone that supports government is one-in-the-same, regardless of color or class.
LouB , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Thirty years ago I'd be asking who printed the canned response pamphlet to give prepared talking points to enable anyone to provide quick sharp tongued witty criticisms of anything they may encounter that didn't tow the party line.

Now I gotta ask where do I download the Trollware to accomplish the same thing.

Sharp article, thanks.

JonF , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm
The Moors were a tiny class of invaders who left rather little imprint on the Spanish genome. That was true of the Romans and the Goths as well. Spanish genes are mostly the genes of the pre-Roman population: the Iberians in the south (who maybe migrated from North Africa), Celts in the north, and the indigenous Basques along the Pyrenees.
WorkingClass , says: March 22, 2019 at 2:27 pm
Yes. And thank you. It's a class war and the working class, divided, is a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Carolyn , says: March 22, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Outstanding piece!
Dave , says: March 22, 2019 at 3:39 pm
What happened to "a rising tide lifts all boats"? We've been promised for decades that the wealth generated by those at the very top would "trickle down." This was a cornerstone of Reaganism that has been parroted ever since.

There have been naysayers who say that that theory was fantasy and that all we would have is increased wealth disparity and greater national deficits.

How peculiar.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 22, 2019 at 4:06 pm
A rising tide lifts all yachts.
-- author Morris Berman

[Mar 20, 2019] Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou - Observations by Walrus.

Notable quotes:
"... I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion. ..."
"... However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter. ..."
"... This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one." ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

I wrote in 2010 at SST on the characteristics and dangers associated with narcissistic leadership. "Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley healthcare startup founded and run by Elizabeth Holmes, a card carrying narcissist if ever I saw one.

This book, in my opinion, paints such a detailed and comprehensive picture of the way these creatures operate that I thought it worthwhile to bring it to the attention of SST members who may doubt my warnings of the dangers of allowing such folk near the levers of power in business and, worse, Government.

I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion.

Under the direction of the charismatic Holmes, Theranos burned through some $900 million in investors funds before being found out in 2015. Their blood testing business was a sham that endangered patients. The company's key business strengths were the "reality distortion field" Elizabeth Holmes projected over investors and directors and the twin weapons of secrecy and fear they wielded over their employees.

Disbelievers my argue that start up companies sometimes require desperate measures to stay afloat and that you cannot make an omelette, etc. etc. However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter.

If you wish to perhaps be a little forearmed against the day that you perhaps must engage with one of these creatures it would be well to understand the cautionary tale of Theranos. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Blood-Secrets-Silicon-Startup/dp/152473165X https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/05/walrus-on-narcissistic-leaders-.html

jnewman , 3 hours ago

This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com...
Godfree Roberts , 8 hours ago
In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one."

My study of Chinese government revealed an important truth -- one that explains much about that country's rapid rise: they find our amateur, promise-driven, personality-based governance repulsive. They would no more vote for amateur politicians than for amateur brain surgeons. To them charm, good looks, quick wits and rhetorical skill signify shallowness, instability and glibness. Altruistic politicians have been fundamental to Chinese governance for two millennia.

Their political stars have always been experienced, scholarly, altruistic problem-solvers chosen on merit after decades of testing.

In 1000 AD, during our Dark Ages, with just one scholar-official for every eight thousand citizens, China was harmonious, technologically advanced and prosperous. Emperors and dynasties came and went while loyal, disciplined–often courageous–civil servants lived far from family, serving in remote regions under terrible conditions.

Confucius'[2] moral meritocracy and the rigors of the job discouraged sociopaths and officials integrity, efficiency and entrepreneurial energy made China the most advanced civilization on earth.

So highly do the Chinese esteem their best politicians that they deified one whose legacy, a water diversion project, has repaid its capital investment every twenty-four hours for 2,270 years. Millions visit his shrine, which is built overlooking his masterpiece, every year to offer incense and sincere thanks.

The altruistic tradition is remembered in a Singapore Government White Paper, "The concept of government by honorable men who have a duty to do right for the people and who have their trust and respect fits us better than the Western idea that government power should be as limited as possible."

And would-be members of China's Communist Party take an oath to "Bear the people's difficulties before the people and enjoy their fruits of their labors after the people". They often fail, obviously, but at least they've got something to shoot for–and a standard that the other 1.3 billion non-members can hold them to.

[1] The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout Ph.D.
[2] The Doctrine of the Mean

[Mar 20, 2019] The sex slave scandal that exposed pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein by Maureen Callahan

Notable quotes:
"... Another house manager, Alfredo Rodriguez, told Recarey that very young girls were giving Epstein massages at least twice a day, and in one instance, Epstein had Rodriguez deliver one dozen roses to Mary, at her high school. ..."
"... Palm Beach prosecutors said the evidence was weak, and after presenting the case to a grand jury, Epstein was charged with only one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. In 2008, he pleaded guilty and nominally served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail: Epstein spent one day a week there, the other six out on "work release." ..."
"... Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court. As of 2015, Epstein had settled multiple such cases. ..."
Oct 09, 2016 | nypost.com
Judge gives deadline for arguments relating to unsealing Jeffrey Epstein documents Documents related to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein may be unsealed Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's deal with feds was illegal: judge Northam has only himself to blame In 2005, the world was introduced to reclusive billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, friend to princes and an American president, a power broker with the darkest of secrets: He was also a pedophile, accused of recruiting dozens of underage girls into a sex-slave network, buying their silence and moving along, although he has been convicted of only one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Visitors to his private Caribbean island, known as "Orgy Island," have included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Stephen Hawking.

According to a 2011 court filing by alleged Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, she saw Clinton and Prince Andrew on the island but never saw the former president do anything improper. Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was a minor, a charge Buckingham Palace denies.

"Epstein lives less than one mile away from me in Palm Beach," author James Patterson tells The Post. In the 11 years since Epstein was investigated and charged by the Palm Beach police department, ultimately copping a plea and serving 13 months on one charge of soliciting prostitution from a 14-year-old girl, Patterson has remained obsessed with the case.

"He's a fascinating character to read about," Patterson says. "What is he thinking? Who is he?"

Patterson's new book, "Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice That Money Can Buy," is an attempt to answer such questions. Co-authored with John Connolly and Tim Malloy, the book contains detailed police interviews with girls who alleged sexual abuse by Epstein and others in his circle. Giuffre alleged that Epstein's ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, abused her. Ghislaine Maxwell has denied allegations of enabling abuse.

Epstein has spent the bulk of his adult life cultivating relationships with the world's most powerful men. Flight logs show that from 2001 to 2003, Bill Clinton flew on Epstein's private plane, dubbed "The Lolita Express" by the press, 26 times. After Epstein's arrest in July 2006, federal tax records show Epstein donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation that year.

Bill Clinton in 1994. AP

Epstein was also a regular visitor to Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago, and the two were friends. According to the Daily Mail, Trump was a frequent dinner guest at Epstein's home, which was often full of barely dressed models. In 2003, New York magazine reported that Trump also attended a dinner party at Epstein's honoring Bill Clinton.

Last year, The Guardian reported that Epstein's "little black book" contained contact numbers for A-listers including Tony Blair, Naomi Campbell, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson.

In a 2006 court filing, Palm Beach police noted that a search of Epstein's home uncovered two hidden cameras. The Mirror reported that in 2015, a 6-year-old civil lawsuit filed by "Jane Doe No. 3," believed to be the now-married Giuffre, alleged that Epstein wired his mansion with hidden cameras, secretly recording orgies involving his prominent friends and underage girls. The ultimate purpose: blackmail, according to court papers.

Britain's Prince Andrew in 2012 AP

"Jane Doe No. 3" also alleged that she had been forced to have sex with "numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders."

"We uncovered a lot of details about the police investigation and a lot about the girls, what happened to them, the effect on their lives," Patterson says.

"The reader has to ask: Was justice done here or not?"

Epstein, now 63, has always been something of an international man of mystery. Born in Brooklyn, he had a middle-class upbringing: His father worked for the Parks Department, and his parents stressed hard work and education.

'We uncovered a lot of details about the police investigation and a lot about the girls, what happened to them, the effect on their lives.'

- James Patterson

Epstein was brilliant, skipping two grades and graduating Lafayette High School in 1969. He attended Cooper Union but dropped out in 1971 and by 1973 was teaching calculus and physics at Dalton, where he tutored the son of a Bear Stearns exec. Soon, Epstein applied his facility with numbers on Wall Street but left Bear Stearns under a cloud in 1981. He formed his own business, J. Epstein & Co.

The bar for entry at the new firm was high. According to a 2002 profile in New York magazine, Epstein only took on clients who turned over $1 billion, at minimum, for him to manage. Clients also had to pay a flat fee and sign power of attorney over to Epstein, allowing him to do whatever he saw fit with their money.

Still, no one knew exactly what Epstein did, or how he was able to amass a personal billion-dollar-plus fortune. In addition to a block-long, nine-story mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Epstein owns the $6.8 million mansion in Palm Beach, an $18 million property in New Mexico, the 70-acre private Caribbean island, a helicopter, a Gulfstream IV and a Boeing 727.

"My belief is that Jeff maintains some sort of money-management firm, though you won't get a straight answer from him," one high-level investor told New York magazine. "He once told me he had 300 people working for him, and I've also heard that he manages Rockefeller money. But one never knows. It's like looking at the Wizard of Oz -- there may be less there than meets the eye."

Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach home Splash News

"He's very enigmatic," Rosa Monckton told Vanity Fair in 2003. Monckton was the former British CEO of Tiffany & Co. and confidante to the late Princess Diana. She was also a close friend of Epstein's since the 1980s. "He never reveals his hand . . . He's a classic iceberg. What you see is not what you get."

Both profiles intimated that Epstein had a predilection for young women but never went further. In the New York magazine piece, Trump said Epstein's self-professed image as a loner, an egghead and a teetotaler was not wholly accurate.

Donald Trump in 1990 AP

"I've known Jeff for 15 years," Trump said. "Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it -- Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Three years after that profile ran, Palm Beach Police Officer Michele Pagan got a disturbing message. A woman reported that her 14-year-old stepdaughter confided to a friend that she'd had sex with an older man for money. The man's name was Jeff, and he lived in a mansion on a cul-de-sac.

Pagan persuaded the woman to bring her stepdaughter down to be interviewed. In his book, Patterson calls the girl Mary. And Mary, like so many of the other girls who eventually talked, came from the little-known working-class areas surrounding Palm Beach.

A friend of a friend, Mary said, told her she could make hundreds of dollars in one hour, just for massaging some middle-aged guy's feet. Lots of other girls had been doing it, some three times a week.

Mary claimed she had been driven to the mansion on El Brillo Way, where a female staffer escorted her up a pink-carpeted staircase, then into a room with a massage table, an armoire topped with sex toys and a photo of a little girl pulling her underwear off.

Ghislaine Maxwell Getty Images

Epstein entered the room, wearing only a towel, Mary said.

"He took off the towel," Mary told Pagan. "He was a really built guy. But his wee-wee was very tiny."

Mary said Epstein got on the table and barked orders at her. She told police she was alone in the room with him, terrified.

Pagan wrote the following in her incident report:

"She removed her pants, leaving her thong panties on. She straddled his back, whereby her exposed buttocks were touching Epstein's exposed buttocks. Epstein then turned to his side and started to rub his penis in an up-and-down motion. Epstein pulled out a purple vibrator and began to massage Mary's vaginal area."

Palm Beach assigned six more detectives to the investigation. They conducted a "trash pull" of Epstein's garbage, sifting through paper with phone numbers, used condoms, toothbrushes, worn underwear. In one pull, police found a piece of paper with Mary's phone number on it, along with the number of the person who recruited her.

On Sept. 11, 2005, detectives got another break. Alison, as she's called in the book, told Detective Joe Recarey that she had been going to Epstein's house since she was 16. Alison had been working at the Wellington Green Mall, saving up for a trip to Maine, when a friend told her, "You can get a plane ticket in two hours . . . We can go give this guy a massage and he'll pay $200," according to her statement to the police.

Alison told Recarey that she visited Epstein hundreds of times. She said he had bought her a new 2005 Dodge Neon, plane tickets, and gave her spending money. Alison said he even asked her to emancipate from her parents so she could live with him full-time as his "sex slave."

She said Epstein slowly escalated his sexual requests, and despite Alison's insistence that they never have intercourse, alleged, "This one time . . . he bent me over the table and put himself in me. Without my permission."

Alison then asked if what Epstein had done to her was rape and spoke of her abject fear of him.

An abridged version of her witness statement, as recounted in the book:

Alison : Before I say anything else . . . um, is there a possibility that I'm gonna have to go to court or anything?
Recarey : I mean, what he did to you is a crime. I'm not gonna lie to you.
Alison : Would you consider it rape, what he did?
Recarey : If he put himself inside you without permission . . . That, that is a crime. That is a crime.
Alison : I don't want my family to find out about this . . . 'Cause Jeffrey's gonna get me. You guys realize that, right? . . . I'm not safe now. I'm not safe.
Recarey : Why do you say you're not safe? Has he said he's hurt people before?
Alison : Well, I've heard him make threats to people on the telephone, yeah. Of course.
Recarey : You're gonna die? You're gonna break your legs? Or  --
Alison : All of the above!

Alison also told Recarey that Epstein got so violent with her that he ripped out her hair and threw her around. "I mean," she said, "there's been nights that I walked out of there barely able to walk, um, from him being so rough."

Two months later, Recarey interviewed Epstein's former house manager of 11 years, documented in his probable-cause affidavit as Mr. Alessi. "Alessi stated Epstein receives three massages a day . . . towards the end of his employment, the masseuses . . . appeared to be 16 or 17 years of age at the most . . . [Alessi] would have to wash off a massager/vibrator and a long rubber penis, which were in the sink after the massage."

Another house manager, Alfredo Rodriguez, told Recarey that very young girls were giving Epstein massages at least twice a day, and in one instance, Epstein had Rodriguez deliver one dozen roses to Mary, at her high school.

In May 2006, the Palm Beach Police Department filed a probable-cause affidavit, asking prosecutors to charge Epstein with four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor -- a second-degree felony -- and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a 14-year-old minor, also a second-degree felony.

Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court.

Palm Beach prosecutors said the evidence was weak, and after presenting the case to a grand jury, Epstein was charged with only one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. In 2008, he pleaded guilty and nominally served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail: Epstein spent one day a week there, the other six out on "work release."

Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court. As of 2015, Epstein had settled multiple such cases.

Giuffre has sued Ghislaine Maxwell in Manhattan federal court, charging defamation -- saying Maxwell stated Giuffre lied about Maxwell's recruitment of her and other underage girls. Epstein has been called upon to testify in court this month, on Oct. 20.

The true number of Epstein's victims may never be known.

He will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, not that it fazes him. "I'm not a sexual predator, I'm an 'offender,' " Epstein told The Post in 2011. "It's the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel."

[Mar 20, 2019] Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

NYT is pro-Hillary neocon establishment influenced rag. One apt observation from NYT comments: "Trump's assertions about sleep should be taken with the grain of salt that all his other grandiose proclamations deserve. I suspect he makes those claims just to prove what an exceptional human he is. He doesn't even need to sleep much!"
Trumps come and go, but the deluded, totally brainwashed electorate will stay. That's the real problem. Degradation of democracy into oligarchy (the iron law of oligarchy) is an objective process. Currently what we see is some kind revolt against status quo. that's why Trump and Sanders get so many supporters.
Another one from comments: "Over the years, Pew surveys show that at least 60% of those polled can't name two branches of the government. Current campaigns, including that of Sanders, imply that the POTUS has a wide range of powers that are to be found nowhere in the Constitution." So none of Repug candidates understand this document. And still I must admit that "Trump is the best in breed when it comes to this GOP dog show." I agree that "Trump punches above his weight in debates "
NYT will never tell you why Hillary will be even more dangerous president.
Only a sleep disorder physician following a full-night study could tell us whether the diagnosis is clinically sound. This guy from NYT is a regular uneducated journo, not a certified physician. Why insult people who truly suffer from sleep deprivation? So all of them are obnoxious maniacs? To me a large part of his behavior is a typical alpha-male behavior. There are, in fact, a number of brilliant, driven alpha-males who function well with a bare amount of sleep. That may be an evolutionary trait that help them to achieve dominance. For example, Napoleon rarely slept more than 2-3 hours per 24-hour period, according to several historians. Churchill stayed up several nights in a row reading Hansard in his formative years and he was a gifted orator, one of the sharpest wits. He also was an alcoholic. Several famous famous mathematicians were among sleep deprived people. Like photographic memory this is a unique idiosyncrasy that is more frequent in alpha-males, not necessary a disease. BTW Angela Merkel is noted for her ability not to sleep for several nights, wearing her opponents into shreds via sleep deprivation and enforcing her decisions over the rest. That was last demonstrated in Minsk were she managed even to get Putin to agree on her terms.
He mentions this term "alpha male" despite the fact that it provides an alternative explanation. Also as one reader commented "So please explain the positions (and behaviors ) of Ayatollah Cruz and rubber man Rubio." Those two backstabbing pseudo-religious demagog got implicit support from the article.
How about this from sleep deprived person vs one definitely non-sleep deprive person (Jeb!): "Donald Trump joins the fight to release the secret 28 Pages of the 9/11 Report."
Notable quotes:
"... This is Tim's contribution to the growing movement to discredit Trump. Every candidate can be similarly eviscerated for their weaknesses, including character flaws. The problem is that our American system of electing leadership is deeply flawed and easily manipulated by advertising. The humiliating process of campaigning drives away our best prospects, leaving the country with weak, inconsistent leadership. ..."
"... gemli, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton pursued a regime change in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They got away with their foolish adventure by saying that Gaddafi was a bad guy, Assad is a bad guy and Putin is a bad guy. ..."
"... Mr. Trump is the sole American politician who is willing to say that we should cooperate with Putin. He is the only Republican to be open to single payer health care, the only Republican to say something good about Planned Parenthood and the only Republican to say that Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq war. ..."
"... Hillary Rodham and Marco Rubio are so awful that we would be better off with a nasty, sleep-deprived Trump. Besides, there is still a much better alternative: the irascible Bernie Sanders. He may be angry, but you would have to be crazy to not be angry with the mess we now have to live with: a rigged economy, "free trade", politics corrupted by money, and an insatiable Military Industrial Complex. ..."
"... A lot of people are angry and Trump is channeling that anger. Sanders is channeling a different anger but he is too nice, and will lose to Mrs. Clinton who is supported by the establishment. ..."
"... He, I believe is also the first American politician to say openly that we have to cooperate with Russia if we are really serious about taking on ISIS. Mr. Obama, with his Harvard education, has NO idea what to do about the ME and is floundering around. Meanwhile Russia and Assad and the Kurds are taking the lead, and our "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actually undermining the war against ISIS. ..."
"... I would not vote for Trump but if he does become president, we might actually have peace in the Middle East and we might actually have single payer health care. On the second, almost all the Democrats will support him and so will at least some Republicans. ..."
"... Trump is not a nice man but he might not be a disaster as president. ..."
"... Mr. Egan, Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has the classic symptoms which are described as follows, according to the Mayo Clinic ..."
"... Trump is right about one thing, He does make your head spin. ..."
"... I just finished reading 4 opinion columns by Bruni, Brooks, Krugman and lastly Tim Egan's, all published on Feb 26th. (May the last be first and the first last.) I hope Kasich wins to invoke a civil exchange of ideas in American politics, but I will vote for Bernie ..."
"... I imagine the Asians and/or Europe all laughing at us now, but at least the're not shouting and acting like children. Help me, I'm drowning. Give me a leader who can compromise in that great noble tradition which benefits everyone. It's called compassion for the global family. ..."
"... Ambler in "Background to Danger" has a small meditation about politics being not much of anything other than a face behind which the true story goes on, one of big business interests--or in general, economic interests. ..."
"... With Donald Trump the Republican party in the U.S. seems to have dropped the politics mask -- you have a combination of business and fascistic impulses. The question however, is why. Could it be because now all nations in the world find themselves hemmed, with a landlocked feeling like Germany had prior to outbreak of WW2? These business/authoritarian impulses today are not confined to the U.S. alone. ..."
"... how to satisfy in simple basics the restless masses of millions upon millions of people, everything else, not to mention culture, just collapsing in a crowd discussion of who gets what, when, where, why, and how. ..."
"... What's defective about Trump? He is obviously doing very well for himself - he is the likely Republican nominee and is not exactly starving despite multiple bankruptcies. ..."
"... There are real problems with politics in the US and Trump is getting support partly because he at least shows some signs, however delusionary, of addressing the concerns of the 99%. ..."
"... Why are Democrats so concerned that Donald Trump might be the Republican Party's nominee for President that the NY Times trots out editorials psychobabbling about his sleep deprivation? ..."
"... Trump may be all that the intellectual elite deride him for. Guess what? The people who support him don't care. They are tired of being told how to think by people who suppose themselves to be their betters. They will cast their votes and throw their support behind whomever they please, thank-you very much. ..."
"... And really, does Timothy Egan really believe Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing or saying? Because of sleep deprivation? Note to Mr. Egan: Whatever is Trump's sleep schedule, it seems to be working well for him. He's winning. ..."
"... Trump functions well enough to understand this: (1) The media is deceptive with an agenda of its own. (2) Big donors and big money control the career politicians. 93) Politicians can talk talk talk and make plans and policy and get nothing done. ..."
"... Trump and his supporters are on to all this now. The corrupt media, the corrupt big money and the all talk no action politicians. That is functioning well enough. Trump does not need to function beyond that. His supporters know it and he knows it. ..."
"... So far the best and the brightest highly educated intellectuals have let the USA down . Trump has a certain kind of intelligence that might be just what we need. He effectively cut through a crowded Republican field packed with ideological purists like a knife through butter. He is a very talented New Yorker who grew up in the 60s and went to Fordham before he went to Wharton. If you want to stick your finger in the collective eye of the "elite". vote for Trump. ..."
"... The republican party is the reactionary party. They are a little like the Sicilians described in the novel "The Leopard" where it is said that" In Sicily it doesn't matter whether things are done well or done badly; the sin which we Sicilians never forgive is simply that of 'doing' at all." ..."
"... The Taibbi piece can be found here at this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-... ..."
"... Better a sleep deprived bully than a well rested one, which what the rest of the bunch are. They clearly know exactly how to ruin the country and antagonize our allies. ..."
"... As you are reading this, recall how a stressful event in your own life interfered with your sleep. Well, given the frantic nature of the current Republican primary season, the travel, the debates, the probing press, the TV interviews, the speeches, the insults and what's at stake, all of the candidates must be sleep deprived. If they were not they wouldn't be human. Donald will do just fine once he becomes president and gets use to the job (or not). ..."
"... But what about those who hold those same obnoxious ideas arguably sans sleep deprivation? Palin, Cruz, Carson? Please do a series of columns linking the apparent absence of reason in many of the GOP candidates with the current DSM. ..."
"... I used to ridicule President Reagan's legendary afternoon naps. Now I am the age Reagan was as president, and I don't think I could function without napping when I don't get enough sleep at night. ..."
"... What is happening now is not about Trump. It's about what he represents. I don't normally read Peggy Noonan but she nails it today. "There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully. ..."
Feb 26, 2016 | The New York Times
michael kittle
vaison la romaine, france 17 hours ago

This is Tim's contribution to the growing movement to discredit Trump. Every candidate can be similarly eviscerated for their weaknesses, including character flaws. The problem is that our American system of electing leadership is deeply flawed and easily manipulated by advertising. The humiliating process of campaigning drives away our best prospects, leaving the country with weak, inconsistent leadership.

The founding fathers rejected a parliamentary system because it was like England's, but history indicates America could have avoided many political debacles if it had been easier to remove incompetent presidents when their decisions threatened the country. Modernizing our electoral system, shortening the campaign time, and raising the level of debate could improve the choices Americans are given.

Rohit
New York 8 hours ago

gemli, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton pursued a regime change in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They got away with their foolish adventure by saying that Gaddafi was a bad guy, Assad is a bad guy and Putin is a bad guy.

And maybe they are right about these people being bad guys. But the regime change policy has been a disaster. WE did not spend a trillion dollars and no AMERICAN troops died. But hundreds of thousands of Syrians are dead, millions knocking at Germany's door and Greece is overwhelmed with refugees. This was all the doing of the "Obama team".

Mr. Trump is the sole American politician who is willing to say that we should cooperate with Putin. He is the only Republican to be open to single payer health care, the only Republican to say something good about Planned Parenthood and the only Republican to say that Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq war.

YOU just see a nasty man in the Republican debates who talks nonsense and has no trouble lying. And that nasty mean does seem to be there, although given Trump, the nasty man might well be a façade who will vanish as soon as he faces the general election.

And you need to be aware of the fact that some of his positions are actually sensible and he is the only politician who has all these positions.

Unfortunately you guys hate Republicans so much that you see red any time you see one and that red in your eyes prevents you from seeing clearly.

Timothy Bal

Central Jersey 16 hours ago
A sleep-deprived Trump is still much better than a fully rested tool of the elites from either political party.

Hillary Rodham and Marco Rubio are so awful that we would be better off with a nasty, sleep-deprived Trump. Besides, there is still a much better alternative: the irascible Bernie Sanders. He may be angry, but you would have to be crazy to not be angry with the mess we now have to live with: a rigged economy, "free trade", politics corrupted by money, and an insatiable Military Industrial Complex.

Rohit, New York 9 hours ago
A lot of people are angry and Trump is channeling that anger. Sanders is channeling a different anger but he is too nice, and will lose to Mrs. Clinton who is supported by the establishment.

Trump is mean enough to take on the establishment, and win. And he is the first Republican brave enough to say that Planned Parenthood DOES do some good work. Like him, I do NOT think they should receive federal funding but that some or most of their work is actually health related is a fact.

He, I believe is also the first American politician to say openly that we have to cooperate with Russia if we are really serious about taking on ISIS. Mr. Obama, with his Harvard education, has NO idea what to do about the ME and is floundering around. Meanwhile Russia and Assad and the Kurds are taking the lead, and our "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actually undermining the war against ISIS.

I would not vote for Trump but if he does become president, we might actually have peace in the Middle East and we might actually have single payer health care. On the second, almost all the Democrats will support him and so will at least some Republicans.

Trump is not a nice man but he might not be a disaster as president.

Bob SE PA 6 hours ago

Mr. Egan, Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has the classic symptoms which are described as follows, according to the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-d... :

"DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  1. Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  2. Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  3. Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  4. Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  5. Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  6. Requiring constant admiration
  7. Having a sense of entitlement
  8. Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  9. Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  10. Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  11. Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  12. Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner"

bill b new york 16 hours ago

Trump is right about one thing, He does make your head spin.

Paul Greensboro, NC 11 hours ago

I just finished reading 4 opinion columns by Bruni, Brooks, Krugman and lastly Tim Egan's, all published on Feb 26th. (May the last be first and the first last.) I hope Kasich wins to invoke a civil exchange of ideas in American politics, but I will vote for Bernie or Hilary assuming an asteroid does not hit the earth before then.

I imagine the Asians and/or Europe all laughing at us now, but at least the're not shouting and acting like children. Help me, I'm drowning. Give me a leader who can compromise in that great noble tradition which benefits everyone. It's called compassion for the global family.

Daniel12 Wash. D.C. 14 hours ago

Donald Trump?

I'm on a project to read four (the four I could find so far) of the six Eric Ambler novels written prior to WW2. I'm on the second, "Background to Danger", now. Ambler in "Background to Danger" has a small meditation about politics being not much of anything other than a face behind which the true story goes on, one of big business interests--or in general, economic interests.

With Donald Trump the Republican party in the U.S. seems to have dropped the politics mask -- you have a combination of business and fascistic impulses. The question however, is why. Could it be because now all nations in the world find themselves hemmed, with a landlocked feeling like Germany had prior to outbreak of WW2? These business/authoritarian impulses today are not confined to the U.S. alone.

Worse, the opposition to big business, the other big economic theory of past decades, the socialistic/communistic trend, has been seen in practice whether we speak of Cuba or the Soviet Union or Venezuela or China. It seems all the masks of politics are coming off, all the ideals such as democracy, rights, communism, what have you and instead the argument is turning to actual and naked discussion of interests pure and simple, right and left wing economics, how to satisfy in simple basics the restless masses of millions upon millions of people, everything else, not to mention culture, just collapsing in a crowd discussion of who gets what, when, where, why, and how.

The open boat.

skeptonomist is a trusted commenter Tennessee 11 hours ago

What's defective about Trump? He is obviously doing very well for himself - he is the likely Republican nominee and is not exactly starving despite multiple bankruptcies.

What needs analysis is why so many people support Trump - what's up with them? And what defects in the establishments of both parties cause so many people to reject their selected dynastic picks.

There are real problems with politics in the US and Trump is getting support partly because he at least shows some signs, however delusionary, of addressing the concerns of the 99%.

Beachbum Paris 14 hours ago

This is all thanks to Rupert Murdoch

S.D.Keith Birmigham, AL 7 hours ago

Why are Democrats so concerned that Donald Trump might be the Republican Party's nominee for President that the NY Times trots out editorials psychobabbling about his sleep deprivation?

This is hilarious stuff. Trump may be all that the intellectual elite deride him for. Guess what? The people who support him don't care. They are tired of being told how to think by people who suppose themselves to be their betters. They will cast their votes and throw their support behind whomever they please, thank-you very much. That, much to the chagrin of the Progressive idealists who always believe they know better what people should need and want, is democracy in action. It may be ugly at times, but it is much preferred over every other form of governance.

In fact, articles like this, while red meat for establishmentarian dogs, serve only to strengthen Trump's bona fides among his supporters.

And really, does Timothy Egan really believe Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing or saying? Because of sleep deprivation? Note to Mr. Egan: Whatever is Trump's sleep schedule, it seems to be working well for him. He's winning.

J. San Ramon 9 hours ago

Trump functions well enough to understand this: (1) The media is deceptive with an agenda of its own. (2) Big donors and big money control the career politicians. 93) Politicians can talk talk talk and make plans and policy and get nothing done.

Trump and his supporters are on to all this now. The corrupt media, the corrupt big money and the all talk no action politicians. That is functioning well enough. Trump does not need to function beyond that. His supporters know it and he knows it.

Scott, NYC 7 hours ago

Another cheap hit piece by the Times. Just to fact check Mr. Egan. Trump just did very, very well with Hispanics in Nevada. So who's delusional?

AVT, Glen Cove, NY 7 hours ago

So far the best and the brightest highly educated intellectuals have let the USA down . Trump has a certain kind of intelligence that might be just what we need. He effectively cut through a crowded Republican field packed with ideological purists like a knife through butter. He is a very talented New Yorker who grew up in the 60s and went to Fordham before he went to Wharton. If you want to stick your finger in the collective eye of the "elite". vote for Trump. This message brought to you by a hugely "bigly" educated Queens lawyer. go Redmen

Excellency, is a trusted commenter Florida 9 hours ago

The republican party is the reactionary party. They are a little like the Sicilians described in the novel "The Leopard" where it is said that" In Sicily it doesn't matter whether things are done well or done badly; the sin which we Sicilians never forgive is simply that of 'doing' at all."

Imagine a man of action like Trump navigating that population, from which great jurists like Scalia emerge, and you have Trump behaving much as Egan describes and succeeding. Indeed, in that same novel it is said that "to rage and mock is gentlemanly, to grumble and whine is not."

