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Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

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

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


Introduction


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

Jesse's Café American, Audacious Oligarchy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Robert Johnson noted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What exactly is neoliberal oligarchy ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All modern democracies should be viewed as oligarchies

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

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

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

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

Quiet coup

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

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

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

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

Becoming a Banana Republic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial oligarchy as an key part of modern neoliberal elite

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

As Adair Turner noted in The Consequences of Money Manager Capitalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finance is a form of modern warfare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The predatory nature of financial oligarchy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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


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[Sep 17, 2019] The reincarnation of the idea of Soviet Nomenklatura on a new level in a different social system

Highly recommended!
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 15, 2019 at 11:33 AM

https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1173204669356740608

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

Homoploutia, a concept I introduce in "Capitalism, Alone". In today's liberal capitalism, it is common that the same people are rich *both* in terms of capital they own and earnings they receive. This was almost unheard of in classical capitalism where capitalists seldom doubled as wage workers.

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

anne -> anne... , September 15, 2019 at 11:47 AM
https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1173204677611196416

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

So here, using @lisdata, you have a nice illustration of advanced capitalist countries where people in the top decile by capital and labor income increasing coincide (right end) and Brazil and Mexico where they do not.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EEgPbuWXsAEays-.jpg:large

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

anne -> anne... , September 15, 2019 at 11:49 AM
https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1173204681184751617

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

Note the ambivalence * of homoploutia: in some sense it is desirable (and risk-reducing) that capitalists also work, or that high earners possess capital too. But in another way, it makes inequality-reducing policies more difficult.

* Contradiction

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

likbez -> anne... , September 16, 2019 at 09:03 PM
Yes, under neoliberalism like under Bolshevism, your social position is not determined solely by the capital you own. It is also determined by the position you hold in the industry or government (and your earnings/wages are derivative of that).

So we see the reincarnation of the idea of Soviet Nomenklatura on a new level in a different social system. The term can still serve its purpose, and IMHO is better than "Homoploutia."

It is also interesting that older middle-class folk, who due to their private savings, 401K, Roth and ISA accounts, SS pension (say $6K-7K a month for a couple), and sometimes government or industry pension are formally millionaires (with some multimillionaires) are not generally viewed as belonging to the upper 10%. They are looked at as an aberration by the most sociologists.

That's because they are now retired and no longer hold any meaningful for the upper 10% level position in the industry or government. In other words, they do not belong to Nomenklatura. Or more correctly no longer belong to Nomenklatura (for those who retired from high level positions)

And, correspondingly, often are treated as junk in the neoliberal society.

[Sep 15, 2019] Conflicting groups within the elite often represent difficult types of capital

Sep 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

sad canuck , Sep 15 2019 21:29 utc | 36

@1 steven t johnson

Agree with respect to points 1 and 2 but is at least Kotkin's is a bit more insightful than the recent Markovits book on meritocracy. In the latter, Markovits divides the entire country into middle class and elites, with the owners and Kotkin's clerisy combined and subject to the same structure, rewards and stresses.

Never a mention of capital or ownership of the means of production. Guess one should not be shocked that a Yale professor considers himself elite, but a little surprising that he does not understand that he serves at the pleasure of the owners. That's a club and he's not in it as the comic-laureate Carlin would say. A little class consciousness goes a long way.

[Sep 15, 2019] Americar real Conflict in Trump era is between the two factions of neoliberal elites: financial oligarchy (and associated with them Silicon Valley Moduls) and old manufacturing elite

This is the conflict between financial elite and Silicon Valley modules against traditional manufactures and extractive industries like oil, gas, coil, iron ore, etc.
Notable quotes:
"... The First Estate, once the province of the Catholic Church, has morphed into what Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s called "the Clerisy," a group that extends beyond organized religion to the universities, media, cultural tastemakers and upper echelons of the bureaucracy. The role of the Second Estate is now being played by a rising Oligarchy, notably in tech but also Wall Street, that is consolidating control of most of the economy. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | dailycaller.com

A recent OECD report , is under assault, and shrinking in most places while prospects for upward mobility for the working class also declines.T

he anger of the Third Estate, both the growing property-less Serf class as well as the beleaguered Yeomanry, has produced the growth of populist, parties both right and left in Europe, and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. In the U.S., this includes not simply the gradual, and sometimes jarring, transformation of the GOP into a vehicle for populist rage, but also the rise on the Democratic side of politicians such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, each of whom have made class politics their signature issue.

(RELATED: Bernie Sanders Says Middle Class Will Pay More In Taxes)

The Rise of Neo-Feudalism

Today's neo-feudalism recalls the social order that existed before the democratic revolutions of the 17th and 18th Century, with our two ascendant estates filling the roles of the former dominant classes.

The First Estate, once the province of the Catholic Church, has morphed into what Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s called "the Clerisy," a group that extends beyond organized religion to the universities, media, cultural tastemakers and upper echelons of the bureaucracy. The role of the Second Estate is now being played by a rising Oligarchy, notably in tech but also Wall Street, that is consolidating control of most of the economy.

Together these two classes have waxed while the Third Estate has declined. This essentially reversed the enormous gains made by the middle and even the working class over the past 50 years. The top 1% in America captured just 4.9 percent of total U.S. income growth in 1945-1973, but since then the country's richest classes has gobbled up an astonishing 58.7% of all new wealth in the U.S., and 41.8 percent of total income growth during 2009-2015 alone.

In this period, the Oligarchy has benefited from the financialization of the economy and the refusal of the political class in both parties to maintain competitive markets. As a result, American industry has become increasingly concentrated. For example, the five largest banks now account for close to 50 percent of all banking assets, up from barely 30 percent just 20 years ago. (RELATED: The Biggest Bank You've Never Heard Of)

Warren Buffett, Jeffrey Immelt, Charles Schwab and Jamie Dimon, at Georgetown University. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Warren Buffett, Jeffrey Immelt, Charles Schwab and Jamie Dimon, at Georgetown University. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The concentration numbers in tech are even more frightening. Once a highly competitive industry, it is now among the most concentrated . Like the barbarian chieftains who seized land after the fall of Rome, a handful of companies -- Facebook , Google , Apple, Microsoft and Amazon -- have gained total control over a host of markets, from social media to search, the software operating systems, cloud computing and e-commerce. In many key markets such as search, these companies enjoy market shares reaching to eighty or ninety percent.

As they push into fields such as entertainment, space travel, finance and autonomous vehicles, they have become, as technology analyst Izabella Kaminska notes, the modern-day "free market" equivalents of the Soviet planners who operated Gosplan, allocating billions for their own subjective priorities. Libertarians might point out that these tech giants are still privately held firms but they actually represent , as one analyst put it, "a new form of monopoly power made possible by the 'network effect' of those platforms through which everyone must pass to conduct the business of life."

The role of the Clerisy

The new feudalism, like the original, is not based simply around the force of arms, or in this case what Marx called "the cash nexus." Like the church in Medieval times, the Clerisy sees itself as anointed to direct human society, a modern version of what historian Marc Bloch called the "oligarchy of priests and monks whose task it was to propitiate heaven." This modern-day version of the old First Estate sets down the ideological tone in the schools, the mass media, culture and the arts. There's also a Clerisy of sorts on the right, and what's left of the center, but this remains largely, except for Fox, an insignificant remnant.

Like their predecessors, today's Clerisy embraces an orthodoxy, albeit secular, on a host of issues from race and gender to the environment. Universities have become increasingly dogmatic in their worldview. One study of 51 top colleges found the proportion of liberals to conservatives as much as 70:1, and usually at least 8:1. At elite liberal arts schools like Wellesley, Swarthmore and Williams, the proportion reaches 120:1.

Similar attitudes can be seen in virtually all other culturally dominant institutions, starting with Hollywood. Over 99 percent of all major entertainment executives' donations went to Democrats in 2018, even though roughly half the population would prefer they keep their politics more to themselves. (RELATED: Here Are Reactions From Democrats, Liberal Celebrities To The Mueller Testimony)

The increasing concentration of media in ever fewer centers -- London, New York, Washington, San Francisco -- and the decline of the local press has accentuated the elite Clerisy's domination. With most reporters well on the left, journalism, as a 2019 Rand report reveals, is steadily moving from a fact-based model to one that is dominated by predictable opinion. This, Rand suggests has led to what they called "truth decay."

The new geography of feudalism

The new feudalism increasingly defines geography not only in America but across much of the world. The great bastion of both the Oligarchy and high reaches of the Clerisy lies in the great cities, notably New York, London, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. These are all among the most expensive places to live in the world and play a dominant role in the global media.

Yet these cities are not the progressive, egalitarian places evoked by great urbanists like the late Jane Jacobs, but more closely resemble the "gated" cities of the Middle Ages, and their equivalents in places as diverse as China and Japan. American cities now have higher levels of inequality, notes one recent study , than Mexico. In fact, the largest gaps ( between the bottom and top quintiles of median incomes are in the heartland of progressive opinion, such as in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, New York, San Jose, and Los Angeles. (RELATED: Got Income Inequality? Least Affordable Cities Are Also the Bluest)

In some of the most favored blue cities, such as Seattle , Portland and San Francisco , not only is the middle class disappearing, but there has been something equivalent of "ethnic cleansing" amidst rising high levels of inequality, homelessness and social disorder. Long-standing minority communities like the Albina neighborhood in Portland are disappearing as 10,000 of the 38,000 residents have been pushed out of the historic African-American section. In San Francisco, the black population has dropped from 18% in the 1970s to single digits and what remains, notes Harry Alford , National Black Chamber of Commerce president, "are predominantly living under the poverty level and is being pushed out to extinction."

This exclusive and exclusionary urbanity contrasts with the historic role of cities. The initial rise of the Third Estate was tied intimately to the " freedom of the city . " But with the diminishing prospects for blue-collar industries, as well as high housing costs, many minorities and immigrants are increasingly migrating away from multi-culturally correct regions like Chicago , New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco for less regulated, generally less "woke" places like Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Yet even as the middle-class populations flee, poverty remains deeply entrenched in our big cities, with a rate roughly twice that of the suburbs. The much-celebrated urban renaissance has been largely enjoyed by the upper echelons but not the working classes. In the city of Philadelphia , for example, the "center city" income rose, but citywide between 2000 and 2014, for every district that, like downtown, gained in income, two suffered income declines. Similarly, research shows that the number of high poverty (greater than 30 percent below the poverty line) neighborhoods in the U.S. has tripled since 1970 from 1,100 to 3,100.

Undermining the Third Estate

The impact of the rising Clerisy and Oligarchs poses a direct threat to the future of the Third Estate. On the economic side, relentless consolidation and financialization has devastated Main Street. In the great boom of the 1980s, small firms and start-ups powered the economy, but more recently the rates of entrepreneurship have dropped as mega-mergers, chains and on-line giants slowly reduced the scope of opportunities. Perhaps most disturbing of all has been the decline in new formations among younger people.

This phenomenon is most evident in the tech world. Today is not a great time to start a tech company unless you are in the charmed circle of elite firms with access to venture and private equity funds. The old garage start-up culture of Silicon Valley is slowly dying, as large firms gobble up or crush competitors. Indeed, since the rise of the tech economy in the 1990s, the overall degree of industry concentration has grown by 75 percent.

Like the peasant farmer or artisan in the feudal era, the entrepreneur not embraced by the big venture firms lives largely at the sufferance of the tech overlords. As one online publisher notes on his firm's status with Google:

If you're a Star Trek fan, you'll understand the analogy. It's a bit like being assimilated by the Borg. You get cool new powers. But having been assimilated, if your implants were ever removed, you'd certainly die. That basically captures our relationship to Google.

The Clerisy's War on the Middle Class

For generations, the Clerisy has steadfastly opposed the growth of suburbia, driven in large part by the aesthetic concerns –the conviction that single-family homes are fundamentally anti-social– and, increasingly, by often dubious assertions on their environmental toxicity. In places like California, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, government policies discourage peripheral construction where home ownership rates tend to be higher, in favor of dense, largely rental housing.

This marks a dramatic turnaround. During the middle of the 20th Century, ownership rates in the United States leaped from 44 percent in 1940 to 63 percent in the late 1970s. Yet in the new generation this prospect is fading. In the United States, home ownership among post-college millennials (aged 25-34) has dropped from 45.4 percent in 2000 to 37.0 percent in 2016, a drop of 18 percent from the 1970s, according to Census Bureau data . In contrast, their parents and grandparents witnessed a dramatic rise of homeownership from 44 percent in 1940 to 63 percent 30 years later.

But the Clerisy's war on middle- and working-class aspiration goes well beyond housing. Climate change policies already enacted in California and Germany have driven millions into "energy poverty." If adopted, many of the latest proposals for such things as the Green New Deal all but guarantee the rapid reduction of millions of highly productive and often well-paying energy, aerospace, automobile and logistics jobs.

Political implications

The war of the Estates is likely to shape our political landscape for decades to come. Parts of the Third Estate –those working with their hands or operating small businesses– increasingly flock to the GOP, according to a recent CityLab report. Trump also has a case to make with these workers, as real wages for blue-collar workers are now rising for the first time in decades. Unemployment is near record lows not only for whites but also Latinos and African-Americans. Of course, if the economy weakens, he may lose some of this support. (RELATED: Trump Blasts Media For 'Barely' Covering 'Great' Economy, Low Unemployment)

But the emergence of neo-feudalism also lays the foundation for a larger, more potent and radicalized left. As opportunities for upward mobility shrink, a new generation, indoctrinated in leftist ideology sometimes from grade school and ever more predictably in undergraduate and graduate school, tilts heavily to the left, embracing what is essentially an updated socialist program of massive redistribution, central direction of the economy and racial redress.

Antifa members in Berkeley, California. AFP/Getty/Amy Osborne.

Antifa members in Berkeley, California. AFP/Getty/Amy Osborne.

In France's most recent presidential election, the former Trotskyite Jean-Luc Melenchon won the under-24 vote, beating the "youthful" Emmanuel Macron by almost two to one. Similarly in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of modern capitalism, the Labour Party , under the neo- Marxist Jeremy Corbyn , won over 60 percent of the vote among voters under 40, compared to just 23 percent for the Conservatives. Similar trends can be seen across Europe, where the Red and Green Party enjoys wide youth support.

The shift to hard-left politics also extends to the United States– historically not a fertile area for Marxist thinking. In the 2016 primaries , the openly socialist Bernie Sanders easily outpolled Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined. A 2016 poll by the Communism Memorial Foundation found that 44 percent of American millennials favored socialism while another 14 percent chose fascism or communism. By 2024, these millennials will be by far the country's biggest voting bloc .

In the current run-up to the Democratic nomination these young voters overwhelming tilt toward Sanders and his slightly less radical colleague Warren, while former Vice President Joe Biden retains the support of older Democrats. The common themes of the "new" Left, with such things as guaranteed annual incomes, rent control, housing subsidies, and free college might prove irresistible to a generation that has little hope of owning a home, could remain childless, and might never earn enough money to invest in much of anything. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Says 'Health Care For All' Will Require Tax Increases)

At the end, the war of the estates raises the prospect of rising autocracy, even under formally democratic forms. In his assessment in "Democracy in America ," Alexis de Tocqueville suggests a new form of tyranny -- in many ways more insidious than that of the monarchical state -- that grants favors and entertainments to its citizens but expects little in obligation. Rather than expect people to become adults, he warns, a democratic state can be used to keep its members in "perpetual childhood" and "would degrade men rather than tormenting them."

With the erosion of the middle class, and with it dreams of upward mobility, we already see more extreme, less liberally minded class politics. A nation of clerics, billionaires and serfs is not conducive to the democratic experiment; only by mobilizing the Third Estate can we hope that our republican institutions will survive intact even in the near future.