S.R. Simon, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 9 hours ago

Matt Taibbi's pitch-perfect HOW AMERICA MADE DONALD TRUMP UNSTOPPABLE (Rolling Stone, Feb. 24) says it all, and to perfection. The Taibbi piece can be found here at this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-...

Nora01, New England 9 hours ago

Better a sleep deprived bully than a well rested one, which what the rest of the bunch are. They clearly know exactly how to ruin the country and antagonize our allies.

nzierler, New Hartford 9 hours ago

Ever wonder why Trump invokes the name of Carl Ihkan every chance he gets? Both engage in hostile takeovers. That's the predatory side of business. But how does that qualify Trump to be the Commander-In-Chief? I would not be surprised if a frustrated President Trump threatened to punch Vladimir Putin in the face. The very thought of President Trump is a nightmare, but no less a nightmare than President Cruz or President Rubio.

Dan Weber, Anchorage, Alaska 9 hours ago

John Kenneth Galbraith, who was in parts of his career intimate with government (including being American ambassador to India during the 1962 China-India War) said in his autobiography that sleep deprivation was the least-appreciated weakness of high-level decision makers in times of crisis.

Somewhere I've read of an experiment that concluded that someone who hasn't slept for 36 hours is as dysfunctional as if he were legally intoxicated. And I recall Colin Powell praising Ambien as the only thing that allowed him to travel as he had to. That's interesting, given Ambien's well-known potential amnesic side-effects.

Mike, San Diego 9 hours ago

As you are reading this, recall how a stressful event in your own life interfered with your sleep. Well, given the frantic nature of the current Republican primary season, the travel, the debates, the probing press, the TV interviews, the speeches, the insults and what's at stake, all of the candidates must be sleep deprived. If they were not they wouldn't be human. Donald will do just fine once he becomes president and gets use to the job (or not).

Carrollian, NY 9 hours ago

But what about those who hold those same obnoxious ideas arguably sans sleep deprivation? Palin, Cruz, Carson? Please do a series of columns linking the apparent absence of reason in many of the GOP candidates with the current DSM.

Richard Grayson, Brooklyn, NY 11 hours ago

Good call, though I suspect most presidential candidates need a lot more sleep. A friend of mine who lived near Michael Dukakis saw him a few weeks after the 1988 election, and he recounted that the Democratic presidential candidate said he was now sleeping so much better, that in the hectic pace of a campaign, he wasn't able to take the time to learn "what was really going on" and to process everything.

I used to ridicule President Reagan's legendary afternoon naps. Now I am the age Reagan was as president, and I don't think I could function without napping when I don't get enough sleep at night.

There's a campaign trope about who you want to be in the White House when an emergency call about a serious world crisis comes in at 3 a.m. I want him or her to be someone who didn't just go to sleep at 2 a.m.

CNNNNC, CT 11 hours ago

What is happening now is not about Trump. It's about what he represents. I don't normally read Peggy Noonan but she nails it today. "There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful-those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-the-rise-of-the-unprotected-145644...

Making the election about Trump personally conveniently ignores this new reality.

[Mar 20, 2019] The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7

Is this a plan of the elite to introduce national security state in action. Are they afraid of the collapse of neoliberal social order and try to take precautions?
Notable quotes:
"... These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness. ..."
"... the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. ..."
"... Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side-much like the topping of a tall redwood tree-not a concentric, vertical collapse. ..."
"... no molten metal ..."
"... A reporter with rare access to the debris at ground zero "descended deep below street level to areas where underground fires still burned and steel flowed in molten streams." ..."
"... Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories : ..."
"... Why would the Insiders bother blowing Building 7? Indeed, why would the Insiders bother with WTC at all? Exactly what were the motivations of the Insiders supposed to be? ..."
"... Larry Silverstein had a magic ball that told him to insure the buildings for "terrorist attacks". In February of 2002, Silverstein was awarded $861,000,000 for his insurance claims from Industrial Risk Insurers. His initial investment in WTC 7 was only $386,000,000. ..."
"... Perhaps after the first couple of attempted attacks on the WTC in the 90's they had a good look at what would happen if an attack was successful. Perhaps they then decided that the massive collateral damage from a partial or messy collapse could be greatly reduced by having the buildings ready to be brought down in a controlled way. ..."
"... All this would have to be kept secret as noone would work in a building lined with explosives. However the insurance companies, and the owner of the building would know, and this would explain the comments made by silverstein (comments that he himself never clarified). ..."
"... This may all be completely wrong, but lets face it, explosives did bring these buildings down. ..."
"... http://topdocumentaryfilms.com ...How about a 5 hour video that methodically refutes and explains the flaws of virtually every aspect of the 'official story', in particular the shamefully flawed NIST report ..."
"... There were no pyroclastic flows at WTC. That's obvious by the fact that pieces of intact paper lay everywhere, something that would be impossible if a hot cloud covered the area. ..."
"... The reason that you have to resort to esoteric explanations for what happened at WTC is that you believe lies about what happened at WTC. ..."
"... If you really believe that this was done by hydrocarbon based fires begun by burning jet fuel you are beyond hopeless. ..."
"... Why do you trust the government so much? That to me is idiotic. History has proven pretty much every government to be corrupt. It's sheep like you that allow them to get away with it. Just keep walking sheep, don't want to fall back from the mob. ..."
"... The "accepted scholarship" is conducted almost entirely by government shills for the benefit of dumbed down Americans whose information intake is limited to Fox, CNN, and MSNBC. ..."
Sep 15, 2012 | WashingtonsBlog

... ... ...

What Do the Experts Say?

What does the evidence show about the Solomon Brothers Building in Manhattan?

Numerous structural engineers – the people who know the most about office building vulnerabilities and accidents – say that the official explanation of why building 7 at the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 is "impossible", "defies common logic" and "violates the law of physics":

The collapse of WTC7 looks like it may have been the result of a controlled demolition. This should have been looked into as part of the original investigation

Photos of the steel, evidence about how the buildings collapsed, the unexplainable collapse of WTC 7, evidence of thermite in the debris as well as several other red flags, are quite troubling indications of well planned and controlled demolition

In my view, the chances of the three buildings collapsing symmetrically into their own footprint, at freefall speed, by any other means than by controlled demolition, are so remote that there is no other plausible explanation

Near-freefall collapse violates laws of physics. Fire induced collapse is not consistent with observed collapse mode . . . .

How did the structures collapse in near symmetrical fashion when the apparent precipitating causes were asymmetrical loading? The collapses defies common logic from an elementary structural engineering perspective.

***

Heat transmission (diffusion) through the steel members would have been irregular owing to differing sizes of the individual members; and, the temperature in the members would have dropped off precipitously the further away the steel was from the flames-just as the handle on a frying pan doesn't get hot at the same rate as the pan on the burner of the stove. These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness.

Structural steel is highly ductile, when subjected to compression and bending it buckles and bends long before reaching its tensile or shear capacity. Under the given assumptions, "if" the structure in the vicinity started to weaken, the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. The opposite, intact, side of the building would resist toppling until the ultimate capacity of the structure was reached, at which point, a weak-link failure would undoubtedly occur. Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side-much like the topping of a tall redwood tree-not a concentric, vertical collapse.

For this reason alone, I rejected the official explanation for the collapse .

We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below.We do not know the phenomenon of the high rise building to disintegrate internally faster than the free fall of the debris coming down from the top.

The engineering science and the law of physics simply doesn't know such possibility. Only very sophisticated controlled demolition can achieve such result, eliminating the natural dampening effect of the structural framing huge mass that should normally stop the partial collapse. The pancake theory is a fallacy, telling us that more and more energy would be generated to accelerate the collapse. Where would such energy would be coming from?

Fire and impact were insignificant in all three buildings [Again, please ignore any reference to the Twin Towers this essay focuses solely on WTC7]. Impossible for the three to collapse at free-fall speed. Laws of physics were not suspended on 9/11, unless proven otherwise

The symmetrical "collapse" due to asymmetrical damage is at odds with the principles of structural mechanics

It is virtually impossible for WTC building 7 to collapse as it did with the influence of sporadic fires. This collapse HAD to be planned

It is very suspicious that fire brought down Building 7 yet the Madrid hotel fire was still standing after 24 hours of fire. This is very suspicious to me because I design buildings for a living

The above is just a sample. Many other structural engineers have questioned the collapse of Building 7, as have numerous top experts in other relevant disciplines, including:

The collapse was too symmetrical to have been eccentrically generated. The destruction was symmetrically initiated to cause the buildings to implode as they did

Watch this short video on Building 7 by Architects and Engineers (ignore any reference to the Twin Towers, deaths on 9/11, or any other topics other than WTC7):

Fish In a Barrel

Poking holes in the government's spin on Building 7 is so easy that it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

As just one example, the spokesman for the government agency which says that the building collapsed due to fire said there was no molten metal at ground zero:


The facts are a wee bit different:

Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories:

Approximately three million gallons of water were hosed on site in the fire-fighting efforts, and 1 million gallons fell as rainwater, between 9/11 and 9/21 .

The spraying continued for months afterward (the 10 day period was simply the timeframe in which the DOE was sampling). Enormous amounts of water were hosed on Ground Zero continuously, day and night:

"Firetrucks [sprayed] a nearly constant jet of water on [ground zero]. You couldn't even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there," said Tom Manley of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest fire department union. "It was like you were creating a giant lake."

This photograph may capture a sense of how wet the ground became due to the constant spraying:

murphy Arguments Regarding the Collapse of the World Trade Center Evaporate Upon Inspection
In addition, the fires were sprayed with thousands of gallons of high tech fire-retardants.

The fact that there were raging fires and molten metal even after the application of massive quantities of water and fire retardants shows how silly the government spokesman's claim is.

Again, this has nothing to do with "inside job" no one was killed in the collapse of Building 7, no wars were launched based on a rallying cry of "remember the Solomon Brothers building", and no civil liberties were lost based on a claim that we have to prevent future WTC7 tragedies.

It is merely meant to show that government folks sometimes lie even about issues tangentially related to 9/11.

Pooua > Wolfen Batroach • 2 years ago

Why would the Insiders bother blowing Building 7? Indeed, why would the Insiders bother with WTC at all? Exactly what were the motivations of the Insiders supposed to be?

JusticeFor911 > Pooua

Larry Silverstein had a magic ball that told him to insure the buildings for "terrorist attacks". In February of 2002, Silverstein was awarded $861,000,000 for his insurance claims from Industrial Risk Insurers. His initial investment in WTC 7 was only $386,000,000.

I'd say nearly half of $1,000,000,000.00 was the primary cause to include this building with the towers. Keep in mind that President Bush's brother Marvin was a principal in the company Securacom that provided security for the WTC, United Airlines and Dulles International Airport. Are dots connecting yet?

Pooua > JusticeFor911

If you buy a new car, you take out full coverage insurance on it. Insuring billion-dollar buildings is standard procedure, especially when one had already suffered a terrorist attack. You insinuation is nothing but gossip and suggestion.

No, Securacom did not provide security for WTC; that's the job of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. Securacom had a contract to perform a limited service for PANYNJ, and Marvin Bush was only a bit player (he was on the board of directors) in the company. Your paranoid ramblings are lies.

IBSHILLIN > Pooua

Perhaps after the first couple of attempted attacks on the WTC in the 90's they had a good look at what would happen if an attack was successful. Perhaps they then decided that the massive collateral damage from a partial or messy collapse could be greatly reduced by having the buildings ready to be brought down in a controlled way.

All this would have to be kept secret as noone would work in a building lined with explosives. However the insurance companies, and the owner of the building would know, and this would explain the comments made by silverstein (comments that he himself never clarified).

This may all be completely wrong, but lets face it, explosives did bring these buildings down.

Pooua > IBSHILLIN

I find it amazing that you consider yourself such an unquestionable expert that you not only feel qualified to insist that explosives brought down the WTC buildings, even in contradiction to scores of scientists, engineers and investigators of NIST, FEMA, FBI and MIT who say otherwise, and you do so without offering any evidence at all to support your bizarre claim.

No building the size of any of the WTC buildings has ever been brought down by controlled demolition, but of those that come closest, the planning took years, and the rigging took months of hard work by teams of experts working around the clock. This is not something that can be hidden.

Your suggestion is entirely preposterous and without merit.

ihaveabrain > Pooua

explain this? You are smarter than these experts? http://www.hulu.com/watch/4120...

NIST, FEMA, FBI and MIT are worthless entities! What about the experts in that documentary? Nanothermite brought them down smart guy!

Pooua > ihaveabrain • 25 days ago

You posted a 1.5-hour video. I am not here to watch a 1.5-hour video; I'm here to discuss the topic of the collapse of WTC 7. If you have something to say, say it here.

NIST has been the premier standards body used by the US government for a century, covering virtually every aspect of engineering and public safety in this country. It employes thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians. For you to claim that it is a worthless entity is idiocy on your part.

linked1 > Pooua • 24 days ago

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com ...How about a 5 hour video that methodically refutes and explains the flaws of virtually every aspect of the 'official story', in particular the shamefully flawed NIST report

You claim to want to discuss the topic of the collapse of WTC-7 but you can't be bothered to watch painstakingly researched documentaries that include thousands of witnesses, victims, scientists, and structural professionals.

You ought to educate yourself before calling other's claims 'worthless idiocy'. You are wrong, and history will prove you wrong.

Pooua > linked1

I've been reading arguments about 9/11 for two years. I've been arguing about other issues for the last 25 years, at least since I took a class in classical logic. What you need to understand is, you aren't arguing anything when you send me off to listen to someone else. The other guy might be arguing something, but you aren't doing anything. And, the fact that I've spent two years reading everything I could find on the subject makes me strongly suspect that this five-hour video would be just a waste of my time.

If you want to discuss this matter, then discuss it. Don't send me off to spend hours of my time listening to someone else. You explain it. If you can't explain it, then you don't understand it, and you are wasting everyone's time.

mulegino1 . > Pooua

The levels of energy required to turn most of the Twin Towers and WTC7 into nanoparticles (thus the pyrocastic flow which only occurs in volcanic eruptions and nuclear detonations) would be thousands of orders of magnitude greater than airliner impacts and hydrocarbon based office fires, which are claimed to have initiated a "gravity collapse".

How could a "gravity collapse" perfectly mimic the detonation of a small tactical nuclear device or devices-electromagnetic pulse, molten lava and a mushroom cloud?

Pooua > mulegino1

I want you to look at this image from the WTC on 9/11. It shows the debris after the Towers collapsed. Does this look like nanoparticles to you? Most of the debris was bigger than a man's fist.

Thumbnail

There were no pyroclastic flows at WTC. That's obvious by the fact that pieces of intact paper lay everywhere, something that would be impossible if a hot cloud covered the area.

The reason that you have to resort to esoteric explanations for what happened at WTC is that you believe lies about what happened at WTC.

mulegino1 . > Pooua

If you really believe that this was done by hydrocarbon based fires begun by burning jet fuel you are beyond hopeless.

There was indeed a pyroclasticas flow as anyone with youtube can determine for themselves.

Pooua > WilliamBinney • a year ago

It is your job to do more than make idiotic, speculative assertions and pretend that constitutes a reason for disregarding the government's account of the event. Yet, you all have completely failed to do anything except expose your own inability to account for the events of that day.

Dizzer13 > Pooua • a year ago

Why do you trust the government so much? That to me is idiotic. History has proven pretty much every government to be corrupt. It's sheep like you that allow them to get away with it. Just keep walking sheep, don't want to fall back from the mob.

mulegino1 . > Pooua • 2 years ago

The "accepted scholarship" is conducted almost entirely by government shills for the benefit of dumbed down Americans whose information intake is limited to Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.

The official narrative is so ludicrous from any standpoint that the "debunkers" resort to wildly implausible scenarios in order to convince the above cited demographic that the government and the major national media were reporting factual information when in fact they were reading from a script. And it was a very poorly written script. The Bin Laden bogeyman was already being invoked before the buildings exploded.

What you've got here is a pseudo-religious narrative designed to so enrage the dumbed down sheeple that they will lash out in their fury against virtually anyone designated by the powers that be as the enemy- a Sorelian myth.

Like any false narrative, the official story breaks down at the level of discrete facts and can only survive as a holistic mythologized, meta-historical events.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] College-entrance-exam cheating scandal exposes corrupt aristocracy (Video)

Mar 18, 2019 | theduran.com

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran's Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the college admissions scam revolving around William Rick Singer, who was running a for-profit college-counseling program, where according to federal prosecutors, has a goal focused on helping "the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school."

Arrest warrants for Hollywood stars, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were delivered on Tuesday following their alleged involvement in a college-entrance-exam cheating scandal.

According to CNN, the women were two of around 50 people who were the subject of federal indictment following an extensive FBI investigation named "Operation Varsity Blues."

Loughlin's husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was also implicated, and was arrested early on Tuesday morning.

TMZ reported that Huffman was arrested by seven armed FBI agents. Her husband, William H. Macy, has not been charged in connection to the case. Loughlin, Giannulli, and Huffman are all facing charges of felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman is accused of spending $15,000 on an organization that allegedly helped her daughter cheat on her SATs. Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team for which neither of Loughlin's daughters rowed crew.

All three were recorded by the FBI on phone calls discussing their plans to alter or lie about their children's college applications.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DCX35SWyrSU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Via Zerohedge


Is there anything left in this country that has not been deeply tainted by corruption?

By now you have probably heard that dozens of people have been arrested for participating in a multi-million dollar college admissions scam. Enormous amounts of money were paid out in order to ensure that children from very wealthy families were able to get into top schools such as Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California. And as The Economic Collapse blog's Michael Snyder writes, we should certainly be disgusted by these revelations, but we shouldn't be surprised. Such corruption happens every single day on every single level of society in America. At this point our nation is so far gone that it is shocking when you run into someone that actually still has some integrity.

The "mastermind" behind this college admissions scam was a con man named William Rick Singer. He had been successfully getting the kids of wealthy people into top colleges for years using "side doors", and he probably thought that he would never get caught.

But he did.

There were four basic methods that Singer used to get children from wealthy families into elite schools. The first two methods involved bribes

Bribing college entrance exam administrators to allow a third party to facilitate cheating on college entrance exams, in some cases by posing as actual students,' is the first.

Bribing university athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits – regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport,' is the second.

Because many of these kids didn't even play the sports they were being "recruited" for, in some cases Photoshop was used to paste their faces on to the bodies of real athletes

In order to get non-athletic kids admitted to college as athletes, Singer often had to create fake profiles for them. Sometimes this involved fabricating resumes that listed them having played on elite club teams, but to finish the illusion Singer and his team would also use Photoshop to combine photos of the kids with actual athletes in the sport.

A number of college coaches became exceedingly wealthy from taking bribes to "recruit" kids that would never play once they got to school, but now a lot of those same coaches are probably going to prison.

The third and fourth methods that Singer used involved more direct forms of cheating

'Having a third party take classes in place of the actual students, with the understanding that the grades earned in those classes would be submitted as part of the students' application,' is the third.

The fourth was 'submitting falsified applications for admission to universities that, among other things, included the fraudulently obtained exam scores and class grades, and often listed fake awards and athletic activities.'

Of course the main thing that the media is focusing on is the fact that some celebrities are among those being charged in this case, and that includes Lori Loughlin from "Full House"

It was important to "Full House" star Lori Loughlin that her kids have "the college experience" that she missed out on, she said back in 2016.

Loughlin, along with "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman, is among those charged in a scheme in which parents allegedly bribed college coaches and insiders at testing centers to help get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Despite how cynical I have become lately, I never would have guessed that Lori Loughlin was capable of such corruption.

After all, she seems like such a nice lady on television.

But apparently she was extremely determined to make sure that her daughters had "the college experience", and so Loughlin and her husband shelled out half a million dollars in bribes

Loughlin and Giannulli 'agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact that they did not participate in crew – thereby facilitating their admission to USC,' according to the documents.

As bad as this scandal is, can we really say that it is much worse than what is going on around the rest of the country every single day?

Of course not.

We are a very sick nation, and we are getting sicker by the day.

William Rick Singer had a good con going, and he should have stopped while he was ahead

William "Rick" Singer said he had the inside scoop on getting into college, and anyone could get in on it with his book, "Getting In: Gaining Admission To Your College of Choice."

"This book is full of secrets," he said in Chapter 1 before dispensing advice on personal branding, test-taking and college essays.

But Singer had even bigger secrets, and those would cost up to $1.2 million.

But like most con men, Singer just had to keep pushing the envelope, and in the end it is going to cost him everything.

The ironic thing is that our colleges and universities are pulling an even bigger con. They have convinced all of us that a college education is the key to a bright future, but meanwhile the quality of the "education" that they are providing has deteriorated dramatically. I spent eight years in school getting three degrees, and so I know what I am talking about. For much more on all this, please see my recent article entitled "50 Actual College Course Titles That Prove That America's Universities Are Training Our College Students To Be Socialists" .

I know that it is not fashionable to talk about "morality" and "values" these days, but the truth is that history has shown us that any nation that is deeply corrupt is not likely to survive for very long.

Our founders understood this, and former president John Adams once stated that our Constitution "was made only for a moral and religious people"

Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Today, we are neither moral or religious.


What we are is deeply corrupt, and America will not survive if we keep going down this path.

[Mar 18, 2019] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 15, 2019] Patriots Turning To #YangGang In Response To Trump, Conservatism Inc. Failure by James Kirkpatrick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Yang promises a universal entitlement, not dependent on income, that he calls a "freedom dividend." To be funded through a value added tax , Yang claims that it would reduce the strain on "health care, incarceration, homeless services, and the like" and actually save billions of dollars. Yang also notes that "current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally." ..."
"... Yang is justifying the need for such a program because of automation . Again, VDARE.com has been exploring how automation may necessitate such a program for many years . Yang also discussed this problem on Tucker Carlson's show , which alone shows he is more open to real discussion than many progressive activists. ..."
"... Indeed, journalists, hall monitors that they are, have recognized that President Trump's online supporters are flocking to Yang, bringing him a powerful weapon in the meme wars. ..."
"... it is ominous for Trump that many of the more creative and dedicated people who formed his vanguard are giving up on him. ..."
Mar 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

The dark horse candidate of the 2020 Democratic primary is entrepreneur Andrew Yang , who just qualified for the first round of debates by attracting over 65,000 unique donors. [ Andrew Yang qualifies for first DNC debate with 65,000 unique donors , by Orion Rummler, Axios, March 12, 2019]

Yang is a businessman who has worked in several fields, but was best known for founding Venture for America , which helps college graduates become entrepreneurs. However, he is now gaining recognition for his signature campaign promise -- $1,000 a month for every American.

Yang promises a universal entitlement, not dependent on income, that he calls a "freedom dividend." To be funded through a value added tax , Yang claims that it would reduce the strain on "health care, incarceration, homeless services, and the like" and actually save billions of dollars. Yang also notes that "current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally."

As Yang himself notes, this is not a new idea, nor one particularly tied to the Left. Indeed, it's been proposed by several prominent libertarians because it would replace the far more inefficient welfare system. Charles Murray called for this policy in 2016. [ A guaranteed income for every American , AEI, June 3, 2016] Milton Friedman suggested a similar policy in a 1968 interview with William F. Buckley, though Friedman called it a "negative income tax."

He rejected arguments that it would cause indolence. F.A. Hayek also supported such a policy; he essentially took it for granted . [ Friedrich Hayek supported a guaranteed minimum income , by James Kwak, Medium, July 20, 2015]

It's also been proposed by many nationalists, including, well, me. At the January 2013 VDARE.com Webinar, I called for a "straight-up minimum income for citizens only" among other policies that would build a new nationalist majority and deconstruct Leftist power. I've retained that belief ever since and argued for it here for years.

However, I've also made the argument that it only works if it is for citizens only and is combined with a restrictive immigration policy. As I previously argued in a piece attacking Jacobin's disingenuous complaints about the "reserve army of the unemployed," you simply can't support high wages, workers' rights, and a universal basic income while still demanding mass immigration.

Yang is justifying the need for such a program because of automation . Again, VDARE.com has been exploring how automation may necessitate such a program for many years . Yang also discussed this problem on Tucker Carlson's show , which alone shows he is more open to real discussion than many progressive activists.

Yang is also directly addressing the crises that the Trump Administration has seemly forgotten. Unlike Donald Trump himself, with his endless boasting about "low black and Hispanic unemployment," Yang has directly spoken about the demographic collapse of white people because of "low birth rates and white men dying from substance abuse and suicide ."

Though even the viciously anti-white Dylan Matthews called the tweet "innocuous," there is little doubt if President Trump said it would be called racist. [ Andrew Yang, the 2020 long-shot candidate running on a universal basic income, explained , Vox, March 11, 2019]

Significantly, President Trump himself has never once specifically recognized the plight of white Americans.

...He wants to make Puerto Rico a state . He supports a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, albeit with an 18-year waiting period and combined with pledges to secure the border and deport illegals who don't enroll in the citizenship program. He wants to create a massive bureaucratic system to track gun owners, restrict gun ownership , and require various "training" programs for licenses. He wants to subsidize local journalists with taxpayer dollars...

... ... ...

Indeed, journalists, hall monitors that they are, have recognized that President Trump's online supporters are flocking to Yang, bringing him a powerful weapon in the meme wars. (Sample meme at right.) And because many of these online activists are "far right" by Main Stream Media standards, or at least Politically Incorrect, there is much hand-waving and wrist-flapping about the need for Yang to decry "white nationalists." So of course, the candidate has dutifully done so, claiming "racism and white nationalism [are] a threat to the core ideals of what it means to be an American". [ Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a meme problem , by Russell Brandom, The Verge, March 9, 2019]

But what does it mean to be an American? As more and more of American history is described as racist, and even national symbols and the national anthem are targets for protest, "America" certainly doesn't seem like a real country with a real identity. Increasingly, "America" resembles a continent-sized shopping mall, with nothing holding together the warring tribes that occupy it except money.

President Trump, of course, was elected because many people thought he could reverse this process, especially by limiting mass immigration and taking strong action in the culture wars, for example by promoting official English. Yet in recent weeks, he has repeatedly endorsed more legal immigration. Rather than fighting, the president is content to brag about the economy and whine about unfair press coverage and investigations. He already seems like a lame duck.

The worst part of all of this is that President Trump was elected as a response not just to the Left, but to the failed Conservative Establishment. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump specifically pledged to protect entitlements , decried foreign wars, and argued for a massive infrastructure plan. However, once in office, his main legislative accomplishment is a tax cut any other Republican president would have pushed. Similarly, his latest budget contains the kinds of entitlement cuts that are guaranteed to provoke Democrat attack ads. [ Trump said he wouldn't cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare . His 2020 budget cuts all 3 , by Tara Golshan, Vox, March 12, 2019] And the president has already backed down on withdrawing all troops from Syria, never mind Afghanistan.

Conservatism Inc., having learned nothing from candidate Donald Trump's scorched-earth path to the Republican nomination, now embraces Trump as a man but ignores his campaign message. Instead, the conservative movement is still promoting the same tired slogans about "free markets" even as they have appear to have lost an entire generation to socialism. The most iconic moment was Charlie Kirk, head of the free market activist group Turning Point USA, desperately trying to tell his followers not to cheer for Tucker Carlson because Carlson had suggested a nation should be treated like a family, not simply a marketplace .

President Trump himself is now trying to talk like a fiscal conservative [ Exclusive -- Donald Trump: 'Seductive' Socialism Would Send Country 'Down The Tubes' In a Decade Or Less , by Alexander Marlow, Matt Boyle, Amanda House, and Charlie Spierling, Breitbart, March 11, 2019]. Such a pose is self-discrediting given how the deficit swelled under united Republican control and untold amounts of money are seemingly still available for foreign aid to Israel, regime change in Iran and Venezuela, and feminist programs abroad to make favorite daughter Ivanka Trump feel important. [ Trump budget plans to give $100 million to program for women that Ivanka launched , by Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones, March 9, 2019]

Thus, especially because of his cowardice on immigration, many of President Trump's most fervent online supporters have turned on him in recent weeks. And the embrace of Yang seems to come out of a great place of despair, a sense that the country really is beyond saving.

Yang has Leftist policies on many issues, but many disillusioned Trump supporters feel like those policies are coming anyway. If America is just an economy, and if everyone in the world is a simply an American-in-waiting, white Americans might as well get something out of this System before the bones are picked clean.

National Review ' s Theodore Kupfer just claimed the main importance of Yang's candidacy is that it will prove meme-makers ability to affect the vote count "has been overstated" [ Rise of the pink hats , March 12, 2019].

Time will tell, but it is ominous for Trump that many of the more creative and dedicated people who formed his vanguard are giving up on him.

[Mar 15, 2019] The Battle for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy Has Begun by Ted Galen Carpenter

that's a fake battle. The US foreign policy is controlled by MIC and Wall Street. Elected officials, as we see in cases of both Oabma and Trump administrations, "simply does not matter."
That arrangement (which now is associated with the term the Deep state") is a part of the rule of military-industrial complex and due to the existence of powerful three letter agencies created by Truman can't be changed. Essntially Truman secured the victory of military industrial complex for the next hundred years or more.
Mar 14, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Congressional efforts are underway to seize control of foreign-policy decisions from the executive. Who will win?

There are signs of growing congressional inconsistency, if not incoherence, regarding the authority of the president in foreign affairs. The legislature seeks to interfere on issues that are the president's responsibility while still failing to fulfill its own constitutionally mandated responsibility regarding the war power.

An incident of misplaced assertiveness took place in January when the House of Representatives passed the NATO Support Act prohibiting the executive branch from using any funds to facilitate U.S. withdrawal from the Alliance in any way. The legislation appears to bar a drawdown of U.S. troop levels in Europe and any effort to terminate U.S. membership in NATO.

Enacting the legislation seemed weirdly premature. President Donald Trump has not even taken any substantive actions that might diminish U.S. participation in NATO affairs. He has merely criticized the allies for their lack of burden-sharing in the collective defense effort and (correctly) suggested that NATO itself might be "obsolete" given how much the European and global security environments have changed since the Alliance's birth at the dawn of the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

The constitutionality of such restrictions also is highly suspect. The Constitution makes the president the steward of foreign affairs. Presidents historically have enjoyed wide latitude regarding the interpretation, execution, and even termination of U.S. treaties. Chief executives have enjoyed even greater latitude regarding troop deployments, especially in noncombat situations, and the nature, extent, and duration of military commitments to implement treaties or other agreements. Congressional interference in the form of the NATO Support Act would be truly revolutionary -- and not in a good way. It is a transparent congressional attempt to usurp the president's rightful constitutional authority and seek to micromanage U.S. foreign policy.

The NATO issue is not the only case in which congressional efforts are underway to seize control of foreign-policy decisions from the executive. A faction in both houses is now pushing a measure that would prevent the White House from failing to honor U.S. obligations under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty until it expires in February 2021. Unlike in the case of NATO, the president has taken tangible steps against the INF. After accusing Russia of violating its obligations under the treaty, Trump announced that the United States intended to withdraw from the INF . It should be stressed that the issue is not whether the president's policies on NATO or the INF are wise or misguided; the relevant issue is whether the Constitution invests the executive or Congress with the authority to make those decisions.