Mr. Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and the executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. His next book, "The Coming Of Neo-Feudalism," will be out this spring.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.

[Sep 14, 2019] Is it better to be poor in a rich country or rich in a poor country?

Sep 14, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 13, 2019 at 06:31 PM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-09-11/Should-we-worry-about-income-gaps-within-or-between-countries--JTDcnKWvII/index.html

September 10, 2019

Should We Worry About Income Gaps Within or Between Countries?
The rise of populist nationalism throughout the West has been fueled partly by a clash between the objectives of equity in rich countries and higher living standards in poor countries. Yet advanced-economy policies that emphasize domestic equity need not be harmful to the global poor, even in international trade.
By DANI RODRIK

At the beginning of classes every autumn, I tease my students with the following question: Is it better to be poor in a rich country or rich in a poor country? The question typically invites considerable and inconclusive debate. But we can devise a more structured and limited version of the question, for which there is a definitive answer.

Let's narrow the focus to incomes and assume that people care only about their own consumption levels (disregarding inequality and other social conditions). "Rich" and "poor" are those in the top and bottom 5 percent of the income distribution, respectively. In a typical rich country, the poorest 5 percent of the population receive around 1 percent of the national income. Data are a lot sparser for poor countries, but it would not be too much off the mark to assume that the richest 5 percent there receive 25 percent of the national income.

Similarly, let's assume that rich and poor countries are those in the top and bottom 5 percent of all countries, ranked by per capita income. In a typical poor country (such as Liberia or Niger), that is around 1,000 U.S. dollars, compared to 65,000 U.S. dollars in a typical rich country (say, Switzerland or Norway). (These incomes are adjusted for cost-of-living, or purchasing-power, differentials so that they can be directly compared.)

Now, we can calculate that a rich person in a poor country has an income of 5,000 (1,000 x 0.25 x 20) U.S. dollars while a poor person in a rich country earns 13,000 (65,000 x 0.01 x 20) U.S. dollars. Measured by material living standards, a poor person in a rich country is more than twice as well off as a rich person in a poor country.

This result surprises my students, most of whom expect the reverse to be true. When they think of wealthy individuals in poor countries, they imagine tycoons living in mansions with a retinue of servants and a fleet of expensive cars. But while such individuals certainly exist, a representative of the top 5 percent in very poor countries is likely to be a mid-level government bureaucrat.

The larger point of this comparison is to underscore the importance of income differences across countries, relative to inequalities within countries.

At the dawn of modern economic growth, before the Industrial Revolution, global inequality derived almost exclusively from inequality within countries. Income gaps between Europe and poorer parts of the world were small. But as the West developed in the 19th century, world economy underwent a "great divergence" between the industrial core and the primary-goods-producing periphery. During much of the postwar period, income gaps between rich and poor countries accounted for the greater part of global inequality.

From the late 1980s onward, two trends began to alter this picture. First, led by China, many parts of the lagging regions began to experience substantially faster economic growth than the world's rich countries. For the first time in history, the typical developing-country resident was getting richer at a faster pace than his or her counterparts in Europe and North America.

Second, inequalities began to increase in many advanced economies, especially those with less-regulated labor markets and weak social protections. The rise in inequality in the United States has been so sharp that it is no longer clear that the standard of living of the American "poor" is higher than that of the "rich" in the poorest countries (with rich and poor defined as above).

These two trends went in offsetting directions in terms of overall global inequality – one decreased it while the other increased it. But they have both raised the share of within-country inequality in the total, reversing an uninterrupted trend observed since the 19th century.

Given patchy data, we cannot be certain about the respective shares of within- and between-country inequality in today's world economy. But in an unpublished paper based on data from the World Inequality Database, Lucas Chancel of the Paris School of Economics estimates that as much as three-quarters of current global inequality may be due to within-country inequality. Historical estimates by two other French economists, François Bourguignon and Christian Morrison, suggest that within-country inequality has not loomed so large since the late 19th century.

These estimates, if correct, suggest that the world economy has crossed an important threshold, requiring us to revisit policy priorities. For a long time, economists like me have been telling the world that the most effective way to reduce global income disparities would be to accelerate economic growth in low-income countries. Cosmopolitans in rich countries – typically the wealthy and skilled professionals – could claim to hold the high moral ground when they downplayed the concerns of those complaining about domestic inequality.

But the rise of populist nationalism throughout the West has been fueled partly by the tension between the objectives of equity in rich countries and higher living standards in poor countries. Advanced economies' increased trade with low-income countries has contributed to domestic wage inequality. And probably the single best way to raise incomes in the rest of the world would be to allow a massive influx of workers from poor countries into rich countries' labor markets. That would not be good news for less educated, lower-paid rich-country workers.

Yet advanced-economy policies that emphasize domestic equity need not be harmful to the global poor, even in international trade. Economic policies that lift incomes at the bottom of the labor market and diminish economic insecurity are good both for domestic equity and for the maintenance of a healthy world economy that provides poor economies a chance to develop.


Dani Rodrik is Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Paine -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 07:22 AM
Yes yes yes


Trade and income distribution are related but the relationship can be determinative lay shaped by domestic institutions and country wide foreign trade policy

We need institutions run by and for common workng people

And foreign trade policy to shape impact patterns on domestic households in a pro common working people pattern

Too many well meaning Cosmo humanists assume the corporate message to be binding

A r
Trade off between foreign poor and domestic wage earners
Was part of global progress

Nope
Not necessarily so

Dani has several popularly written papers on tis point

Let's hope Anne can link to some of hem for us

likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 06:38 PM
Dani Rodrik is wrong. The idea that poor in the USA live better then top 5% in the most poor counties is a kind of persistent neoliberal myth that needs to dispelled.

1. Purchase party essentially means that in poor countries dollar is overvalued twice or more. Which means that $5K in poorest countries is close to $10 or even $15K in the USA and other Western countries.

2. Access to education and medical care is incomparable. In the USA most poor live without medical insurance. That put them in severe disadvantage with top 5% of a poor country.

3. Top 5% in poor countries typically own very comfortable apartments, in many cases far superior to what is available in the USA even for middle income families. Cost of the rent on two bedroom apartment in the large city in poor countries is typically 5-10 times less then in the USA. Taking into account very low quality of apartment complexes in the USA, the apartments in poor countries for top 5% might well belong to luxury apartment class in the USA. I know for sure that in the capital of Tajikistan (2017 GDP per Capita: $777) they are better.

The low 5% in the USA actually live in the third world country with considerable level of segregation from the rest of population as for apartments in which they live (look housing of the low paid retail and WalMart employees for actual data; their standard of living is just horrible, especially for single mothers with children)

3. Level of education. Top 5% in poor country are mostly university educated or better. Low 5% in the USA and other Western countries usually are functionally illiterate.

https://brandongaille.com/us-literacy-rate-and-illiteracy-statistics/

1. 32 million adults can not read in the United States equal to 14% of the population.
2. 21% of US adults read below the 5th grade level.
3. 19% of high school graduates can not read.
4. 85% of juveniles who interact with the juvenile court system are considered functionally illiterate.
5. 70% of inmates in America's prisons can not read above the fourth grade level.

4. Military industrial complex and Wall Street had taken ordinary Americans for a ride much like in the UK during the days of British Empire.

Which for one thing means that due to lack of affordable public transportation you need to own a car outside major metropolises. Which drops you standard of living. You will be fleeced three times: first by used car dealerships, then by insurance companies (low credit rating and high risk of default means high premium) and then repair shops which in some cases are really criminal enterprises exploiting the most poor and vulnerable parts of the population. Parts who has no access to quality cars.

Top 5% in poor countries has access to new small and midsize Japanese models (like Corolla, Nissan Juke, etc )

Also Rodrik method of calculation of income of top 5% of population is highly questionable. He never tried to verify his calculation with actual statistic of distribution of incomes in say top 10 poorest countries in the world (the list includes three the xUSSR "stans"; for them top 5% earns probably at least $20K a year, if not more )

IMHO for poor countries the income of the top 5% is probably two to four times higher then Rodrick estimate due to extreme values of GINI coefficient for such countries. Top 5% on such countries are mostly represented by people working for foreign companies (compradors), high level professionals and high level government employees. For the latter the salary is just the top of the iceberg of the real income.

[Sep 11, 2019] Joe Biden's Son Blames Russian Agents For Ashley Madison Profile

See also "Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite"
Notable quotes:
"... "due diligence." ..."
"... Biden thinks international agents, possibly Russian, who objected to his board membership with a Ukrainian gas company set up a fake account to discredit him. ..."
"... As Breitbart reports, ..."
Aug 29, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Last night we heard the best 'excuse' yet if you are caught with an Ashley Madison account, from Dan Loeb - "due diligence." Today, not to be outdone by a married hedge fund manager, Vice-President Joe Biden's son "Hunter" has unleashed his own set of excuses for member ship of the extramarital affairs website, as Breitbart reports - Biden thinks international agents, possibly Russian, who objected to his board membership with a Ukrainian gas company set up a fake account to discredit him. However, IP mapping suggests otherwise...

As Breitbart reports,

Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden's account on the extramarital dating website Ashley Madison was used and likely created on the Georgetown University campus while Biden was teaching there.

Business executive Robert "Hunter" Biden, reportedly an adviser to his father's political career, told Breitbart News Monday that he suspected his enemies of creating a fake Ashley Madison account for him in order to discredit him. The email address provided for "Robert Biden's" account matched a personal email address once used by Biden, the vice president's son confirmed.

Biden thinks international agents, possibly Russian, who objected to his board membership with a Ukrainian gas company set up a fake account to discredit him. A source close to Biden told People Magazine after the first Breitbart story ran that the IP address for the account traces to Jacksonville, Florida.

But account information shows that the profile, which was confirmed by a credit card purchase in 2014, was used at the latitude/longitude point of 38.912682, -77.071704.

That latitude-longitude point just happens to exist on the Georgetown University campus, at an administrative building on Reservoir Road. And Hunter Biden just happened to be teaching there around the time the account was set up.

* * *
Faced with the new information, representatives for Biden said that the vice president's son would not comment on the story beyond his original statements to Breitbart News denying that the account was his.

hedgeless_horseman

Biden's son discharged from Navy after testing positive for cocaine

He could be head of the ethics committee for the House of Lords.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11763582/Lord-Sewel-filmed-snor...


knukles

At least his character flaws are in no way reflective of his father.
You know, apples never fall too far from the trees, stuff.

Hunter says: Hey, quit pickin' on me. Everybody has to try to get a head somehow!

jcaz

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait until they find Joe's profile....

Manthong

"The truth about the conflict with Russia"

Aw c'mon..

Chevron, Shell, Monsanto, Cargill and others all had deals worth hundreds of billions with Ukraine prior to the Nuland putsch.

When Yanukovych swung toward Russia's Trade Union instead of the EU, Nuland used the $5 billion of NGO and western sympathizers she bought over the years, spent a little more and engineered the violent coup and subsequent civil warfare.

The US sought to marginalize Russia and kick them out of Sevastopol but surprise, surprise the locals would have none of that. Neither would Russia and the next thing you know Crimea voted to be absorbed once again by Russia and Nuland is left with crap on her face. Since the Donbass would have none of that either, 6,000 people are now dead and the Ukraine is a basket case that the west will have to pay for.

There may be some ethnic animosities in play too, but the real motivations are geo-political and economical.

ThanksChump

The most-credible bits of information I've found support your summary.

It's sad.

I doubt the West will pay for the cleanup in Ukraine without some form of ROI. That expense will fall on their non-Russian neighbors who will be directly affected by starving neighbors this winter, with Poland carrying the bulk.

I doubt the ethnic problems will play a significant role, aside from pro-Russia Ukrainians feeling less charitable than otherwise.

ThanksChump

The most-credible bits of information I've found support your summary.

It's sad.

I doubt the West will pay for the cleanup in Ukraine without some form of ROI. That expense will fall on their non-Russian neighbors who will be directly affected by starving neighbors this winter, with Poland carrying the bulk.

I doubt the ethnic problems will play a significant role, aside from pro-Russia Ukrainians feeling less charitable than otherwise.

JustObserving

Demented mass-murderer Putin is also a hacker and a blackmailer?

Since the beginning of the week, the three most influential mass circulation newsmagazines of the United States, Britain, and Germany-Time, The Economist, and Der Spiegel-have published cover stories that combine wild accusations against Vladimir Putin with demands for a showdown with Russia.

The most striking and obvious characteristic of these cover stories is that they are virtually identical. The CIA has scripted them all. The stories employ the same insults and the same fabrications. They denounce Putin's "web of lies." The Russian president is portrayed as a "depraved" mass murderer.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/07/30/pers-j30.html

[Sep 11, 2019] Reprise Simon Johnson On the Quiet Coup d'Etat in the Anglo-American Financial System

Notable quotes:
"... Have we heeded Simon Johnson's warning? Has he proven to be prescient? Is crony capitalism and the kleptocracy becoming bolder, more aggressive, ever more demanding? ..."
Sep 02, 2012 | Jesse's Café Américain

This is a reprise of an interview with MIT economist Simon Johnson which was posted here in February, 2009.

Have we heeded Simon Johnson's warning? Has he proven to be prescient? Is crony capitalism and the kleptocracy becoming bolder, more aggressive, ever more demanding?

"I think I'm signaling something a little bit shocking to Americans, and to myself, actually. Which is the situation we find ourselves in at this moment, this week, is very strongly reminiscent of the situations we've seen many times in other places.

But they're places we don't like to think of ourselves as being similar to. They're emerging markets. It's Russia or Indonesia or a Thailand type situation, or Korea. That's not comfortable. America is different. America is special. America is rich. And, yet, we've somehow find ourselves in the grip of the same sort of crisis and the same sort of oligarchs...

But, exactly what you said, it's a small group with a lot of power. A lot of wealth. They don't necessarily - they're not necessarily always the names, the household names that spring to mind, in this kind of context. But they are the people who could pull the strings. Who have the influence. Who call the shots...

...the signs that I see this week, the body language, the words, the op-eds, the testimony, the way they're treated by certain Congressional committees, it makes me feel very worried.

I have this feeling in my stomach that I felt in other countries, much poorer countries, countries that were headed into really difficult economic situation. When there's a small group of people who got you into a disaster, and who were still powerful. Disaster even made them more powerful. And you know you need to come in and break that power. And you can't. You're stuck....

The powerful people are the insiders. They're the CEOs of these banks. They're the people who run these banks. They're the people who pay themselves the massive bonuses at the end of the last year. Now, those bonuses are not the essence of the problem, but they are a symptom of an arrogance, and a feeling of invincibility, that tells you a lot about the culture of those organizations, and the attitudes of the people who lead them...

But it really shows you the arrogance, and I think these people think that they've won. They think it's over. They think it's won. They think that we're going to pay out ten or 20 percent of GDP to basically make them whole. It's astonishing....

...these people are throughout the system of government. They are very much at the forefront of the Treasury. The Treasury is apparently calling the shots on their economic policies.

This is a decisive moment. Either you break the power or we're stuck for a long time with this arrangement."


Bill Moyer's Journal - Interview with Simon Johnson, February, 2009.

Johnson also wrote a piece in the Atlantic Magazine titled The Quiet Coup. It may be worth re-reading.
Here is the introduction to this in The Fall of the American Republic: The Quiet Coup d'Etat in August 2010.

"I am not so optimistic that this reform is possible, because there has in fact been a soft coup d'etat in the US, which now exists in a state of crony corporatism that wields enormous influence over the media and within the government.

Let's be clear about this, the oligarchs are flush with victory, and feel that they are firmly in control, able to subvert and direct any popular movement to the support of their own fascist ends and unslakable will to power.

This is the contempt in which they hold the majority of American people and the political process: the common people are easily led fools, and everyone else who is smart enough to know better has their price. And they would beggar every middle class voter in the US before they will voluntarily give up one dime of their ill gotten gains.

But my model says that the oligarchs will continue to press their advantages, being flushed with victory, until they provoke a strong reaction that frightens everyone, like a wake up call, and the tide then turns to genuine reform."


As far as I can tell, we are right on track for a very bad time of it. And you might be surprised at how far a belief in exceptionalism and arrogant superiority can go before it finally ends, or more likely, falls.

[Sep 04, 2019] Deep State Dudley Doubles Down Explains What He Really Meant In Scandalous Anti-Trump Op-Ed

Sep 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"Deep State" Dudley Doubles Down: "Explains" What He Really Meant In Scandalous Anti-Trump Op-Ed

by Tyler Durden Wed, 09/04/2019 - 10:21 0 SHARES

There is a saying, when in a hole stop digging.

Unfortunately for former Goldman managing director and NY Fed president, Bill " let them eat iPads " Dudley, that is a saying he is not familiar with, and one week after his stunning Bloomberg op-ed in which he advocated the Fed to prevent Trump's 2020 re-election by sending the economy in a recession, resulting in a brutal response from virtually everyone who slammed Dudley's musings as the final proof that the Fed was in fact a political animal, one which is more powerful than the executive branch in its ability to pick and choose presidents, Dudley is out with an "explainer", seeking to "answer" some of the main questions posed by his "provocative" piece.

After reading " What I Meant When I Said 'Don't Enable Trump ", let's just say that Dudley fails in explaining why he said is not what he said, and if anything he has successfully doubled down, giving Trump even more ammunition to throw the book at the political Fed for not cutting rates fast enough as the president has been demanding for months, and for eventually taking the blame for the coming economic and market crash.

Dudley's letter, written in rhetorical Q&A format, begins by asking himself what motivated him to write this article. His answer is two fold:

First, President Trump's trade war with China was increasing uncertainty about how global trading rules would evolve, what tariffs would be imposed, what changes firms might need to make to their global supply chains, and what the downside risks might be for the U.S. economy. Just a few days before the article was published, the president ordered U.S. firms to pull out of China.

Second, the president continued to attack the Federal Reserve and push it to ease monetary policy further. He emphasized that the Fed, not the White House or its trade war with China, should be blamed if the economy faltered. His attacks on the Fed included characterizing Chairman Jerome Powell as an "enemy" -- on par, in his view, with President Xi Jinping of China.

As Dudley "saw it", the combination of the trade war and the president's attacks on the Fed "threatened to put the central bank in an untenable position", one where Trump was shifting responsibility for the downside risks from his trade war onto the Fed. "I thought this was an important issue worth exploring."

What Dudley means here is that whereas traditionally the Fed has been commended for bailing out banks the world by throwing trillions of dollars at a problem and hoping it goes away, even though some time in 2016 it became clear that this approach was doomed to failure and so it would be great to have a hapless scapegoat in the White House - i.e., someone such as president Donald Trump - to take the blame for decades of disastrous monetary policy which has resulted int he world's biggest asset bubble in history, what happened next was not part of the program , namely Trump flipping the table on the Fed and making it the key catalyst for the upcoming US recession.

Indeed, one can say that Trump - painted daily as a bumbling buffoon by his enemies, and sometimes, friends - has in fact played his cards perfectly, demanding the Fed cut rates well into late 2018, something which the Fed eventually did, and giving Trump all the leverage in claiming that he was, in fact right, and the Fed was wrong. Certainly, with the market now expecting 4 or more rate cuts by the end of 2020 and tying the fate of the S&P to this expectation being fulfilled, one can argue that Trump will be even more right, and that the Fed - who can forget Powell's famous statement that we are "a long way" from neutral less than a year ago when the Fed chair was still hawkish - was not only wrong, but clueless .

As such, one can counter Dudley's rambling, defensive op-ed part 2 published today in Bloomberg , by simply pointing out that the reason for the former Goldman banker's anger is not so much Trump's trade war with China - which increasingly more Americans agree with and even Trump's enemies concede was long overdue - nor Trump's "attacks" on Fed independence, of course the Fed was never actually independent as anyone who remembers how LBJ literally attacked a Fed chairman in 1965, demanding more money, knows very well, but because Trump managed to quickly and effectively outsmart the Fed, and box the Fed chairman so that the Fed is now forced to underwriter Trump's trade war, as we explained first one month ago .

So, apparently unable to express what he meant the first time around and sparking a firestorm of criticism, what was Dudley's oh so complicated message that was lost in translation:

First, the Fed needs to be cautious that it does not inadvertently enable the president's trade war with China.

As I wrote: "what if the Fed's accommodation encourages the president to escalate the trade war further, increasing the risk of recession? The central bank's efforts to cushion the blow might not be merely ineffectual. They might actually make things worse."

In my judgment, there is a risk that the Fed, by easing, might encourage the president to take even more aggressive actions on trade and in raising tariffs . This might create even greater downside risks for the economy that monetary policy might prove ill-suited to address.

One can argue that this is a credible complaint. The only problem is Dudley should be addressing his anger not at Trump, but at Powell, who certified before the world that any further escalations in Trump's trade war are effectively a justification for more rate cuts, for one simple reason: the US economy was doing well enough not to need a rate cut, yet the Fed - having become the world's central bank - desperately needed a pretext to cut, and found one in Trump's trade war. Whether this was Powell's intention is unclear, although as we said at the time, "it certainly means that Trump is now de facto in charge of the Fed's monetary policy by way of US foreign policy, and it also means that as BofA wrote, "the Fed is unintentionally underwriting the trade war."

Of course, what Dudley is concerned about is not the trade war itself, but how it could implicate the Fed as the global economy continues to grind to a halt, and as he says, "the Fed's problems might not end there. Not only might the Fed be unable to rescue the economy, but it also might be blamed for the economy's poor performance. This risk is higher because of the president's ongoing attacks on the Fed." This is a point he echoes toward the end of the article as well, writing that " I don't think the Fed should be attacked for the economy's performance when the president's own actions are creating the downside risks."

Bingo: that's it right there - the "risk" that the Fed may be blamed for not just the "economy's poor performance" but that the great unwashed masses may one day wake up and realize that the reason why the global financial system is facing a crisis of monumental proportions has nothing to do with Trump - who is merely a vessel and a symptom of a broken system - and everything to do with a central bank which ever since its creation in 1913 has had one purpose, to make the rich richer and perpetuate a broken monetary system (even Mark Carney is saying the days of the dollar as a reserve currency are now over), is why Dudley is so very much on edge. After all, those same great unwashed masses, following the moment of epiphany may pay Dudley a visit in his mansion and demand an explanation of their own why everything has gone to hell, as it almost certainly will after the next recession.

Once one realizes that this is the true motive behind not just today's Dudley article, but also his prior op-ed, then everything falls into place, including Dudley's hint that the Fed's actions will affect the "political outcome in 2020."

Addressing what was arguably the most sensitive aspect of his original oped, namely the conclusion which suggested that the Fed should throw the economy into recession just to prevent Trump's re-election, to wit:

"There's even an argument that the election itself falls within the Fed's purview. After all, Trump's reelection arguably presents a threat to the U.S. and global economy, to the Fed's independence and its ability to achieve its employment and inflation objectives. If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020."

... Dudley says that his "intention was to be provocative." So what was his intention, if not to bring attention to the fact that contrary to countless lies, the Fed was never independent? He explains:

I was exploring where logic might take you if you started with two premises: 1) President Trump's trade war was likely to be bad for the U.S. economy, and 2) the Fed's goal is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome with respect to employment and inflation. In such circumstances, how should the Fed behave and what should it consider?

I was suggesting that if the Fed pushed backed that it might be able to achieve a better economic outcome. I was not suggesting that the Fed should do so regardless of the consequences for the economy or that it should stand by and allow a recession. And I was not trying to suggest that the Fed should take sides in the upcoming election.

So... Dudley's point is that the Fed is not political, and yet it should push back on the president's decisions to "achieve a better economic outcome"? A quick question here: Better for who? The banks, which were the only beneficiaries of Fed policies for the past decade? The 0.01% who got richer and richer since the financial crisis as the US middle class disappeared? And then there is the question of what mandate does the Fed have, in Dudley's eyes, to one up the president when it comes to the best economic outcome.

Actually, an even simpler question: who "elected" the Fed? And just whose interests does the Fed represent? Maybe for the third part of his increasingly surreal op-ed series, Bill Dudley can start with a discussion of just how the Fed - an entity which as Bernanke's former advisor once said : "people would be stunned to know the extent to which the Fed is privately owned" - represents the interests of the majority of Americans.

Then again, we doubt there will be a part 3 as by this point the backpedaling in Dudley's "explainer" was so furious, not even he had any idea what it was he was trying to say, as the following "Q & A" confirms:

Q. Do you think the Fed should conduct monetary policy with an eye on influencing the outcome of the 2020 presidential election?

A. I do not. Doing so would be far outside the scope of the Fed's authority and clearly inappropriate. Moreover, the Fed would be perceived as partisan and such a perception would likely compromise the Fed's independence. Behaving in such a manner not only would be wrong, but it also would not be in the Fed's interests.

So, it's not within the scope of the Fed's authority to influence the outcome of a presidential election as that would "compromise the Fed's independence", but it is the scope to "achieve a better economic outcome" than that pursued by the president? Interesting, please tell us more.

And so he does, when in the very next rhetorical answer, Dudley tries to reconcile what he wrote in: "Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020."

I think central bankers should be aware of all the factors that affect the economic outlook. What the Fed does or doesn't do can influence electoral outcomes, which in turn can have consequences for the economy and for monetary policy . But the Fed should never be motivated by political considerations or deliberately set monetary policy with the goal of influencing an election.

In other words, be aware of how your actions could sink Trump's reelection chances, but... don't follow through on them, especially since that would confirm the issue raised above, namely that the Fed was never independent and apolitical, and would culminate with the end of the US Federal Reserve, And yes, it is ironic that Dudley's letter has done more damage to the perception of Fed "independence" than hundreds of Trump tweets slamming Powell.

In parting, and having "resolved" any speculation that he was calling for a monetary coup against the president - at least in his own mind - Dudley touches on the two most important points address in his letter, Fed independence, and what on earth prompted Dudley to write the original "hornets nest" op-ed in the first place.

So, on the first topic, whether "the Fed has been politicized", Dudley answers:

In my view, President Trump's persistent attacks on the Fed have politicized the central bank. People now wonder whether the president's attacks are influencing the Fed's decisions. For example, if the Fed eases monetary policy further at its upcoming September policy-making meeting, people are likely to wonder about the motivation. Is it concern about the economic outlook, or the president's attacks on the Fed? In contrast, I don't believe the Fed is politicized in the sense that it would consider trying to influence election outcomes.

Once again, the Fed was always politicized (see LBJ vs William McChesney Martin, and countless other examples of presidents bossing Fed Chairs around), but it desperately tried to deflect attention from this to avoid being called into Congress any time the leading political party needed lower rates to pursue a voter-friendly agenda, as will be the case with Helicopter money, aka MMT, in a few years, when the Fed will no longer be an independent entity in any capacity, and will be tasked with monetizing all the debt the US issues to pursue its Green New Stupidity.

However, where Dudley made a catastrophic fuck up is by himself suggesting that the Fed should not only try but succeed in influencing an election outcomes. It is this potentiality that sparked the outcry from both Democrats and Republicans, both Austrians and Keynesians alike, as that level of truth only emerges during periods of tremendous shock.

And, if nothing else, the second Dudley op-ed confirms that Dudley was in indeed in "shock" when he wrote his first Bloomberg column. And just in case there was any doubt, we leave readers with Dudley's conclusion, one in which the former NY Fed president says that while there may be a "deep state" or a conspiracy, he is part of neither:

The article is mine and mine alone. Fed officials were not involved in any way. There is no "deep state" or conspiracy that I am part of. Fed officials are not using me as a vehicle to signal their unhappiness with the president's attacks on the central bank and on Chairman Powell.

And the absolute punchline: " I wrote the article to express my concern that the president had placed the negative economic consequences of his trade war at the feet of the Fed, and that Fed officials had not pushed back against this more forcibly ." Which is amusing, because after all those often contradictory words, Dudley leaves his readers where they started: asking him how the Fed should "push back more forcibly" against the president, one which the Fed can prevent from getting re-elected - as Dudley himself admitted last week - if it only chooses, but it would never choose to do so as it is so apolitical, it should push to "achieve a better economic outcome" than the one sought by the president.

In short: if Dudley had dug the hole 6 feet deep with his original op-ed, he added a good 6 more feet with the sequel. We can't wait what "Deep State Dudley" does for part 3...

[Sep 04, 2019] Starving Seniors How America Fails To Feed Its Aging naked capitalism

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F09%2Fstarving-seniors-how-america-fails-to-feed-its-aging.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" /> By Laura Ungar, who health issues out of Kaiser Health News' St. Louis office, and Trudy Lieberman, a journalist for more than 45 years, and a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Originally published by Kaiser Health News .

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Army veteran Eugene Milligan is 75 years old and blind. He uses a wheelchair since losing half his right leg to diabetes and gets dialysis for kidney failure.

And he has struggled to get enough to eat.

Earlier this year, he ended up in the hospital after burning himself while boiling water for oatmeal. The long stay caused the Memphis vet to fall off a charity's rolls for home-delivered Meals on Wheels , so he had to rely on others, such as his son, a generous off-duty nurse and a local church to bring him food.

"Many times, I've felt like I was starving," he said. "There's neighbors that need food too. There's people at dialysis that need food. There's hunger everywhere."

Indeed, millions of seniors across the country quietly go hungry as the safety net designed to catch them frays. Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were "food insecure" in 2017, according to a recent study released by the anti-hunger group Feeding America. That's 5.5 million seniors who don't have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life, a number that has more than doubled since 2001 and is only expected to grow as America grays.

While the plight of hungry children elicits support and can be tackled in schools, the plight of hungry older Americans is shrouded by isolation and a generation's pride. The problem is most acute in parts of the South and Southwest. Louisiana has the highest rate among states, with 12% of seniors facing food insecurity. Memphis fares worst among major metropolitan areas, with 17% of seniors like Milligan unsure of their next meal.

And government relief falls short. One of the main federal programs helping seniors is starved for money. The Older Americans Act -- passed more than half a century ago as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society reforms -- was amended in 1972 to provide for home-delivered and group meals, along with other services, for anyone 60 and older. But its funding has lagged far behind senior population growth, as well as economic inflation.

The biggest chunk of the act's budget, nutrition services, dropped by 8% over the past 18 years when adjusted for inflation, an AARP report found in February. Home-delivered and group meals have decreased by nearly 21 million since 2005. Only a fraction of those facing food insecurity get any meal services under the act; a U.S. Government Accountability Office report examining 2013 data found 83% got none.

With the act set to expire Sept. 30, Congress is now considering its reauthorization and how much to spend going forward.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 45% of eligible adults 60 and older have signed up for another source of federal aid: SNAP, the food stamp program for America's poorest. Those who don't are typically either unaware they could qualify, believe their benefits would be tiny or can no longer get to a grocery store to use them.

Even fewer seniors may have SNAP in the future. More than 13% of SNAP households with elderly members would lose benefits under a recent Trump administration proposal.