Greater congressional assertiveness on such issues is especially odd given how readily Congress has abandoned its own explicit constitutional authority to control the war power. Even as legislators moved to restrict Trump regarding NATO and the INF, there was no effective campaign to prevent him from implementing his decision to keep at least two hundred troops in Syria, despite the continuing lack of any congressional authorization for U.S. military involvement in that combat zone.

... ... ...

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest , is the author of twelve books and more than 750 articles on foreign affairs.


Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,

Could you say that "checks and balances" of the US in current stage are "unbalanced"
Looks like executive branch has its own policies and legislative branch is trying very hard to nullify whatever executive branch can or could potentially do (and it will impact future presidents too).
And more importantly all this "meddling" (forgive me the pun) between the branches essentially cripples the US politics, foreign and internal.
If one can imaging THAT is the Russian goal then perhaps Mr. Trump could get the Star of Hero of the Russian Federation pretty soon

milo Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

Our system of checks and balances has become totally unbalanced, destabilized like some Arab government we've decided don't like. Political scientists are all telling us that we're on the way to having a classic autocratic regime, where nothing matters except what El Supremo says matters.

And Congress is supine. They really don't care much about how the country is being run, they just care if they get re-elected. And the right half of them thinks they won't get re-elected if they oppose Trump. So there's no veto-proof majority.

It never used to be this way. But it has been said that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants." (Thomas Jefferson)

And we just don't have enough patriots to get the job done. I look to the young people to be changing that.

Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,
Political scientists are all telling us that we're on the way to having a classic autocratic regime, where nothing matters except what El Supremo says matters.


I have elusive feeling that American policies have already been praying to "El Supremo" for some time, it just wasn't so openly obvious until now.
And the "El Supremo" name is "Wall Street". Globalisation have taken over American policies for some time.
It became obvious after "too big to fail" incidents of 2008.
Another example: FAANG has so much power now that it can literally kill smaller private companies with a mouse click. It can shape public opinion and no doubt it can soon be able to elect politicians.

milo Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

That's something different. Wall Street funds quite a large portion of the campaigns waged by both parties. So whichever party wins an election, they are anxious to never offend their sponsors. You might look up the proportions of presidential elections contributions made by the financial and insurance industries.

(This is also why we can never seem to get a good single-payer health system. It would get rid of private health insurance.)

I was talking about the once-creeping, now-galloping expansion of presidential powers. This was first evident during the presidency of George W Bush, when the theory of the Unitary Executive was put forth, by people like John Yoo and David Addington.

It establishes the theory that the Constitution allows a sitting president to disregard those laws he doesn't want to enforce and to take executive actions that do not depend on congressional approval. That is, he is above the law and accountable to no one.

https://www.acslaw.org/?pos...
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pa...

Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,

Empire, even a powerful one cannot win prosperity with a war or wars. Eventually you'd need to provide some economy to the colonies. The less you provide the more they gonna hate you and resist you. The more you provide the less they gonna need you and eventually overthrow you.
Winning with wars is utopia, like communism.

Nick Klaus Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

You are a little wrong when you call this system "colonial". Today it is neo-colonialism. When the United States subordinates the country, they do not bear any responsibility for the fate of this country, since the formally subordinate country remains independent and all its actions are performed "voluntarily."

Ukraine is a good example. Now this country commits ritual suicide "completely voluntarily."

[Mar 14, 2019] Blain Global Reset Looms As Inequality Bonfire Burns Out Of Control

Mar 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Blain: Global Reset Looms As "Inequality Bonfire Burns Out Of Control"

by Tyler Durden Thu, 03/14/2019 - 09:05 30 SHARES Via Shard Capital's Bill Blain,

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.. "

In the headlines this morning: https://www.morningporridge.com/stuff-im-watching

So much stuff going on.. it's shaping up to be a very interesting weekend.

But, let me start with a diversion...

There is a story of the Great Scottish King – Robert the Bruce. Having been defeated by the English multiple times, his family captured and executed, (or in the case of his daughter, left suspended in an open cage thru the winter), his army was scattered, the clans turned against him, on his own and without any support - he was on the verge of giving up. As he contemplated a bleak future, he watched a spider struggle to construct a web in the dank cave he was hiding in. The beastie failed again and again.. Finally, Bruce reached his decision. If the Spider succeeded, he would carry on.

He went on to become Scotland's Greatest King.

Try, Try, Try again ? Perhaps Scotland will pull an unlikely win at Twickenham on Saturday? She-who-is-now-Mrs-Blain did warn me not to " bore everyone about Brexit ", but needs must.

Even though a No-Deal Brexit is ruled out in the short-run, where do we go from here?

Or, perhaps, Theresa May is set to surprise us all. She really doesn't know when to give up. The scuttlebutt round Westminster is she's going to take her Brexit agreement back to the House for a third time – and is currently scaring the Rees-Moog loonies with the threat of a long extension leading to NO-Brexit and second referendum, and the Remoaners with the threat of a short-extension leading to No-Deal Brexit. At least 70 Labour MPs want to avoid a second referendum and could, perhaps, vote with her.

Of course, my above simplistic analysis ignores the EU.

"It is a very grand plan, but what about the Germans?" asked a famous Polish General in WW2...

How the EU reacts to the likely request for an extension is going to be fascinating..

Meanwhile, there is a bit of a political stramash brewing in the US after a number of fund managers and "actresses" (heaven forbid) were arrested for fraudulently bribing universities to give their kids places. Some of my more "right of centre" US correspondents are full of righteous indignation that such obvious Democrats - on the basis the whole of Hollywood are goddam-lefty-commies - are dishonestly getting their kids opportunities they don't merit. Bribery, criminal corruption, hidden influence, the haves and have nots. Oops I think one of their heads just indignantly exploded.

But this is important stuff. Firstly, isn't it obvious that any society with an ounce of common sense would make education the core of its development strategy? It's the single most important factor likely to improve an economy and raise the prospects of its population. Yet, here in the UK, the government has seen fit to chain students to years of debt and penury for pretty average university courses? Its madness. In the States, its gone a step further – another way for the rich to raise themselves higher.

The fact the monied and the wealthy across US society think its somehow acceptable to pay-to-play for the top educational places and they advantages these confer for life, sums up a moral corruption and is yet another symptom of the entitlement and pernicious income inequality now at the core of the "Land of the Free". As a chum told me yesterday.. "its last stage empire" stuff. Its neither a Democrat or Republican thing – although it doesn't help when the President is such a clearly negative role model. If its ok for the boss to lie and cheat.. then what I do wrong?

(You could argue nepotism is the ultimate and absolute corruption – the rich ensuring the rich get the best of everything and deny deserving poorer folk places they've earned. But, where does guilt begin? What's so different from those of us who paid over expensive school fees to give our kids the best chance in life? I could just about afford it. Single Parent in Brixton could not. My kids got a better start. Whether the Brixton kid now runs past them is entirely their responsibility now )

Its stories like this that are stoking the inequality bonfire. If it burns out of control then markets will have nothing to say as the global reset is pressed!

[Mar 11, 2019] Major Cracks in the Pedophile Ring

Mar 11, 2019 | www.sott.net

Former Pope Benedict's sudden resignation is speculated by many to have stemmed from rampant child abuse. These accusations are supported by a number of witnesses and a shocking story that got no air time in the mainstream media -- that the former Pope Benedict's brother abused at least 231 children at a catholic boys choir .

In another major outing of the pedophile culture, Scotland Yard obtained video evidence of a UK Politician "Murdering a Child in a bizarre ritual." A Scotland Yard official said " these accusations are true" - and another 261 prominent people including politicians and TV stars are suspected of partaking in the horrific evil of child abuse/murder. Some have speculated the criminal ritual is used as a form of blackmail to compromise individuals - and that high level people are preventing prosecutions.

The U.K. probe known as Operation Midlands was shut down in March for "insignificant evidence" despite a quote from MP John Mann saying "that the victim total could be in the many tens of thousands." The probe had video evidence, and several victim's testimonies, including Alex Wheatle , Steven George , George Smith , Darren , Thomas , Nick , and several additional witnesses. The claims are backed up by retired Scotland yard detectives . Yet the probe was shut down, and at least 114 documents just vanished.

One document that turned up after 30 years showed that the Thatcher government knew and was told about the Westminster officials' odd sexual behaviors. The CIA and KGB even knew about what was going on and hoped to blackmail the VIP pedophile ring in exchange for information.

Sixteen MP's were named in a 1984 dossier of VIP pedophile abusers documenting the influence that the the Pedophile Information Exchange lobby had on Westminster. A whistle-blower goes further to state that 20 powerful elitists abused children for decades , including a female MP . The ultimate goal of the pedophile lobby was to lower the age of consent and push the pedophilia agenda, which several people tried to do.

Even the High Court judge to the Queen, Lord Justice Fulford, tried to lower the age of consent to four. Absolutely sick and twisted -- four years old.

Another official, Patricia Hewitt, former Labour cabinet minister, was caught trying to push the pedophile's agenda to make incest legal and lower the age of consent to the age of 10 .

The Pedophile inquiries which include investigations into Kincora house , Elm Guest House , Dolphin Square , St. Helena and the Lambeth Town Hall basement were covered up and ignored to protect the establishment from embarrassment, just like other investigations. Investigators were told to back off investigating because a royal was suspected to be involved and several others even warned police, including MP John Mann . Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle have even come up in the current investigation as a witness has claimed he was sexually assaulted there at the age of 16.

Put simply this is utterly disgusting.. Children are being put below politics, because psychopaths are in control and believe that they are entitled to abuse people . It's even alleged that they used children's foster homes as a supply to fulfill their sick urge.

Actor and comedian Russell Brand did a very good expose on the UK Pedophilia scandal. So did Australia's 60 minutes and another Australian comedy show called "The Last Leg". Using comedy to shed light on a dark subject is an old practice made well known by comedian's like George Carlin .

... ... ...

There was a documentary set to be aired called the "Conspiracy of Silence" on the Discovery Channel, but that documentary was canceled at the last minute and all copies bought up until a copy leaked online years later...showing the influence these pedophiles have on the media. Not only that but several people were threatened, murdered or imprisoned to keep this sick secret hushed up.

Conspiracy of Silence BANNED TV Documentary :

... ... ...

The State Department

DYNCORP was found to have trafficked children, and continued to receive government contracts. Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney asked then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld why this corporation continues to receive funding. His answer admitted abuse happened.

Further information on DYNCORP's trafficking of children can be found from a whistle-blower, Kathryn Bolkovac - a human rights investigator who saw UN officials, military and state department officials involved in human trafficking in Bosnia. Her story was then turned into a Hollywood movie called "The Whistleblower."

5,200 Pentagon Employees Bought Child Pornography, Investigation halted after 8 Months :

... ... ...

Comment: These are only some of the major stories that show just how psychopathic many among the elites are. See also: Psychopaths in power: Woman accuses 3 former Australian PMs of participating in 'VIP Pedophile Ring' North Wales pedophile network: Government officials and high level public figures involved Ex-Army Intelligence officer: MI5 covered up child sex abuse in Belfast, Ireland care home Global Pedophile Network Broken Up By Italian Police The real EU : Powerhouse and protection mechanism for pedophile elite Monsters among us: Ritual child abuse in France Portuguese Pedophile Network: Popular TV host and UN Ambassador among those sentenced for raping children Pedophile prostitution trial implicates Netherlands elite, royalty Italian pedophile scandal goes all the way to the top Pedophile Case Judge Breaks Down in Belgian Court

[Mar 11, 2019] Is There Any Real Evidence of Elite Pedophile Sex Rings Involving Government Pop Culture – Collective Evolution

Mar 11, 2019 | www.collective-evolution.com

Pedophilia has come up in the mainstream a lot lately, as PizzaGate came to light fairly recently and more and more pedophile rings are being exposed, some of which have involved government officials.

If you're unfamiliar with PizzaGate, it refers to a wide range of email correspondence leaked from the DNC that allegedly unearthed a high-level elitist global pedophile ring in which the U.S. government was involved.

It emerged when Wikileaks released tens of thousands of emails from the former White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, John Podesta, who also served as Hillary Clinton's campaign manager. It's because of these emails that many claimed John Podesta was a part of these child trafficking rings as well.

Since then, conspiracy theorists and world renowned journalists alike have been looking into the topic and speculating how big this problem could be and who could be involved within these underground rings.

For example, award winning American journalist Ben Swann explained the Pizzagate controversy in detail on mainstream news:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-GZFHLAcG8A?start=0&modestbranding=1&showinfo=0&theme=light

Not long after, Swann's entire online personal brand and accounts had all but vanished from the internet. Why?

More recently, there's been some speculation that these pedophile rings could stretch into pop culture, potentially involving more pedophilia scandals and symbolism within the media. The question here is: Is there any tangible evidence of all of this, or is it mere speculation?

Pedophilia Symbolism

I'd like to begin by identifying the symbols that are used by pedophiles to identify themselves and make their requests within underground networks. Here is a link to a declassified FBI document illustrating the symbols and images used by pedophiles to "identify their sexual preferences."

So, how do these images relate to pizza? First of all, before PizzaGate was even suggested, "cheese pizza" was used as a code word to discuss "child porn" (hint: it's the same initials, CP). A quick Google search will reveal that the market for underage sex workers is fairly substantial, and you can even see a 2015 post on Urban Dictionary that explains how "cheese pizza" is used as code for child porn.

As per PizzaGate and the symbolism, it all started when multiple emails involving John Podesta, his brother, and Hillary Clinton simply didn't add up. Strange wording discussing pizza and cheese left readers confused, and because the emails made so little sense, it led many to suspect that they were code for something else.

For example, this email addressed to John Podesta reads: "The realtor found a handkerchief (I think it has a map that seems pizza-related)," and this email sent from John Podesta asks: "Do you think I'll do better playing dominos on cheese than on pasta?" There are many more examples, and I encourage you to go through the Wikileaks vault to explore.

On top of that, the DNC was associated with two pizza places, Comet Ping Pong and Besta Pizza, which use very clear symbols of pedophilia in their advertising and have strange images of children and other ritualistic type images and suspicious videos on their social media accounts – which has since been made private given the controversy over the images and their link to the DNC, but again, a quick Google search will show you what those images looked like. You can read the email correspondence between John Podesta and Comet Ping Pong's owner, James Alefantis, here .

... ... ...

[Mar 09, 2019] The USA new class in full glory: rich are shopping differently from the low income families and the routine is like doing drags, but more pleasurable and less harmful. While workers are stuglling with the wages that barely allow to support the family, the pressure to cut hours and introduce two tire system

Notable quotes:
"... Buying beautiful clothes at full retail price was not a part of my childhood and it is not a part of my life now. It felt more illicit and more pleasurable than buying drugs. It was like buying drugs and doing the drugs, simultaneously."" ..."
"... "Erie Locomotive Plant Workers Strike against Two-Tier" [ Labor Notes ]. "UE proposed keeping the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement in place while negotiating a new contract, but Wabtec rejected that proposal. Instead it said it would impose a two-tier pay system that would pay new hires and recalled employees up to 38 percent less in wages, institute mandatory overtime, reorganize job classifications, and hire temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the plant's jobs. ..."
"... Workers voted on Saturday to authorize the strike." • Good. Two-tier is awful, wherever found (including Social Security). ..."
Mar 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Guillotine Watch

"My Year of Living Like My Rich Friend" [ New York Magazine ].

"[S]hopping with T was different. When she walked into a store, the employees greeted her by name and began to pull items from the racks for her to try on. Riding her coattails, I was treated with the same consideration, which is how I wound up owning a beautiful cashmere 3.1 Philip Lim sweater that I had no use for and rarely wore, and which was eventually eaten by moths in my closet.

Buying beautiful clothes at full retail price was not a part of my childhood and it is not a part of my life now. It felt more illicit and more pleasurable than buying drugs. It was like buying drugs and doing the drugs, simultaneously.""

Indeed:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dfO0TgcDUnI

Class Warfare

"Erie Locomotive Plant Workers Strike against Two-Tier" [ Labor Notes ]. "UE proposed keeping the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement in place while negotiating a new contract, but Wabtec rejected that proposal. Instead it said it would impose a two-tier pay system that would pay new hires and recalled employees up to 38 percent less in wages, institute mandatory overtime, reorganize job classifications, and hire temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the plant's jobs.

Workers voted on Saturday to authorize the strike." • Good. Two-tier is awful, wherever found (including Social Security).

[Mar 06, 2019] The faces of US elit: The marasmic McCain, marasmic Pelosi, and hysterical Max Boot, the openly lying Clapper and the hate-filled profiteer Brennan

Notable quotes:
"... The next two weeks will show whether Trump is the real deal, or just another schlub. ..."
Jul 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

annamaria > , July 27, 2017 at 8:06 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig

His greatest accomplishment may well be that he has caused Washington's Swamp Dwellers to rise from the ooze and expose themselves for all the world to see. That's weakened them immeasurably, perhaps fatally. To be sure, that's no small thing, and the next Trump to come along is now on full alert as to who & what to bring with him.
You nailed it. Even if they do eventually succeed in foiling Trump, things will never be the same again. The whole world is watching the circus in Washington, and so Washington's brand ('democracy') is now shot. 2016 was indeed an annus mirabilis! " things will never be the same again. The whole world is watching the circus in Washington.."

It looks and sounds like dementia – as if a sick person behaving inappropriately, showing unprovoked aggression (like some Alzheimer patients), using silly or senseless phrasing, and having the unreasonable demands and uncontrolled fits of rage like a spoiled child. The marasmic McCain, marasmic Pelosi, and hysterical Max Boot, the openly lying Clapper and the hate-filled profiteer Brennan.

What a panopticon.

Here is an outline of the current state of "western values" by Patrick Armstrong: http://turcopolier.typepad.com

Jeff Davis > , July 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm GMT

As I have written here and elsewhere, President Swamp Drainer needs to get control of the DoJ. He got rid of Comey, which was good, but got Rosenstein and Mueller in response. Meanwhile Jeff Sessions is twiddling his thumbs re the Russia witch hunt. Perhaps his recusal was appropriate, but he's not doing anything whatsoever regarding Swamp Draining. So it feels like he's a disingenuous old guard GOPer, who wants to obstruct any real progress, while dragging his feet with do-nothingness obscured behind a facade of law enforcement community boosterism. By this tactic the GOP attempts to stall until 2020, when it can then point at Trump's failures (failures they have enabled by their stalling, wink wink) and then campaign to take "their" party back. In short, Sessions may just be an anti-Trump "mole" planted in the single most important position with regard to swamp draining, in order to ***prevent*** any swamp draining.

Let me be clear: in the last 24 years the DC political class has gone almost entirely criminal, with the last 13 years dedicated to serial war crimes. In this sort of situation the DoJ, AG, and FBI head, becomes corrupted, and turns away from the rule of law to become a shield for the DC criminal despotism.

So watch closely what happens next. Just today rumors have come out -- though I've been speaking of this for several weeks now -- that there is talk in the White House about ***recess appointments*** . We have reached the crucial moment, and I for one am surprised that, as important as this is, it has not been prominent in public discussion until now. The "August" was scheduled to begin at the end of business tomorrow, July 28th. Because of the health care business, McConnell has postponed it for two weeks, so let's call it for close of business Friday, August 11th. That's fifteen days from now.

When Congress goes home fifteen days from now, this country and the world may very well change forever. Go to Wikipedia and look up "recess appointment". Here's what you will find:

" a recess appointment is an appointment by the President of a federal official while the U.S. Senate is in recess.

Recess appointments are authorized by Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session .

If Trump is the fighter I think he is, then this is what he has been waiting for, ever so patiently these last six months. Notice that the Congress cannot countermand recess appointments. Recess appointments end by expiration, and then only at the end of the following Congressional session. Other than impeachment, Congress cannot stop Trump from doing this .

So Trump dumps Sessions, purges the anti-Trump prosecutors from previous administrations, and appoints a new FBI head and dozens of fire-breathing swamp-draining prosecutors who immediately start doling out orange jumpsuits. He could -- not saying that he would execute this "nuclear option" -- but he could lock up virtually the entire Congress on war crimes charges; Neocons for conspiracy to commit war crimes; Cheney, Addington, Yoo, and Bybee to the Hague for torture; Hillary and Obama for Libya.

Control of the DoJ is the key.

The next two weeks will show whether Trump is the real deal, or just another schlub.

[Mar 05, 2019] The Shadow Governments Destruction Of Democracy

Highly recommended!
Trump actually proved to be very convenient President to CIA., Probably as convenient as Obama... Both completely outsourced foreign policy to neocons and CIA )in this sense the appointment of Pompeo is worst joke Trump could play with the remnants of US democracy_ .
Notable quotes:
"... "The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street." ..."
"... "It's agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world's worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads." ..."
"... Greenwald asserts the the CIA preferred Clinton because, like the clandestine agency, she supported regime change in Syria. In contrast, Trump dismissed America's practice of nation-building and declined to tow the line on ousting foreign leaders, instead advocating working with Russia to defeat ISIS and other extremist groups. ..."
"... "So, Trump's agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted," Greenwald argued. "Clinton's was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they've been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him." ..."
"... But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They're barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. ..."
"... He also points out the left's hypocrisy in condemning Flynn for lying when James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence during the Obama administration, perpetuated lies without ever being held accountable. ..."
Feb 19, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
And on the heels of Dennis Kucinich's warnings , The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, who opposes Trump for a variety of reasons, warns that siding with the evidently powerful Deep State in the hopes of undermining Trump is dangerous. As TheAntiMedia's Carey Wedler notes , Greenwald asserted in an interview with Democracy Now, published on Thursday, that this boils down to a fight between the Deep State and the Trump administration.

https://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2017/2/16/greenwald_empowering_the_deep_state_to

Though Greenwald has argued the leaks were "wholly justified" in spite of the fact they violated criminal law, he also questioned the motives behind them.

"It's very possible - I'd say likely - that the motive here was vindictive rather than noble," he wrote. "Whatever else is true, this is a case where the intelligence community, through strategic (and illegal) leaks, destroyed one of its primary adversaries in the Trump White House."

According to an in-depth report by journalist Mike Lofgren:

"The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street."

As Greenwald explained during his interview:

"It's agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world's worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads."

Greenwald believes this division is a result of the Deep State's disapproval of Trump's foreign policy and the fact that the intelligence community overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton over Trump because of her hawkish views. Greenwald noted that Mike Morell, acting CIA chief under Obama, and Michael Hayden, who ran both the CIA and NSA under George W. Bush, openly spoke out against Trump during the presidential campaign.

Greenwald asserts the the CIA preferred Clinton because, like the clandestine agency, she supported regime change in Syria. In contrast, Trump dismissed America's practice of nation-building and declined to tow the line on ousting foreign leaders, instead advocating working with Russia to defeat ISIS and other extremist groups.

"So, Trump's agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted," Greenwald argued. "Clinton's was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they've been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him."

"[In] the closing months of the Obama administration, they put together a deal with Russia to create peace in Syria. A few days later, a military strike in Syria killed a hundred Syrian soldiers and that ended the agreement. What happened is inside the intelligence and the Pentagon there was a deliberate effort to sabotage an agreement the White House made."

Greenwald, who opposes Trump for a variety of reasons, warns that siding with the evidently powerful Deep State in the hopes of undermining Trump is dangerous. "Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving," he said, likely alluding to a recent court ruling that nullified Trump's travel ban.

He continued:

"But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They're barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity."

He argues that mentality is "a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it," highlighting that members of both prevailing political parties are praising the Deep State's audacity in leaking details of Flynn's conversations.

As he wrote in his article, " it's hard to put into words how strange it is to watch the very same people - from both parties, across the ideological spectrum - who called for the heads of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, and so many other Obama-era leakers today heap praise on those who leaked the highly sensitive, classified SIGINT information that brought down Gen. Flynn."

He also points out the left's hypocrisy in condemning Flynn for lying when James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence during the Obama administration, perpetuated lies without ever being held accountable.

[Mar 04, 2019] Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People by Servando Gonzalez

I think the books contains some useful information about the history of Propaganda Wars and the Deep state. But also a lot of junk: Fidel Castro listed along with CIA connected neocons as Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski: Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro.
He also denigrates Marx, which sound very simplistic. While Marx was wrong about many things and first of about "the dictatorship of the proletariat". As well as the idea that proletariat is a new progressive class that will became the next dominant class on the next stage of the development of the mankind, displacing capitalists. But Marx provided an excellent framework for the analysis of capitalism. So to throw out all the Marxism is IMHO unwise.
Notable quotes:
"... The conspirators are a small group of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations, most of them senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations. ..."
"... Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro. ..."
Mar 09, 2016 | www.amazon.com

America is at war. But this not a conventional war waged with tanks, battleships and planes in conventional battlefields -- at least not yet. It is a secret, insidious type of war whose battleground is the people's minds. Its main weapons are propaganda and mass brainwashing by disinformation, cunning, deception and lies in a large scale not used against the people of any nation since Nazi Germany. Though important, however, those elements are just part of a series of carefully planned and executed long and short-term psychological warfare operations. In synthesis, it is a psychological war -- a PSYWAR.

If an unfriendly foreign power had carried out against the American people the actions carried out by Wall Street bankers, Oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations entrenched at the Council on Foreign Relations and its parasite organizations, we might well have considered it an act of war.

Unfortunately, most Americans ignore that they are under attack. The reason is because, like Ninja assassins, the main weapon used by the conspirators who have managed to infiltrate and take control of the U.S. Government and most of American life has been their invisibility. For almost a century, these small group of conspirators have been waging a quiet, non-declared war of attrition against the American people, and it seems that they are now ready for the final, decisive battle.

Unfortunately, as the last two presidential elections showed, the brainwashed American people reacted by changing the puppets, leaving the puppet masters untouched and in control. In this book Servando Gonzalez studies in detail the origins of the conspiracy, who the conspirators are, the main elements of this PSYWAR and, what's more important, how we can fight back and win

S. Gonzalez "Conspiracy analyst" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews

More Info About the Book , December 11, 2010

This review is from: Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People (Paperback)

About the book

America is at war. But this is not a conventional war waged with tanks, battleships and planes in conventional battlefields --at least, not yet. It is a secret, insidious type of war whose battleground is the people's minds. Its main weapons are mind viruses disseminating mass brain-washing through propaganda disinformation, cunning, deception and lies in a large scale not used against any people since Nazi Germany. Though important, these elements are just part of a series of carefully planned and executed long- and short-term psychological warfare operations. In synthesis, it is a psychological war --a PSYWAR.

If an unfriendly foreign power had carried out against the American people the actions carried out by Wall Street bankers, Oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations entrenched at the Council on Foreign Relations and its parasite organizations, we might well have considered it an act of war. Unfortunately, most Americans ignore that they are under attack. The reason is because, like Ninja assassins, the main weapon used by the conspirators who have managed to infiltrate and take control of the U.S. Government and most of American life has been their invisibility.

For almost a century, this small group of conspirators have been waging a quiet, non-declared war of attrition against the American people, and it seems that they are now ready for the final, decisive battle. Unfortunately, as the last two presidential elections showed, the brainwashed American people reacted by changing the puppets, leaving the puppet masters in control.

This book studies in detail the origins of the conspiracy, who the conspirators are, the main elements of this PSYWAR and, what's more important, how we can fight back and win.

About the Author

Cuban-born Servando Gonzalez got his training as a historian at the University of Havana. He has written books, essays and articles on Latin American history, intelligence, espionage, and semiotics.

Servando is the author of Historia herética de la revolución fidelista, The Secret Fidel Castro, The Nuclear Deception and La madre de todas las conspiraciones, all available at Amazon.com.

He also hosted the documentaries Treason in America: The Council on Foreign Relations and Partners in Treason: The CFR-CIA-Castro Connection, produced by Xzault Media Group of San Leandro, California.

What the critics are saying

Book's Content

Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People

Contents

Preface

Conspiracies and Conspiracy "Theories"
Espionage and Skepticism
Historians and Intelligence Analysts
The Art and Science of Historical Tradecraft

Introduction

A Fractured America
The Covert American Revolution
Who Are the New World Order Conspirators?
The Secret War Against the American People
Walking Back the Cat

Chapter 1. Is There an Invisible Government of the United States?

The CIA as Scapegoat
The Council on What?
The Science of Historical Forensics
U.S. Presidents on Blinders
CFR's Inside Critics
The CFR Octopus
The CIA's True Bosses

Chapter 2. Spying: The Rockefellers' True Passion

The Inquiry: First U.S. Civilian Intelligence Agency
House-Wilson: A Typical Case of Agent Recruitment
Wilson: The First Successful U.S. Puppet President
The Family that Spies Together . . .
Nelson and David Inherit Their Grandpa's Passion for Spying
The Family Tradition Continues

Chapter 3. The Council on Foreign Relations: The Conspirators' Secret Intelligence Agency

The Conspirators Create an Anti-American Monster
The CFR: Second U.S. Civilian Intelligence Agency
A Very Secretive Organization
The CFR: an Association of Criminal Traitors
The Invisible Government of the United States
The CFR Conspirators Take Early Control of the Press
The Conspirators Extend Their Control Over the Press, the Arts and the Academia
The Conspirators Infiltrate the Two Parties
The Conspirators Infiltrate the State Department

Chapter 4. The OSS: of the Bankers, by the Bankers, for the Bankers

American Intelligence Before and After WWI
Was the OSS an Intelligence Agency?
OSS: The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
OSS: The Conspirators' Fifth Column Inside the U.S. Armed Forces
The Assassination of General Patton

Chapter 5. The National Security Act, the CIA and the Creation of Artificial Insecurity

The National Security Act of 1947 and the Origins of the National Security Council
U.S. Presidents as CFR's Puppets
The National Security Council: a Key Tool of the CFR Conspirators
Why the CIA?
The CIA: The Conspirators' Secret Military Arm
The NSC Illegally Authorizes the CIA to Conduct Covert Operations
Covert Operations: The CIA's True and Only Purpose

Chapter 6. The CIA's "Failures"

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight?
The Gang That Shouldn't Shoot Straight
CIA's Failed Assassination Attempts on Fidel Castro
The CIA's True Role
Team B VS Team A
The Two CIAs
CFR Conspirators Create CIA B
American Patriots Working for CIA A
HUMINT VS TECHINT
Enemy Moles Inside the CIA
Angleton's Deep Game

Chapter 7. The Cold War PSYOP

The CFR Conspirators Use the CIA to Recruit Fidel Castro
The Bogotazo False Flag Operation and the Cold War PSYOP
The Agent Provocateurs
Planting False Clues
Was Castro a Communist?
The Bogotazo and the Assassination of Gaitán
An Intelligence Analysis of the Bogotazo
Gaitan's Assassin: A Manchurian Candidate?
An Intelligence Analysis of Gaitán's Assassination
New Pieces of the Puzzle
The Bogotazo: Still a Mystery

Chapter 8. The CFR Mole Infiltrates the Soviets

The Destruction of Russia and the Creation of the Soviet Union
Khrushchev's Peaceful Threat
A Spy is Born ... or Made?
Fidel Castro to the Rescue
The Bay of Pigs PSYOP

Chapter 9. Agent Castro Warms Up the Cold War

The Soviets Swallow the Dangling Bait
The CFR's Agent Provocateur Strikes Again
Khrushchev Tries to Get Rid of Castro, But Fails
Castro's Good Job on Behalf of His CFR Masters
The Latin American Guerrillas and Other PSYOPs
Fidel Castro and the 9/11 False Flag Operation
The Castro-Chávez PSYOP

Chapter 10. PSYOPs Against the American People I

A War in the People's Minds
PSYOPs Do Exist
The War-for-Eugenics PSYOP
The Anti-Christian PSYOP
The Gay Movement PSYOP
The Gay Marriage PSYOP

Chapter 11. PSYOPs Against the American People II

The Environmental PSYOP
Anthropogenic Global Warming?
The Two Party PSYOP
The War on Terror PSYOP
The Obama PSYOP

Chapter 12. Castro's Cuba: A Testing Ground for the New World Order?