For now, millions of seniors -- especially low-income ones -- go without. Across the nation, waits are common to receive home-delivered meals from a crucial provider, Meals on Wheels, a network of 5,000 community-based programs. In Memphis, for example, the wait to get on the Meals on Wheels schedule is more than a year long.

"It's really sad because a meal is not an expensive thing," said Sally Jones Heinz, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association , which provides home-delivered meals in Memphis. "This shouldn't be the way things are in 2019."

Since malnutrition exacerbates diseases and prevents healing, seniors without steady, nutritious food can wind up in hospitals, which drives up Medicare and Medicaid costs, hitting taxpayers with an even bigger bill . Sometimes seniors relapse quickly after discharge -- or worse.

Widower Robert Mukes, 71, starved to death on a cold December day in 2016, alone in his Cincinnati apartment.

The Hamilton County Coroner listed the primary cause of death as "starvation of unknown etiology" and noted "possible hypothermia," pointing out that his apartment had no electricity or running water. Death records show the 5-foot-7-inch man weighed just 100.5 pounds.

A Clear Need

On a hot May morning in Memphis, seniors trickled into a food bank at the Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, 3 miles from the opulent tourist mecca of Graceland. They picked up boxes packed with canned goods, rice, vegetables and meat.

Marion Thomas, 63, placed her box in the trunk of a friend's car. She lives with chronic back pain and high blood pressure and started coming to the pantry three years ago. She's disabled, relies on Social Security and gets $42 a month from SNAP based on her income, household size and other factors. That's much less than the average $125-a-month benefit for households with seniors, but more than the $16 minimum that one in five such households get. Still, Thomas said, "I can't buy very much."

A day later, the Mid-South Food Bank brought a "mobile pantry" to Latham Terrace, a senior housing complex, where a long line of people waited. Some inched forward in wheelchairs; others leaned on canes. One by one, they collected their allotments.

The need is just as real elsewhere. In Dallas, Texas, 69-year-old China Anderson squirrels away milk, cookies and other parts of her home-delivered lunches for dinner because she can no longer stand and cook due to scoliosis and eight deteriorating vertebral discs.

As seniors ration food, programs ration services.

Although more than a third of the Meals on Wheels money comes from the Older Americans Act, even with additional public and private dollars, funds are still so limited that some programs have no choice but to triage people using score sheets that assign points based on who needs food the most. Seniors coming from the hospital and those without family usually top waiting lists.

More than 1,000 were waiting on the Memphis area's list recently. And in Dallas, $4.1 million in donations wiped out a 1,000-person waiting list in December, but within months it had crept back up to 100.

Nationally, "there are tens of thousands of seniors who are waiting," said Erika Kelly , chief membership and advocacy officer for Meals on Wheels America. "While they're waiting, their health deteriorates and, in some cases, we know seniors have died."

Edwin Walker, a deputy assistant secretary for the federal Administration on Aging, acknowledged waits are a long-standing problem, but said 2.4 million people a year benefit from the Older Americans Act's group or home-delivered meals, allowing them to stay independent and healthy.

Seniors get human connection, as well as food, from these services. Aner Lee Murphy, a 102-year-old Meals on Wheels client in Memphis, counts on the visits with volunteers Libby and Bob Anderson almost as much as the food. She calls them "my children," hugging them close and offering a prayer each time they leave.

But others miss out on such physical and psychological nourishment. A devastating phone call brought that home for Kim Daugherty, executive director of the Aging Commission of the Mid-South , which connects seniors to service providers in the region. The woman on the line told Daugherty she'd been on the waiting list for more than a year.

"Ma'am, there are several hundred people ahead of you," Daugherty reluctantly explained.

"I just need you all to remember," came the caller's haunting reply, "I'm hungry and I need food."

A Slow Killer

James Ziliak , a poverty researcher at the University of Kentucky who worked on the Feeding America study, said food insecurity shot up with the Great Recession, starting in the late 2000s, and peaked in 2014. He said it shows no signs of dropping to pre-recession levels.

While older adults of all income levels can face difficulty accessing and preparing healthy food, rates are highest among seniors in poverty. They are also high among minorities. More than 17% of black seniors and 16% of Hispanic seniors are food insecure, compared with fewer than 7% of white seniors.

A host of issues combine to set those seniors on a downward spiral, said registered dietitian Lauri Wright , who chairs the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of North Florida. Going to the grocery store gets a lot harder if they can't drive. Expensive medications leave less money for food. Chronic physical and mental health problems sap stamina and make it tough to cook. Inch by inch, hungry seniors decline.

And, even if it rarely kills directly, hunger can complicate illness and kill slowly.

Malnutrition blunts immunity, which already tends to weaken as people age. Once they start losing weight, they're more likely to grow frail and are more likely to die within a year, said Dr. John Morley, director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.

Seniors just out of the hospital are particularly vulnerable. Many wind up getting readmitted, pushing up taxpayers' costs for Medicare and Medicaid. A recent analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that Medicare could save $1.57 for every dollar spent on home-delivered meals for chronically ill seniors after a hospitalization.

Most hospitals don't refer senior outpatients to Meals on Wheels, and advocates say too few insurance companies get involved in making sure seniors have enough to eat to keep them healthy.

When Milligan, the Memphis veteran, burned himself with boiling water last winter and had to be hospitalized for 65 days, he fell off the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association's radar. The meals he'd been getting for about a decade stopped.

Heinz, Metropolitan's CEO, said the association is usually able to start and stop meals for short hospital stays. But, Heinz said, the association didn't hear from Milligan and kept trying to deliver meals for a time while he was in the hospital, then notified the Aging Commission of the Mid-South he wasn't home. As is standard procedure, Metropolitan officials said, a staff member from the commission made three attempts to contact him and left a card at the blind man's home.

But nothing happened when he got out of the hospital this spring. In mid-May, a nurse referred him for meal delivery. Still, he didn't get meals because he faced a waitlist already more than 1,000 names long.

After questions from Kaiser Health News, Heinz looked into Milligan's case and realized that, as a former client, Milligan could get back on the delivery schedule faster.

But even then the process still has hurdles: The aging commission would need to conduct a new home assessment for meals to resume. That has yet to happen because, amid the wait, Milligan's health deteriorated.

A Murky Future

As the Older Americans Act awaits reauthorization this fall, many senior advocates worry about its funding.

In June, the U.S. House passed a $93 million increase to the Older Americans Act's nutrition programs, raising total funding by about 10% to $1 billion in the next fiscal year. In inflation-adjusted dollars, that's still less than in 2009. And it still has to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate, where the proposed increase faces long odds.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee, expects the panel to tackle legislation for reauthorization of the act soon after members return from the August recess. She's now working with colleagues "to craft a strong, bipartisan update," she said, that increases investments in nutrition programs as well as other services.

"I'm confident the House will soon pass a robust bill," she said, "and I am hopeful that the Senate will also move quickly so we can better meet the needs of our seniors."

In the meantime, "the need for home-delivered meals keeps increasing every year," said Lorena Fernandez, who runs a meal delivery program in Yakima, Wash. Activists are pressing state and local governments to ensure seniors don't starve, with mixed results. In Louisiana, for example, anti-hunger advocates stood on the state Capitol steps in May and unsuccessfully called on the state to invest $1 million to buy food from Louisiana farmers to distribute to hungry residents. Elsewhere, senior activists across the nation have participated each March in "March for Meals" events such as walks, fundraisers and rallies designed to focus attention on the problem.

Private fundraising hasn't been easy everywhere, especially rural communities without much wealth. Philanthropy has instead tended to flow to hungry kids, who outnumber hungry seniors more than 2-to-1, according to Feeding America.

"Ten years ago, organizations had a goal of ending child hunger and a lot of innovation and resources went into what could be done," said Jeremy Everett, executive director of Baylor University's Texas Hunger Initiative. "The same thing has not happened in the senior adult population." And that has left people struggling for enough food to eat.

As for Milligan, he didn't get back on Meals on Wheels before suffering complications related to his dialysis in June. He ended up back in the hospital. Ironically, it was there that he finally had a steady, if temporary, source of food.

It's impossible to know if his time without steady, nutritious food made a difference. What is almost certain is that feeding him at home would have been far cheaper.

[Sep 01, 2019] The Unsustainability of Inequality by James K. Galbraith

Notable quotes:
"... First, rising inequality reflects the economic rents captured in resource extraction and production, whether by the owners of those resources or by financiers acting as parasitic middlemen. Second, inequality fosters the extravagant excesses that some now call plutonomy – an economic system in which a small group, the ultra-wealthy, accounts for a large share of total consumption. Under such conditions, a rising tide lifts only yachts, and competitive consumption creates an escalating pattern of what Thorstein Veblen, perhaps the greatest American economist, called conspicuous waste. Lastly, rising inequality is a good indicator of financial instability, which increases the probability of an impending crash. ..."
nepal24hours.com

Rising inequality is symptomatic of a wide range of economic and political problems that are standing in the way of achieving a just and sustainable society. But for all the concern about the income and wealth gap within countries in recent years, there has been surprisingly little acknowledgement of the forces actually driving the trend.

"Sustainability" is a relatively new organizing principle in global policy. It is new partly because economists have long been largely hostile to the very idea. Postwar neoclassical growth theories deliberately ignored resource and environmental limits, disparaged and disdained ecologists, and promised what was effectively impossible: perpetual growth fueled by unlimited resources, the free disposal of wastes, and never-ending technological progress. Early warnings – notably the Club of Rome's pathbreaking 1972 report, The Limits to Growth – were ridiculed. More recently, the science of limits has gained acceptance, but most economists remain preoccupied with growth.

But there is at least one dimension of unsustainability that not even economists can overlook: inequality. Income and wealth disparities, along with other forms of inequality, are relevant to sustainability for at least three reasons.

First, rising inequality reflects the economic rents captured in resource extraction and production, whether by the owners of those resources or by financiers acting as parasitic middlemen. Second, inequality fosters the extravagant excesses that some now call plutonomy – an economic system in which a small group, the ultra-wealthy, accounts for a large share of total consumption. Under such conditions, a rising tide lifts only yachts, and competitive consumption creates an escalating pattern of what Thorstein Veblen, perhaps the greatest American economist, called conspicuous waste. Lastly, rising inequality is a good indicator of financial instability, which increases the probability of an impending crash.

For all these reasons, understanding and controlling the rise of inequality is an ecological, socioeconomic, and political imperative. It is, in other words, a sustainability issue.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

To get a grip on economic inequality, we must overcome two major sources of confusion. On the theoretical side, mainstream economics treats inequality largely as a byproduct of supply and demand in "labor markets." It is thus regarded as a "microeconomic" phenomenon, driven on the demand side by technological change, and on the supply side by a barely observable quantum that goes by the name of human skill.

When economists write about policies that affect inequality, they tend to work within this market framework. The labor market may be local, regional, or – at the very most – national. Proposed policies focus mainly on the characteristics and capabilities of individuals and how they can improve their positions in the market. These matters are undoubtedly important, particularly when it comes to education and health, but they ignore the broader "macroeconomic" forces – booms and busts, interest rates and debt, exchange rates and commodity prices – that affect individuals, firms, economic sectors, and entire countries.

On the empirical side, there is a question of information: What can we know from the available data? Most of the data we have come from surveys, and most surveys focus on households. These data are relevant for judging economic welfare – and also for thinking about how people with different characteristics (age, gender, race, education, and so on) interact with markets. Yet householders are not employees, and their income is not the same as the wages paid for particular kinds of work. So, data collected on households are several steps away from production, pay, and the forces of structural change.

When it comes to international and comparative analysis, there is yet another problem: surveys are expensive. More surveys are conducted in stable rich countries than in unstable poor ones. And they can be conceptually inconsistent, because the questions differ according to the choices made by those managing the surveys. Are we measuring income? Expenditure? Before or after tax? As with all surveys, the only answers one gets are to the questions asked.

An alternative approach that has become popular in recent years is to consult income-tax records. But these data are even more sparse and inconsistent than surveys, and such records are not available for all countries (indeed, not all countries have an income tax). So, in the effort to measure inequality within countries and around the world, there has long been less signal than noise.

INEQUALITY BY THE NUMBERS

For the past two decades, my students and I have been working on ways to address these measurement shortcomings. We have sought out payroll records that cover a diverse range of countries over many years, and in broadly consistent terms. With these data, we can measure economic inequalities in the structure of pay, which then allows us to estimate the associated inequalities of household income, both across countries and through time.

To explain the philosophy behind this approach, I often refer to a line from the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce's essay "The Fixation of Belief":

Kepler undertook to draw a curve through the places of Mars [ ] and his greatest service to science was in impressing on men's minds that this was the thing to be done if they wished to improve astronomy; that they were not to content themselves with inquiring whether one system of epicycles was better than another, but that they were to sit down to the figures, and find out what the curve, in truth, was.

We have attempted to follow this advice, and we have had a fair amount of success. Our measures have proven to be largely reliable and consistent with the existing survey record, while also sensitive to known historical events: wars, revolutions, and the like. Moreover, we have been able to look for patterns at the regional and even global level.

What would consistent patterns beyond the national level imply? I believe they are prima facie evidence that the main source of change in various forms of inequality lies in transnational developments, not in local conditions. To understand the problem of inequality, then, we need to study common developments across a continental or even global economic space.

As it happens, we have identified patterns showing a consistent gradient in levels of income inequality across both space and time. If one looks across space, there are not too many surprises. Income inequality within countries and regions rises as one moves from north to south, reflecting the concentration of advanced industry and middle-class welfare states in countries that were once the seats of empire. In Europe, inequality also rises as one moves from "East" to "West," reflecting the legacy of state socialism.

Moreover, countries in close proximity, and with similar income levels and neighborly diplomatic and trade relations, have relatively similar levels of inequality – as one can see very clearly in maps. Common sense tells us that if they did not have similar levels of inequality, regional migration patterns would sooner or later even things out.

Likewise, patterns of inequality change over time. In particular, there is a general movement toward higher inequality from the 1980s until 2000, after which inequality begins to stabilize. So far, all of this is what one would expect, which attests to the quality of the data. Our attempt to capture a much broader picture of inequality across the world has not been misguided.

WAVES OF INEQUALITY

These movements show, quite plainly, that levels of inequality once widely associated with the Third World are now quite generalized globally. The First World has not become poorer, but it has grown much less equal. There are a few exceptions, of course, and they should not come as a surprise. Measures of inequality in Denmark or Finland, for example, are not far from where they were a generation back. And some countries in Central and Eastern Europe – the Czech Republic stands out – have low levels of inequality (though higher than under their severe post-war communist regimes).

Now, consider another interesting pattern: the temporal movement of inequality within countries is very similar to that between countries. If one takes a standard measure of inequality between countries (not weighted for population, lest China and India dominate the data), one finds that it has risen both between and within countries at the same time. Again, this no surprise: rich countries comprise relatively wealthy people, whereas the people of poor countries are poorer. In a global economy, when inequality between people changes, it is natural that the inequalities between their respective countries change in a similar way.

But here it is important to remember that we are picking out the movement of inequality within countries, measured separately using national statistics, and standardized by an international statistical bureau. There are about 155 countries in our most recent data set, and the predominant patterns across all of them tell the essential story. From 1963 to 1971, no particular trend stands out. There is a bump in inequality within countries in 1973, followed by a modest decline. For much of the world – for poorer countries and poorer peoples alike, though not for the troubled rich – the 1970s were a time of growth and progress.

Then comes a key turning point. Beginning in 1981, inequality starts rising in waves around the world, increasing relentlessly until 2000, at which point the waves subside. In this era, the first major wave is dominated by Latin America and Africa, and subsequent waves are driven by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the associated regime changes in Eastern Europe. Finally, economic liberalization in Asia fuels another wave that culminates in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. From 2000, the rise in inequality slows, and inequalities even decline in parts of the world, including Latin America, China, and the Russian Federation.