The Cuban Economy Before Castro
Cuba as a Testing Ground
Castro's Cuba: a CFR Conspirator's Paradise

Chapter 13. The End of the CIA and the Beginning of the New World Order

The CFR Conspirators Take Control Over the U.S. Military
The CFR's Fifth Column Inside the U.S. Armed Forces
Faithful to Two Flags?
The CFR Conspirators Destroy the CIA They Don't Need Anymore
The "Support Our Army" Myth

Epilogue: What Can We Do to Win This War?

Is the U.S. Becoming a Totalitarian Dictatorship?
Ballots or Bullets?
Why They Hate Us?
The Conspirators' Final Push for the New World Order
PSYWAR and Mind Viruses

Appendixes
Appendix I. A Chronology of Treason
Appendix II. The Evaluation of Information: Intelligence, the 9/11/2001 Events, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
Appendix III. Hegelian-type PSYOPS. False Flag Operations: Bogotazo and 9/11/2001

From the Preface

This is a book about a conspiracy. It is not, however, about the imaginary "vast right-wing conspiracy" mentioned by Hillary Clinton. Neither it is about the alleged "conspiracy of ideas" carried out by well-intentioned, honest people engaged in "an ideological battle," mentioned by Congressman Ron Paul.

It is about a real vast right- left-wing conspiracy carried out by a group of criminal psychopaths without any ideology at all except maximum power and control. To carry out their plants, the conspirators usually resort to deception, coercion, extortion, usury, racketeering, Ponzi schemes, theft, torture, assassination and large-scale mass murder.

The ultimate goal of these conspirators is the total destruction of the American republic as we knew it and the creation of a global communo-fascist feudal totalitarian society under their full control --a society they euphemistically call the New World Order.

The conspirators are a small group of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations, most of them senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Though their push for total control of the U.S. government began in 1913 during the Wilson administration, since the end of WWII it has become a fully developed psychological war of immense proportions secretly waged against the American people. Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro.

This conspiracy resembles a gigantic puzzle of which many pieces are missing or have been intentionally placed in the wrong place in order to mislead. This explains why most analysts who have studied the phenomenon using the analytical method have failed to find the true source of the problem.

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MANUEL ESTEVE - See all my reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a roller coaster... , September 13, 2010

This book is a roller coaster. It questions most of your accepted ideas about the Council on Foreign Relations, the OSS, the CIA, Castro, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, 9/11 and many other events we take for granted. After reading this book I agree with the author's assertion that most of what has been written about the CIA - pro and con - is simply hogwash.

Gonzalez's theory about the two CIAs after the Team A -- Team B deception is very convincing. This may explain why this is at the same time the most anti-CIA and the most pro-CIA book ever written. (The book is dedicated to Arthur B. Darling, the first CIA official historian.)

Moreover, this is the only book I have read that provides a logical explanation to the CIA's seemingly illogical abandonment of HUMINT for its current widespread use of TECHINT, and why good CIA officers have been abandoning the Agency.

Also, after reading many books about James Jesus Angleton, this books dissects his behavior and shows what he really was: a traitor and a common criminal serving not the American people but his true masters, the Wall Street bankers and oil magnates who created the CIA.

A must read for CIA former and current officers, particularly the ones in the intelligence area.

Cquevedo - See all my reviews
Believed is happening , September 14, 2010

This book reads like a spy novel. In almost every single page I found shocking assertions and theories -- supported by more than a thousand scholarly footnotes.

After enumerating the long list of CIA's failures, many books about the CIA rhetorically ask the question: "Why the CIA has been so stupid?" After reading Gonzalez' book now I ask myself, how I have been so stupid to believe the assertions that the CIA guys --or, much better, the people who control the CIA-- are stupid?

In his book Gonzalez shows how, since its very conception, the CIA has never served us, the American people, but the Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations who created it. The time is ripe to get rid of the CIA and the rest of alphabet soup of intelligence organizations who use taxpayers money to protect the interest of international bankers and transnational corporations.

Ah, and before we close the CIA building and throw away the key, I would like to see destroyed the bust of William Donovan decorating its vestibule. While the traitor who ordered that assassination of General Patton got a statue, the heroic, patriotic general's memory has been covered with mud. What a shame!

Bondolfo Shamitoff (San Francisco) - See all my reviews

very interesting book , September 13, 2010

I had a chance to read and advance copy of this book and it was very interesting. I am a fan of conspiracy theory books and historical books so this was right up my alley. What I realized though, after I read more and more of the book is that this is not your typical book on this subject. It backs ideas up with facts and has lots of good footnotes which I will use for future reference. This type of subject matter may not be for everyone, but considering how things are going in this country, it might be worth the read.

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Luisa - See all my reviews

Could not put it down! , September 13, 2010

Had a chance to purchase a copy of the book this past Saturday, started reading it then and finished it this morning. Mr. Gonzalez has done such a remarkable job of analyzing historical events in detail and providing so much key evidence that his claims must be taken seriously. I'm not going to go into every detail about the book, but if you believe that everything in this country is not as it seems and that we are being lied to by our government now and have been lied to in the past, read this book.
Rose M. Aasen-rojas "rose" (atlanta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

A Quick Up-To-Speed Study , February 15, 2011

Gonzalez in his engaging prose brings you quickly up-to-speed in the globalist plan and the players. In spite of the abundance of typos and editing errors along with some stilted English phrases, the book will be difficult to put down; and when it ends, you'll want to know more. Hopefully,the second printing will be better-edited.

boatsmac (James McDonald) (San Diego) - See all my reviews
Warning, you will not be able to go back to where you were before, after reading this book! , June 12, 2012

I am an honorably discharged Veteran with 20 years of military service and because I've questioned the actions and motivations of the CFR, Homeland security, the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building and the events of 9/11, I have been labeled by my government as a potential terrorist. I am ashamed, hurt, confused and feel alarmed.

Why and how did it get to this point?

If you want to understand, put on your seat-belt and prepare yourself when you read Servando Gonzalez's Psychological Warfare and the New World Order.

The wealth of historical, empirical proof within this work will rock your world. Just when you think that you have reached the climax of evidence, the next wave of proof makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

This book will affect you in a way that you will never be able to walk down American streets again without recognizing that you could be seen as nothing more than cannon fodder for a ruthless and cunning organization that has been working for a goal for over a hundred years.

I am not religious but what has been going on in America and the rest of the world, is truly evil. It's a force that is working to insure billions of people will suffer and who is left will serve the masters of the New World Order.

This is not science fiction, not some crazy story of some sick delusional nut, this is reality of elements within our government.

Servando Gonzalez will guide you through this strange and factual journey about what is really going on in America and elements with in our government. If you don't care about your love ones, if you don't care about your honor, if you don't care about knowing about what you can do to protect yourself against this force, don't read this master piece of factual work.

***Fair warning*** The knowledge in this capstone of work will affect you personally!

applewood (everywhere and nowhere) - See all my reviews

Literally. Servando Gonzalez's book on psychological warfare looks at the people and organizations (and their motivations) of the conspiracy behind all other conspiracies.

For decades I've read of the main conspiracy-related events of my life time, the who's and why's behind - JFK's and RFK's assassinations, the Contra/Arkansas cocaine/arms trade and Whitewater money laundering scandal, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks - and have been fascinated, shocked, outraged, bewildered and disgusted. This book goes right to the heart of the agenda behind these various events, and shows them to be mere layers in a much larger onion. This book provides a clear overview but is also full of fascinating details, especially on how Castro was a CIA agent and how his rule of Cuba has not been what it seems, as well as providing a run down of some of the current PSYOPs being run on the American public.

Gonzalez's own review here gives an outline of the details better than I ever could so I will keep this short. I came across this book after reading a lengthy review by Gonzalez for a different book on Amazon, greatly impressed by his intellect and perspective. At first I was leery of purchasing his book because many of these reviews appear written by friends of his (single review reviewers always make me skeptical). However this book delivers, and as another reviewer commented here, it will change your understanding, views and perhaps life. It has quickly risen into the top 10 list of influential books I've read. I'd even venture say it is essential.

My main complaint is that while well informed, and intelligent Gonzalez's writing is often dense and repetitive (as well as having a fair number of typos), and so apparently rushed to press without thorough editing. Given the timely need of this book this is excusable, but hopefully will be remedied in a second edition. More importantly I was sometimes left wondering how Gonzalez knows all these (specific) people are CFR members/agents? And this uncertainty of mine, and implied dependence on him, left me in doubt about the whole thesis (are we both just paranoid delusional? lol!).... But perhaps such doubt (in the face of my own mix of information and disinformation) is a healthy thing.

Many times when talking with friends about conspiracy ideas and theories they inevitably ask two fundamental questions; 1) who is behind it all, and 2) why?

This book answers both clearly;

1) The Council of Foreign Relations (via the National Security Council, the CIA and increasingly the US military command) and various sister organizations (The Trilateral Commission and The Bilderberg Group). Many individuals are identified, most of these are familiar public figures (as most high level government appointees and elected officials are drawn from this elite group).

2) The New World Order - global domination for sustainable control and order by the super-rich elite (the .0001%, not the mere, ordinary, scape-goated/smoke-screened "1%"). The effect could well be a return to a new feudal age, with almost all of us in a "safe" but unfree and impoverished serfdom (kind of like with the Cuba "experiment"). The kicker being that to do this, "us" will probably be less than a quarter (and perhaps much less) of those now alive.

And it also answers the question of how.

"But the conspirators who planned to bring a revolutionary change of government in the United States to implement the communo-fascist regime they call the New World Order were a bunch of physical cowards, who didn't have the courage to risk their lives in a revolution by gun play. Consequently, despite the fact that the political system they wanted to implement was a mixture of communism and fascism, they neither adopted the revolutionary tactics of open insurrection favored by the Communists, nor the coup d'etat techniques of the Fascists, but the evolutionary, infiltration techniques advocated by the British Fabians." (pg. 40)

The tools to achieve this Brave New World vision include any and all available. For some it is direct warfare (the Middle East), for others, famine and eugenics (Africa), and for American's it is mainly mind control (mass hypnosis and indoctrination) and psychological warfare (destabilizing events leading to doubt, confusion, fear, depression and helplessness). Of course this plan is not a given (even though already far along in it's realization). There are other forces for change, sanity and awakening in the world today.

This is where you and I come into play....

Frances Fletcher - See all my reviews

A Must Read! , May 21, 2013

This is a well-documented expose of the puppet masters that pull the strings of the United States Government.

As a retired police officer and intelligence analyst, I read this book with validation of the ideas presented in the fore front of my mind. I used two bookmarks while reading. One bookmark kept my current place and the other marked the corresponding footnotes. The footnotes are detailed and accurate and led to even-more paths of discovering the truth.

This book is proof that the United States Government has been usurped by the Council of Foreign Relations, transnational corporations and Wall Street bankers.

Every chapter is a light bulb going off in your mind. The author has brilliantly gathered pieces of the puzzle and assembled them into a coherent picture.

This book is essential for understanding what has happened to our country and what is still happening. It is a MUST read!

[Mar 04, 2019] Bill "amusing nuclear war" Maher is really out of his mind

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 4:14 pm

Can't find the link but Bill Maher said an Indo-Pakistani war would be "entertaining" or "amusing" or something like that. That guy has become untethered from his brain.

[Mar 04, 2019] It is important to Americans that they always are doing the right thing, the just thing, the altruistic thing, and that nothing so smutty as American profit and financial gain come into it. It is for this reason they are fed such self-serving pablum daily by their news media.

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star March 2, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Hmmmm ..

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/video/venezuela-accepts-aid-russia-us-020038728.html

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 2:58 pm
God, that Trish Regan is a moron on steroids. But, it was very heartening to see Russia stepping up with aid. Certainly, the physical aid is important to Venezuela but, more important, is the knowledge that they are not facing the US alone – cautiously optimistic that Venezuela can survive the assault.
Mark Chapman March 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm
Soooo many bullshit moments, my head is reeling. "The ones who are the aggressors here are the RUSSIANS, the United States supports a peaceful transition of power". Yes, to the leader it picked for the country, in a process about as far from democracy as an egg is from an eggplant. "Russia might not have the same good sweet deals, there would be a more competitive landscape, and they don't like that". Trish, baby – your National Security Advisor is on record as publicly stating it would make a big difference to the US economy if the USA could invest in and produce Venezuela's oil. It already has complete control of the refining end – if it were also investing in it and producing it what would be left for the Venezuelans?

It is important to Americans that they always are doing the right thing, the just thing, the altruistic thing, and that nothing so smutty as American profit and financial gain come into it. It is for this reason they are fed such self-serving pablum daily by their news media.

yalensis March 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm
At 3:50 minutes in, did I just hear the "brunette" on the left threaten to murder Maduro's family, if he doesn't comply with her demands?

She sounds like a Mafia chick: "Nice family you got there, Maduro, would be a pity of something was to happen to them "

Northern Star March 2, 2019 at 1:39 pm
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2019/03/01/ilhan-omar-tied-9-11-attack-poster-west-virginia-capitol/3033450002/

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/poster-linking-rep-ilhan-omar-to-9-11-sparks-outrage-injuries-in-w-va-state-capitol-1.571055

https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/video/poster-linking-muslim-congresswoman-ilhan-omar-to-9-11-sparks-confrontation/vp-BBUhMXZ

https://nypost.com/2019/03/02/eliot-engel-rips-ilhan-omar-for-vile-anti-semitic-slur/
" Last month, Omar came under fire for tweeting, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," suggesting politicians who support Israel only do so for money."

Northern Star March 2, 2019 at 1:44 pm
The American BILLIONAIRE elite:
https://www.yahoo.com/news/robert-kraft-debate-sex-trafficking-203517978.html

.degenerate racist ol' white bastards..all the way down..!!!

LOL!!!

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 4:05 pm
But why should someone as wealthy and well known as Robert Kraft visit a massage parlor in a strip mall? He could have top whores from around the world flown in to his penthouse . For god's sake, he could have gone to that private Caribbean Island where the insiders go for illicit sex with whomever/whatever they could imagine. Something is weirder than average here.
Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 10:35 am
https://theduran.com/blackout-during-orgy-island-pedophile-jeffrey-epstein-hearing/

Log books show Bill Clinton just loved Island hospitality as evidenced by his numerous visits. Odd, how utterly quiet the MSM is about this – y'ld think that industrial scale rape of young girls would be newsworthy in the MSM. No, just the Covington Kid get them going. Eyes Wide Shut at work here.

Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 10:39 am
Here is the link to a pretty good video on an escapee from the Island.
Jen March 3, 2019 at 3:20 pm
I think it's the thrill of the chase that appeals, plus knowing that you did something illegal (either secretly or in full view) and got away with it. Having whores flown to your place wouldn't have the same appeal.
Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 7:24 pm
Well, I suppose being a Peeping Tom could his next adventure. Nevertheless, it still makes little sense from a psychological aspect. Some say he was somehow set up as a lot of NFL owners are tired of his team winning the Superbowl every other year and wanted to take him down a notch or two.

I suspect that most super rich, if not perverts from a young age, end up being perverted – the power of money and a highly developed market offering perversion is just too much to resist for most humans. That is a major reason why capitalism or free markets or whatever you want to call a system that encourages accumulation of vast amounts of wealth is (drum roll) perverted.

Patient Observer March 2, 2019 at 3:59 pm
Again, the only defense needed by a cop in killing a suspect was "I thought my life was in danger" regardless if that were actually the case. In the particular instance, I do think the cops may have thought such but they were apparently trigger happy and reacted to a "flash of light" or glint off some something metallic. They thought it was a muzzle blast. Really? They offered confusing statements as well – the suspect advanced on them in a shooting stance but refused to show his hands. What kind of shooting stance would that be?

I don't think it was cold blooded murder in this case – just manslaughter. They ought to be charged accordingly and kicked off the force. But no, everything is OK, nothing to see. Besides, it would have a chilling effect on police everywhere if they were fearful of being charged every time they killed someone. I mean, like, who would want to be a cop?

https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-charges-officers-shooting-death-unarmed-black-man-215503582–abc-news-topstories.html

Mark Chapman March 2, 2019 at 6:27 pm
I note that in this instance, though, the deceased was committing a crime; a series of them, in fact. Nothing he needed to be killed for, certainly, but a case removed from all the other black men who have been shot with their cell phone in their hand, or nothing at all, while the cops who decided to 'question' them ( sometimes for nothing more than walking on the sidewalk in a mostly-white neighbourhood) had no apparent reason to be bothering them. Police intervention was certainly called for here, although it is hard to believe it could not have been carried out without any real violence at all. The list of people who actually decided to go for their gun when ordered to put their hands up by police who already have their weapons out must be a short one.

Police in America seem uniformly convinced that black men they detain will try to kill them. I wonder why? Have a lot of police officers been shot to death by black men? I bet the list of black men killed by police is a lot longer.

Patient Observer March 3, 2019 at 7:17 am
To partially address the question of how many police are killed by felonious acts (shot, run over, etc.) versus how many they have killed by shooting (not counting fatalities from crashes during police chases), its roughly 65 to 1,000+. or better than a 15 to 1 kill ratio. 31% of the civilian victims were black.

In Britain and Japan, there were a few civilians killed by police last year. China had 4 (US rate was 1,500 times higher per capita). Could not find info on Russia. Philippines was way higher than the US rate apparently due to the drug war and terrorists may be included in that data as well.

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

[Mar 03, 2019] Netanyahu's Possible Indictment and Jewish Dialectics by Gilad Atzmon

Notable quotes:
"... Yesterday Israel's attorney general published his decision to indict Mr Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three cases. ..."
"... Israel is tough on its leaders. It is certainly tougher than Britain that has so far failed to charge Tony Blair with war crimes or the USA that similarly failed to indict George Bush for launching an illegal war*. ..."
"... Ariel Sharon's political career didn't come to an end after the massacre in Sabra and Shatila. The Kahan Commission that was formed to probe Israeli involvement in that colossal crime found that the IDF was indirectly responsible and that Sharon, who was then the Defense Minister, bore personal responsibility for the massacre. The commission recommended the removal of Sharon from his post as Defense Minister. ..."
"... Israel is led by criminals who love their country. For at least 70 years, Britain has been led by criminals who loathe their country. ..."
"... "The Jewish State is an unusual place. It indicts its leaders and occasionally even locks them behind bars". ..."
"... Which is hardly surprising, since most people who rise to high political office (in any country) tend to be criminals – or at the very least callous and cruel. What really is surprising, as Mr Atzmon observes, is how rarely other countries see fit to prosecute their political leaders, even when they commit glaringly obvious crimes. ..."
"... As Howard Scott accurately remarked, "A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation". (Or, one might add, enough influence to launch a campaign for political power). ..."
"... Canadian Jew Henry Makow speaks often of the vicious rivalry in Jewry between the 'globalist' Jews typified by George Soros, and the 'nationalist-zionist' Jews typified by Netanyahu, who has recently making waves by his alliances with European right-wing parties, who are associated in many Jewish minds with 'anti-semitism' ..."
"... The prosecution of Netanyahu, can be seen as artillery fire by the Soros-type camp, which thinks Netanyahu has really gone too far linking himself with Viktor Orbán and so on ..."
"... One recalls the famous 'anti-semitic' tweet of Netanyahu's son Yair against Soros, using the infamous 'happy merchant' jewish caricature http://images.jpost.com/image/upload/q_60/391963 ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jewish State is an unusual place. It indicts its leaders and occasionally even locks them behind bars. Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was found guilty of "rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice". He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Veteran Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was convicted of two counts of bribery and was also sent to prison.

Yesterday Israel's attorney general published his decision to indict Mr Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three cases.

Israel is tough on its leaders. It is certainly tougher than Britain that has so far failed to charge Tony Blair with war crimes or the USA that similarly failed to indict George Bush for launching an illegal war*.

Yet Israel is far from an ethical realm. It is institutionally racist towards the indigenous people of the land as well as African immigrants, and it is also abusive to its poor. Israel is occasionally accused of gross war crimes . One may wonder why a criminal state with such an appalling record is so harsh with its leaders.

Zionism is one possible answer. Zionism, in its early days, was contemptuous of 'the Jews.' It promised to civilise the chosen people by means of 'homecoming.' The following comments weren't made by Adolf Hitler or a member of the Nazi party but by some of the most dedicated early Zionists:

The wealthy Jews control the world, in their hands lies the fate of governments and nations. They set governments one against the other. When the wealthy Jews play, the nations and the rulers dance. One way or the other, they get rich." (Theodor Herzl, Deutsche Zeitung, as cited by an Israeli documentary )

'The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligations, knows no order nor discipline.' ( Our Shomer 'Weltanschauung' , Hashomer Hatzair, December 1936, p.26. As cited by Lenni Brenner)

'The enterprising spirit of the Jew is irrepressible. He refuses to remain a proletarian. He will grab at the first opportunity to advance to a higher rung in the social ladder.' (The Economic Development of the Jewish People, Ber Borochov, 1916)

The harsh treatment of Israeli politicians by the Israeli media and judicial system is inspired by that Zionist promise. Israel wants to be 'a state like all other states.' It wants its politicians to be ethical and behave with dignity. But the Israeli people aren't sure about the importance of such trappings. Mostly, they could care less whether the judicial system or the media approve of their leaders' ethical records.

Ariel Sharon's political career didn't come to an end after the massacre in Sabra and Shatila. The Kahan Commission that was formed to probe Israeli involvement in that colossal crime found that the IDF was indirectly responsible and that Sharon, who was then the Defense Minister, bore personal responsibility for the massacre. The commission recommended the removal of Sharon from his post as Defense Minister. These findings did not stop Sharon political career, as we know, he went on to become Israel's prime minister a few years later.


Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website March 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm GMT

Israel is tough on its leaders. It is certainly tougher than Britain that has so far failed to charge Tony Blair with war crimes

Israel is led by criminals who love their country. For at least 70 years, Britain has been led by criminals who loathe their country.

swamped , says: March 2, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
The asterisk says it all:"Needless to mention, Israel sends its politicians to jail for bribery but also does not prosecute war crimes as much as it should." As long as you're plundering & strafing shegetzes you're on safe ground in Israel (or wherever else you can get away with it in heathen territory). Just like you can traffic in shiksas all you want (one of Israel's leading industries until too much publicity recently).But if you dare screw (either connotation) one of the tribe, your bacon (oink, oink) is fried!

"As much as early Zionism promised to change the people of Israel, the people themselves haven't been keen of turning into something totally foreign to their true nature" instead, they're more keen to turn their true nature into something very threatening to foreigners. "Despite yesterday's polls that suggest that Netanyahu's support has dropped following the decision to indict him, it is likely that within a few days we will find that Netanyahu's support is rising" as he directs his ire to another foreign population again, in Iran or Gaza or Europe or wherever. "This response to findings of criminal behaviour [of only one kind] enlightens the dialectical clash between what the Israelis 'are' and the image they insist upon attributing to"..the Other.

"Israelis love to see themselves as a dignified Western civilisation guided by law and order" at home; while they avidly sell-out this image in the world. "Israel is at least 'democratic' enough to bring this contradiction to light." So give them a little credit, anyway – but no reprieve.

Tsigantes , says: March 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The striking thing about the crimes Netanyahu is charged with is how trivial and Pollyannish they are compared to what he should be charged with. If I think this living outside Israel, I can only imagine what his diehard supporters think .
Tom Welsh , says: March 2, 2019 at 10:15 am GMT
"The Jewish State is an unusual place. It indicts its leaders and occasionally even locks them behind bars".

Which is hardly surprising, since most people who rise to high political office (in any country) tend to be criminals – or at the very least callous and cruel. What really is surprising, as Mr Atzmon observes, is how rarely other countries see fit to prosecute their political leaders, even when they commit glaringly obvious crimes.

As Howard Scott accurately remarked, "A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation". (Or, one might add, enough influence to launch a campaign for political power).

Brabantian , says: March 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Regarding why corrupt Israel surprises us by prosecuting its own leaders sometimes – Before he ended up suddenly dead in Florida USA, exiled Israeli journalist Barry Chamish (1952-2016), always pointed out a corruption back-story behind such criminal charges

For example, Chamish attributed the bizarre Moshe Katsav indictment, to how Katsav had been an impediment to the machinations of the even-more-connected Shimon Peres.

Canadian Jew Henry Makow speaks often of the vicious rivalry in Jewry between the 'globalist' Jews typified by George Soros, and the 'nationalist-zionist' Jews typified by Netanyahu, who has recently making waves by his alliances with European right-wing parties, who are associated in many Jewish minds with 'anti-semitism'

The prosecution of Netanyahu, can be seen as artillery fire by the Soros-type camp, which thinks Netanyahu has really gone too far linking himself with Viktor Orbán and so on

One recalls the famous 'anti-semitic' tweet of Netanyahu's son Yair against Soros, using the infamous 'happy merchant' jewish caricature
http://images.jpost.com/image/upload/q_60/391963

Anonymous [253] Disclaimer , says: March 2, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke "inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions."

"also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments."

"the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions."

"a term used to describe a method of philosophical argument that involves some sort of contradictory process between opposing sides. " [the key phrase: Israelis contradict themselves, or Israeli behavior contradicts its profession of virtue]

synonyms: reasoning, argumentation, contention, logic;

[Mar 02, 2019] Watters Words The swamp strikes back

Pretty interesting video... no we know that the Swamp consumed Flatfooted Donald rather quickly
Notable quotes:
"... Pete Hegseth and Jesse Watters discuss the bitter establishment's desperation to manufacture a Trump scandal ..."
"... Most people don't know that after the 134 men died on the Forrestal fire in 1967 McCain was the ONLY person helicoptered off the ship. It was done for his own safety as many on the ship blamed him for causing the fire by "wet" starting his jet causing a plume of fire to shoot out his plane's exhaust and into the plane behind McCain causing the ordnance to cook off on that jet. McCain then panicked and dropped his own bombs onto the deck making matters much worse. McCain should have ended his career in jail. Oh, wait, he kinda did, maybe karma justice? ..."
"... FakeStream Media ..."
"... The very Fake Media has met their match ..."
Feb 18, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Pete Hegseth and Jesse Watters discuss the bitter establishment's desperation to manufacture a Trump scandal

Louis John 2 hours ago

@hexencoff

McCain is a trouble maker. supporter of the terrorist and warmonger Iraq Libya Syria he is behind all the trouble scumbag

Gary M 3 hours ago
McCain is a globalist
belaghoulashi 2 hours ago
(edited) McCain has always been full of horseshit. And he has always relied on people calling him a hero to get away with it. That schtick is old, the man is a monumental failure for this country, and he needs to have his sorry butt kicked.

ryvr madduck 1 hour ago

+belaghoulashi

Most people don't know that after the 134 men died on the Forrestal fire in 1967 McCain was the ONLY person helicoptered off the ship. It was done for his own safety as many on the ship blamed him for causing the fire by "wet" starting his jet causing a plume of fire to shoot out his plane's exhaust and into the plane behind McCain causing the ordnance to cook off on that jet. McCain then panicked and dropped his own bombs onto the deck making matters much worse. McCain should have ended his career in jail. Oh, wait, he kinda did, maybe karma justice?

Michael Cambo 4 hours ago
When you start to drain the swamp, the swamp creatures start to show.
Alexus Highfield 3 hours ago
@Michael Cambo

don't they...they do say shit floats.

Geoffry Allan 41 minutes ago

@Michael Cambo - Trump has not drained the swamp he has surrounded himself with billionaires in his cabinet who don't give a damn about the working middle class who struggle e eryday to make a living - explain to me how he is draining the swamp

tim sparks 3 hours ago
Trump is trying so fucking hard to do a good job for us.
Integrity Truth-seeker 2 hours ago
@tim sparks

He is not trying... HE IS DOING IT... Like A Boss. Thank God Mark Taylor Prophecies 2017 the best is yet to come

Jodi Boin 3 hours ago
McCain is a traitor and is bought and paid for by Soros.
Grant Davidson 4 hours ago
Love him or hate him. The guy is a frikkin Genius...
Patrick Reagan 4 hours ago
FakeStream Media
Michael Cambo 4 hours ago
@Patrick Reagan

Very FakeStream Media

aspengold5 4 hours ago
I am so disappointed in McCain.
orlando pablo 4 hours ago
my 401k is keep on going up....thank u mr trump....
Dumbass Libtard 3 hours ago
McCain is not a Republican. He is a loser. Yuge difference.1
Mitchel Colvin 3 hours ago
Shut up McCain! I can't stand this clown anymore! Unfortunately, Arizona re-elected him for six more years!
robert barham 4 hours ago
The very Fake Media has met their match
H My ways of thinking! 3 hours ago
Why does everyone feel that if they don't kiss McCain's ass, they are being un American? Mccain has sold out to George Soros. He is a piece of shit who is guilty of no less than treason! Look up the definition for treason if you're in doubt!
Sam Nardo 3 hours ago
(edited) Mc Cain and Graham are two of the best democrats in the GOP. They are called RINOS
kazzicup 3 hours ago
We love and support our President Donald Trump. The media is so dishonest. CNN = Criminal News Network.

Geoffry Allan 34 minutes ago

@kazzicup - yeah if you get rid of the media Trump becomes a dictator - is that what you want he will censor everything and tell you what he wants - Trump is still president and he is doing his job and fulfilling his promises even though the media is there and reporting - so what's the problem - I don't want a got damn dictator running this country - if you don't like the media then just listen to Trump - 2nd amendment free speech and the right to bear arms we have to respect it even if we may disagree

[Mar 02, 2019] The billionaire Warren Buffett to Trump: "I feel that way no matter who is president, the CEO -- which I am -- should have the ability to pick people that help you run a place."

Now we know why he supported Trump picks ;-) They all were from the swap, that Trump supposedly intended to drain ;-)
Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : January 20, 2017 at 11:50 AM

Billionaires have to stick together.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-20/buffett-says-he-supports-trump-s-cabinet-picks-overwhelmingly?bcomANews=true

Buffett Supports Trump on Cabinet Picks 'Overwhelmingly'

by Amanda L Gordon and Noah Buhayar

January 19, 2017, 8:19 PM EST January 20, 2017, 10:12 AM EST

Warren Buffett said he "overwhelmingly" supports President-elect Donald Trump's choices for cabinet positions as the incoming commander-in-chief's selections face confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate.

"I feel that way no matter who is president," the billionaire Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman and chief executive officer said Thursday in New York at the premiere of a documentary about his life. "The CEO -- which I am -- should have the ability to pick people that help you run a place."

"If they fail, then it's your fault and you got to get somebody new," Buffett said. "Maybe you change cabinet members or something."

Buffett, 86, backed Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, stumping for her in Omaha, Nebraska, and headlining fundraisers. The billionaire frequently clashed with Trump and scolded him for not releasing income-tax returns, as major party presidential candidates have done for roughly four decades.

Trump's cabinet picks include Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker; former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state; and retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as Defense secretary.

Since the election, Buffett has struck a more conciliatory tone toward Trump and called for unity. In an interview with CNN in November, he said that people could disagree with the president-elect, but ultimately he "deserves everybody's respect."

Trump's Popularity

That message hasn't resonated. Trump's popularity is the worst for an incoming president in at least four decades, with just 40 percent of Americans saying they have a favorable impression of him, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll published Tuesday. Buffett said on Thursday that the low approval ratings won't matter much.

"It's what you go out with that counts -- 20, 50 years later what people feel you've achieved," Buffett said.

The president-elect has continued his pugnacious style during the transition, picking fights on Twitter with news outlets, automakers, defense contractors, intelligence agencies, Hollywood actress Meryl Streep and civil rights hero-turned-U.S. Congressman John Lewis.

...

JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 20, 2017 at 12:05 PM
Class warfare at its finest...
sanjait -> Peter K.... , January 20, 2017 at 12:54 PM
I wondered how you'd synthesize a way to disagree with Krugman on this one, given how seemingly commonsense and obvious are Krugman's points.

Here's the answer it seems: talk about something else.

John M -> sanjait... , January 20, 2017 at 01:14 PM
The Bush team went further than that, actively sabotaging FBI field agents' investigations of possible upcoming attacks.

Need it be stated that 9/11 did wonders for the Bush Administration?

John M -> pgl... , January 20, 2017 at 01:35 PM
Wonders for the Bush Administration:

* It solved the problem of Democrats beginning to get a spine and going after the Felonious Five (or at least the three with major conflict of interest).

* It bumped Bush's approval rating from 40% to 80%.

* It greatly lowered opposition to Bush's anti-civil-liberties policies, such as creating "1st Amendment Zones".

* It made passage of the Patriot Act possible.

* People were able to smear opposition to the Bush team policies as treasonous.

* It rendered torture, aggressive war, and barbaric imprisonment without due process of law respectable.

Bush Administration sabotaged investigation:

Remember Coleen Rowley who claimed that an FBI superior back in DC rewrote her request for a warrant, to make it less likely that it would be approved? There was also the FBI agent in Arizona who wanted to investigate certain pilot students, but was prohibited.

pgl -> sanjait... , January 20, 2017 at 01:20 PM
Remember the DeLenda Plan? Once we knew the USS Cole was Al Qaeda, it should have been executed. As in the spring of 2001. Alas, it was deferred to after 9/11. Most incompetent crew ever and the Twin Towers fell down taking 3000 people with because of their utter incompetence.
ilsm -> sanjait... , January 20, 2017 at 03:09 PM
Obama presided over 8 more years of Bushco organized murder and good profits for the war mongers.

[Mar 02, 2019] I don't think much of Trump but it is kind of amusing to see the elites, who screwed over most of the population, now having nervous breakdowns

The US neoliberal/neocon elite emasculated Trump in just three months.
Notable quotes:
"... The elites are wetting their pants ..."
"... The really clever ones recognize that their is a populist upsurge worldwide against elite policymaking as Thoma discussed in his column on Davos man. ..."
Jan 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Tom aka Rusty -> Fred C. Dobbs... Reply Friday, January 20, 2017 at 07:05 AM

The elites are wetting their pants.

I don't think much of Trump but it is kind of amusing to see the elites, who screwed over most of the population, now having nervous breakdowns.

Therapists in Manhattan and Hollywood will do a booming business.

Peter K. -> Tom aka Rusty... , January 20, 2017 at 07:14 AM

yeah the elites are getting a taste of the fear regular folks get over losing a job and financial disaster.

The thing is, Trump is very unpopular.

EMichael -> Tom aka Rusty... , January 20, 2017 at 07:20 AM
So, which elites are you talking about? Just give me an example or two. Y'know, it is possible to be successful and still spend a lot of time doing the right things for people not as successful as you.
Peter K. -> EMichael... , January 20, 2017 at 07:36 AM
Summers and Krugman. See their most recent columns. I think more of the level-headed elites are thinking/hoping that Trump will be 4 years and out and it will all blow over.
Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 20, 2017 at 07:38 AM
The really clever ones recognize that their is a populist upsurge worldwide against elite policymaking as Thoma discussed in his column on Davos man.
Tom aka Rusty -> EMichael... , -1
Yes, there are a few of those. I;ve been impressed by some of the things I have heard from the Steyer brothers. But then there is Bill and Hill, Soros, the Trump cabinet, Rubin/Corzine/Rattner/Summers and a whole unheavenly host. But not all that many impress me, particularly in Manhattan and California.

[Feb 27, 2019] Nomi Prins Survival of the Richest, The March of Inequality

Notable quotes:
"... Forgot to add. If any are looking for a copy of that "The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today" book mentioned near the beginning of this article and do not want to fork over the hard stuff to Bezos, you can find it also at Project Gutenberg in several different formats here- http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3178 ..."
"... When inequality reaches its zenith it will be in parallel with many other disasters that we know are coming ..."
"... When the average yearly salary is $31K? There is no disposable income, as that astounding collective debt figure attests. ..."
"... "Keep in mind that historically, the levelers of inequality have been war, financial crises, protracted battles by workers to get better incomes and workplace protections, and, of course, revolutions." ..."
"... So strikes will work -- which is why they are forbidden. And maybe it is time to get truly creative with shopping strikes and boycotts–Starbucks and Amazon would learn from being shunned or, even better, forced into bankruptcy. ..."
Feb 27, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , February 27, 2019 at 6:04 am

I sometimes wonder if our elite have taken to heart this section from George Orwell's "1984"-

But the purpose of all of them was to arrest progress and freeze history at a chosen moment. The familiar pendulum swing was to happen once more, and then stop. As usual, the High were to be turned out by the Middle, who would then become the High; but this time, by conscious strategy, the High would be able to maintain their position permanently.

And that is the real purpose of all this surveillance in our lives. The reason why the governmental and commercial sector is silencing dissent by banishing it from all social media. The sidelining of all democratic participation in western countries and entities like the EU. To cement their overlordship.

It won't work. Why? Because of Newton's third law – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Historically, the more repression there is, the bloodier the reaction and the French revolution is the best example of this. Here is a good lesson for our elites. Never cheat a person that has nothing to lose. That's good advice that.

The Rev Kev , February 27, 2019 at 6:14 am

Forgot to add. If any are looking for a copy of that "The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today" book mentioned near the beginning of this article and do not want to fork over the hard stuff to Bezos, you can find it also at Project Gutenberg in several different formats here-http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3178

JEHR , February 27, 2019 at 7:44 am

When inequality reaches its zenith it will be in parallel with many other disasters that we know are coming: climate change with all of its severe storms and warming of the planet, toxic plastic pollution, resource depletion, environmental degradation, loss of arable land, loss of animals and fish, insect depletion, super bugs and antibiotic resistance, threat of nuclear war and other wars, climate refugees, rising sea levels, and on and on and on. The thing is that we may not live long enough to revolt against wealth inequality!

DJG , February 27, 2019 at 8:39 am

Yves Smith. Great article from the always insightful Nomi Prins. The figures on household income and general indebtedness are something to commit to memory for the next time one of our earnest upper-middle friends goes on and on about retraining and relocating. How? When the average yearly salary is $31K? There is no disposable income, as that astounding collective debt figure attests.

The note up top from YS is sobering indeed: "Keep in mind that historically, the levelers of inequality have been war, financial crises, protracted battles by workers to get better incomes and workplace protections, and, of course, revolutions."

Which is the least painful and most effective? Strikes. And general strikes. Now that everything in the U S of A is on-line, monetized (including us), and dollar denominated, the only recourse we have is to withhold labor. (Or to stop shopping.)

So strikes will work -- which is why they are forbidden. And maybe it is time to get truly creative with shopping strikes and boycotts–Starbucks and Amazon would learn from being shunned or, even better, forced into bankruptcy.

[Feb 27, 2019] Survival of the Richest by Nomi Prins

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Like a gilded coating that makes the dullest things glitter, today's thin veneer of political populism covers a grotesque underbelly of growing inequality that's hiding in plain sight. And this phenomenon of ever more concentrated wealth and power has both Newtonian and Darwinian components to it.

In terms of Newton's first law of motion: those in power will remain in power unless acted upon by an external force. Those who are wealthy will only gain in wealth as long as nothing deflects them from their present course. As for Darwin, in the world of financial evolution, those with wealth or power will do what's in their best interest to protect that wealth, even if it's in no one else's interest at all.

In George Orwell's iconic 1945 novel, Animal Farm , the pigs who gain control in a rebellion against a human farmer eventually impose a dictatorship on the other animals on the basis of a single commandment : "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." In terms of the American republic, the modern equivalent would be: "All citizens are equal, but the wealthy are so much more equal than anyone else (and plan to remain that way)."

Certainly, inequality is the economic great wall between those with power and those without it.

As the animals of Orwell's farm grew ever less equal, so in the present moment in a country that still claims equal opportunity for its citizens, one in which three Americans now have as much wealth as the bottom half of society (160 million people), you could certainly say that we live in an increasingly Orwellian society. Or perhaps an increasingly Twainian one.

After all, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner wrote a classic 1873 novel that put an unforgettable label on their moment and could do the same for ours. The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today depicted the greed and political corruption of post-Civil War America. Its title caught the spirit of what proved to be a long moment when the uber-rich came to dominate Washington and the rest of America. It was a period saturated with robber barons, professional grifters, and incomprehensibly wealthy banking magnates. (Anything sound familiar?) The main difference between that last century's gilded moment and this one was that those robber barons built tangible things like railroads. Today's equivalent crew of the mega-wealthy build remarkably intangible things like tech and electronic platforms, while a grifter of a president opts for the only new infrastructure in sight, a great wall to nowhere.

In Twain's epoch, the U.S. was emerging from the Civil War. Opportunists were rising from the ashes of the nation's battered soul. Land speculation, government lobbying, and shady deals soon converged to create an unequal society of the first order (at least until now). Soon after their novel came out, a series of recessions ravaged the country, followed by a 1907 financial panic in New York City caused by a speculator-led copper-market scam.

From the late 1890s on, the most powerful banker on the planet, J.P. Morgan, was called upon multiple times to bail out a country on the economic edge. In 1907, Treasury Secretary George Cortelyou provided him with $25 million in bailout money at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt to stabilize Wall Street and calm frantic citizens trying to withdraw their deposits from banks around the country. And this Morgan did -- by helping his friends and their companies, while skimming money off the top himself. As for the most troubled banks holding the savings of ordinary people? Well, they folded. (Shades of the 2007-2008 meltdown and bailout anyone?)

The leading bankers who had received that bounty from the government went on to cause the Crash of 1929 . Not surprisingly, much speculation and fraud preceded it. In those years, the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald caught the era's spirit of grotesque inequality in The Great Gatsby when one of his characters comments: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." The same could certainly be said of today when it comes to the gaping maw between the have-nots and have-a-lots.

Income vs. Wealth

To fully grasp the nature of inequality in our twenty-first-century gilded age, it's important to understand the difference between wealth and income and what kinds of inequality stem from each. Simply put, income is how much money you make in terms of paid work or any return on investments or assets (or other things you own that have the potential to change in value). Wealth is simply the gross accumulation of those very assets and any return or appreciation on them. The more wealth you have, the easier it is to have a higher annual income.

Let's break that down. If you earn $31,000 a year, the median salary for an individual in the United States today, your income would be that amount minus associated taxes (including federal, state, social security, and Medicare ones). On average, that means you would be left with about $26,000 before other expenses kicked in.

If your wealth is $1,000,000, however, and you put that into a savings account paying 2.25% interest , you could receive about $22,500 and, after taxes, be left with about $19,000, for doing nothing whatsoever.

To put all this in perspective, the top 1% of Americans now take home, on average, more than 40 times the incomes of the bottom 90%. And if you head for the top 0.1%, those figures only radically worsen. That tiny crew takes home more than 198 times the income of the bottom 90% percent. They also possess as much wealth as the nation's bottom 90%. "Wealth," as Adam Smith so classically noted almost two-and-a-half-centuries ago in The Wealth of Nations , "is power," an adage that seldom, sadly, seems outdated.

A Case Study: Wealth, Inequality, and the Federal Reserve

Obviously, if you inherit wealth in this country, you're instantly ahead of the game. In America, a third to nearly a half of all wealth is inherited rather than self-made. According to a New York Times investigation, for instance, President Donald Trump, from birth, received an estimated $413 million (in today's dollars, that is) from his dear old dad and another $140 million (in today's dollars) in loans. Not a bad way for a "businessman" to begin building the empire (of bankruptcies ) that became the platform for a presidential campaign that oozed into actually running the country. Trump did it, in other words, the old-fashioned way -- through inheritance.

In his megalomaniacal zeal to declare a national emergency at the southern border, that gilded millionaire-turned-billionaire-turned-president provides but one of many examples of a long record of abusing power. Unfortunately, in this country, few people consider record inequality (which is still growing) as another kind of abuse of power, another kind of great wall, in this case keeping not Central Americans but most U.S. citizens out.

The Federal Reserve, the country's central bank that dictates the cost of money and that sustained Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 (and since), has finally pointed out that such extreme levels of inequality are bad news for the rest of the country. As Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a town hall in Washington in early February, "We want prosperity to be widely shared. We need policies to make that happen." Sadly, the Fed has largely contributed to increasing the systemic inequality now engrained in the financial and, by extension, political system. In a recent research paper , the Fed did, at least, underscore the consequences of inequality to the economy, showing that "income inequality can generate low aggregate demand, deflation pressure, excessive credit growth, and financial instability."

In the wake of the global economic meltdown, however, the Fed took it upon itself to reduce the cost of money for big banks by chopping interest rates to zero (before eventually raising them to 2.5%) and buying $4.5 trillion in Treasury and mortgage bonds to lower it further. All this so that banks could ostensibly lend money more easily to Main Street and stimulate the economy. As Senator Bernie Sanders noted though, "The Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else."

The economy has been treading water ever since (especially compared to the stock market). Annual gross domestic product growth has not surpassed 3% in any year since the financial crisis, even as the level of the stock market tripled , grotesquely increasing the country's inequality gap. None of this should have been surprising, since much of the excess money went straight to big banks, rich investors, and speculators. They then used it to invest in the stock and bond markets, but not in things that would matter to all the Americans outside that great wall of wealth.

The question is: Why are inequality and a flawed economic system mutually reinforcing? As a starting point, those able to invest in a stock market buoyed by the Fed's policies only increased their wealth exponentially. In contrast, those relying on the economy to sustain them via wages and other income got shafted. Most people aren't, of course, invested in the stock market, or really in anything. They can't afford to be. It's important to remember that nearly 80% of the population lives paycheck to paycheck.

The net result: an acute post-financial-crisis increase in wealth inequality -- on top of the income inequality that was global but especially true in the United States. The crew in the top 1% that doesn't rely on salaries to increase their wealth prospered fabulously. They, after all, now own more than half of all national wealth invested in stocks and mutual funds, so a soaring stock market disproportionately helps them. It's also why the Federal Reserve subsidy policies to Wall Street banks have only added to the extreme wealth of those extreme few.

The Ramifications of Inequality

The list of negatives resulting from such inequality is long indeed. As a start, the only thing the majority of Americans possess a greater proportion of than that top 1% is a mountain of debt.

The bottom 90% are the lucky owners of about three-quarters of the country's household debt. Mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit-card debt are cumulatively at a record-high $13.5 trillion .

And that's just to start down a slippery slope. As Inequality.org reports, wealth and income inequality impact "everything from life expectancy to infant mortality and obesity." High economic inequality and poor health, for instance, go hand and hand, or put another way, inequality compromises the overall health of the country. According to academic findings, income inequality is, in the most literal sense, making Americans sick. As one study put it , "Diseased and impoverished economic infrastructures [help] lead to diseased or impoverished or unbalanced bodies or minds."

Then there's Social Security, established in 1935 as a federal supplement for those in need who have also paid into the system through a tax on their wages. Today, all workers contribute 6.2% of their annual earnings and employers pay the other 6.2% (up to a cap of $132,900 ) into the Social Security system. Those making far more than that, specifically millionaires and billionaires, don't have to pay a dime more on a proportional basis. In practice, that means about 94% of American workers and their employers paid the full 12.4% of their annual earnings toward Social Security, while the other 6% paid an often significantly smaller fraction of their earnings.

According to his own claims about his 2016 income, for instance, President Trump "contributed a mere 0.002 percent of his income to Social Security in 2016." That means it would take nearly 22,000 additional workers earning the median U.S. salary to make up for what he doesn't have to pay. And the greater the income inequality in this country, the more money those who make less have to put into the Social Security system on a proportional basis. In recent years, a staggering $1.4 trillion could have gone into that system, if there were no arbitrary payroll cap favoring the wealthy.

Inequality: A Dilemma With Global Implications

America is great at minting millionaires. It has the highest concentration of them, globally speaking, at 41%. (Another 24% of that millionaires' club can be found in Europe.) And the top 1% of U.S. citizens earn 40 times the national average and own about 38.6 % of the country's total wealth. The highest figure in any other developed country is "only" 28%.

However, while the U.S. boasts of epic levels of inequality, it's also a global trend. Consider this: the world's richest 1% own 45% of total wealth on this planet. In contrast, 64% of the population (with an average of $10,000 in wealth to their name) holds less than 2%. And to widen the inequality picture a bit more, the world's richest 10%, those having at least $100,000 in assets, own 84% of total global wealth.

The billionaires' club is where it's really at, though. According to Oxfam, the richest 42 billionaires have a combined wealth equal to that of the poorest 50% of humanity. Rest assured, however, that in this gilded century there's inequality even among billionaires. After all, the 10 richest among them possess $745 billion in total global wealth. The next 10 down the list possess a mere $451.5 billion , and why even bother tallying the next 10 when you get the picture?

Oxfam also recently reported that "the number of billionaires has almost doubled, with a new billionaire created every two days between 2017 and 2018. They have now more wealth than ever before while almost half of humanity have barely escaped extreme poverty, living on less than $5.50 a day."

How Does It End?

In sum, the rich are only getting richer and it's happening at a historic rate. Worse yet, over the past decade, there was an extra perk for the truly wealthy. They could bulk up on assets that had been devalued due to the financial crisis, while so many of their peers on the other side of that great wall of wealth were economically decimated by the 2007-2008 meltdown and have yet to fully recover .

What we've seen ever since is how money just keeps flowing upward through banks and massive speculation, while the economic lives of those not at the top of the financial food chain have largely remained stagnant or worse. The result is, of course, sweeping inequality of a kind that, in much of the last century, might have seemed inconceivable.

Eventually, we will all have to face the black cloud this throws over the entire economy. Real people in the real world, those not at the top, have experienced a decade of ever greater instability, while the inequality gap of this beyond-gilded age is sure to shape a truly messy world ahead. In other words, this can't end well.

Nomi Prins, a former Wall Street executive, is a TomDispatch regular . Her latest book is Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World (Nation Books). She is also the author of All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power and five other books. Special thanks go to researcher Craig Wilson for his superb work on this piece.

obwandiyag , says: February 26, 2019 at 6:22 pm GMT

As Ernest Hemingway said, "Yeah, the rich are different from the rest of us. They have more money."
Aryan Racist , says: February 26, 2019 at 9:17 pm GMT
I read a stat in Mother Jones magazine that 90% of Americans have an average income of $31,000 a year and the richest .1 percent have an average income of $27 million dollars. So how does one pay all these living expenses and various debts with $26,000 after taxes? The Trump tax cuts just exacerbated the problem by giving more money to the wealthy and practically nothing to the 90% (at the bottom, which is almost everyone else). A good book on the subject of wealth inequality is "Billionaire's Ball."

[Feb 27, 2019] Their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image." ..."
Feb 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: February 26, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT

"That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image."

Now that's writing worth reading. If the Nobel committee did not serve the Global Empire, it would give the Literature Prize to Hopkins.

The late 19th and 20th century Russians had the horror of dealing with Nihilists running amuck in their country. Now the Nihilists rule the world as multi-billionaire Globalists.

[Feb 27, 2019] Barr is CIA's shyster lawyer, Mueller is CIA's cleaner. Both FBI and DoJ are completely controlled by CIA "focal points" (Dulles' term) or dotted-line reports (Bush-era Newspeak.)

Feb 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bern , says: February 25, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT

follyofwar, I hate to be Debbie Downer, but who do think Mueller works for?

https://digwithin.net/2018/04/08/muellers-history/

Barr is CIA's shyster lawyer, Mueller is CIA's cleaner. Both FBI and DoJ are completely controlled by CIA "focal points" (Dulles' term) or dotted-line reports (Bush-era Newspeak.)

What's more, Hill and Bill work for CIA too: Hill got her start purloining documents for CIA's "Watergate" purge of Nixon; Cord Meyer recruited Bill at Oxford.

CIA brainwashing makes Republicans blame Democrats for what CIA does to you, and makes Democrats blame Republicans for what CIA does to them. CIA runs your country while party loyalists tear each other's throats out. Divide et impera.

Nobody will be doing a fine job for the country because CIA doesn't give a rat's ass about the country. They've got a business to run: drug-dealing, gun-running, child trafficking and pedophile blackmail, money-laundering, foreign asset-stripping.

[Feb 26, 2019] The USA elite will never willingly give up their power. It has to be taken from them.

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: February 26, 2019 at 6:14 am GMT

@redmudhooch

"I've given up the illusion that we'll ever vote our way out of this madness, look at Narco Rubio's tweet yesterday using snuff photos of Gaddafi after the gangsters in DC murdered him and destroyed his country, turning it back centuries, using them as a threat to Maduro. You don't vote that kind of Mob out, we have the mafia now in charge of our country, the most powerful military in the world is run by satanic mobsters, and we're foolish enough to think voting is going to make this go away? Criminals and gangsters don't stop until they're either in prison or dead. They don't go away or give up power because you ask them to, which is all voting is, asking them nicely. Good luck with that!

Mafia is the correct description. And you are right, they will never willingly give up their power. It has to be taken from them. And anyone who expects voting to do that job better find themselves a Elliot Ness to put in the WH.

[Feb 26, 2019] Nobody will be doing a fine job for the country because CIA doesn't give a rat's ass about the country

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bern , says: February 25, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT

follyofwar, I hate to be Debbie Downer, but who do think Mueller works for?

https://digwithin.net/2018/04/08/muellers-history/

Barr is CIA's shyster lawyer, Mueller is CIA's cleaner. Both FBI and DoJ are completely controlled by CIA "focal points" (Dulles' term) or dotted-line reports (Bush-era Newspeak.)

What's more, Hill and Bill work for CIA too: Hill got her start purloining documents for CIA's "Watergate" purge of Nixon; Cord Meyer recruited Bill at Oxford.

CIA brainwashing makes Republicans blame Democrats for what CIA does to you, and makes Democrats blame Republicans for what CIA does to them. CIA runs your country while party loyalists tear each other's throats out. Divide et impera.

Nobody will be doing a fine job for the country because CIA doesn't give a rat's ass about the country. They've got a business to run: drug-dealing, gun-running, child trafficking and pedophile blackmail, money-laundering, foreign asset-stripping.

[Feb 26, 2019] Civilizations are only held together by the "glue" of shared beliefs. The deep-state-media-complex has just applied a solvent to the very glue that holds the entire culture together.

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

densa , says: February 26, 2019 at 11:04 pm GMT

@Mike from Jersey This:

Don't the people pulling the strings behind the media understand what they have done? They have convinced a large part of the nation that everything that they were taught from childhood is a fraud.

Civilizations are only held together by the "glue" of shared beliefs. The deep-state-media-complex has just applied a solvent to the very glue that holds the entire culture together.

And Hopkins says a disillusioned people might realize

in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image.

There has been a longstanding bipartisan attack against the nation, and I use that term as defined as "a stable, historically developed community of people with a territory, economic life, distinctive culture, and language in common."

But I don't think the "deep-state-media-complex" is concerned by this. Again, feature not bug.

[Feb 26, 2019] Corrupt and decaying neoliberal elite and Gramsci's idea of hegemony

Feb 26, 2019 | www.amazon.com

We begin our investigation with a historical account of the rise of neoliberal hegemony. Hegemony is a concept developed by Italian Marx- ist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci was keen to account for the definitive role that culture played in legitimizing and sustaining capitalism and its exploitation of the working classes. In our own context of extreme economic inequality, Gramsci's question is still pressing: How and why do ordinary working folks come to accept a system where wealth is produced by their collective labors and energies but appropriated individually by only a few at the top?

The theory of hegemony suggests that the answer to this question is not simply a matter of direct exploitation and control by the capitalist class. Rather, hegemony posits that power is maintained through ongoing, ever-shifting cultural processes of winning the consent of the governed, that is, ordinary people like you and me.

In other words, if we want to really understand why and how phenomena like inequality and exploitation exist, we have to attend to the particular, contingent, and often contradictory ways in which culture gets mobilized to forward the interests and power of the ruling classes. According to Gramsci, there was not one ruling class, but rather a historical blос. "A moving equilibrium" of class interests and values.

Hegemony names a cultural struggle for moral, social, economic, and political leadership; in this struggle, a field -- or assemblage -- of practices, discourses, values, and beliefs come to be dominant. While this field is powerful and firmly entrenched, it is also open to contestation.

In other words, hegemonic power is always on the move; it has to keep winning our consent to survive, and sometimes it fails to do so. Through the lens of hegemony, we can think about the rise of neoliberalism as an ongoing political project -- and class struggle -- to shift society's political equilibrium and create a new' dominant field.

[Feb 26, 2019] Neoliberalism by Julie Wilson

Highly recommended!
The book adhere to "classic" line of critique of neoliberalism as a new "secular religion" ( the author thinking is along the lines of Gramsci idea of "cultural hegemony"; Gramsci did not use the term 'secular religion" at all, but this close enough concept) that deified the market. It stress the role of the state in enforcing the neoliberalism.
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

skeptic on October 8, 2017

A solid book on neoliberal ideology and neoliberal rationality. Highly recommended

The book adhere to "classic" line of critique of neoliberalism as a new "secular religion" ( the author thinking is along the lines of Gramsci idea of "cultural hegemony"; Gramsci did not use the term 'secular religion" at all, but this is close enough concept) that deified the market. It stresses the role of the state in enforcing the neoliberal ideology much like was the case with Bolsheviks in the USSR:

Gramsci's question is still pressing: How and why do ordinary working folks come to accept a system where wealth is produced by their collective labors and energies but appropriated individually by only a few at the top? The theory of hegemony suggests that the answer to this question is not simply a matter of direct exploitation and control by the capitalist class. Rather, hegemony posits that power is maintained through ongoing, ever-shifting cultural processes of winning the consent of the governed, that is, ordinary people like you and me.

According to Gramsci, there was not one ruling class, but rather a historical bloc, "a moving equilibrium" of class interests and values. Hegemony names a cultural struggle for moral, social, economic, and political leadership; in this struggle, a field -- or assemblage -- of practices, discourses, values, and beliefs come to be dominant. While this field is powerful and firmly entrenched, it is also open to contestation. In other words, hegemonic power is always on the move; it has to keep winning our consent to survive, and sometimes it fails to do so.
Through the lens of hegemony, we can think about the rise of neoliberalism as an ongoing political project -- and class struggle -- to shift society's political equilibrium and create a new dominant field. Specifically, we are going to trace the shift from liberal to neoliberal hegemony. This shift is represented in the two images below.

Previous versions of liberal hegemony imagined society to be divided into distinct public and private spheres. The public sphere was the purview of the state, and its role was to ensure the formal rights and freedoms of citizens through the rule of law. The private sphere included the economy and the domestic sphere of home and family.

For the most part, liberal hegemony was animated by a commitment to limited government, as the goal was to allow for as much freedom in trade, associations, and civil society as possible, while preserving social order and individual rights. Politics took shape largely around the line between public and private; more precisely, it was a struggle over where and how to draw the line. In other words, within the field of liberal hegemony, politics was a question of how to define the uses and limits of the state and its public function in a capitalist society. Of course, political parties often disagreed passionately about where and how to draw that line. As we'll see below, many advocated for laissez-faire capitalism, while others argued for a greater public role in ensuring the health, happiness, and rights of citizens. What's crucial though is that everyone agreed that there was a line to be drawn, and that there was a public function for the state.

As Figure 1.1 shows, neoliberal hegemony works to erase this line between public and private and to create an entire society -- in fact, an entire world -- based on private, market competition. In this way, neoliberalism represents a radical reinvention of liberalism and thus of the horizons of hegemonic struggle. Crucially, within neoliberalism, the state's function does not go away; rather, it is deconstructed and reconstructed toward the new' end of expanding private markets.

This view correlates well with the analysis of Professor Wendy Brown book "Undoing the Demos" and her paper "Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy" (pdf is freely available)

In this sense neoliberalism are just "Trotskyism for the rich" with the same utopian dream of global neoliberal revolution, but much more sinister motives. And is as ruthless in achieving its goals, if necessary bring neoliberal "regime change" on the tips of bayonets, or via 'cultural revolutions".

If we follow the line of thinking put forward by Professor Philip Mirowski's in his book "Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown," we can say that neoliberals essentially "reverse-engineered" Bolsheviks methods of acquiring and maintaining political power, replacing "dictatorship of proletariat" with the "dictatorship of financial oligarchy".

I would say more: The "professional revolutionary" cadre that were the core of Bolshevik's Party were replaced with well paid, talented intellectual prostitutes at specially created neoliberal think tanks. And later "infiltrated" in economic departments (kind of stealth coup d'état in academia financed by usual financial players).

Which eventually created a critical mass of ideas which were able to depose New Deal Capitalism ideology, putting forward the set of remedies that restore the power the financial oligarchy enjoyed in 1920th. Technological changes such as invention of computers and telecommunication revolution also helped greatly.

At the same time unlike Bolsheviks, neoliberals are carefully hiding their agenda. Funny, neoliberalism is the only known to me major ideology which the US MSM are prohibited to mention by name ;-)

The role of state under neoliberalism is very close to the role of state under Bolsheviks' "dictatorship of proletariats". It no way this still a liberal democracy -- this is what Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarism". Less brutal then Bolsheviks' regime, but still far from real democracy. Under neoliberalism the state is a powerful agent needed to enforce markets on unsuspecting population in all spheres of life, whether they want it or not (supported by 12" guns of neoliberal MSM battleships):

As Figure 1.1 shows, neoliberal hegemony works to erase this line between public and private and to create an entire society -- in fact, an entire world -- based on private, market competition. In this way, neoliberalism represents a radical reinvention of liberalism and thus of the horizons of hegemonic struggle. Crucially, within neoliberalism, the state's function does not go away; rather, it is deconstructed and reconstructed toward the new' end of expanding private markets. Consequently, contemporary politics take shape around questions of how best to promote competition. For the most part, politics on both the left and right have been subsumed by neoliberal hegemony. For example, while neoliberalism made its debut in Western politics with the right-wing administrations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, leaders associated with the left have worked to further neoliberal hegemony in stunning ways. As we will explore in more depth below and in die coming chapters, both U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have governed to create a privatized, market society. In other words, there is both a left and a right hegemonic horizon of neoliberalism. Thus, moving beyond neoliberalism will ultimately require a whole new field of politics.