A TALE OF FINANCIAL HISTORY

The message contained in these numbers is neither subtle nor obscure. This is a story about the relationship between debtors and creditors in the world economy. Under the post-World War II Bretton Woods framework, stability prevailed – until the system collapsed in 1971, when the United States ended the dollar's convertibility into gold. In 1973, the oil shock and a commodity boom led to a surge in credit in Latin America and elsewhere as countries took on commercial-bank debt to sustain growth in the face of higher fuel prices. As developing countries grew, their middle classes expanded and inequalities declined.

All of that ended in 1981 with the start of a worldwide debt crisis that emanated from monetary-policy changes in the US, where interest rates shot up to 22%. No longer able to pay their debts, developing countries were forced to pursue austerity measures and to abandon their independent industrial development strategies. Commodity prices collapsed, as did the Soviet bloc – much of it heavily indebted – a decade later. The Asian crisis of 1997 rounded out this period.

Inequality at the global level peaked in 2000. In the wake of the dot-com bust and the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates, and China, growing strongly and now a member of the World Trade Organization, increased its commodity purchases worldwide. Prices and credit conditions improved, and for a while global inequality stopped rising.

The trends in inequality over this period are in keeping with the commonsense insights of Simon Kuznets back in 1955. Kuznets surmised that inequality would rise sharply during the initial stages of economic development, and then decline at later stages. China and India reflect this pattern, but for other developing countries in Asia and Latin America, industrialization and urbanization have been far enough advanced for decades that rapid growth reduces inequality and depression increases it. In a very few rich countries – notably the US and the United Kingdom – rapid growth increases inequalities, because it concentrates income in globally dominant sectors, especially finance and high technology.

So, in the rough history presented above, there are two key elements to consider: the structure of the underlying economies and the effects of booms and busts on that structure. Global forces for boom and bust have tended to affect individual countries and their people in proportion to their ability to resist them. Countries with strong institutions that were able to maintain independence and manage their own affairs fared the best. Those that could not defend themselves against global forces were periodically ravaged by them. In our time, this is the difference between, say, China and Mexico.

These global forces can be identified by the big turning points. The first was the breakdown of Bretton Woods and the rush to private debt in the 1970s. The second was the debt crisis of the 1980s, which was followed by the collapse of oil and commodity prices, and then of Soviet-style socialist governments, and then by liberalization in Asia, culminating in the 1997 crisis – but not in China, which was poised for another decade of double-digit growth. The third big turning point occurred in 2000, when lower interest rates, higher commodity prices, and modest advances in social-welfare policies and national economic development strategies helped to reduce inequality and poverty in Latin America and Russia, while in China, too, inequalities peaked and started to decline.

In Europe, events played out somewhat differently. European countries did not reject neoliberal ideology and re-embrace social-welfare policies after 2000. The introduction of the euro was followed by nearly a decade of easy credit terms, which fueled a boom in housing and commercial construction in Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece (where the boom included the 2004 Olympics, among other projects). This period was not unlike the 1970s in Latin America. But as Herbert Stein, a chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, famously observed, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." In 2009, the global financial crisis brought the happy early days of the euro to an abrupt end.

REIN IT IN

What the available evidence demonstrates is that economic inequality has been regulated over time by the behavior of global finance. The data even show that changes in levels of inequality within the smaller, open economies are closely related to exchange-rate movements. When currencies become overvalued, their countries are vulnerable to Dutch disease – eroding the competitiveness of industry – and to financial crisis. Financial crises and devaluations quickly reestablish the high level of inequality that human-development programs were meant to overcome.

Inequality is thus irreducibly a global and, contrary to what many economists like to think, macroeconomic issue. Labor-market considerations are secondary, crowded out by the dominant macro movements described above. As such, the only way to address inequality effectively is to bring the forces of financial instability, debt peonage, and predatory austerity under control. These forces can be tempered by financial regulation, a function of rich-country governments and central banks. But regulators are of course subject to capture by big finance, and central-bank mandates – whether to target full employment or only price stability – were drafted in an age of national economic policymaking. National central banks – as also the European Central Bank – are not set up to consider their policies' effects on peoples beyond their jurisdictional boundaries.

To be sure, there is still much that nation-states around the world can do to fight inequality when conditions permit. Useful measures include raising the minimum wage, strengthening trade unions, establishing social-insurance schemes, and building infrastructure and providing public goods. The problem is that these forms of progress can be – and regularly are – erased by financial crises and the subsequent imposition of severe austerity. This means that the capacity to reduce inequalities sustainably depends on the capacity for insulation from external financial pressures. However difficult it may be, the rest of the world needs to protect itself from the destabilizing forces of global finance.

In short, economic inequality is tied to the most unstable and unsustainable element of the world system, which is global finance. Achieving anything sustainably – especially, but not only, the reduction of extreme inequalities – requires a financial order that is broadly reformed and that can once again serve as a tool for other institutions and purposes, and not as their self-serving master. This is particularly important as humanity turns toward that other, more critical goal: the sustainability of human life on this planet. Global financial stability is a necessary step on the way to a clean-energy economy – as envisioned in the Green New Deal and similar proposals. At the end of the day, if we want to have a sustainable and civilized future, we need to get a grip on global finance.

James K. Galbraith is Chair in Government/Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. His most recent books are Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know and Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.

[Aug 31, 2019] US policy after WWII may not be corrupt in the sense of illegal, but it certainly seems corrupt in the sense of morally repugnant as it was designed to preserve welath disparty (especially with the USSR and Asia) which was the result of WWII

As it translated into similar impulses in internal policy, which led to neoliberalism and restoration of the rule of fiancial oligarchy within the USA. The USA experiment with democracy was actually over in 1945
Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:37 am

'Sanders has said that we live in a "corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful." Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."'
Yet the rest of the article focuses almost entirely on internal US shenanigans. When it comes to protecting wealth and power, George Kennan hit the nail on the head in 1948, with "we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3 of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity."

This, which has underpinned US policy ever since, may not be corrupt in the sense of illegal, but it certainly seems corrupt in the sense of morally repugnant to me.

shinola , August 31, 2019 at 11:09 am

Approaching from the opposite direction, if someone were to say "I sincerely believe that the USA has the most open & honest political system and the fairest economic system in human history" would you not think that person to be incredibly naive (or, cynically, a liar)?

There has been, for at least the last couple of decades. a determined effort to do away with corruption – by defining it away. "Citizens United" is perhaps the most glaring example but the effort is ongoing; that Weiner op-ed is a good current example.

JBird4049 , August 31, 2019 at 8:35 pm

Shinola, I'm reminded of the statement "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." in the movie Manchurian Candidate . Much of what is said today just pops out as prepackaged propaganda.

It was possible twenty, thirty, forty years ago to make a reasonable case that the federal government, as well as many of the state and municipal ones, were fairly honest and functional. It is still possible that the writer believes what he wrote, but I think saying that the belief that our system is rigged is mere irresponsible cynicism is at best an example of charming naïveté and more likely cynical propagandistic fiction itself.

[Aug 26, 2019] Business Groups Warn of Consequences as Trump's Trade War Spirals

Aug 26, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
Joshua Bolten, the president and chief executive of the Business Roundtable, an organization representing the leaders of the largest American companies, said on Sunday that many C.E.O.s were already "poised right on top of the brake."

There are two groups in American capitalist class: one anti-Russia and one anti-China.

The anti-Russia one is the "moderate" group, that still believes China can turn capitalist with due time; they go with Wolfowitz Doctrine, which states Russia, as the successor state of the USSR and heir of its nuclear arsenal, still represents American's strategic enemy.

The anti-China one is the "far-right" group, which believe China is indeed socialist and will become more socialist with time (and, therefore, will transform the world around it socialist). Thy use Huntington's "clash of civilization" doctrine as a screensaver to sell an anti-China rhetoric to the far-right indentured masses, but deep down know the true fight continues to be capitalism vs socialism.

Gramsci once stated that success begins with the correct analysis of the conjuncture. If that is true, then we already know who's gonna win: the anti-China group.

But the Gordian Knot is this: the very existence of two doctrines in the core of the American elite is already evidence the USA is no longer the world's sole superpower. If it was, then there would be no dilemma between the anti-Russia and the anti-China: there would simply be a unified, anti-Eurasia doctrine.

The very fact the American elite now must to compartmentalize its foreign policy is already a symptom of something that resembles a multipolar order: the USA is still the most powerful nation in the world, but now it is the first among equals (as opposed to being the king of nations, the "global cop").

Meanwhile, the post-war alliance continues to crumble. Mark Carney has revived Keynes "Bancor"; this is a last, desperate attempt of the First World minus the USA to preserve their dignity. The IMF already has a currency basket, but the problem is that it cannot force any country to take its loans: nations are still sovereign, and can only be interfered by the IMF if they ask for its interference. What Carney is asking for is literally an institution with absolute governance over all nations, genuine executive powers. Will the American elite -- who has the most formidable Military to date -- accept to relinquish their own power? Spoiler alert: no.

China and Russia have time and peace on their side. All they need to do is wait and continue to do what they are already doing, while Western Civilization continues to degenerate. The problem with this tactic is that the Western elites are not stupid, and will go on the offensive someday.

Russia has another problem: who's gonna succeed Putin after he retires? After the fall of the Romanovs, the Bolsheviks crushed the liberal army ("White Army") and the Anarchist-Nazi army ("Black Army") and were forced to found a new nation under a single party system (since all the other parties decided to form the White Army and fight a civil war, it had to do so because it was literally the only party left alive in Russia).

The intense and chaotic situation of the newly born Soviet Union and the premature death of Lenin resulted in a system with no clear path of succession. Stalin kind of created something that resembled a POTUS by reforming the office of General Secretary of the CPSU. But this was never official in the entire history of the USSR and each death of the de facto commander in chief was succeeded by a bloody palatial struggle. The system finally crumbled when Gorbachev -- the first and last General Secretary to be born after 1917 -- destroyed the CPSU and, with it, the entire USSR.

After the "democratization" (i.e. liberalization) of Russia (now "Russian Federation"), a bad carbon copy of the federal republic was created in a hurry in the vain hope imitating the capitalist system would make Russia as well organized and prosperous as the First World countries. But many mannerisms of the old system remains: there is no obsession in Russia with minority governments, much of the party divisions are artificial (mock liberalism) and, in practice, the important stuff is still decided between oligarchs, what is left of the State machine and the Military.

But now there is a high level of American infiltration in Russia. If, after Putin's death, the liberals make a move to take the government and do a Yeltsin 2.0, it will be up to the Military (hopefully) to make a decision. Depending on how this trade war between China and the USA will be at that point, things could pend to one side or the other. My high-risk bet here is that, 10-20 years from now, there will be a chance Russia may speculate with going back to socialism but "with Chinese characteristics" (if China is "winning" the trade war).

Posted by: vk | Aug 26 2019 0:46 utc | 50

[Aug 25, 2019] Propaganda is the management of collective attitudes by the manipulation of significant symbolism collective attitudes are amenable to many modes of alteration . intimidation intimidation .economic coercion drill

Aug 25, 2019 | off-guardian.org

TheThinker I've been reading a collection of essays by a Australian guy called Careys – on Democracy and propaganda, fully named, Taking the Risk out of Democracy. He died unpublished but his papers were collated in a book after. Here some bits from my read that were interesting.

In Jan 1994 David Hume reflecting on the consequences of the recent state terrorist projects that Washington had organised and directed in its Central American domains, with the Church a prime target. They took special note of 'what weight' the culture of terror has had in domestically the expectations of the majority vis-a-vis alternatives different for the powerful; the destruction of hope, they recognised, is one of the greatest achievements of the free world doctrine of 'low intensity conflict' what is called 'terror' when conducted by official enemies. Noam Chomsky 1994

Propaganda is the management of collective attitudes by the manipulation of significant symbolism collective attitudes are amenable to many modes of alteration . intimidation intimidation .economic coercion drill

But their arrangement and rearrangement occurs principally under the importers of significant symbolism and the technique of using significant symbols for this purpose is propaganda. Lasswell, Bardson & Janowitz 1953

Successful use of propaganda as a means of social control requires a number of conditions: The will to use it, the skills to produce the propaganda, the means to disseminate it; and the use of significant symbols with real power over emotional reactions – ideally symbols of the sacred and satanic (Light vs DARK)

A society or culture which is disposed to view the world in Manichean terms will be more vulnerable to control by propaganda. Conversely, a society where propaganda is extensively employed as a means of control, will tend to retain a Manichean world view, a view dominated by symbols and visions of the sacred and satanic.

Manichean – an adherent of the dualistic systems (dual = 2) religious systems of Manes, a combination of Gnostic, Buddiasm, Zoroastrianism and various other elements with a doctrine of a conflict between the Light and Dark, matter being regarded as dark and light / good vs evil – love vs hate

The 'public mind' was recognised long ago by corporate leaders to be 'the only serious danger confronting' their enterprise & major hazards facing industrialists along with the newly realised political power of the masses, which had to be beaten back.

Big Business in the US stated started the Americanise Movement ostensibly to Americanise worker, who was being perceived as being under threat from subversive forces of the Industrial Workers of the world.

what started as a method of controlling the political opinion of immigrant workers quickly turned into a massive program for the thinking of an entire population. One of the most startling examples of the escalation of the whole population in processes of propaganda was how Americanisation Program ( a word which conjures up the 'thought police') came to be transformed into a National Celebration Day for the 4th July, to many of us (Carey's words not mine) it comes as a shock to discover that American Independence Day had it's beginning in a Business led program to control public opinion rather than as a direct expression of a Nation celebrating its historical birth.

[Aug 23, 2019] There has always been a lot of poverty in the US

Notable quotes:
"... I actually walked out of a Popeyes chicken place last month over the treatment I received. I am usually extremely laid back concerning service, having done a lot of it over the years. Recently though, the service workers have become actively hostile, in several places. This low wage economy is finally having some deleterious effects on the society at large. ..."
"... Fricking BS neoliberal greed masquerading as public policy. ..."
"... The bigger problem is the multi dimensional conflict with China. If its rate of acceleration is not brought down a lot, it will do some real damage to businesses who clean up by exploiting cheap and efficient Chinese industry while selling widgets into wealthy western markets. All such businesses, could get hurt, real bad (and their Chinese counterparts too). Will this happen? I think there will be warning shots. Huawei being the elephant in the room. ..."
"... I thought the quote from Business Insider that dole queues have been replaced by low paid part-time work was insightful. In a few words it explains why poor life conditions for many people are invisible. They are working somewhere not hanging around at street corners. It also explains how the situation may be just bearable for those with the low paid jobs since they do earn some income. It also explains why they don't turn their difficult conditions into political demands for a better life. They don't have the time as they are too busy and tired just surviving. ..."
"... The low interest rates are needed for bigger stock buybacks to prop up the overinflated housing and stock markets. Float those fantasies of fake wealth. It's alll that's left of their dystopian dream ..."
"... One thing has been proven beyond denial and that is that neoliberalism doesn't work. Infusions of money are still going to the rich, connected people mostly for frivolous justifications. Recession and ecological devastation plague the rest of us. ..."
"... IMO the US economy is a house of cards. What is the US economy currently? In my view it is the FIRE (Finance, IT, Real Estate, and Energy) sector, Education, and Health Care. ..."
"... Many people are living large at the expense of education and healthcare and have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. What happens when the bubble bursts?? Many small cities are going to be ghost towns. ..."
"... Anecdotally, where I live in central WA I know quite a few young people in their 30s and 20s who patch together various crummy jobs to make ends meet. None of them can afford a house and it's hard to see much of a future for them other than endless part-time, low paying jobs ..."
"... The county I live in has an official poverty rate of 14%, about 1 out of every 7 people, but I think the actual amount is higher. We have a lot of Mexican immigrant workers here who likely are not counted, and in any case the federal definition of poverty is not very realistic. Same applies to official inflation stats. I would say that things are mixed, but for many under 40 the future isn't bright. ..."
Aug 23, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

jrs, August 23, 2019 at 10:39 am

I think much is just stuff that was ever thus and not new, there has always been a lot of poverty in the U.S.. Now that poverty may be creeping more into the middle class more and so becomes more noticeable, and homelessness has grown some places, but there was always much poverty.