One of the most interesting part of the book is the brief analysis of the recent elections (with very precise characterization of Hillary Clinton defeat as the defeat of the "neoliberal status quo"). The author claims that Trump supporters were mainly representatives of the strata of the US society which were sick-and-tied of neoliberalism (note the percentage of Spanish speaking electorate who voted for Trump), but they were taken for a ride, as instead of rejection of globalism and free movement of labor, Trump actually represented more right wing, more bastardized version of "hard neoliberalism".

In the period which followed the elections Trump_vs_deep_state emerged as a kind of "neoliberalism in one country" -- much like Stalin's "socialism in one country". It and did not care one bit about those who voted for him during election . As in classic "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go."

So in a way Trump represents the mirror image of Obama who in the same way betrayed his votes (twice) acting from "soft neoliberalism" position, while Trump is acting from "hard neoliberalism" position.

On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.
... ... ...

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

[Feb 22, 2019] Opioid Crisis Shows How Economic Inequality Kills

Feb 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Opioid Crisis Shows How Economic Inequality Kills Posted on February 20, 2019 by Yves Smith By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Pharmaceutical pushers like Purdue Pharma "couldn't have done their dirty work" without America's increasingly unbalanced economy

America's growing rate of economic inequality is more than a numerical ratio that worries economists or a trendy political talking point. The phenomenon has been linked to human tragedies ranging from higher murder rates to growing gaps in life expectancy .

Add death by opioids to the list.

In recent years, social scientists have been debating why more people have been dying from drug overdoses. Does the increased availability of highly addictive opioids fully explain the rise? Not entirely, it turns out.

Sociologist Shannon Monnat is author of a new study with the Institute for New Economic Thinking that examines county-level drug deaths in the U.S. Her research reveals that while overprescribing doctors, pharmaceutical pushers and illegal dealers are highly significant, a big part of what makes a community susceptible to the opioid scourge is recent patterns of economic distress -- the kind inflicted by decades of bad policy.

A recent flurry of headlines about the billionaire Sackler family, whose members own Purdue Pharma, the company that created the powerful opioid painkiller OxyContin, highlights the ugliness of drug sales representatives promoting dangerously high doses to boost profits. "Supply is certainly important," says Monnat, "but Big Pharma couldn't do its dirty work without America's increasing economic inequality."

Monnat's research examines U.S. drug fatalities from 2000-02 and 2014-16, two-thirds of which were caused by heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opiates. She concentrates on non-Hispanic whites because other than American Indians, that group has suffered the highest drug mortality rates of anybody over the last two decades.

Several of her findings complicate the common media narratives. Despite the characterization of opioids as "hillbilly heroin," most deaths and the biggest increase in fatalities among whites since 2000 were actually in urban counties. Rural areas saw fewer deaths overall, but the rates varied widely from one region to another. Some rural counties have the highest opioid mortality rates in the country, while others enjoy the lowest.

Why would opioids be raging through some predominately rural states, like Maine and Kentucky, but not others, like Idaho and Iowa?

Among non-urban counties, drug mortality rates appear to spike in two types of places: economically beaten-down communities centered on mining and distressed areas where people increasingly depend on service jobs. In these corners of America, economic anxiety matters more in terms of how many will die from opioid overdoses than supply factors, which tend to drive death rates more around big cities.

Monnat explains how despair builds in areas like Appalachia, where residents have seen mining jobs disappear and there are fewer ways for people without a college degree to make a living. In regions where manufacturing jobs were once abundant, like Pennsylvania, people have to rely on badly paid service jobs that offer few benefits.

Communities facing these challenges begin to implode. The best and brightest young people tend to leave to find jobs elsewhere. Families break apart. The tax base shrinks and social services disappear. Economic policies that support disinvestment in the public sphere, along with those that disfavor workers and allow corporations -- like greedy pharmaceutical companies -- to run roughshod over communities make everything worse. Distress spreads across generations.

On the other hand, rural areas where people are more reliant on farming or where there are a wider variety of jobs tend have a lower rate of death from opioids. The quality of labor markets matters, it turns out. Monnat also thinks that that greater social cohesion in these communities may help people stay more resilient when economic strains develop. Having a more robust social safety net helps, too. Elsewhere, she has shown that places where religion and sports are more of a focus also tend to have lower rates of drug fatalities. Maybe going to church or rooting for the local team gives people meaning and a sense identity, which helps them cope better when other sources of these human needs disappear.

The opioid crisis is really a "tale of two rural Americas," says Monnat. In places where economic inequality has thrown more lives into chaos, a greater number of lives will be snuffed out by this deadly strain of drugs. (Methamphetamines, she notes, cause slower deaths, so we may not have the full story of their impact on drug fatalities yet).

Her findings suggest that no matter how well intentioned the efforts to limit supply or provide treatment to the addicted, places where the economy isn't working for most people may continue to see high opioid fatalities.

Research like hers underscores the reality that policymakers in both political parties are going to have to move beyond the neoliberal framework popularized in the Reagan era that promotes corporate deregulation, shrunken social safety nets, and trade and labor policies that hurt ordinary workers. Such policies were meant to spark growth, but instead they have only made a thin slice of people wealthy and socked America with inequality that has disproportionately hit certain regions of the country.

Pro-worker policies, investments in public services like health and education, fairer tax systems, and re-establishing sensible rules for how companies do business are all part of a much-needed prescription for a healthier society.


JEHR , February 20, 2019 at 10:17 am

We have a vicious circle going on here: the rich create drugs and in order to increase profits from year to year describe the drugs as non-addictive, which proves false. The rich pharmaceutical inventors and other distributors of drugs want more profits so they sell more drugs again insisting on their non-addictiveness. The poor, who no longer have good-paying jobs because these jobs have been moved overseas so that the companies can save money and make bigger profit by paying overseas workers less, are filled with despair and depression and are prescribed the "non-additive" drugs in order to maintain some degree of normality of being. Hence, the pharmaceutical developers sell more and get richer and the drug users die a miserable death too early. Nice, hey?

thesaucymugwump , February 20, 2019 at 12:25 pm

The opioid crisis is only one consequence of allowing selfish, ignorant libertarians to make policy. Anyone older than 50 remembers a pre-Walmart country where most things were made in the US. When most jobs are part-time, low-paid ones with no benefits, despair grows.

thesaucymugwump , February 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Alan Greenspan, Phil Gramm, Paul Ryan, and Christopher Cox, just to name a few, not to mention the Cato Institute the members of which said things like:

Daniel J. Ikenson: "In fact, since China joined the WTO in 2001, U.S. exports to China have more than doubled. And the notion that importing from and offshoring to China is hollowing out American manufacturing is not supported by the facts."

Doug Bandow: "The silliest argument against PNTR is that Chinese imports would overwhelm U.S. industry. In fact, American workers are far more productive than their Chinese counterparts Moreover, Beijing's manufacturing exports to the United States remain small, about half the level of those from Mexico."

Deroy Murdock professing that PNTR "will pressure China from inside and out" and that "Americans will enjoy more Chinese-made apparel and appliances at reasonable prices if PNTR passes."

Census Bureau data clearly shows that in 1985, the year data first became available, trade with China became negative and never looked back.
https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html

Joe Well , February 20, 2019 at 12:44 pm

I wish I had more time to read more on this. I wonder how deep the authors go in their emphasis on "inequality" rather than "poverty" or "low incomes." I'm from the Boston area, where the opioid crisis has hit hard, and there is low poverty but high inequality.

One thing about high inequality that I wish got discussed more here: it drives up the cost of housing (and to a lesser extent, most other things), which totally undercuts the buying power of wages. Massachusetts is moving toward a $15/hour statewide minimum wage (it's at $12/hour now). I strongly suspect that residential rents will rise to suck up a large part of that unless we have the kind of downturn that pushes luxury apartments into the lower rungs of the market.

Jerry B , February 20, 2019 at 4:07 pm

====One thing about high inequality that I wish got discussed more here: it drives up the cost of housing (and to a lesser extent, most other things), which totally undercuts the buying power of wages====

Thanks Joe. I agree with your comment completely. The cost of living drum is one I have been banging on in comments on NC. In this country and the world we have a income and wealth redistribution problem.

The solutions to the problem need to be addressed on multiple fronts. The fight for a higher minimum wage, higher income taxes on the upper classes, and a wealth tax, etc, are important but we also have to stop the soaring increase in cost of living. If we do not begin to contain soaring prices for things such as housing, healthcare, transportation, college, food, etc. where does it end?

In 1979 the average monthly rent in Chicago was $279. In 2019 the average rent in Chicago is roughly $1200. Ten years from now when the average rent in Chicago is $2000 are we going to raise the minimum wage to $20, $30? $30,000 for a new car, $40,000 for a new pickup truck, $25,000 per year for college tuition and room and board, and soaring healthcare costs that bankrupt many people.

To borrow concepts from I think Marx. What we are paying in the US for many basic needs is exchange value and not use value. My father used to say that a car is something to take you from Point A to Point B and it just depends on how much you want to pay. I live in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago and I see a lot of GMC Yukons/Chevy Suburbans usually with one person in it. A 2018 GMC Yukon is $50,000. That is obscene. Even if a person could afford it, by paying it they are enabling the car manufacturers to charge what they want.

When I was in high school in the 70's you could buy a beater car for a couple thousand dollars. Now?? Go to any used car lot but bring smelling salts with you. I would venture that the supply of used cars far outstrips demand so something else is keeping car prices high.

I am no economist or finance expert so I am light on solutions but something has to change or the bubble will burst. As Lambert, Thomas Franks, and other have pointed out, many in government are part of the affluent, credentialed, elitist upper classes so as I am not optimistic for solutions from the government anytime soon. And I do not think socialist type price controls are an answer but as I said that is out of my knowledge area.

Thanks again for your comment Joe! The other half of the inequality equation, costs of living, needs to be addressed.

There is a good book called Dream Hoarders that discusses some of what I mentioned above.

Joe Well , February 20, 2019 at 7:08 pm

I will definitely check out that book. I thought I was the only one banging this particular drum in comments. This problem is invisible to many because it disproportionately affects the young (but is by no means limited to the young! I just listened to an NPR interview with a retired woman who has to live with her brother! She cant even get subsidized housing for retirees).

The cost of cars in inflation adjusted dollars is controversial because cars are just so much more reliable now, apples and oranges comparisons are almost impossible. But the national policy of encouraging SUV and pickup ownership is one of the most absurd aspects of our national mismanagement. Imagine if you told someone in 1977 that the average car in the 21st century would be just as fuel inefficient (OK, not sure about the exact numbers).

As for rent control, what we had in Greater Boston before 1995 was both market driven housing construction with few impediments to development and rent control. So there was plentiful supply at reasonable cost. But rent control was abolished through a campaign funded by small landlords who then took the opportunity to fight new construction so they could rent gouge. Any incumbent fights competition and small landlords are no different. The insidious thing was they mastered the language of community, preservation, smart growth, etc. that appealed to the racist and classist sensibilities of many residents of affluent places like Cambridge while giving them progressive cover.

Tomonthebeach , February 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Basically, this is a rehash of Monnat's little study which is far from convincing and seems to be cherry-picking to support Case and Deaton's despair hypothesis. Case and Deaton are more convincing.

If I was reviewing Monnat's paper, I would recommend major revisions to better explain how slicing up her data pie does not render degrees of freedom impotent as far a significance goes. So you can find both urban and rural counties with lots of ODs, and alas many more with not so many – so what? That hardly justifies expounding on how economic factors cause ODs.

William Hunter Duncan , February 20, 2019 at 1:07 pm

This is why I condemn liberal/Dem ideology as much or more than Republican. Two major parties to sell out Americans and America to corporations, banks, billionaires and an eternal privatized war machine. Growth and progress ideologies building on and reinforcing the pathological and ecocidal.

So god damned sure of themselves, so arrogant and condescending. Contempt does not even begin to describe what I feel about the leadership of this empire.

Even now I can hear liberals and Dems justifying the economics that leads to such destitution for so many.

Sol , February 20, 2019 at 9:32 pm

"It's okay when we get bad results. We're the good guys, we use the right words, and we meant well."

*shudders*

run75441 , February 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

In 1980, this particular letter to the editor was published in the NEJM. Two doctors authored it. Everything said in it is true. I would not contest it.

"Addiction Rare in Patients Treated with Narcotics

Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had no history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction. Jane Porter; Herschel Jick; MD Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, Boston University Medical Center, Waltham, MA.

It was cited a few times from 1981 to 1988 each year."In 1989, the numbers of citations doubled and at certain points tripled. From 1981 to 2017, this letter was cited 608 times. 72.2% (439) of the citations, quoted the letter or used it as evidence addiction was rare in patients when treated with opioids such as oxycodone. 80.8% or 491 of the citations failed to note the patients described in the letter were hospitalized at the time they received the prescription." The median number of citations for a NEJM letter is 11 times.

OxyContin was introduced in 1996 by Purdue Pharma and aggressively sold to doctors. Sold as a less-addictive alternative to other painkillers as it was made in a time-release formulation, allowing for a slow onset of the drug, and not a hit all at once which is more likely to lead to abuse. When used as prescribed, Oxycontin was safe. When ground up, it's slow release characteristics were marginalized. Shortly after 1996, Porter and Jick's letter citations doubled and continued to be cited in a positive fashion with few negative citations and a failure to mention the hospital setting where the drugs were administered.

In 2007 in the pharmaceutical industry, "the manufacturer of OxyContin and three senior executives of Purdue Pharma plead guilty to federal criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors, and patients about the risk of addiction associated with OxyContin. Even then the lobbying to restrict state laws regulating opioids continued. From 2006 to 2015, pharmaceutical companies spent $880 million in lobbying state and federal legislatures and contributing to campaigns to prevent laws restricting Opioid prescriptions. Their lobbying expenditures has outstripped those advocating for greater controls on prescriptions by 200 times giving them greater influence at the state level.

In 2018 law makers questioned Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith wanting to know why millions of hydrocodone and oxycodone pills were sent (2006 to 2016) to five pharmacies in four tiny West Virginia towns having a total population of about 22,000. Ten million pills were shipped to two small pharmacies in Williamson, West Virginia. The number of deaths increased along with the company and wholesaler profits.

This crap does end up in rural areas and it does impact the poor. As tends to happen with public health epidemics, overdoses have an outsize effect in certain regions. For instance, the biggest spike in fatalities by percentage occurred in Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana, and West Virginia (33.3%, 22.5%, 21.1%, 15.1%, and 11.2% rises, respectively). But areas like Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma experienced declines of 9.2% to 33%.

These are just bits and pieces of what I have written on the topic of opioids and its impact all over America. "60% of opioid deaths occur in those who were given a prescription by a physician. The other 40% of deaths are caused by people who obtained opioids by "doctor shopping," and receive multiple scripts at once.

Usually someone will show up and start to argue with your comments or the numbers of deaths.

John M , February 20, 2019 at 2:27 pm

"Add death by opioids to the list"

Wonder if it is possible to recreate a list of all of those who have died because opioids/fentanyl overdose?
Remembering those we have lost (especially in such high numbers) reminds us of the collective and specific areas of communal loss in this country (i.e. West Virginia etc.) instead of the same type of sad individualized they-should-have-known-better pretension that often masks addiction/substance use in this country, especially as the aim of neoliberalism's second tenant -- please die -- is always operating.

Also, a running list might allow for more examination of each current death in context (pusher, supplier, distribution and invisible institutions enabling system to perpetuate for profit).

Ford Prefect , February 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm

The culmination and high point of trickle-down economics.

BoyDownTheLane , February 20, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Did anyone mention the clipper ship barons who made fortunes off opium? The original families locked into Skull & Bones (arguably a foreign intervention linked to Marxism, the Rothschilds and later the CFR, the Trilateralists, and the Rhodes gang)? Or the massive trafficking in illicit narcotgics by the nation's intelligence agencies?

JBird4049 , February 20, 2019 at 6:48 pm

I don't know about Marxism of all things being a connection unless you mean Karl Marx started his work after seeing the misery of the Industrial Revolution; a revolution partially fueled by the Chinese money the British got after starting and winning the Opium Wars. So I guess opium is partly responsible for Marxism.

Bob Anderson , February 20, 2019 at 5:23 pm

I don't agree. what, they couldn't afford "better" drugs where you would not OD? The consumerism is what causes OD. Cheaper drugs just make it easier.

The drug culture has been around since the mid-70's in terms of hard drugs. That correlates well the surge in single mother births and divorces. Matter of fact, everything goes back to the mid-70's.

JBird4049 , February 20, 2019 at 7:19 pm

Not quite. It's confusing correlation with causation. The social problems might have increased because of the increase in hard drugs. Maybe, but drugs and addiction was always prevalent.

The British had an awful problem with alcohol especially gin in the general population 1700's, and later in 1800's with morphine, opium, and cocaine. The Americans had similar problems, although not with the extremely cheap gin that used to be sold in Britain. After the American Civil War addiction to morphine increased with the millions of injured soldiers/addicts.

All of the older hard drugs were sold over the counter and with no prescription. Indeed, they were added to everyday medicine. Teething problems? Womanly complaints? 14 hour work shifts at the factory? They had the medicine just for you! Coca-Cola had cocaine in it originally and (I believe) a pharmacist created it.

It was with such legislation as the Food and Drug Safety Act in the early 1900s, the general improvement in working conditions, and having all the old addicts die, hopefully of old age, that decreased the levels of addiction. The problem never went away. The hard drugs were always around and used. It only declined and shifted to the more socially acceptable alcohol and nicotine. You might say that those manufacturers won the lobbying wars.

Jack Gavin , February 20, 2019 at 6:00 pm

I realize that opiods are the topic here. But crystal meth has to be included in any discussion regarding drugs and death. Also, I wonder if crystal meth and its cousins are more prevalent in those places where opiods are less of an issue.

VietnamVet , February 20, 2019 at 8:49 pm

If it makes money, neoliberalism deregulated it. In the case of fentanyl, prescription restrictions were ignored. FDA looked the other way. Manufacturers and prescribers got richer.

China is now meeting the users demand for the drug. The enablers of this have all imbibed the global aristocrat's contempt of the little people. Lexus lanes, housing, medical care, student loans, casinos and drugs are all extortion schemes to extract what little wealth that is left. Poor Americans are dying earlier with $15,000 of debt.

[Feb 18, 2019] Do You Believe in the Deep State Now by Robert W. Merry

Highly recommended!
Feb 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

That's a natural reaction to the revelation of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy FBI director, that top Justice Department officials, alarmed by Donald Trump's firing of former Bureau director James Comey, explored a plan to invoke the 25th Amendment and kick the duly elected president out of office.

According to New York Times reporters Adam Goldman and Matthew Haag, McCabe made the statement in an NBC 60 Minutes interview to be aired on Sunday. He also reportedly said that McCabe wanted the so-called Russia collusion investigation to go after Trump for obstructing justice in firing Comey and for any instances they could turn up of his working in behalf of Russia.

The idea of invoking the 25th Amendment was discussed, it seems, at two meetings on May 16, 2017. According to McCabe, top law enforcement officials pondered how they might recruit Vice President Pence and a majority of cabinet members to declare in writing, to the Senate's president pro tempore and the House speaker, that the president was "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." That would be enough, under the 25th Amendment, to install the vice president as acting president, pushing aside Trump.

But to understand what kind of constitutional crisis this would unleash and the precedent it would set, it's necessary to ponder the rest of this section of the 25th Amendment. The text prescribes that, if the president, after being removed, transmits to the same congressional figures that he is indeed capable of discharging his duties, he shall once again be president after four days. But if the vice president and the cabinet majority reiterate their declaration within those four days that the guy can't govern, Congress is charged with deciding the issue. It then takes a two-thirds vote of both houses to keep the president removed, which would have to be done within 21 days, during which time the elected president would be sidelined and the vice president would govern. If Congress can't muster the two-thirds majority within the prescribed time period, the president "shall resume the powers and duties of his office."

It's almost impossible to contemplate the political conflagration that would ensue under this plan. Citizens would watch those in Washington struggle with the monumental question of the fate of their elected leader under an initiative that had never before been invoked, or even considered, in such circumstances. Debates would flare up over whether this comported with the original intent of the amendment; whether it was crafted to deal with physical or mental "incapacitation," as opposed to controversial actions or unsubstantiated allegations or even erratic decision making; whether such an action, if established as precedent, would destabilize the American republic for all time; and whether unelected bureaucrats should arrogate to themselves the power to set in motion the downfall of a president, circumventing the impeachment language of the Constitution.

For the past two years, the country has been struggling to understand the two competing narratives of the criminal investigation of the president.

One narrative -- let's call it Narrative A -- has it that honorable and dedicated federal law enforcement officials developed concerns over a tainted election in which nefarious Russian agents had sought to tilt the balloting towards the candidate who wanted to improve U.S.-Russian relations and who seemed generally unseemly. Thus did the notion emerge, quite understandably, that Trump had "colluded" with Russian officials to cadge a victory that otherwise would have gone to his opponent. This narrative is supported and protected by Democratic figures and organizations, by adherents of the "Russia as Threat" preoccupation, and by anti-Trumpers everywhere, particularly news outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post , and The New York Times .

Trump, the FBI, and the Final Debasement of American Politics Unlike Nixon, Trump Will Not Go Quietly

The other view -- Narrative B -- posits that certain bureaucratic mandarins of the national security state and the outgoing Obama administration resolved early on to thwart Trump's candidacy. After his election, they determined to undermine his political standing, and particularly his proposed policy toward Russia, through a relentless and expansive investigation characterized by initial misrepresentations, selective media leaks, brutal law enforcement tactics, and a barrage of innuendo. This is the narrative of most Trump supporters, conservative commentators, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, notably columnist Kimberley Strassel.

The McCabe revelation won't affect the battle of the two narratives. As ominous and outrageous as this "deep state" behavior may seem to those who embrace Narrative B, it will be seen by Narrative A adherents as evidence that those law enforcement officials were out there heroically on the front lines protecting the republic from Donald J. Trump.

And those Narrative A folks won't have any difficulty tossing aside the fact that McCabe was fired as deputy FBI director for violating agency policy in leaking unauthorized information to the news media. He then allegedly violated the law in lying about it to federal investigators on four occasions, including three times while under oath.

Indeed, Narrative A people have no difficulty at all brushing aside serious questions posed by Narrative B people. McCabe is a likely liar and perjurer? Doesn't matter. Peter Strzok, head of the FBI's counterespionage section, demonstrated his anti-Trump animus in tweets and emails to Justice official Lisa Page? Irrelevant. Christopher Steele's dossier of dirt on Trump, including an allegation that the Russians were seeking to blackmail and bribe him, was compiled by a man who had demonstrated to a Justice Department official that he was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and passionate about him not being president"? Not important. The dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party? Immaterial. Nothing in the dossier was ever substantiated? So what?

Now we have a report from a participant of those meetings that top officials of the country's premier law enforcement entity sat around and pondered how to bring down a sitting president they didn't like. The Times even says that McCabe "confirmed" an earlier report that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire in meetings with Trump to incriminate him and make him more vulnerable to the plot.

There is no suggestion in McCabe's interview pronouncements or in the words of Scott Pelley, who conducted the interview and spoke to CBS This Morning about it, that these federal officials ever took action to further the aim of unseating the president. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that they approached cabinet members or the vice president about it. "They were speculating, 'This person would be with us, this person would not be,' and they were counting noses in that effort," said Pelley. He added, apparently in response to Rosenstein's insistence that his comments about wearing a wire were meant as a joke, "This was not perceived to be a joke."

What are we to make of this? Around the time of the meetings to discuss the 25th Amendment plot, senior FBI officials also discussed initiating a national security investigation of the president as a stooge of the Russians or perhaps even a Russian agent. These talks were revealed by The New York Times and CNN in January, based on closed-door congressional testimony by former FBI general counsel James Baker. You don't have to read very carefully to see that the reporters on these stories brought to them a Narrative A sensibility. The Times headline: "F.B.I. Opened Inquiry into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia." CNN's: "Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was 'following directions' of Russia." And of course, whoever leaked those hearing transcripts almost surely did so to bolster the Narrative A version of events.

The independent journalist Gareth Porter, writing at Consortium News, offers a penetrating exposition of the inconsistencies, fallacies, and fatuities of the Narrative A matrix, as reflected in how the Times and CNN handled the stories that resulted from what were clearly self-interested leaks.

Porter notes that a particularly sinister expression in May 2017 by former CIA director John O. Brennan, a leading Trump antagonist, has precipitated echoes in the news media ever since, particularly in the Times . Asked in a committee hearing if he had intelligence indicating that anyone in the Trump campaign was "colluding with Moscow," Brennan dodged the question. He said his experience had taught him that "the Russians try to suborn individuals, and they try to get them to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly."

Of course you can't collude with anybody unwittingly. But Brennan's fancy expression has the effect of expanding what can be thrown at political adversaries, to include not just conscious and nefarious collaboration but also policy advocacy that could be viewed as wrongheaded or injurious to U.S. interests. As Porter puts it, "The real purpose is to confer on national security officials and their media allies the power to cast suspicion on individuals on the basis of undesirable policy views of Russia rather than on any evidence of actual collaboration with the Russian government."

That seems to be what's going on here. There's no doubt that McCabe and Rosenstein and Strzok and Brennan and Page and many others despised Trump and his resolve to thaw relations with Russia. They viewed him as a president "who needed to be reined in," as a CNN report described the sentiment among top FBI officials after the Comey firing.

So they expanded the definition of collusion to include "unwitting" collaboration in order to justify their machinations. It's difficult to believe that people in such positions would take such a cavalier attitude toward the kind of damage they could wreak on the body politic.

Now we learn that they actually sat around and plotted how to distort the Constitution, just as they distorted the rules of official behavior designed to hold them in check, in order to destroy a presidential administration placed in power by the American people. It's getting more and more difficult to dismiss Narrative B.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Alternative Facts at the NYT James Polk's Realpolitik Hide 52 comments 52 Responses to Do You Believe in the Deep State Now? ← Older Comments

Ken Zaretzke February 16, 2019 at 4:57 pm

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/trump-russia-collusion-investigation-criminalization-policy-disputes/

Also very good is the blunt force trauma inflicted on the FBI in yesterday's Wall Street Journal by Kimberly Strassel.

Fran Macadam , , February 15, 2019 at 2:19 pm
You're right, it didn't change a thing in the full-throated support to depose an elected President they disagree with. The bureaucratic cabal has long had a more informal absolute veto over who can even run for President. This guy challenged that hegemony of insider power brokers, and caused the revelation that we have morphed into a Potemkin-style, managed democracy, in which we don't choose who gets to run, just which of their choices we are allowed to approve.

Such is the decadent trajectory, of republics that transition into empires, where democratic accountabilty to the governed, domestic and foreign, decays in favor of empire administrators and their elite beneficiaries and their sinecures at the expense of the majority.

People rail against Trump as some sort of would-be Caesar, but he is elected, while those permanent unaccountable "national security" czars acting in secrecy they are willing to transfer all power to, are not.

No form of popular government can survive when secret police recording everything and spying on the population become the real power.

This is a coup, in slow motion.

Kent , , February 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm
"It's difficult to believe that people in such positions would take such a cavalier attitude toward the kind of damage they could wreak on the body politic."

What we don't want to recognize is that people in such positions are, in fact, just that dumb. It is unfortunately true. While not a Trump supporter, I would be out on the streets with them if these jacka$$es had tried to pull this off. They should ALL be immediately terminated and any benefits revoked.

Kurt Gayle , , February 15, 2019 at 2:32 pm
Last night (Feb 14, 2019) Tucker Carlson interviewed retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (1:04-3:36):

Carlson: "Professor, thanks very much for coming on. So now the suspicions of many are confirmed by one of the players in it. The Department of Justice discussed trying to remove the President using the 25 Amendment. What's your reaction to that?

Dershowitz: "Well, if that's true, it is clearly an attempt at a coup d'état. Relating to what your former guest said, let's take the worst case scenario: Let's assume the President of the United States was in bed with the Russians, committed treason, committed obstruction of justice -- the 25 Amendment simply is irrelevant to that. That's why you have an impeachment provision. The 25th amendment is about Woodrow Wilson having a stroke. It's about a president being shot and not being able to perform his office. It's not about the most fundamental disagreements. It's not about impeachable offenses. And any Justice Department official who even mentioned the 25th Amendment in the context of President Trump has committed a grievous offense against the Constitution. The framers of the 25th amendment had in mind something very specific. And trying to use the 25th amendment to circumvent the impeachment provisions, or to circumvent an election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power-grabbing. And you were right when you said it reminded me of what happens in third world countries. Look, these people may have been well-intentioned. They may believe that they were serving the interests of the United States. But you have to obey the law and the law is the Constitution and the 25th Amendment is as clear as could be: incapacity, unable to perform office. That's what you need. That's why you need 2/3 of the House and 2/3 of the Senate agreeing. And it has to be on the basis of a medical or psychological incapacity. Not on the basis of even the most extreme crimes -- which there is no evidence were committed -- but even if they were, that would not be basis for invoking the 25th Amendment. And I challenge any left-wing person to get on television and to defend the use of the 25th Amendment. I challenge any of my colleagues who are in the "Get Trump At Any Cost" camp to come on television and justify the use of the 25 Amendment other than for physical or psychiatric incapacity.

Carlson: I bet they're doing that right now. This is an attack on our system, I would say, not just the President. Alan Dershowitz, thank you very much.

Dershowitz: It is an attack on our system. It's an attack on the constitution. Thank you.

Carlson: Scary.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q9OlUaeiQjQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Bluestem , , February 15, 2019 at 2:42 pm
How many millions of dollars did Bill and Hill receive from Russians? How much of America's uranium deposits did Hillary sell to Russians during her time in the Obama administration? The New York Times informs us:

" . . . the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One's chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

"And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

"At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company's assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show."

(end of NY Times excerpt. Full story: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html )

I wonder how much howling and how many allegations of "collusion" with Russia we'd be hearing if the name Clinton were removed from the NY Times article and the name Trump were inserted?

curri , , February 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Can't imagine why career law enforcement officials were concerned with a guy they knew to be a criminal taking over the office of the presidency.

Oh, they just knew . Maybe they just knew he wasn't an obvious reliable puppet like W and Obama.

Sid Finster , , February 15, 2019 at 3:16 pm
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/11/27/leaked-transcript-proves-russiagaters-have-been-right-all-along/

About Those Russians.

Stephen J. , , February 15, 2019 at 4:01 pm
The article states: " top officials of the country's premier law enforcement entity sat around and pondered how to bring down a sitting president they didn't like."
-- -- -- --
Which makes one wonder if "The rule of law" is becoming the rule of outlaws? When the non-elected in the justice profession appear to have their own agenda.
WorkingClass , , February 15, 2019 at 4:10 pm
Y'all Never Trump Republicans have NO future in American electoral politics.
Gerard , , February 15, 2019 at 4:22 pm
Trump is an idiot, but his enemies in the lib-Dem-media Establishment are far worse: corrupt, deceitful, arrogant, and lawless. Exhibit A is Andrew McCabe.