This economic system especially without even a measly safety net, will not ever eliminate poverty and share the wealth. And of course it's going to destroy life on earth pretty soon if it keeps going.

Local experience: people who have not had an easy time getting stable jobs or sometimes work at all even recently are getting some now. But there are still perfectly decent people that can't find work.

ambrit, August 23, 2019 at 8:34 am

Here in the North American Deep South, "things" are sliding slowly down that slippery slope. The "Street Signs" I see about me are signaling a growth in the population of the truly impoverished. People with their belongings carried about in backpacks are now a regular sight on our streets. Panhandlers abound on the street corners. So much so that the local City Council has just passed an ordinance practically outlawing the practice. One of the local salvage store outlets, of which we have four in this town now, representing three corporations, now has some regular parking lot and front door panhandlers. A store assistant manager told me that it was "too much of a hassle" to run the panhandlers off, so the store tolerates their presence.

One of these panhandlers has a shtick of opening the front door to the store for customers with his hand out, as if he was a legitimate doorman. Five years ago, such now common sights were unknown around here.

On the small business front, today is the last day for our friendly local small vitamin and health food shop. She has given up after thirteen years. She has said that the internet killed her business off. For the last two months she has been looking for work. With her business background, she has had no "legitimate" offers of employment to date.

Another person who worked at the store while going to the local college just graduated with a Business and Communications major and minor. A sharp person, he told me two weeks ago before he went home to Gulfport to live with his parents again, he will be taking his little brother's room since the little brother just joined the military, that all he has received in the way of job offers in six months of searching are "bulls -- t job" offers, and one decent possibility over in Dallas. Even that job offer was on a recurring one year contract schedule. He would be a 'job shopper.'

I generally look at the faces of the people I pass by in shops and on the street to judge the tenor of the times. I have seen precious few smiling faces recently. Even the retail food workers are now surly and brusque.

I actually walked out of a Popeyes chicken place last month over the treatment I received. I am usually extremely laid back concerning service, having done a lot of it over the years. Recently though, the service workers have become actively hostile, in several places. This low wage economy is finally having some deleterious effects on the society at large.

Acacia, August 23, 2019 at 1:02 pm

FWIW, California cities have been working steadily on anti-homeless and anti-panhandling laws for years now. Some analysis here:

https://blogs.berkeley.edu/2018/10/18/business-improvement-districts-stop-punishing-the-homeless/

A primary vector of attack seems to be "Business Improvement Districts", i.e., the private control of formerly public spaces.

JBird4049, August 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm

What in the World is a "business improvement district?" And why does any California cities especially the large ones like L.A., San Diego, San Jose, or San Francisco? The smaller towns especially out in the peripheral Red areas could certainly use some economic help, but really housing is the single biggest problem state-wide with the possible exception of water, but that's only in long drought.

If people had dependable affordable housing, business would pick up.

Fricking BS neoliberal greed masquerading as public policy.

ptb, August 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

As another commenter said above, "fine" is a relative term. But I suppose this is in reference to this week's news-media theme of discussing recession fears. Thus the "fine" we are talking about means a combination of prices in stocks and real estate, and annual performance of big firms.

By that definition, the fears are a possibility, but just that. I mean the stock market is probably overvalued, but that isn't a crisis, and with the FED easing, what the heck they'll be overvalued more.

The bigger problem is the multi dimensional conflict with China. If its rate of acceleration is not brought down a lot, it will do some real damage to businesses who clean up by exploiting cheap and efficient Chinese industry while selling widgets into wealthy western markets. All such businesses, could get hurt, real bad (and their Chinese counterparts too). Will this happen? I think there will be warning shots. Huawei being the elephant in the room.

An even worse scenario for the rest of the world (but not the US) is if efforts to contain China succeed, and growth of Chinese industry is halted. The non-US world will have to pay significantly more for pretty much everything, and therefore economy will grow slower. Will this happen? I don't think so.

As far as locally in this reader's neck of the woods? I live in a locally wealthy college town, so kindof impossible to say from this vantage point, but I think things are actually going well. The place I work, a tiny scientific-industrial equipment maker in a very specialized niche, is looking at some of the bigger contracts we've had yet. My biggest fear in terms of external events is that we have an absolutely vital component supplier who is US-branded-made-in-China and a "dual-use" technology (we are the civilian use). That's a risk. There are Japanese-branded-Chinese alternatives but the US-branded-Chinese one is more advanced, I suspect due to patent protection, which should fortunately expire in a few years (reckoning based on how long it's been on the market).

a different chris, August 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm

>but I think things are actually going well.

Well duh. Your college has been suctioning money out of the pockets of kids for the last couple decades or so at a rate that is multiples of the general growth rate. Which means most (probably all) of the wealth you see around you is a shift from elsewhere, not a creation of such.

At best it is maybe repatriating some of the money going to Asia.

Heraclitus, August 23, 2019 at 9:15 am

I am also in the Deep South, but just barely. Our area is booming if you judge from the amount of construction taking place. However, there are loads more homeless people than there used to be, in a county that is hostile to them. It's easy to wind up doing thirty days in jail if you show up in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with no money. I employ a homeless guy to do yard work. He has plenty of skills and works for others too, so money isn't a problem, theoretically. However, he has found there are few rooms available where the homeowners do not have substance abuse problems. He's been through four since I've been employing him -- about nine months. He used to have a drinking problem, but no longer does, as far as I can tell. Life sobered him up. He has pointed out to me how many homes are unoccupied and falling down, and could be used to house people.

ambrit, August 23, 2019 at 9:38 am

We have a similar problem with "abandoned/unsafe buildings." The local response to this is to tear the buildings down. Salvable housing stock becomes empty lots, with the demolition bill sent to the last owner of record.

Rentals for the really poor are difficult at best. Very few rooming houses here. Most house rental contracts around here prohibit co-renters. The main exceptions are the college student rentals, and many of them have premium rents, essentially, gouging the out of towners.

Criminalizing poverty is an old and much honoured tradition.

Louis Fyne, August 23, 2019 at 10:04 am

The entire country sorely needs more rooming houses -- impossible nowadays, even in "liberal" towns, either because of land-construction prices or zoning or both.

William Hunter Duncan, August 23, 2019 at 9:29 am

Economists this time around seem to be oblivious to the "everything" bubble, be it the stock market, fracking, those darling tech companies worth billions having never made a profit, housing, student debt, debt generally

They seem mostly oblivious to structural pathologies, like the unchecked growth of monopoly, gross income inequality, unchecked automation, unchecked AI, resource constraints, ecological blowback, systemic pollution, eternal privatized warprofiteering.

This economy seems to me an epic disaster in the making. But I am a lowly manual laborer, so never mind me .

neo-realist, August 23, 2019 at 11:15 am

Another structural pathology I would add is the lack of low income housing for the working poor: In Seattle, and I'm sure this problem is replicated in other medium sized and bigger cities across the country, e.g., NYC, LA., A lot of SRO's and cheap apartments have been destroyed or bought up by developers and turned into expensive luxury apartments for high earning professionals. Much of the working poor ends up being stuck living in RV's and tents in business districts and residential neighborhoods, and under bridges, as well as shelters all over the city. The pathology extends to our citizens as well -- many believe they are nothing more than losers who didn't prepare themselves for better careers, takers, drug addicts, alcoholics, and criminals. Much of that fed by 40 years of corporate elite and media brainwashing: If you are poor in America, you deserve to die in the gutter; It's your fault.

Skip Intro, August 23, 2019 at 2:29 pm

I believe being oblivious is the main qualification for being a successful mainstream economist.

Mikerw0, August 23, 2019 at 9:48 am

As others have said, define good and define economy. We continue to stress "capital" doing well and ignore "labor". By that definition all is hunky dory until the pitchforks come out.

Don Cafferty, August 23, 2019 at 9:51 am

In southern New Brunswick, Canada the number of homeless has become a problem that municipal officials have not been able to ignore because of the attention that the public and advocates have brought to it especially during the past winter. In one municipality, a current news item suggests that the number of homeless has doubled during the past year. Aside from homelessness, it is difficult to measure the local economy because people who don't have money to spend are not visible.

Keith Newman, August 23, 2019 at 9:58 am

I thought the quote from Business Insider that dole queues have been replaced by low paid part-time work was insightful. In a few words it explains why poor life conditions for many people are invisible. They are working somewhere not hanging around at street corners. It also explains how the situation may be just bearable for those with the low paid jobs since they do earn some income. It also explains why they don't turn their difficult conditions into political demands for a better life. They don't have the time as they are too busy and tired just surviving.

tegnost, August 23, 2019 at 10:48 am

I think the dole queue's were replaced by food stamps. Still, plenty of people lined up at the food bank.

a different chris, August 23, 2019 at 12:53 pm

>It also explains why they don't turn their difficult conditions into political demands for a better life.

Yup. Thus the bourgeoisie drives all revolutions, not the poor.

cm, August 23, 2019 at 10:01 am

Food inflation hidden by reduced packaging size. Sugar, flour, coffee, ice cream all used to be sold by the pound. No more. 1% interest on savings accounts. Fed reducing interest rates.

Mike, August 23, 2019 at 10:04 am

Pennsylvania checking in. The growing divide in economic well-being is not as obvious in certain neighborhoods. While wealthy area of the state SEEM to be smiling, underneath is a growing debt to support such "lifestyle". Meanwhile, a household-by-household survey may be able to turn up factual evidence for this if only embarrassment could be avoided (snark, a little).

Poverty rates in formerly industrial areas are much higher, with depopulation occurring in central PA and those industrial suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as well as cities like Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, etc. (most of these small towns live by pension money from retirees, as young move away). Cannot forget the central issue of a "commonwealth" budgetary system that has not led to any such "commonwealth" since the dawn of the Industrial Age. You see many trucks and service vehicles not owned or leased by major businesses, but rather operated by individuals with craft ability working as day laborers and contracted whenever they can beat out the competition, which is fierce. Trucks, of course, are loaded with loan indebtedness, mouths at the nest are upturned and open

Banks are doing well -- of course, they loan and do business with pharmaceuticals, health providers, and out-of-state big actors with plenty of collateral or connections. Infrastructure erodes, public transportation is on its own and those few improvements where progressives have any influence are not income-related, thus leaving most with belief that Trump & cronies are fighting the fight against all this immiseration.

What a world. Pretty much as it is elsewhere, I reckon.

JCC, August 23, 2019 at 11:37 am

NY's Southern Tier along the PA Border is just as bad. Cities like Binghamton and Elmira are falling apart at the seams, and every year is a little worse than the previous year. There has been no "recovery".

rjs, August 23, 2019 at 10:39 am

a lot of fields around here didn't get planted because of the wet May/June. on the other hand, my trip to Middlefield (OH) revealed more than a dozen help wanted / 'now hiring' signs on a 2 mile stretch of RT 87 heading into town

Eclair, August 23, 2019 at 11:02 am

Here in Western New York, in beautiful Chautauqua County, stretching from the shores of Lake Erie to the Pennsylvania border, the statistics are woeful. Population is declining, both median age and median income are in the low 40's, and almost 20% of the population is under the poverty level. Unsurprisingly, the county ranks 59 (out of 62) in total 'health outcomes.' We have a lot of obesity, metabolic diseases, drug addiction and 'early deaths.'

At a meeting we attended this week, planning for an annual summer festival, the big 'problem' was diagnosed as the aging volunteer base. We have to hire people to do the heavy lifting of setting up, dismantling, etc., whereas 20 years ago the volunteers were young and hale enough to do it all. That, and only old people tend to come out for the festival.

However, the countryside is beautiful, at least in spring, summer and fall, with rolling hills, hundreds of acres of abandoned farmland that is 'reforesting,' and no traffic problems. No traffic, actually. You have to watch for deer and Amish buggies.

In the last few years, people have started 'fixing up' their houses. This spring I noticed a rash of new, big garages and outbuildings, for storing 'toys' such as ATV's, second and third trucks, monstrous riding lawn mowers. Others are adding on porches; front porches facing the street have become newly fashionable. Compared to 10 years ago, houses for sale seem to be selling. Or at least, the "For Sale" signs are coming down. Some wooded house lots, of several acres each, sold. They had been for sale for at least 5 years.

Downtown in the county's biggest city, Jamestown, the old brick buildings are still crumbling and boarded up. SRO's, better than tents, for sure, have filled the old hotels, and house people who would be homeless in Seattle. News releases touting the amazing success of the new National Comedy Center (heavily subsidized by State and local funds) are constant. There are more people about on Friday and Saturday evenings in downtown. And a new brewery just opened up.

Shopping at the area's three chain food markets, Wegman's, Aldi's and Top's, one notices the sharp class divide. Summer people from the Chautauqua Institute or those who have second homes on the lakes, hang out at Wegman's olive bar and extensive cheese counters. (But because this is a county with really really poor health outcomes, Wegman's bulk food section is almost all candy.) The Amish frequent Aldi's and the locals who are either carless or don't drive far, go to Top's.

We have water lots of water. We have natural gas wells, everywhere. Neighbors still get free gas, under decades old agreements with the producers. We have clean air (well, except when the gas pipelines spring a leak.) We have lots of land and timber (second or third growth.) We have old people who have inherited their grandfather's old diary farm, 100, 200, 300 acres, and are still sitting on the land. Our 95 year old neighbor, for instance. He still mows all the pastures regularly. Shhhh!

Fred, August 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

Personally as a retiree I'm OK with the economy. Low inflation is great. Wish the stock market was more stable, but with a slow down on it's way, not to mention an election, I can deal with it.

pretzelattack, August 23, 2019 at 11:26 am

if food prices go up and aren't counted as inflation, not sure it's great for most people.

Fred, August 23, 2019 at 2:31 pm

Core inflation doesn't include food or energy to eliminate seasonal changes. Overall inflation does include them. Often the press reports "inflation rate" without specifying. But you are right, my house is paid off, so I don't care that much about housing prices for now, it's mostly gas, food, utilities etc.

Oh, August 23, 2019 at 3:35 pm

The Fed's been looking out for you by controlling inflation. Yeah, right! The key components of inflation have been fiddled with to show little or no inflation.

Fledermaus, August 23, 2019 at 11:14 am

It is ironic how practitioners of the "dismal science" have turned into a hybrid of Pollyanna and Dr Pangloss

Summer, August 23, 2019 at 11:16 am

The Fed thinks the economy is fine? No way they can really think the economy is fine when there is so much begging for more low interest rates. The low interest rates are needed for bigger stock buybacks to prop up the overinflated housing and stock markets. Float those fantasies of fake wealth. It's alll that's left of their dystopian dream

Susan the other`, August 23, 2019 at 11:36 am

The Fed is functioning from an 1800s-liberal playbook in a 2019 post-neoliberal world. One thing has been proven beyond denial and that is that neoliberalism doesn't work. Infusions of money are still going to the rich, connected people mostly for frivolous justifications. Recession and ecological devastation plague the rest of us.

We have become complacent about homelessness. Hard to imagine being so oblivious. How quickly we regress to a less informed century without even a twitch of guilt on our part. When Putin blamed the world's dysfunction on liberal politics he wasn't far off. My how times don't change. If there is one thing we can look at and say, gee we really aren't a very good society after all, it is homelessness. In every big city in America. And congress? It is almost completely incapable of governing. We might as well be a feudal state again.

tegnost, August 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Thanks, yes, the "nothing to see here" about homelessness, which is dramatically worse than at any time in my 60 ish years, is notable.

timbers, August 23, 2019 at 11:46 am

Glancing at Powell comments today, it appears he and the Fed spend more time thinking and talking about the economic problems in China and Germany than he does here in America. That may explain a lot.

Badbisco, August 23, 2019 at 11:46 am

Just south of Portland, Maine:

Have been helping an in-law over the last 6 months find a house to move up here and got an interesting peek into the real estate market. Researched 80-100 different houses (3-4 BRs within 20 miles of Portland) and went to probably 30 open houses and personal showings.

General takeaways:

-- The market has been weirdly hot, with three separate all-cash offers at full list price rejected for other offers that were over ask.
-- People have noticed and a lot of houses have come on the market with elevated list prices as people try to cash in
-- Our own home's Zestimate on Zillow (no promise on how accurate this measure is) has increased almost 20% over the last year.
-- Tons of new houses built in last 2 years, typically of lower quality and on poor lots with houses close to each other and all trees removed
-- Quality of non-luxury or non-custom houses built from 1980's to now is generally poor; good example of crapification. Houses built in large numbers in sub-divisions in particular seem to have bad trim and obviously deteriorating siding/roofs/general conditions.
-- While the in-law isn't interested in a project, generally feel that solid older homes which can be relatively easily renovated would be the better long-term play.
-- Portland's real estate market, after the litany of "best City" and "Best restaurants" awards over the last few years and the advent of AirBnB, is out of the reach of most people. This has driven up the demand and prices in outlying towns as people look for housing close to the job center

Personally feel that the focus on dropping interest rates/protecting real estate values post the GFC has really hurt the country. Above and beyond favoring home-owners over younger people, the rising home prices increase property taxes that have to be paid and are hard to realize given selling your house requires buying a diff overpriced house. This is just leading to more and more debt being taken on to simply have a decent house.

Plenue, August 23, 2019 at 12:15 pm

One of the reliable signs that you're approaching the West Coast is the increasing number of homeless. They really start to appear around Spokane, and by the time you reach the Liberal strip along the Seattle-Portland-San Francisco line the tents are everywhere. And it's been this way for more than a decade. The real economy never recovered to begin with. Hard to be afraid of a new recession when you never left the old one.

justin synnestvedt, August 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Adding grist to the Austerity mill, here's a piece from Forbes trying to dismiss MMT, without even a pretext at providing an argument. Don't even think of those candidates who talk about MMT https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmauldin/2019/08/21/modern-monetary-theory-could-destroy-this-nation/#303c0d3f1dd3

Jerry B, August 23, 2019 at 1:58 pm

IMO the US economy is a house of cards. What is the US economy currently? In my view it is the FIRE (Finance, IT, Real Estate, and Energy) sector, Education, and Health Care.

My memory is failing me as to how Yves and Lambert described the Finance sector's contribution to the overall economy but to me it is not really "productive" and mostly casino capitalism.

The medium to large cities are living off of the FIRE sectors. If you travel to small cities and towns it seems that Rural America is surviving on Education(Universities) and Healthcare. Let's tease that out a bit:

Full disclosure: For the accuracy/facts police, I am trying to paint a picture in broad strokes here of how I see the US economy.

Education (i.e. universities) and their employees are living off of the government (Pell Grants etc.), student loans, and the wealthy. Let's pretend the government ends any educational assistance for college students and that student loans are no longer available. What happens to the University Industrial Complex? It seems that many universities would close or as they are doing now start marketing to foreign students.

Healthcare seems heavily subsidized by the government i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, and ObamaCare and the wealthy. Yes many people have health insurance through their employer. And the US population is getting older and needing more healthcare. But when I look around what I see is an over expansion and oversupply of healthcare facilities. And hospitals do not look like hospitals anymore. They look like massive hotels. It seems the healthcare industrial complex and the university industrial complex are both bubbles that at some point will burst.

What will happen to the healthcare industry when Single Payer/Medicare for All is started and there is significant cost controls?? I think the gravy train is going to end for many health systems.

And what about college tuition? Sanders is talking about free college. I hope by that he means that the government will not be an open checkbook for universities and there will be cost controls as well?

Lambert has talked about the US needing an industrial policy. In my view it can't happen soon enough because relying on education, health care, and finance to sustain an economy is asking for trouble.

Lastly the grift of the healthcare sector and education sector seem related to the Predatory Precarity excerpt from Water Cooler a couple of days ago.

https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/7263.html

Many people are living large at the expense of education and healthcare and have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. What happens when the bubble bursts?? Many small cities are going to be ghost towns.

The US economy is like a human body with no bones or decaying bones.

lordkoos, August 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm

The biggest city in our state (Seattle), is booming, so property values within a 75-100 mile radius have been increasing steadily for years. However Seattle also has thousands of homeless people, and things are definitely not booming for them.

Anecdotally, where I live in central WA I know quite a few young people in their 30s and 20s who patch together various crummy jobs to make ends meet. None of them can afford a house and it's hard to see much of a future for them other than endless part-time, low paying jobs . I know some others that are doing OK but most are just getting buy and I doubt they can amass any savings. The country kids around here with little education work agricultural jobs and deal drugs. A new thing around these parts is heroin, which 15 years ago was unheard of. The biggest employers in the area are local government and the university, and the student population helps some local businesses thrive.

The county I live in has an official poverty rate of 14%, about 1 out of every 7 people, but I think the actual amount is higher. We have a lot of Mexican immigrant workers here who likely are not counted, and in any case the federal definition of poverty is not very realistic. Same applies to official inflation stats. I would say that things are mixed, but for many under 40 the future isn't bright.

Fiery Hunt, August 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

The view from a self-employed craftsman in the Bay Area: Local real estate is not dropping but there is a slight smell of realization that this might be the top o' the bubble so sellers are sweating to get on the market. Less readily agreeable to spending money on custom work..say 3 months delaying/hemming and hawing vs. "yes, let's do it."

My girl (who works in dental) her office has lost 3 people in the last year and are struggling to replaced them. The 3 Drs make $400,000 + each and just gave remaining staff a $1/hour raise to $24/per hour in an attempt to keep them. Full bennies and 401k contributions keep her there.

Future sis-in-law: works at a wholesale nursery up in Santa Rosa. Last couple of years they were working 6 days a week to keep up. This year? No longer working Saturdays and now Fridays have been cut. That's a 30% reduction in hours she's now on the brink. So, how's the economy? Depends who you are.

[Aug 21, 2019] Solomon If Trump Declassifies These 10 Documents, Democrats Are Doomed

Highly recommended!
They are afraid to admin that a color revolution was launched to depose Trump after the elections of 2016. Essentially a coup d'état by intelligence agencies and Clinton wing of Democratic Party.
Notable quotes:
"... The 53 House Intel interviews. House Intelligence interviewed many key players in the Russia probe and asked the DNI to declassify those interviews nearly a year ago, after sending the transcripts for review last November. There are several big reveals, I'm told, including the first evidence that a lawyer tied to the Democratic National Committee had Russia-related contacts at the CIA. ..."
"... The Stefan Halper documents. It has been widely reported that European-based American academic Stefan Halper and a young assistant, Azra Turk, worked as FBI sources . ..."
"... Page/Papadopoulos exculpatory statements. Another of Nunes' five buckets, these documents purport to show what the two Trump aides were recorded telling undercover assets or captured in intercepts insisting on their innocence. Papadopoulos told me he told an FBI undercover source in September 2016 that the Trump campaign was not trying to obtain hacked Clinton documents from Russia and considered doing so to be treason. ..."
"... The 'Gang of Eight' briefing materials. These were a series of classified briefings and briefing books the FBI and DOJ provided key leaders in Congress in the summer of 2018 that identify shortcomings in the Russia collusion narrative. ..."
"... The Steele spreadsheet. I wrote recently that the FBI kept a spreadsheet on the accuracy and reliability of every claim in the Steele dossier. According to my sources, it showed as much as 90 percent of the claims could not be corroborated, were debunked or turned out to be open-source internet rumors. ..."
"... The Steele interview. It has been reported, and confirmed, that the DOJ's inspector general (IG) interviewed the former British intelligence operative for as long as 16 hours about his contacts with the FBI while working with Clinton's opposition research firm, Fusion GPS. It is clear from documents already forced into the public view by lawsuits that Steele admitted in the fall of 2016 that he was desperate to defeat Trump ..."
"... The redacted sections of the third FISA renewal application. This was the last of four FISA warrants targeting the Trump campaign; it was renewed in June 2017 after special counsel Robert Mueller 's probe had started, and signed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein . It is the one FISA application that House Republicans have repeatedly asked to be released, and I'm told the big reveal in the currently redacted sections of the application is that it contained both misleading information and evidence of intrusive tactics used by the U.S. government to infiltrate Trump's orbit. ..."
"... Records of allies' assistance. Multiple sources have said a handful of U.S. allies overseas – possibly Great Britain, Australia and Italy – were asked to assist FBI efforts to check on Trump connections to Russia. ..."
"... Attorney General Bill Barr's recent comments that "the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign, to me, is unprecedented and it's a serious red line that's been crossed." ..."
Aug 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As the Russiagate circus attempts to quietly disappear over the horizon, with Democrats preferring to shift the anti-Trump narrative back to "racist", "white supremacist", "xenophobe", and the mainstream media ready to squawk "recession"; the Trump administration may have a few more cards up its sleeve before anyone claims the higher ground in this farce we call an election campaign.

As The Hill's John Solomon details, in September 2018 that President Trump told my Hill.TV colleague Buck Sexton and me that he would order the release of all classified documents showing what the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other U.S. intelligence agencies may have done wrong in the Russia probe.

And while it's been almost a year since then, of feet-dragging and cajoling and deep-state-fighting, we wonder, given Solomon's revelations below, if the president is getting ready to play his 'Trump' card.

Here are the documents that Solomon believes have the greatest chance of rocking Washington, if declassified:

1.) Christopher Steele 's confidential human source reports at the FBI. These documents, known in bureau parlance as 1023 reports, show exactly what transpired each time Steele and his FBI handlers met in the summer and fall of 2016 to discuss his anti-Trump dossier. The big reveal, my sources say, could be the first evidence that the FBI shared sensitive information with Steele, such as the existence of the classified Crossfire Hurricane operation targeting the Trump campaign. It would be a huge discovery if the FBI fed Trump-Russia intel to Steele in the midst of an election, especially when his ultimate opposition-research client was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The FBI has released only one or two of these reports under FOIA lawsuits and they were 100 percent redacted. The American public deserves better.

2.) The 53 House Intel interviews. House Intelligence interviewed many key players in the Russia probe and asked the DNI to declassify those interviews nearly a year ago, after sending the transcripts for review last November. There are several big reveals, I'm told, including the first evidence that a lawyer tied to the Democratic National Committee had Russia-related contacts at the CIA.

3.) The Stefan Halper documents. It has been widely reported that European-based American academic Stefan Halper and a young assistant, Azra Turk, worked as FBI sources . We know for sure that one or both had contact with targeted Trump aides like Carter Page and George Papadopoulos at the end of the election. My sources tell me there may be other documents showing Halper continued working his way to the top of Trump's transition and administration, eventually reaching senior advisers like Peter Navarro inside the White House in summer 2017. These documents would show what intelligence agencies worked with Halper, who directed his activity, how much he was paid and how long his contacts with Trump officials were directed by the U.S. government's Russia probe.

4.) The October 2016 FBI email chain. This is a key document identified by Rep. Nunes and his investigators. My sources say it will show exactly what concerns the FBI knew about and discussed with DOJ about using Steele's dossier and other evidence to support a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign in October 2016. If those concerns weren't shared with FISA judges who approved the warrant, there could be major repercussions.

5.) Page/Papadopoulos exculpatory statements. Another of Nunes' five buckets, these documents purport to show what the two Trump aides were recorded telling undercover assets or captured in intercepts insisting on their innocence. Papadopoulos told me he told an FBI undercover source in September 2016 that the Trump campaign was not trying to obtain hacked Clinton documents from Russia and considered doing so to be treason. If he made that statement with the FBI monitoring, and it was not disclosed to the FISA court, it could be another case of FBI or DOJ misconduct.

6.) The 'Gang of Eight' briefing materials. These were a series of classified briefings and briefing books the FBI and DOJ provided key leaders in Congress in the summer of 2018 that identify shortcomings in the Russia collusion narrative. Of all the documents congressional leaders were shown, this is most frequently cited to me in private as having changed the minds of lawmakers who weren't initially convinced of FISA abuses or FBI irregularities.

7.) The Steele spreadsheet. I wrote recently that the FBI kept a spreadsheet on the accuracy and reliability of every claim in the Steele dossier. According to my sources, it showed as much as 90 percent of the claims could not be corroborated, were debunked or turned out to be open-source internet rumors. Given Steele's own effort to leak intel in his dossier to the media before Election Day, the public deserves to see the FBI's final analysis of his credibility. A document I reviewed recently showed the FBI described Steele's information as only "minimally corroborated" and the bureau's confidence in him as "medium."

8.) The Steele interview. It has been reported, and confirmed, that the DOJ's inspector general (IG) interviewed the former British intelligence operative for as long as 16 hours about his contacts with the FBI while working with Clinton's opposition research firm, Fusion GPS. It is clear from documents already forced into the public view by lawsuits that Steele admitted in the fall of 2016 that he was desperate to defeat Trump , had a political deadline to make his dirt public, was working for the DNC/Clinton campaign and was leaking to the news media. If he told that to the FBI and it wasn't disclosed to the FISA court, there could be serious repercussions.

9.) The redacted sections of the third FISA renewal application. This was the last of four FISA warrants targeting the Trump campaign; it was renewed in June 2017 after special counsel Robert Mueller 's probe had started, and signed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein . It is the one FISA application that House Republicans have repeatedly asked to be released, and I'm told the big reveal in the currently redacted sections of the application is that it contained both misleading information and evidence of intrusive tactics used by the U.S. government to infiltrate Trump's orbit.

10.) Records of allies' assistance. Multiple sources have said a handful of U.S. allies overseas – possibly Great Britain, Australia and Italy – were asked to assist FBI efforts to check on Trump connections to Russia. Members of Congress have searched recently for some key contact documents with British intelligence . My sources say these documents might help explain Attorney General Bill Barr's recent comments that "the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign, to me, is unprecedented and it's a serious red line that's been crossed."

These documents, when declassified, would show more completely how a routine counterintelligence probe was hijacked to turn the most awesome spy powers in America against a presidential nominee in what was essentially a political dirty trick orchestrated by Democrats.


rahrog , 2 minutes ago link

America's Ruling Class is laughing at all you fools still falling for the Rs v Ds scam.

Stupid people lose.

LibertyVibe , 3 minutes ago link

I disagree with Solomon. Nothing will "doom" the swamp unless the righteous few are willing to indict, prosecute and carry out sentencing for the guilty. Exposing the guilty accomplishes nothing, because anyone paying attention already knows of their crimes. Those who want to believe lies will still believe them after the truth comes out.
It's ALL A WASTE OF TIME unless we follow through.

#TheDailyNews #DrainTheSwamp

Lord Raglan , 5 minutes ago link

Where's all the other, earlier docs Trump was going to declassify? Just wondering..............