That's why I'll vote for the Idiot-in-Chief (again) in 2020. Because the alternative makes me vomit.

polistra , , February 15, 2019 at 4:43 pm
FBI has been destroying and paralyzing unwanted presidents forever. Lady Edgar did it far more effectively than her modern successors.
aristotle , , February 15, 2019 at 5:19 pm
"The pages of this publication drift further and further into utter insanity and despicable defense of Trump. Stand up for the values of the Constitution, or something, but not for this man who is no more than a self-enriching demagogue with no understanding of the reactionary politics he uses to delude the rubes and attract asinine threadbare pieces like this one."

Actually no. Consider me the inverse of Peter. I didn't vote for Trump due to the character weaknesses Peter describes. However, what I see is a seriously flawed man who has served the useful purpose of revealing an echo chamber of flawed and self-serving biases shared by the media and political establishment of this country. I see CNN, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and even some key leaders of our security services in a completely different light than I did two years ago. I am thankful for the clarity. I consider Merry's article to be a contribution in that direction.

Kouros , , February 15, 2019 at 5:38 pm
Cannot agree more with Fran Macadam.

On that note an interesting article by one of Mr. Putin's ideologues about Putinism and why Putinism might have more viability than the smoke and mirror exercise provided in established democracies:
https://russia-insider.com/en/vladislav-surkovs-hugely-important-new-article-about-what-putinism-full-translation/ri26259

The article admits that these bureaucracies are at times a nuisance and need to be dealt with appropriately...

Arthur Sido , , February 15, 2019 at 5:38 pm
"Peter" sez: "Can't imagine why career law enforcement officials were concerned with a guy they knew to be a criminal taking over the office of the presidency."

Weird but no one has shown any actual criminal behavior by said President. Two years later still no charges. But Peter and these "career law enforcement officials" KNEW he was a criminal. Then Peter appeals to the Constitution, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Constitution doesn't make any provisions for plotting to remove the lawfully elected President because you don't like just because you "know" he is a "criminal", in spite of any actual evidence.

JeffK , , February 15, 2019 at 5:53 pm
"After his election, they (the deep state) determined to undermine his political standing, and particularly his proposed policy toward Russia, through a relentless and expansive investigation characterized by initial misrepresentations, selective media leaks, brutal law enforcement tactics, and a barrage of innuendo. This is the narrative of most Trump supporters, conservative commentators, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, notably columnist Kimberley Strassel."

The trouble with that is it completely ignores the ton of evidence pointing to really nefarious stuff.

Lots of times, when there's smoke, there's fire. And when the smoke is overwhelming there probably is a fire. A big one.

Sid , , February 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm
Trump has been going after the Russians since his inauguration. Therefore, those trying to remove him from office are likely the actual Russian agents. Of course they would need smoke and mirrors to hide that fact and deflect attention from themselves. It just so happens that Russian spies are trained by the FSB to accuse others of being a spy, for just this purpose. I'm looking at you, John O. (Oleg?) Brennan
Sheila , , February 15, 2019 at 11:03 pm
No matter who the President is, there is some group of people in Washington is ALWAYS trying to bring him down. Who those people are, and how large and powerful the group is, depends on a variety of factors. But a competent president manages to enact his agenda while staying one step ahead of his intriguers. Obama and GWB accomplished both, more or less because they were intelligent men of good character (though Obama was much smarter and better man than W)

While Bill Clinton's character was too low to avoid impeachment he was a smart and able administrator. Trump has both low character and low intellect so it is not surprising A. that many people want to bring him down and B. that they have been pretty effective.

Politics may be a blood sport in Washington but that's not the same as a "deep state". And Trump can't compete and win with anyone in Washington who doesn't grovel before him like the supine Senate Republicans. And that is no one's fault but his.

You wanting Trump to be a Russian agent does not make him one. It never will. Get over it. , , February 16, 2019 at 12:08 am
"If it turns out that Trump IS a Russian asset, will you apologize, Robert Merry? Because he certainly acts like one. And, as REAL Republicans used to say, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, maybe it's a duck."

@One Guy Yeah, because sending deadly aid to Ukraine is so pro-Russian. What an idiot you are!

VikingLS , , February 16, 2019 at 12:10 am
"Can't imagine why career law enforcement officials were concerned with a guy they knew to be a criminal taking over the office of the presidency. Shame on them!"

They also "knew" Martin Luther King Jr. was a Soviet agent.

Just Curiosity , , February 16, 2019 at 12:38 am
This article must have hit a nerve. Media Matters/Soros have sent out their "goons".

{BTW, isn't it amazing that Media Matters/Soros never have to worry about having any advertisers boycotted.}

{smirk}

JK , , February 16, 2019 at 3:14 am
The issue with the 25th amendment, is that the President's character flaws or mental deficiency were known and very visible before the election. Is it constitutionally proper for Congress to suspend a President for a preexisting condition that was known to and unhidden from voters? If Congress did that, it means Congress has a veto over who the public is allowed to vote in as President.
Frank LaSaracina , , February 16, 2019 at 10:19 am
Clear and convincing evidence of a silent coup by rogue IC / law enforcement community, the genesis of which was the Obama admin. Prima facie
Oleg Gark , , February 16, 2019 at 10:40 am
Forget the Covington students, Andrew McCabe and his lady co-workers have some pretty punchable faces. (Ok, I'm enough of a sexist to not punch a lady. I'd use eye-rolling and mocking gestures instead.)
tjoe , , February 16, 2019 at 11:18 am
These are the peeps that did 9.11 and took down 3 towers with 2 planes. or maybe you believe guys with box-cutters did it.
Contra1789 , , February 16, 2019 at 12:07 pm
The problem is not the existence of the deep state. It's inevitable that there will be unelected officials who will continue to shape policy regardless of who is elected President. The problem is that the deep state is blatantly working to undermine its elected leadership. If you can't in good conscience work with your President, the honorable thing to do is resign as some undoubtedly have. It's not an excuse for insubordination.

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Feb 13, 2019] There's Something Eerily Familiar About the West's Approach to Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Erdogan has used it in Turkey ( less than three years ago ) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump's US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro : "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem." ..."
"... Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election. President Trump sent his "sincere congratulations" . Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising . Oh yes, and Maduro's last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent. ..."
"... Now the Americans are negotiating with the "terrorist" Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Erdogan has used it in Turkey ( less than three years ago ) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump's US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro : "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem."

You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks? Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform to the EU's support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far too complex for them to understand).

But first, let's take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of all who oppose him. He's a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals, suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage democratic elections.

Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west's policy towards the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy there wasn't terribly successful.

We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops to Colombia

And now let's tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from the west's simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect. Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet, not least because he locked up a rival general before the last election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing "terrorism", of course.

Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt's savage prison system are "terrorists", at least according to the field marshal-president himself. Secret police murders? Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of Sisi's top Egyptian cops, there's a roll call of disappeared activists.

Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election. President Trump sent his "sincere congratulations" . Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising . Oh yes, and Maduro's last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent.

As the late sage of the Sunday Express , John Gordon, might have said: it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in 2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.

The "democracy" bit quickly came unstuck when "loya jurgas", grand councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve "Jeffersonian democracy" in Afghanistan. Too true.

Now the Americans are negotiating with the "terrorist" Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.

Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I haven't even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident journalist in Turkey.

Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in Foggy Bottom. Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we are very definitely not advocating democracy.

"Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela," quoth John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked nation yet its people starve. He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he's not Saddamite in his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.

So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted out.

In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might take a closer look at who his foreign friends are. And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom, democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven't even mentioned Libya.

[Feb 05, 2019] Capitalists need their options regulated and their markets ripped from their control by the state. Profits must be subject to use it to a social purpose or heavily taxed. Dividends executive comp and interest payments included

Feb 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:22 PM

Is anyone else tired of the longest, least productive waste of war in American history ? What have we achieved, where are we going with this ? More war.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:31 PM
We are being fed a fairy tale of war about what men, long dead, did. And the reason they did it. America is being strangled by the burden of belief that now is like then.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:46 PM
By the patrician men and women administrators, posturing as soldiers like the WW2 army, lie for self profit. Why does anyone believe them ? Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, each an economic decision, rather than a security issue.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:48 PM
America is dying on the same sword as Rome, for the same reason.
Plp -> JF... , January 31, 2019 at 07:28 AM
Capitalists need their options regulated and their markets ripped from their control by the state. Profits must be subject to use it to a social purpose or heavily taxed. Dividends executive comp and interest payments included
Julio -> mulp ... , January 31, 2019 at 08:58 AM
Well done! Much clearer than your usual. There are several distinct motivations for taxes. We have been far enough from fairness to workers, for so long, that we need to use the tax system to redistribute the accumulated wealth of the plutocrats.

So I would say high marginal rates are a priority, which matches both objectives. Wealth tax is needed until we reverse the massive inequality supported by the policies of the last 40 years.

Carbon tax and the like are a different thing, use of the tax code to promote a particular policy and reduce damage to the commons.

Gerald -> Julio ... , January 31, 2019 at 04:14 PM
"...we need to use the tax system to redistribute the accumulated wealth of the plutocrats. So I would say high marginal rates are a priority..."

Forgive me, but high marginal rates (which I hugely favor) don't "redistribute the accumulated wealth" of the plutocrats. If such high marginal rates are ever enacted, they'll apply only to the current income of such plutocrats.

Julio -> Gerald... , January 31, 2019 at 06:22 PM
You merged paragraphs, and elided the next one. The way I see it, high rates are a prerequisite to prevent the reaccumulation of obscene wealth, and its diversion into financial gambling.

But yes that would be a very slow way to redistribute what has already accumulated.

Gerald -> Julio ... , February 01, 2019 at 04:48 AM
Didn't mean to misinterpret what you were saying, sorry. High rates are not only "a prerequisite to prevent the reaccumulation of obscene wealth," they are also a reimposition of fair taxation on current income (if it ever happens, of course).
Global Groundhog -> Julio ... , February 02, 2019 at 01:39 PM
Wealth tax is needed until we reverse the massive inequality supported by the policies of the last 40 years. Carbon tax and the like are a different thing, use of the tax code to promote a particular policy and reduce damage to the commons.
"

more wisdom as usual!

Although wealth tax will be unlikely, it could be a stopgap; could also be a guideline to other taxes as well. for example, Elizabeth points out that billionaires pay about 3% of their net worth into their annual tax bill whereas workers pay about 7% of their net worth into their annual tax bill. Do you see how that works?

it doesn't? this Warren argument gives us a guideline. it shows us where other taxes should be adjusted to even out this percentage of net worth that people are taxed for. Ceu, during the last meltdown 10 years or so ago, We were collecting more tax from the payroll than we were from the income tax. this phenomenon was a heavy burden on those of low net worth. All this needs be resorted. we've got to sort this out.

and the carbon tax? may never be; but it indicates to us what needs to be done to make this country more efficient. for example some folks, are spending half a million dollars on the Maybach automobile, about the same amount on a Ferrari or a Alfa Romeo Julia quadrifoglio, but the roads are built for a mere 40 miles an hour, full of potholes.

What good is it to own a fast car like that when you can't drive but 40 -- 50 miles an hour? and full of traffic jams. something is wrong with taxation incentives. we need to get a better grid-work of roads that will get people there faster.

Meanwhile most of those sports cars just sitting in the garage. we need a comprehensive integrated grid-work of one way streets, roads, highways, and interstates with no traffic lights, no stop signs; merely freeflow ramp-off overpass interchanges.

thanks, Julio! thanks
again
.!

JF -> Global Groundhog... , February 04, 2019 at 05:42 AM
Wonderful to see the discussion about public finance shifting to use net worth proportions as the focus and metric.

Wonderful. Let us see if press/media stories and opinion pieces use this same way of talking about the financing of self-government.

Mr. Bill -> anne... , February 03, 2019 at 08:15 PM
Jesus Christ said, in so many words, that a man's worth will be judged by his generosity and his avarice.

" 24And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26They were even more astonished and said to one another, "Who then can be saved?"

[Feb 04, 2019] There are various elite groups jockeying for power, but Intelligence community remains tha core of the Deep State

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: February 3, 2019 at 10:50 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer

is the main weapon used by the Deep State

LOL Deep State is a term used by the simple minded. There is no 'deep state' there is however a shadow government and it is made up of various groups all jockeying for their own interest.

We have the 'Establishment..i.e. the two parties who want to maintain their political power. We have the Corporate Elites and Globalist ' who want to control the world's commerce and economies. We have Wall Street who doesnt want any restrictions on their financial crimes. We have Domestic Business Interest who want laws and policies favorable to them. We have Foreign Interest who want to use the US for their country.

Sometimes they join forces when their interest coincide, sometimes they don't.

Outside of this shadow government we have Ideological Activist of various kinds that can be useful or not to the Establishment, the Globalist, Wall Street, Domestic Business Interest and Foreign Interest.

All of the above are why we cant and don't have coherent policies on anything foreign or domestic.

People like you who want to ascribe everything to some giant conspiracy in the CIA help to dumb people down , its easier for the lazy to have one or two big scary entities to blame. You cant even explain what the CIA conspiracy is can you? Tell us how the CIA maintains their conspiracy against the US and what their goal is. How does the CIA maintain their secret agenda when the CIA is subject to new CIA directors with every change of presidents and parties?

Come on tell us all how it is done.

[Jan 29, 2019] Guardian became D>eep State Guardian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian has lost all sense of proportion – mention Tommy Robinson and the entire staff through themselves to floor and roll round like dying flies – yet for when it comes to US neocons they go all misty eyed, redolent of a broody couple when they come across a particularly adorable baby. ..."
"... I would wager a medium sum that Tisdall is on a payroll other than the Grauniad's, or he's an actual asset per Ulfkötte's books and media appearances. ..."
"... George Bush spent his adult life organizing operations and wars that killed a few million people. Anyone who has spiritual beliefs must wonder how it is to die with so much killing on your record or conscience (if you have one). ..."
"... That's something I've wondered about many times. If you review John McCain's actions and comments before he died, it seems these people don't have a conscience. ..."
"... Reagan was primarily a mantle piece for the banking, oil and defense sectors to run wild. Is it really so hard to believe GHW Bush was running the National Security Council? It was a CIA wet dream come true (especially after the alligator-armed "investigations" of the 70's. ..."
"... The Deep State Guardian. Why don't they just change their name to 'The Daily Thatcherite' and have done with it. ..."
"... They should just show it's full title: The Guardian Of The Establishment ..."
"... well, yeah. but for us mad people it goes deeper even than that: https://geopolitics.co/2018/12/02/in-memoriam-george-h-scherff-jr-aka-george-hw-bush-sr/ ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Oslo - Norway, Dec 4, 2018

Let's never forget George H W Bush's love for incubator babies. He loved fake incubator babies.

The incubator baby actress wasn't just any 15 year old, she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Canada –

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cqiq8P8dRtY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Philpot, Dec 4, 2018
British and most western media are either in the direct or indirect pay of their governments. What journalist can expose this for us? Any of you willing to make the biggest scoop of the 21st century? Tom Bradbury at ITN must be on the spook payroll, for starters? MI6 had foreign correspondents for years, but domestic mouthpieces must now be on the take too? All paid to demonise Russia and Putin.
harry stotle, Dec 4, 2018

The Guardian has lost all sense of proportion – mention Tommy Robinson and the entire staff through themselves to floor and roll round like dying flies – yet for when it comes to US neocons they go all misty eyed, redolent of a broody couple when they come across a particularly adorable baby.

Simon 'white helmets' Tisdall is especially egregious – one can imagine him throwing darts at a picture of Putin while producing his latest homily to the murderous actions of gangsters like Bush and his crime family.

Its hard not to despair now this has become the official face of Britains so-called liberal media.

Yarkob, Dec 4, 2018
I would wager a medium sum that Tisdall is on a payroll other than the Grauniad's, or he's an actual asset per Ulfkötte's books and media appearances. As with Michael White, with whom I had a very illuminating argument via email a few years back. He *is* an asset, not a journalist (and a massive dick, to boot)
George cornell, Dec 4, 2018
I thought the attitude of the Bush family to their fellow Americans was best illustrated by Barbara's response to the plight of the homeless victims of Katrina who had been transported to the Houston domed stadium. They spent their nights there sleeping on hard benches and when good ole Babs heard of it, she opined that they probably had never had it so good so why were they complaining. Could Mother Theresa have had greater generosity of spirit?
Gekaufte Journalisten (bought journalism), Dec 4, 2018
Not just one article, the awful Guardian is full of contents eulogising [yet another] mongrel of a president.

But look at conservative media. The crazy Infowars.com described this Bush as an Anti-American Globalist and Traitor!! .. and zerohedge.com is celebrating: "The Evil Has Died" and "In 2016 he voted for Hillary Clinton, because the Deep State Swamp sticks together". https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-02/exploring-dark-side-bush-41

Just tell me, who is the rabid neo-con right-wing rag that is glorifying wars and mass murderers?

Norcal, Dec 4, 2018
Speaking of neighbors you might appreciate this excellent Journalism by Robert Parry: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/12/03/bush-41s-october-surprise-denials-2/
DunGroanin, Dec 4, 2018
The late Robert Parry, sad to say. Maybe that now both the 'MacBeths' are stains on the tarmac – Parry's notes of the bloodstained legacy of that dynasty can finally be displayed? That Barbara was one cold blooded mother! Would have happily pulled a trigger on JFK, MLK herself (some think).

Just about the whole century from the setup of the Fed, the two world wars, the depression, Hitler, Korea, Cuba all of it, had a a Bush hand in it. He was the self crowned Caesar having publicly executed the whole of Camelot and left us with a poison toad, reminds us how low the Bush's took the USA.

David Eire, Dec 3, 2018
George Bush spent his adult life organizing operations and wars that killed a few million people. Anyone who has spiritual beliefs must wonder how it is to die with so much killing on your record or conscience (if you have one).
Loverat, Dec 4, 2018
That's something I've wondered about many times. If you review John McCain's actions and comments before he died, it seems these people don't have a conscience. If you surround yourself with people of similar mindset and in a climate where war is considered obligatory for US Presidents, you go into self denial. Wars are probably like an addiction for these people and once you get to that stage you no longer have a conscience.

During John McCain's funeral where all living ex-presidents were in attendance, someone remarked on Twitter, 'Quick, lock the church doors and hold the war crimes trial in the church!'. This was a far more realistic observation than the sickening McCain apologist BBC coverage we were subjected to.

At the weekend I went to the place where Oliver Cromwell lived. There was an American tourist who told us she was shocked about Oliver Cromwell being dug up from his grave and his head stuck on a pike. She said it was gruesome. I was tempted to say that at least that was 350 years ago, and similar things are happening today in Iraq, Syria and Libya – all places where the US has instigated the chaos and supports the perpretators. I resisted the temptation.

I note that Cromwell thought he was chosen by God to do what he did. But again that was in different times and there were some redeeming factors in what he did, Probably on par with Obama – who wreaked havoc on the Middle East but reached agreements on Iran and Cuba. Plus Obama looked cool while killing and droning.

But what goes around comes around. I sense the pure evil involved in the current regime change wars, government, media etc will pay a heavy price – whether in this life or the next.

mark, Dec 4, 2018
The state controlled BBC has just done another puff piece on McCain saying what a splendid chap and great statesman and all round good egg he was.

The MSM likes to slag off Vlad The Bad by droning on about how he was in the KGB. But Bush wasn't just IN the CIA, he was the BOSS of the CIA, at a time when hundreds of thousands of Central American peasant farmers and Indians were being killed by CIA trained and orchestrated death squads.

Gezzah Potts, Dec 4, 2018
Mark: jayzus Mark, don't you just want to projectile vomit when you see all this absolute bullshit, just straight out revising of history, just the lies, on and on . I was involved in a Central American solidarity group in the 1980s – early 90s here in Aussie, found out then all about U.S style 'democracatic values' and 'human rights concerns' and death squads and various fascists fully supported by the United States, and places like Guatemala and Nicaragua. Its all an illusion for 'polite society' and the gullible to believe in. Sigh
mark, Dec 5, 2018
I can't remember the exact figures but I think it was over 200,000 murdered in Guatemala out of a population of 4 million. It was the same story in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. And of course the CIA satrap Noriega was hauled off in chains when that country was invaded. But Uncle Sam is finally paying a price for his antics south of the border. Those societies were wrecked and brutalised beyond repair. There is now an unbelievably high murder rate of women in Guatemala. Millions of those people have sought some kind of refuge in the belly of the beast, causing an immigration crisis, with an illegal immigrant population that may be as high as 30 million. Hence all the uproar over Trump's wall. The immigration crisis was a factor in Trump's election, just as the tidal wave of migrants from the destroyed countries of the Middle East was a factor in Brexit. Cameron, Sarko and Clinton thought it was a spiffing idea and quite a wizard wheeze to bomb Libya back to the Stone Age. So we now have a Mad Max failed state complete with warlords and slave markets just across the Med. What goes around, comes around. You can't expect to export violence and mayhem abroad and remain immune to it at home.
Gezzah Potts, Dec 5, 2018
Mark: after Efrain Rios Montt seized power in a coup in Guatemala in 1982, US Ambassador Frederick Chapin declared that thanks to the coup of Rios Montt "the Guatemalan Govt has come out of the darkness into the light". That sums it up in one sentence, and you're probably aware of the mass killing and disappearances under his genocidal tyranny. Reagan kindly submitted that Rios Montt was 'getting a bum rap on human rights, the same Reagan who declared the Contra's were 'The moral equal of our founding fathers'. In El Salvador, the same mass slaughter, the same mass upheaval, and even murdering Archbishop Romero. You only need to look at what happened in Central & South America to understand what the United States really represents.
Jen, Dec 4, 2018
I would have bypassed the war crimes trial, locked the church and then built a moat stocked with crocodiles and piranhas around it.
mark, Dec 4, 2018
That's entirely right. People understandably despise and revile people like Brady and Hindley, Sutcliffe, Dahmer, Bundy and the like. But they killed a handful of people and were often very damaged individuals to begin with. And at least they did their own dirty work. Subhuman scum sucking filth like Bush, Bush 2, Obama, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Blair, Straw and Campbell are a thousand times worse. They kill millions without getting their hands dirty, and preen and posture as great statesmen and public servants, expecting deference and state funerals and puff piece obituaries from nauseating, loathsome, lickspittle media hacks like Tisdall.
Caitlin Ni Chonaill, Dec 6, 2018
You left out Kissinger and Albright.
Gezzah Potts, Dec 3, 2018
Nailed it Kit. The attempt at revionism and rewriting history by these craven creatures, these sycophantic slimebag shills for Imperialism and War and the Anglo Zionist Empire. They don't speak truth to power, they protect and grovel to the powerful. The eulogising and fawning of Bush was stomach churning, as it was for the arch Imperialist McCain when he croaked. Thank God for alternative news sites, and yeah Caitlin Johnston @ medium nailed it as well, as Fair Dinkum mentioned. Where's John Pilger when you need him?
Badger Down, Dec 3, 2018
GBH Bush's Highway of Death deserves mention. I'll spare you the pictures.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=highway+of+death+desert+storm&t=h_&atb=v92-2_f&ia=web
systemicfraud, Dec 3, 2018
What no one seems to realize is that the VP often takes charge of the US National Security Council when POTUS is not able to attend meetings, which are held weekly. Under Eisenhower it was Richard Nixon who often took charge of the meetings -- Tim Weiner's book "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA" gives some details on this. Reagan was primarily a mantle piece for the banking, oil and defense sectors to run wild. Is it really so hard to believe GHW Bush was running the National Security Council? It was a CIA wet dream come true (especially after the alligator-armed "investigations" of the 70's.
Fair dinkum, Dec 3, 2018
Caitlin sums it up: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/12/01/if-you-murdered-a-bunch-of-people-mass-murder-is-your-single-defining-legacy/
Simon Hodges, Dec 3, 2018
The Deep State Guardian. Why don't they just change their name to 'The Daily Thatcherite' and have done with it.
Frankly Speaking, Dec 4, 2018
They should just show it's full title: The Guardian Of The Establishment
kevin morris, Dec 3, 2018
'Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years' by Russ Baker -- a fascinating account of the Bush family's involvement in a great deal of nefarious activity. Bush senior is one of the few people who didn't remember where he was when Kennedy was shot. Baker puts him in Dallas.
lysias, Dec 4, 2018
Now that G.H.W. Bush hss died, is there anybody suspected of involvement in the JFK assassination still alive?
kevin morris, Dec 4, 2018
I don't know but as a fairly apolitical individual, I never much bothered with the Kennedy Assasination. All that changed when during the fiftieth anniversary, BBC Radio Four ran a program which included an interview with the Dallas police officer who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby. The consensus of that program was that the case was open shut and Oswald did it. Around that time, several newspapers in the UK featured articles claiming that Oswald acted alone.

Whether or not anyone actively involved still lives, their descendants still do and the probable organising body too. There still appears to be determination in some quarters to spread disinformation about the case. Given that as long ago as the late seventies the House of Representatives Assassination Committee concluded that JFK's death was probably the consequence of a conspiracy, determination amongst the mainstream media to lay Kennedy's death at the hands of Oswald alone suggests that there is still determination that the truth never becomes public.

Frankly Speaking, Dec 3, 2018
Exactly what i was thinking!

I'm sickened by the Guardian's and BBC's obedience to the US neocon project to seek, or create, and destroy "enemies" and whilst ignoring all the disgusting atrocities that arise as a consequence.

The Guardian is not even worth the paper it's printed on. It's become The Guardian Of The Establishment rather than of the Truth which it used to proclaim.

George cornell, Dec 4, 2018
It is in danger of losing its budgie-cage-liner status. If budgies can talk they may refuse to evacuate on it. What kind of person maintains ties to such a a poor excuse for cage toiletry. The moral crunch time for their journalists (actually their opinionists) came and went a long time ago.
Brutally Remastered, Dec 3, 2018
What a great piece. My parents knew them in New York and they came over once and left behind an embossed packet of White House cigs. I asked my father (before he died) what he thought of them and all he ever said was he thought that Barbara was the intellect in the family.
Bloody annoying, thanks Pater.
Marianne Birkby, Dec 3, 2018
From 2004

"The induction of DU weapons in 1991 in Iraq broke a 46-year taboo. This Trojan Horse of nuclear war continues to be used more and more. DU remains radioactive longer than the age of the earth (estimated at 4.5 billion years). The long-term effects from over a decade of DU exposures are devastating. The increased quantities of radioactive material used in Afghanistan are 3 to 5 times greater than Iraq, 1991. In Iraq, 2003, they are already estimated to be 6 to 10 times 1991, and will travel through a larger area and affect many more people, babies and unborn. Countries within a 1000-mile radius of Baghdad and Kabul are being affected by radiation poisoning

Badger Down, Dec 3, 2018
"DU remains radioactive longer than [ ] 4.5 billion years." It's worse than that. It loses half of its radioactivity in that time. The good news is that that slow release means "D"U doesn't zap you much. The bad news is it's chemically toxic, like a heavy metal (which it is).
nwwoods, Dec 3, 2018
Also no mention of the body of circumstantial evidence linking Bush to JFK's murder, though Bush repeatedly insisted that he couldn't recall his whereabouts that day (I can precisely recall where I was, and I was 9 years old in 1963), in spite of the fact that solid documentary evidence exists that puts him in Dallas on Nov 22, 1963.
Norcal, Dec 4, 2018
The very first Google Search I did was this, (George H.W. Bush+November 22, 1963) and it yielded a page like the following link, which began my research into the JFK Assassination.

http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=5420

nomad, Dec 3, 2018

well, yeah. but for us mad people it goes deeper even than that: https://geopolitics.co/2018/12/02/in-memoriam-george-h-scherff-jr-aka-george-hw-bush-sr/

Bush Sr. : Crypto-Nazi patriarch and his disciples
https://eclinik.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/barbara-bush-funeral-four-presidents-four-first-ladies.jpg?w=672&h=372&crop=1

[Jan 26, 2019] Can the current US neoliberal/neoconservative elite be considered suicidal?

Highly recommended!
Can the elite be afflicted by some mass disease. Is Neoconservatism a deadly infection ?
Theoretically Democracy depends on information freely available and responsibility of the citizenry to make decisions based on that information. The political elites have made certain precious little of reliable, unclouded and relevant information ever gets broadcast even while popularizing, promoting and rewarding every form of misrepresentation, ignorance and irresponsibility. In other words they spearheaded a dangerous disease to stay in power. And eventually got infected themselves.
Notable quotes:
"... "But what if the elites get things wrong? What if the policies they promulgate produce grotesque inequality or lead to permanent war? Who then has the authority to disregard the guardians, if not the people themselves? How else will the elites come to recognize their folly and change course?" ..."
"... That is how they maintain control and manipulate government to facilitate their own interests to the detriment of the rest of society. Bretix and President Trump have upset their apple cart, which they felt certain was invulnerable and immune to challenge. ..."
"... The elites aren't interested in polls showing Americans want out of Syria and Afghanistan, are they? Can't have mere citizens having influencing decisions like that. ..."
"... An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated. ..."
"... As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think - to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil - begin to have real effect. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kent January 18, 2019 at 11:30 am

"But what if the elites get things wrong? What if the policies they promulgate produce grotesque inequality or lead to permanent war? Who then has the authority to disregard the guardians, if not the people themselves? How else will the elites come to recognize their folly and change course?"

What if, on election day, you only have a choice between 2 candidates. Both favoring all the wrong choices, but one tends to talk up Christianity and family and the other talks up diversity.

And both get their funding from the very wealthy and corporations. And any 3rd choices would be "throwing your vote away". How would you ever get to vote for someone who might change course?

Democracy has little to actually do with choice or power.

mlopez, January 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm

GB may not have been any utopia in 1914, but it was certainly geo-politically dominant. It's common people's social, economic and cultural living standards most assuredly was vastly improved over Russian, or European peasants. There can be no serious comparison with third world countries and regions.

As for the US, there can be absolutely no debate about its own dominance, or material standard of living after 1945 as compared to any where else in the world. More importantly, even uneducated and very contemporary observers were capable of recognizing how our elites had sold out their interests in favor of the furtherance of their own.

If we are on about democratic government, then it's been generations since either country and their peoples have had any real democracy. Democracy depends on information freely available and responsibility of the citizenry to make decisions based on that information. The political elites have made certain precious little of reliable, unclouded and relevant information ever gets broadcast even while popularizing, promoting and rewarding every form of misrepresentation, ignorance and irresponsibility.

That is how they maintain control and manipulate government to facilitate their own interests to the detriment of the rest of society. Bretix and President Trump have upset their apple cart, which they felt certain was invulnerable and immune to challenge.

Hello / Goodbye, January 19, 2019 at 11:40 am

The elites aren't interested in polls showing Americans want out of Syria and Afghanistan, are they? Can't have mere citizens having influencing decisions like that.

Patzinak, January 19, 2019 at 5:07 pm

What ineffable flummadiddle!

Prominent Brexiteers include Boris Johnson (dual UK/US citizenship, educated in Brussels and at Eton and Oxford, of mixed ancestry, including a link - by illegitimate descent - to the royal houses of Prussia and the UK); Jacob Rees-Mogg (son of a baron, educated at Eton and Oxford, amassed a solid fortune via hedge fund management); Arron Banks (millionaire, bankroller of UKIP, made to the Brexit campaign the largest ever political donation in UK politics).

So much for "the elite" being against Brexit!

But the main problem with Brexit is this. Having voted by a slim margin in favour of Brexit, the Great British Public then, in the general election, denied a majority to the government that had undertaken to implement it, and elected a Parliament of whom, by a rough estimate, two thirds oppose Brexit.

It ain't that "the elite" got "things wrong". It's that bloody Joe Public can't make his mind what to do - and go through with it.

Rossbach, January 20, 2019 at 2:14 pm

"Whether the imagined utopia of a dominant Great Britain prior to 1914 or a dominant America after 1945 ever actually existed is beside the point."

It wasn't to restore any defunct utopia that led people to vote for Brexit or Donald Trump; it was to check the descent of the Anglosphere into the totalitarian dystopia of forced multi-cultural globalism that caused voters to reject the EU in Britain and Hillary Clinton in the US. It is because they believed that only with the preservation of their national independence was there any chance or hope for a restoration of individual liberty that our people voted as they did.

Ratings System, January 17, 2019 at 1:27 pm

It's why they won't enjoy their privileges much longer. That stale charade can't and won't last.

We don't have a meritocracy. We have a pseudo-meritocracy with an unduly large contingent of aliens, liars, cheats, frauds, and incompetents. They give each other top marks, speak each other's PC language, and hire each other's kids. And they don't understand why things are falling apart, and why they are increasingly hated by real Americans.

A very nasty decade or two is coming our way, but after we've swept out the filth there will be a good chance that Americans will be Americans again.

Paul Reidinger, January 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated.

As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think - to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil - begin to have real effect. The new dark age is no longer imminent. It is here, and it is them. I see no way to rectify the damage. When minds are ruined young, they remain ruined.

[Jan 25, 2019] Davos Elites Love to Advocate for Equality - So Long As Nothing Gets Done -

Notable quotes:
"... The return to the industrial relations and tax policies of the early 19th century has been spearheaded by people who speak the language of equality, respect, participation, and transparency. ..."
"... Branko Milanovic is the author of Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization and of the forthcoming Capitalism, Alone, both published by Harvard University Press. He is senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. An earlier version of this post has previously appeared in Milanovic's blog . ..."
Jan 25, 2019 | promarket.org

The return to the industrial relations and tax policies of the early 19th century has been spearheaded by people who speak the language of equality, respect, participation, and transparency.

You will find me eager to help you,

but slow to take any step.

-- Euripides, Hecuba

Thousands of people with a combined wealth of several hundred billion dollars, perhaps even close to a trillion, are gathering this week in Davos. Never in world history, quite possibly, has the amount of wealth per square foot been so high. This year, for the seventh or eighth consecutive time, one of the principal topics addressed by these captains of industry, billionaires, employers of thousands of people across the four corners of the globe, is inequality. Even the new "hot" topics of the day -- trade wars and populism -- are in turn related, or even caused by inequality of income, wealth, or political power.

Only in passing, and probably on the margins of the official program, will the global elites gathered in Davos get into a discussion of the tremendous monopoly and monopsony power their companies have. Neither will they publicly mention companies' ability to play one jurisdiction against another in order to avoid taxes, ban organized labor within their ranks, use government ambulance services to carry workers who have fainted from the heat (to save expenses on air conditioning), make their workforce complement its wages through private charity donations, or perhaps pay an average tax rate of between 0-12 percent.

Some participants, if they are from the emerging market economies, can also exchange experiences on how to delay payments of wages for several months while investing these funds at high interests rates, save on labor protection standards, or buy privatized companies for a song and then set up shell companies in the Caribbean or Channel Islands.

It is just that somehow, the "masters of the universe" who gather annually in Davos never managed to find enough money, or time, or perhaps willing lobbyists to help with the policies many will agree, during the official sessions, should be adopted. For example, increasing taxes on the top 1 percent and on large estates, providing decent wages or not impounding wages, reducing gaps between CEO compensation and average pay, spending more money on public education, making access to financial assets more attractive to the middle and working class, equalizing taxes on capital and labor, reducing corruption in government contracts and privatizations.

Actually, when policies that are supposed to make some headway in counteracting rising inequality are finally proposed, such as the one made by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) of 70 percent marginal tax on extra high-incomes (above $10 million annually), they are quick to argue that such policies will do more harm than good. One is left, to put it mildly, puzzled: If they are against a most obvious and rather modest proposal, what policies do they have in mind to fight inequality? In reality they have none, except for the vacuous talk of "social inclusion," "prosperity for all" and "trickle-down economics."

Not surprisingly, nothing has been done since the Global Financial Crisis to address inequality. Rather, the opposite has happened. Donald Trump has, as promised, passed a historic tax cut for the wealthy; Emmanuel Macron has discovered the attraction of latter-day Thatcherism; the Chinese government has slashed taxes on the rich and imprisoned the left-wing students at Peking University who supported striking workers. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro seems to consider praise for torture and the rising stock market as the ideal mélange of modern capitalism.

Bizarrely, this return to the industrial relations and tax policies of the early 19th century has been spearheaded by people who speak the language of equality, respect, participation, and transparency. The annual gathering in Davos, in that regard, is not just a display of the elites' financial superiority. It is also supposed to showcase their moral superiority. This is in line with a longstanding trend: Over the past fifty years, the language of equality has been harnessed in the pursuit of the most structurally inegalitarian policies. It is much easier (and profitable), apparently, to call journalists and tell them about nebulous schemes whereby 90 percent of wealth will be -- over an unknown number of years and under unknowable accounting practices -- given away as charity than to pay suppliers and workers reasonable rates or stop selling user data. They are loath to pay a living wage, but they will fund a philharmonic orchestra. They will ban unions, but they will organize a workshop on transparency in government.

And next year, as inequality continues to rise and the state of Western middle classes continues to deteriorate, the same elites will be back in Davos, talking about inequality and populism in grave tones. A new record in dollar wealth per square foot may be reached, but the topics of discussion within the conference halls, and on the margins, will remain the same.

Branko Milanovic is the author of Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization and of the forthcoming Capitalism, Alone, both published by Harvard University Press. He is senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. An earlier version of this post has previously appeared in Milanovic's blog .

[Jan 24, 2019] The Trump Tax Cut Is Even Worse Than They Say by Dean Baker

Notable quotes:
"... To this point, there is essentially zero evidence of the promised investment boom. There was respectable growth in investment in the first two quarters of 2018, but growth slowed to just 1.1 percent in the third quarter. ..."
"... In any case, there is zero evidence that the tax cut is leading to the sort of investment boom that will qualitatively boost the rate of productivity and GDP growth and provide workers with substantially higher pay. ..."
"... (irrational) confidence level is an important economic factor. ..."
"... What has been destructive in major recessions has not been "misdirected investment", it has been the leveraged and/or fraudulent financial manipulations which maximize profit but which cause rapid collapse when conditions turn bad. Again, interest rates have in practice not been a main factor in this. ..."
"... Keynes was adamantly against high interest rates and he favored usury laws: "the rate of interest is not self-adjusting at a level best suited to the social advantage but constantly tends to rise too high, so that a wise Government is concerned to curb it by statute and custom and even by invoking the sanctions of the moral law." The General Theory, p. 351. ..."
"... "The evidence is not consistent with the idea that central banks can control economies with interest rates." ..."
"... A much larger threat to world economies (than interest rates) is the huge capital investments in petroleum assets. At some point, those investments will need to be unwound in an orderly fashion but it doesn't seem that anyone is considering how to do that. ..."
Jan 18, 2019 | cepr.net
Details
Published: 18 January 2019

(This piece was originally posted on my Patreon page .)

Jim Tankersley had a nice piece in the New York Times last week pointing out that the tax cut pushed through by the Republicans in 2017 is leading to a sharp drop in tax revenue. While this was widely predicted by most analysts, it goes against the Trump administration's claims that the tax cut would pay for itself.

Looking at full-year data for calendar year 2018, Tankersley points out that revenue was $183 billion (5.6 percent) below what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had projected for the year before the tax cut was passed into law. This is a substantial falloff in revenue by any standard, but there are two reasons the picture is even worse than this falloff implies.

The first is that we actually did see a jump in growth in 2018 pretty much in line with what the Trump administration predicted. The tax cut really did stimulate the economy. It put a lot of money in the economy (mostly going to those at the top) and people spent much of this money. The result was that the growth rate accelerated from around 2.0 percent the prior three years to over 3.0 percent in 2018. (We don't have 4 th quarter data yet, which may be delayed by the shutdown, but growth should be over 3.0 percent.)

The jump in growth in 2018 means that the drop in revenue was not due to the economy being weaker than expected, it was due to the fact that the tax rate had fallen by a larger amount than the boost to growth. In fairness to the Trump administration, they had also projected a falloff in revenue due to the tax cut in 2018, but not one that was as large as what we saw.

... ... ...

To this point, there is essentially zero evidence of the promised investment boom. There was respectable growth in investment in the first two quarters of 2018, but growth slowed to just 1.1 percent in the third quarter. It is likely to be even weaker in the fourth quarter due to the drop in world oil prices (less oil drilling), although we won't get these data until the shutdown is over. In any case, there is zero evidence that the tax cut is leading to the sort of investment boom that will qualitatively boost the rate of productivity and GDP growth and provide workers with substantially higher pay.

In this context, the deficits from the Trump tax cut are a problem. If the economy is bumping up against its limits and the labor market is close to full employment, it means a much larger share of output is going to the consumption of the wealthy. That both means less private consumption for everyone else, and it makes it more difficult to have major initiatives that involve substantial spending, such as a Green New Deal or Medicare for All.

The long and short is that the revenue data for 2018 looks pretty bad on its face. It looks even worse on a closer examination.

pieceofcake4 days ago ,

...and perhaps this funny (American?) idea - that economics only exist in order to have some ''Boom'' going -- forever -- and ever - (which everybody knows is NOT possible) - is the root of US problem??!

Paul6 days ago ,

Deficits are not a problem, period. They are a benefit because they keep the boom going, just as lower interest rates forestall a recession. Keynes pointed this out 80 years ago: "Thus the remedy for the boom is not a higher rate of interest but a lower rate of interest! For that may enable the so-called boom to last. The right remedy for the trade cycle is not to be found in abolishing booms and thus keeping us permanently in a semi-slump; but in abolishing slumps and thus keeping us permanently in a quasi-boom." The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, p. 322.

Keeping us out of a recession/slump ought to be the focus of economic policy, not hypothetical questions about the economy "bumping up against its limits" which anti-Keynesians have been obsessed with for years.

skeptonomist Paul 6 days ago ,

Keeping out of bubbles is what keeps us out of slumps (in most cases). The usual pattern is that as conditions improve people put confidence where it does not belong and extend leverage, then financial collapse makes things look bad for everyone - the general (irrational) confidence level is an important economic factor.

Interest rates have an effect on speculation - when rates are low people have to turn to riskier things to make money, and leverage is cheap. Stock prices were very low in 1981 because interest rates were very high and they are very high now partly because interest rates have been very low. The effect on speculation may be a valid reason to raise rates - of course the imaginary threat of inflation is not.

But history indicates it is not a huge effect. The Fed did raise discount rate through 1928 and 1929 up to 6% and this did not seem to slow the development of the stock-market bubble. It is unlikely that the Fed can kill a bubble or boom now by raising at much lower levels. The housing bubble of 2006 was a matter of bad regulation. The Fed was involved in encouraging and then disregarding the bubble, but not by manipulating interest rates. Greenspan was always a cheerleader of deregulation.

Paul skeptonomist 5 days ago ,

"Bubblenomics" was discredited by Keynes:

"Moreover, even if over-investment in this sense was a normal characteristic of the boom, the remedy would not lie in clapping on a high rate of interest which would probably deter some useful investments and might further diminish the propensity to consume, but in taking drastic steps, by redistributing incomes or otherwise, to stimulate the propensity to consume.

"It may, of course, be the case -- indeed it is likely to be -- that the illusions of the boom cause particular types of capital-assets to be produced in such excessive abundance that some part of the output is, on any criterion, a waste of resources; -- which sometimes happens, we may add, even when there is no boom. It leads, that is to say, to misdirected investment." The General Theory p.321

"Thus an increase in the rate of interest, as a remedy for the state of affairs arising out of a prolonged period of abnormally heavy new investment, belongs to the species of remedy which cures the disease by killing the patient." The General Theory p.323.

Causing a recession in order to kill a bubble is madness.

skeptonomist Paul 5 days ago ,

I am not recommending killing a boom or bubble with interest rates. On the contrary I am always recommending against relying on manipulating interest rates to regulate the economy, whether it is to prevent inflation, real or imaginary, or to stimulate the economy in case of recession. While Keynes conjectured that interest rates could have effects, he certainly was very clear in not expecting that they would be sufficient to control the business cycle - see pp. 319-320, the end of Ch. 12 and ch. 24.

What has been destructive in major recessions has not been "misdirected investment", it has been the leveraged and/or fraudulent financial manipulations which maximize profit but which cause rapid collapse when conditions turn bad. Again, interest rates have in practice not been a main factor in this.

Paul skeptonomist 5 days ago ,

"While Keynes conjectured that interest rates could have effects, he certainly was very clear in not expecting that they would be sufficient to control the business cycle"

Really? Then why did he include "Interest" in the title of his magnum opus?

Keynes was adamantly against high interest rates and he favored usury laws: "the rate of interest is not self-adjusting at a level best suited to the social advantage but constantly tends to rise too high, so that a wise Government is concerned to curb it by statute and custom and even by invoking the sanctions of the moral law." The General Theory, p. 351.

Further, he railed against using high interest rates to limit the boom: "The austere view, which would employ a high rate of interest to check at once any tendency in the level of employment to rise appreciably above the average of, say, the previous decade, is, however, more usually supported by arguments which have no foundation at all apart from confusion of mind." The General Theory, p. 327-8.

The rate of interest is critical to economic growth which is why the Fed's role is so important.

skeptonomist Paul 5 days ago ,

The evidence is consistent with what Keynes said about high interest rates - the high rates in the 70's to 80's failed to prevent inflation but caused unemployment to go to 10.8%. The Fed failed utterly in both of its two objectives during that time. Since 2008 record low rates have not produced the claimed boost in investment and growth. This is especially obvious in Europe and Japan where conditions are worse than in the US despite negative interest rates. This is also consistent with Keynes' expectation that interest rates would not be sufficient to overcome variations in the perceived marginal efficiency of capital. The evidence is not consistent with the idea that central banks can control economies with interest rates, or even that their actions are always constructive. That idea was not Keynes'.

Paul skeptonomist 5 days ago ,

"The evidence is not consistent with the idea that central banks can control economies with interest rates."

That is a bridge too far, and Keynes disagrees:

"There is, indeed, force in the argument that a high rate of interest is much more effective against a boom than a low rate of interest against a slump." The General Theory, p. 320.

Slowing a boom with higher interest rates is indeed feasible and that has been Fed doctrine for decades. Obviously, higher interest rates reduce consumption and investment so growth must slow. The high inflation of the 1970s was due to the OPEC oil shocks, not excessively rapid growth of the economy. In fact, growth had been faster in the 1960s with much lower inflation.

RAP77 Paul a day ago ,

I understand why this economic discussion focuses only on interest rates but it leaves out a larger issue. That fact that, on CNBC and elsewhere, financial analysts obsess over interest rates, taxes, and the price of oil in relation to the market illustrates the cluelessness of the financial community. They all applaud "deregulation" without ever specifying which regulations. Do they mean all regulations?

Trump's deregulation of methane emissions, for example, will create future costs that are exponentially larger than any immediate savings to frackers and oil companies. That's just one example. Trump's environmental deregulatory agenda is stupidity writ large.

A much larger threat to world economies (than interest rates) is the huge capital investments in petroleum assets. At some point, those investments will need to be unwound in an orderly fashion but it doesn't seem that anyone is considering how to do that. Eventually, probably sooner than expected, a tipping point will be reached when mass realization of the threat climate change poses to our survival generates a mass panicked exit from petroleum assets which will create a financial crash that dwarfs what we saw in 2008.

Paul RAP77 a day ago ,

Do you remember "Limits to Growth"? Doomsday scenarios have been around for a long time especially in regard to the national debt which supposedly will cause the collapse of our economy sometime soon. I am skeptical about that.

[Jan 20, 2019] Buzzfeed, Question Time the purpose of Fake News by Kit Knightly

Notable quotes:
"... The point of this practice is to propagate lies into the public consciousness. It's a method that can be used to distract and disseminate and divide. The accuracy of the statement is immaterial. ..."
"... The point is, once it has been said it cannot be unsaid. There are countless examples: "Assange was working for Russia", "Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress", "Russia hacked the US election", "Donald Trump worked for the KGB", "Assad gassed his own people", "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite". The list goes on and on and on. None these have been proven. All were asserted without evidence, fiercely defended as facts, and then discretely qualified. ..."
"... The lie was told, the audience laughed, the reality was created. "Labour are behind in the polls, anybody who says otherwise is a laughingstock" . The lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. That's why fake news is so important to them, and so dangerous us. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

... ... ...

Trump has been a disappointment to his base and is yet to implement half the policies he discussed on the campaign trail, but he's not fully and totally being controlled by the warhawking Deep State yet, either. His policy of peace with North Korea and decisions to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan show that there is a tug-of-war ongoing inside the administration. It's probably no coincidence that this latest of many "bombshells" comes so quickly on the heels of Trump's announcement of the Syria withdrawal. Careful "leaks", planted stories and social media witch-hunts remind Trump how precarious his position is, whilst simultaneously distracting the public – both pro-Trump and anti-Trump – from real issues.

The case-specific "why?" doesn't matter so much as the general aim of this type of manipulation. The important question is: Why does the media tell lies if they know they will be revealed as such? Clearly, the lies serve a purpose, regardless of their retraction or qualification. Telling a lie loudly and then taking it back quietly is an old propaganda trick – it allows the paper to maintain a facade of "accountability".

The point of this practice is to propagate lies into the public consciousness. It's a method that can be used to distract and disseminate and divide. The accuracy of the statement is immaterial.

The point is, once it has been said it cannot be unsaid. There are countless examples: "Assange was working for Russia", "Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress", "Russia hacked the US election", "Donald Trump worked for the KGB", "Assad gassed his own people", "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite". The list goes on and on and on. None these have been proven. All were asserted without evidence, fiercely defended as facts, and then discretely qualified.

That is the purpose of "fake news", to forge the Empire's "created reality" , and force us all to live in it. These are world-shaping, policy-informing, news-dominating narratives and are nothing but feathers in the wind .

A perfect exemplar of this occurred just two days ago on the BBC's flagship Political debate show Question Time : me title= The (notionally impartial) host not only sided with right-wing author Isabel Oakeshott in criticising Labour's polling, but then joined in mocking the Labour MP Diane Abbott for attempting to correct the record. Both Oakeshott and Fiona Bruce, the host, were factually incorrect – as shown a hundred times over since. But that doesn't matter.

The lie was told, the audience laughed, the reality was created. "Labour are behind in the polls, anybody who says otherwise is a laughingstock" . The lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. That's why fake news is so important to them, and so dangerous us.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

[Jan 20, 2019] Dear [neoliberal] elites

Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Brad F January 18, 2019 at 10:26 am

Dear Elites

We appreciate that you have built a successful career and/or business under the prevailing laws, and that changing these laws would cause the destruction and/or appropriation of much of your wealth (while costing us little).

Nonetheless we've had a vote and decided that we will indeed go ahead and make these changes. Sorry about your luck. What? You don't agree! Don't you believe in democracy? You hypocrite you!

[Jan 20, 2019] In fact, we don't have a real democracy anymore. We have a Potemkin Village democracy.

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, Trump is a pretend President. He doesn't control his own government. Hell, a single judge anywhere in the hinterlands evidently has the power to veto pretty much whatever the Trumpster does. It's clear that the real power resides in the hands of the Ruling Class, most of whom are unelected and unaccountable. Judges. Bureaucrats. Regulators. The Deep State. They now run the show. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gerard January 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Great article and right on target. In fact, we don't have a real democracy anymore. We have a Potemkin Village democracy. Our national legislature is paralyzed and impotent. And honestly, that's the way its membership likes it. Pretend to govern. Hold tight to the seats of privilege and status.

In addition, Trump is a pretend President. He doesn't control his own government. Hell, a single judge anywhere in the hinterlands evidently has the power to veto pretty much whatever the Trumpster does. It's clear that the real power resides in the hands of the Ruling Class, most of whom are unelected and unaccountable. Judges. Bureaucrats. Regulators. The Deep State. They now run the show.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media plays the role of Orwell's Squealer the Pig from Animal Farm. Propagandists. Purveyors of fake news and fake truth. This is not going to end well. The only question is how and when the ending comes.

[Jan 20, 2019] Degeneration of the US neoliberal elite can be partially attributed to the conversion of neoliberal universities into indoctrination mechanism, rather then institutions for fostering critical thinking

Notable quotes:
"... An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated. ..."
"... As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Paul Reidinger, January 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated.

As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. The new dark age is no longer imminent. It is here, and it is them. I see no way to rectify the damage. When minds are ruined young, they remain ruined.

[Jan 19, 2019] The central political question in all Western societies is -- how far will the masses be able to control the naturally-abusive tendencies of the elite?

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Henderson [ Email him ] ..."
"... is a retired civil servant living in London and consequently old enough to remember what life was like before political correctness. He runs the Living In A Madhouse and England Calling blogs. ..."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

So what is really happening -- in the U.K. and the U.S.?

The Deep State is often portrayed as a conspiracy. In fact, it is better thought of as a blind sociological event. There is no group of conscious conspirators, simply people being groomed to have the same opinions or at least saying they do.

Link Bookmark What has happened in the UK (and the rest for the West to varying degrees) is the success of the long march through the institutions . That is what ultimately has given the UK an elite ( politicians , mediafolk , teachers etc) who are overwhelmingly Politically Correct internationalists. And it's those people who are at the forefront of the attempts to sabotage Brexit.

How did it come about? A German student leader of the 1960s Rudi Dutschke, echoing the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci , put forward the idea whereby societies could be subverted from within by those of an internationalist bent who would patiently work to gain positions of power and influence. Eventually there would be enough of such people to change the policies of Western societies from national to internationalist ones. That point was reached in the UK at least 50 years ago and the Politically Correct stranglehold on our society is now complete.

The capture of Western societies by internationalists has allowed them to permit and even overtly encourage mass immigration of people from different cultures, denigrate their own societies, traduce the West and its native populations generally and introduce gradually the pernicious Totalitarian creed of Cultural Marxism which has "anti-racism" (in reality anti-white racism) at its heart. The last brick in the Politically Correct building is the increasingly draconian treatment of anyone who refuses to toe the line -- increasingly including the use of the criminal law and imprisonment.

That is why Western politics until recently has been so ideologically monotone. Brexit was a revolt against that mentality.

Most MPs overtly or tacitly supported the idea of the referendum and its result by promising it in election manifestos, in Parliament and through their passage by large majorities of the legislation needed to both set up the referendum and make provision for its implementation.

But by doing so, MPs forfeited their right to do anything other honour the result of the referendum. That applies just as much to Remainer MPs as Leaver MPs.

Sadly, the behaviour of the most committed Remainers with power and influence (including many MPs and peers in the House of Lords) has shattered utterly the idea that the UK is a fully functioning democracy. Rather, it is an elective oligarchy whereby the electorate are offered an opportunity every few years to choose between competing parts of the elite -- an elite in the UK whose general political ideas are largely held in common and go against the interests and wishes of most of the electorate.

None of this should be a surprise. The sad truth: the central political question in all Western societies is -- how far will the masses be able to control the naturally-abusive tendencies of the elite?

Robert Henderson [ Email him ] is a retired civil servant living in London and consequently old enough to remember what life was like before political correctness. He runs the Living In A Madhouse and England Calling blogs.

[Jan 19, 2019] The Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rurik , says: April 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

the Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be."

-David Graham Phillips, Cosmopolitan magazine, February 1906

and to think that was over a hundred years ago

... ... ...

[Jan 19, 2019] The Mockingbird Media lies and equivocates about everything. Insofar as the deep state spider's web of hegemony spreads all over the world and becomes more odious, the lies become more copious and more predictable, and their acceptance more and more relies upon the lever of public credulity and Neoliberal Newspeak

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: April 10, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT

A great man once wrote that the "big lie" had a force of credulity among the broad masses, as the latter were wont to engage in lying about minor quotidian matters of little or no significance while the big lies were engaged in by the mainstream press, dominated by the usual tribal suspects.

It was the case with blaming General Ludendorff for Germany's defeat, and it is the same case today, 100 years after the fact.

The Mockingbird Media lies and equivocates about everything. Insofar as the deep state spider's web of hegemony spreads all over the world and becomes more odious, the lies become more copious and more predictable, and their acceptance relies upon the lever of public credulity and kosher Newspeak.

What the unconditional and incorrigible Trumpetistas do not realize is that those of us- a very large plurality of of Trump supporters- voted for him because he was not Hillary Clinton and had pledged to keep us out of foreign wars. We will neither support, nor abet, foreign wars for the sake of Israel, whether they are started by Trump or anyone else. Intervention in Syria against the Assad regime is a no go. Trump cannot hope to compare himself to Assad, since the latter has formed a real and effective alliance against the Christian hating head choppers with Russia and Iran. Trump is totally clueless with respect to geopolitics. He is a rank amateur.

Jon Baptist , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:27 am GMT
It makes complete sense if one simply looks at the British Establishment's prior behavior of intentionally starting world wars at the order of the Society of the Elect. It's all in the CFR's archives. Their guilt in starting WW1 is emphatically admitted and documented in roughly the first 200 pages of the following book. http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/Tragedy_and_Hope.pdf

Who is in the Society of the Elect? Read the back pages of http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/The_Anglo-American_Establishment.pdf

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , says: 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.

annamaria , says: 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 , says: 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.
quasi_verbatim , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:01 am GMT
The Skripals are to be disappeared. Their home, the pub and the restaurant are to be demolished. This is a Tarantino cleanup. Move on
JR , says: 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.

Realist , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:49 am GMT
Why anyone would believe anything Western governments say is beyond me.
animalogic , says: April 10, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
Good article.
The Skipnal affair has been an utter disgrace from day one. May & Boris are a shame on the UK fully reminesent of that utter dog, Blair.
The fact that the msm still babbles on about Russia & Skipnal is indicative of their monumental contempt for the public & factual balanced reporting .well what's new, I guess ?
Ronald Thomas West , says: 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

OMG , says: April 10, 2018 at 10:35 am GMT
These ridiculous, suicidal gas attacks by Assad seem to coincide not only with battleground victories against the head-choppers, but co-incidentally with Israel's murderous attacks on unarmed Palestinians "throwing stones".

What nobody seems to have picked up is the emphasis – and red lines – on Gas; gas, gas attacks. Why is gas so much worse than being dismembered, disembowelled, and mutilated by high explosives? Certainly I would favour unconsciousness and death by gas before being smashed to pieces by depleted uranium.

These relentlessly repeated claims are an exercise with the dual purpose of providing a subliminal message about the greatest tragedy in human history, repeated ad nauseam. The massive 'gassing' of European Jews some 65 years ago. Lest we forget.

Anonymous [249] Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
What makes you think the Skripals are still alive? The entire British charade stinks to high heaven.
Escher , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:06 am GMT
What is surprising is how the MSM is able to lead along so many supposedly educated people, with at least some critical thinking skills.
All we like sheep , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:13 am GMT
Compared with the Litvinenko umbrella attack with its tip having been dipped in an Amazonian Indians' style curare variant of Polonium the intelligence level of the MI6 & CIA seems to have hit the ground with the twofold miracle of the dead being raised. Now the miracles are posing a big problem for the demonizers of Russia & President Putin: how to spirit these two living & talking people away, who have returned from the dead, where they were supposed to be so safe and well for all truth-loving investigators. This whole story seems to unfold like a Jesus Christ Superstar sequel with James Bond appetizers having been added. At present the roles have been reversed: the Russians being the champions of free will and the Western intelligence services being the Joker.
Greg Bacon , says: Website April 10, 2018 at 11:14 am GMT
Until some kind of sanity returns to this planet and war mongering gangsters like the Bush and Clinton Mobs, Blair, Obama and a host of Pentagon generals, along with their boot-licking MSM are indicted, tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes, found guilty and sentences carried out, there will be no peace on Earth, just an endless series of False Flags, hysterical reactions by the ones who were behind the False Flags and more wars.
Simon in London , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:25 am GMT
It does look rather like those Syrian chemical weapon attacks that happen whenever the rebels are about to be defeated.

I am pretty sure that it was not ordered within the British government and that most of the British government don't know where it came from, but are willing to believe it was Russia.

While the CIA does have plenty of form on assassinations, the risk if they were found to be assassinating in Britain seems quite high due to the close CIA links with the UK intelligence sector. But CIA agents could have paid someone else to do it.

Mossad is the one group that can act freely in the UK, has a record of assassinating scientists, engineers etc here, and unlike CIA, can take the risk of being caught. So it's a possibility – OTOH Israel has shown a lot less anti-Russian hatred than the US Deep State has.

Normally I'd assume it was indeed Russia – I thought there was plenty of evidence the Polonium poisoning was Russia – and it still seems possible, but US or Mossad must be at least equally likely in this case. It's just possible it could have been British initiated but I doubt it.

I do think it's most likely the person who actually poisoned them was not an employee of any agency.

Jake , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
Theresa May as more evil than Bill Clinton? That will sound odd to some, but I think it is true. Hillary is the pure evil half of the Clinton marriage. Bill is simply charming and filled with a desire to amass enough power to have a group adore him as he finds new panties to explore.

May is English, and she has the very long line of Brit Empire secret service evil at her disposal. And her move is a bold one. What it means is that she is signaling that at least if she is PM, the UK could replace the US as Fearless Leader of the actual New World Order, which is the WASP Empire with Israel and worldwide Jewry as Junior Partner #1 and Saudi Arabia elevated to Junior Partner #2 in an insane attempt to make Israel secure forever.

The English have never been happy that the lowly Americans leaped them as A-#1 of the WASP Empire, and being English they have no permanent alliances, no permanent allies, not even kin (perhaps especially kin – which type and degree of ruthlessness impresses all Semites).

This alliance was sealed by none other than the very epitome of WASP culture: Mr. Archetypal WASP himself, Oliver Cromwell. The Anglo-Saxon alliance with Jews precisely to wage wars against non-WASP white Christians was the logical (and inevitable if WASP culture were to acquire large scale political power) .

By the Victorian era, virtually all Elite Brit WASPs were knowing philoSemites. The new twist was that a growing number of them were becoming obsessed with Arabs and/or Islam. decades before the Balfour Declaration, the Brit WASP Elites were wrangling among themselves over how best to use the largest and wealthiest Empire in world history to express its philoSemtism.

The solution recently agreed upon was to elevate the Saudis. The assumption is that as the Saudis control the actual land of Mohammed, if they are elevated to suzerainty over not merely all Arabs but the entire Islamic Middle East, then the entire Islamic world can be controlled, including to allow Israel to exist in 'peace.'

And that means all that oil is under the indirect, but very firm, control of the WASP Empire, or as The Saker calls it: the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Of course, the Saudi royal family is the most amorally vicious power party in the Middle East. They would slaughter half the Sunni Arabs in order to become unrivaled suzerain over the entire Islamic world. Such monstrousness makes the House of Saud exactly the type partner that those who control the WASP Empire want as partners.

The Russians are in the way of that beautiful plan of world domination. Russians have common sense and, much worse, they express i