TheFQ , 16 minutes ago link

Does anyone see a pattern here after the 2009 Tea Party movement began?

2009 - Republicans: "If we win back the House, we can accomplish our agenda."

2011 - Republicans: "If we win back the Senate, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: After winning back the House)

2012 - Republicans: "If we win back the Senate, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 2 YEARS After winning back the House)

2013 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 1 YEAR after winning back the House and the Senate)

2014 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 2 YEARS after winning back the House and the Senate)

2015 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 3 YEARS after winning back the House and the Senate)

2016 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 4 YEARS after winning back the House and the Senate)

2017 - Republicans: "Now that we've won back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: After winning back the House 6 YEARS AGO and the Senate 4 YEARS AGO)

2018 - Republicans: "Now that we've won back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: After winning back the House 7 YEARS AGO and the Senate 5 YEARS AGO)

2019 - John Solomon - "If Trump Declassifies These 10 Documents, Democrats Are Doomed"

I hate to say it, but I DON'T BELIEVE YOU, JOHN.

ALL WE HAVE HEARD OVER THE COURSE OF THIS DECADE IS "IF THIS HAPPENS...THEN THEY ARE DOOMED / WE CAN ACCOMPLISH OUR AGENDA / YADDA YADDA YADDA.

WHEN THE FOLLOWING ARE FOUND GUILTY OF TREASON, THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL I BELIEVE YOU:

WHY ARE THESE TREASONOUS, VILE, CORRUPT CRIMINALS NOT INDICTED FOR TREASON?

WTF?

FFS...

benb , 12 minutes ago link

WHY ARE THESE TREASONOUS, VILE, CORRUPT CRIMINALS NOT INDICTED FOR TREASON?

Because the people doing the indicting are in on it.

enfield0916 , 36 minutes ago link

As if there's any major philosophical difference between the Librtads and Zionist Cocksuckvatives.

Both sides use the .gov agencies to subvert and ignore the Constitution whenever possible. Best example is WikiLeaks and how each party wished Assange would just go away when he revealed damaging information about both sides on multiple occasions.

[Aug 20, 2019] In this sordid world, people without power have absolutely no value.

Notable quotes:
"... When Trump was first elected, I tried to calm down friends with advanced TDS, who expected Kristallnacht to be directed at their favorite brunch spots, by saying that "This is what empires in decline look like." ..."
"... In this sordid world, girls/women have absolutely no value ..."
"... Don't forget the young boys who get traded around like fudge recipes. Something quick on the Hollywood angle on bent dicks. It applies almost everywhere in America now: https://news.avclub.com/corey-feldman-made-a-documentary-about-sexual-abuse-he-1834310252 ..."
"... My reinterpretation of your comment would be; In this sordid world, people without power have absolutely no value. ..."
"... Epstein's World was tied in with Hollywood and Wall Street. Both are homoerotic paedophile havens. The world of the Vatican is tied in to Wall Street; it has it's own bank, the Instituto per le Opere de Religioni. ..."
"... As is true with the continued withholding of key documents in the JFK assassination, I believe that if the lousy reporting and official screwups in the Epstein case persist, it will be perfectly fine for the public to conclude and believe the absolute worst and act accordingly. ..."
"... Given the spotiness and inadequacy of reporting on the Epstein affair I wonder if an avenue for exploration might be that of a more direct involvement of media moguls and highly placed media staff in being serviced by Epstein i.e., the decision-makers regarding what gets covered and published are themselves subject to exposure, embarrassment, and other things that befall men caught in such matters. ..."
Aug 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Michael Fiorillo , , August 14, 2019 at 11:38 am

I can't add much to Yve's excellent post and the follow-up comments, except to say that the events of recent days and weeks have made Pizzagate (as deranged as it was) into some kind of weird Jungian premonition which is to say, the s&#* is out of control.

When Trump was first elected, I tried to calm down friends with advanced TDS, who expected Kristallnacht to be directed at their favorite brunch spots, by saying that "This is what empires in decline look like."

In regard to this sordid tale, I'm reminded of Robert Graves' (and the superb BBC TV version of) "I, Claudius."

"Don't eat the figs."

adrena , , August 14, 2019 at 11:48 am

In this sordid world, girls/women have absolutely no value.

ambrit , , August 14, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Don't forget the young boys who get traded around like fudge recipes. Something quick on the Hollywood angle on bent dicks. It applies almost everywhere in America now: https://news.avclub.com/corey-feldman-made-a-documentary-about-sexual-abuse-he-1834310252

My reinterpretation of your comment would be; In this sordid world, people without power have absolutely no value. Otherwise, I'm with you all the way. Abuse is abuse. No other definition is logical.

ambrit , , August 14, 2019 at 4:18 pm

Epstein's World was tied in with Hollywood and Wall Street. Both are homoerotic paedophile havens. The world of the Vatican is tied in to Wall Street; it has it's own bank, the Instituto per le Opere de Religioni.

Who knows? Perhaps there will be some Prelates unearthed from the Lolita Express passenger log.

Pelham , , August 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm

As is true with the continued withholding of key documents in the JFK assassination, I believe that if the lousy reporting and official screwups in the Epstein case persist, it will be perfectly fine for the public to conclude and believe the absolute worst and act accordingly.

Actually, we SHOULD believe the worst.

Robin Kash , , August 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm

Given the spotiness and inadequacy of reporting on the Epstein affair I wonder if an avenue for exploration might be that of a more direct involvement of media moguls and highly placed media staff in being serviced by Epstein i.e., the decision-makers regarding what gets covered and published are themselves subject to exposure, embarrassment, and other things that befall men caught in such matters.

Who covers the press and roots out its secret malefactions? Rogue reporters? And who publishes them? Indeed!

[Aug 19, 2019] Does insanity of Maher reflects insanity of the US neoliberal elite as a whole

Aug 19, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Whoa Molly! , July 28, 2018 at 7:31 am

Maher comes across as literally unhinged. Insane.

As James Howard Kunstler said recently, " I think that the thinking class in the United States has literally lost its mind. Donald Trump's persona is so odious that it's just driven them mad and he's like a giant splinter in the eye of the thinking class ."

I don't get it. Either Maher is part of the thinking class that has lost it's mind, or he's a destructive, cynical (familyblog) who is deliberately inflaming his 'Liberal Goodthinking' audience and gaslighting Wilkerson.

The LIberal Goodthinkers have gone so crazy they are making Trump look good.

Dangerous times.

PS: Thanks for term "Liberal Goodthinkers". Pretty good.

juliania , July 28, 2018 at 10:35 am

It's the thinking class versus the deplorables. And the former is enabling the latter in no uncertain terms. This period of lunacy won't be forgotten come voting time. Whereas, had the dems gracefully accepted defeat and concentrated on real issues that concern us all, they might have had a shot at the midterm merrygoround. Instead, they chose to keep the failed slurs of the last campaign a topic of conversation all the way through, as in fact the term 'transition' on these boards does as well. Transition = transitory.

Something is making Trump a very viable stayer through these turbulent times, and the minefield that these people have turned being President into is a sad commentary on the state of our union. But like the sanctions that are unthinkingly dispersed hither and yon, the blowback can be supercharged, and I can't think of more worthy recipients.

Damson , July 29, 2018 at 10:43 am

The Chattering Class is the UK term.. 'Thinking' is rather too generous for the mind-drool exemplified by Maher and his ilk

NotTimothyGeithner , July 28, 2018 at 9:09 am

Maher was a long time libertarian, and with the rightward shift of Team Blue and medical Marijuana (after all we still need to arrest minorities), Bill became a "liberal" type. He's still the same POS he was in the 90's.

Ur-Blintz , July 28, 2018 at 10:03 am

Bingo! How he ever fooled anyone into thinking he was less than a narcissistic, libertarian. money grubbing sociopath is beyond me. First time I saw him, way back when, he was railing against Social Security and he is perhaps most responsible for making a celebrity out of Arianna Huffington, giving her a nationwide pulpit on his original show when she was repulsively right-wing.

[Aug 18, 2019] IV- MICHELS: THE IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY by Dr. Mustafa Delican

Highly recommended!
Aug 18, 2019 | dergipark.org.tr

To Michels organizations are the only means for the creation of a collective will and they work under the Iron Law of Oligarchy. He explicitly points out the indispensability of oligarchy from the organizations by saying that "It is organization which gives birth to the domination of the elected over electors, of the mandatanes over the mandators, of the delegates over delegators, who says organization, says oligarchy" (Michels 1966, p.365).

Oligarchical tendencies in organizations is not related to ideology or ends of the organizations. Of course, it is evident that any organization which is set up for autocratic aims , it is oligarchic by nature. To Michels, regardless of any ideological concerns, all types of organizations have oligarchic tendencies. It was his major question in political parties that "how can oligarchic tendencies be explained in socialist and democratic parties, which they declared war against it?"( Michels 1966, pp. 50-51).

When he examines this question throughout in his book: Political Parties, he sees organization itself particularly bureaucracy, nature of human being and the phenomenon of leadership as major factors for oligarchical tendencies in organizations. According to Michels' assessments, the crowd is always subject to suggestion and the masses have an apathy for guidance of their need. In contrast the leaders have a natural greed of power ( Michels 1966, pp. 64, 205). To Michels, leadership itself is not compatible with the most essential postulates of democracy, but leadership is a necessary phenomenon in every form of society. He says "At the outset, leaders arise spontaneously, their functions are ACCESSORY and GRATUITOUS. Soon however, they become professional leaders, and in this second stage of development they are stable and irremovable"(

Michels 1966, p. 364).

Leaders also have personal qualities that make them successful as a ruling class. These qualities are , the force of will, knowledge, strength of conviction, self sufficiency, goodness of heart and disinterestedness ( Michels 1966, p. 100 ). Furthermore there is a reciprocal relationship between leadership functions and the organizational structure. Majority of leaders abuse organizational opportunities for their personal aims by using their personal qualities and by creating means, organizational process or principles like party discipline.

As for as organization itself is considered as a source of oligarchy, Michels says that it is generally because of "PSYCHOLOGY OF ORGANIZATION ITSELF, that is to say, upon the tactical and technical necessities which result from the consolidation of every disciplined political aggregate."( Michels 1966, p. 365). Further as a particular type of organization bureaucracy and its features require an oligarchic structure.

At the societal level, although development in the democracy, oligarchy still exists. First of all he says by looking at the state as an organization, which needs a bureaucracy that is the source of enemy of individual freedom, the state represents a single gigantic oligarchy. An attempt to destroy this gigantic* oligarchy in fact brings a number of smaller oligarchies in society but does not eliminate it ( Michels 1966, p. 188,191,202). Secondly he agrees with Jean Jack Rousseau on the idea that "it is always against the natural order of things that the majority rule and the minority ruled." (Michels 1965, p. 106). Along with this idea professional leadership is seen by Michels as an incompatible phenomenon with

democracy, because , although the leaders at once are not more than executive agents off collective will, as soon as they gain the technical specialization, they emancipate themselves form the masses and start to use their power against the majority. ( Michels 1966, p.70). In addition to this, representative political system is not compatible with the ideal democracy, because to Michels, "a mass which delegates its sovereignty, that is to say transfer its sovereignty to the hands of the few individuals, abdicates its sovereign function ( Michels 1966, p. 73).

The third factor is related to level of socio-economic development of societies and experience of democracy in history. To him in this time ideal democracy is impossible due to socio-economic conditions, that further more he says that," The democracy has an inherent preference for the authoritarian solution of the important questions" (Michels 1966, p. 51, 342).

As a logical result of his iron law of oligarchy, he admits there are elites in society but not elite circulation in terms of replacing one another. He does not redefine the concept of elite, he took Pareto's theory of circulation of elites and modified it. To Michels, there is a battle between the old and new elites, leaders.

The end of this war is not an absolute replacement of the old elites by the new elites, but a reunion of elites, a perennial amalgamation. Complete replacement of elites is rare in history. The old elites attract, absorb and assimilate the new ones, and it is a continuous process (Michels 1966, p. 182, 343; Michels 1949, p. 63). Because for Michels, first " old aristocracy does not disappear, does not become proletarian or impoverished ( at least in absolute sense ), does not make way for new group of rulers , but that always remains at the head of nations, which it led over the course of centuries...[and second]...the old aristocracy be it very old rejuvenated, does not exercise the rule alone but is forced to shave it with some kind of new ruler" (Michels 1965, p. 75-76).

Aristocracy for Michels is not homogenous stratum, and consists of nobility and ruling class. Nobility represents a small but strong part of aristocracy. In this sense it seems that nobility represents real oligarchical power in the society. To Michels nobility holds itself at the helm and does not even dream of disappearing from the stage of history. Though not coinciding with aristocracy,

To Michels nobility holds itself at the helm and does not even dream of disappearing from the stage of history. Though not coinciding with aristocracy, and not constituting more than a part of it, nobility generally takes hold of it and makes itself its master. It pervades, conquers, and molds, the high middle class according to its own moral and social essence" ( Michels 1949,p. 77, 80 ). In contrast to nobility aristocracy is heterogeneous and a place where lower classes' members can easily rise and members of aristocracy can be subject to downward social mobility. For his time, he describes elements of aristocracy (1) aristocrats by birth (2) aristocracy of government clerks, (3) aristocracy of money (4) aristocracy of knowledge . All this groups also represent ruling class (Michels 1965, p. 76 ).

Michels does not get in too much special analysis of the relationships between aristocracy, ruling class and majority. I think he doesn't see that there are much differences in oligarchy in organization and oligarchy in society at large.

To me these two must be separated because (1) for individuals society in a sense an unavoidable place to be in contrast to organizations, particularly voluntary organization , (2) while society represent a more natural entity, organizations are more artificial entities and (3) organizations are set to realize certain targets in a certain period of time, in contrast society's targets are relatively unstable, and subject to reconstruction by people. To think of these questions, does not necessarily reject the existence of oligarchical tendencies in societies. In fact as Michels pointed out democracy has a legacy to solve important questions of society, by using oligarchic methods. Furthermore he also points out that at any social organization there is an intermixture of oligarchic and democratic tendencies. He says that"... In modem party life, aristocracy gladly present itself in democratic guise, while the substance of democracy is permeated with aristocratic elements. On the one side we have aristocracy is a democratic form, and on the other hand democracy with an aristocratic context" (Michels 1966, p.50).

... ... ...

In terms of replacement of old elites by new ones, there is a distinction between Pareto and Michels. Michels does not admit replacement of elites, but admits, amalgamation of new and old elites. In fact historically we can see both of them happened. In short term amalgamation of old and new elites, and in long terms replacement of old elites by new ones. This time period depends on changes in society at large. For example, consider socialist revolutions and aftermath of independent movement in developing countries where these two movements took place, old elites were wiped out. This type of changes are rarely in history. In short term, amalgamation of elites takes place and new elites gradually increases its proportion in the elite strata and ruling class. For example as a result of

industrialization in burope, Hughes observes that at the beginning ...upper class oligarchy shared power with the old aristocracy-but with each year that passed the balance seemed to incline more heavily in favor of the former" (Hughes 1965, pp.149-150). It can be concluded that new elites are bom as a result of socio- economic , political, and historical changes in society, and then these new elites via upward mobility, and that in the end the new elites take place the highest position in the society. In this process the adaptation ability of old elites determine their fates.

On democracy, Pareto always separate ideal democracy and democracy applied, and prefers to talk about the subjects of democracy rather than democracy itself. Michels is clearly in favor of democracy, Mosca was previously against democracy but after the experience of Fascism in Italy, he changed his mind.

How elitist theories affected democracy ? Two answers have given for this question. On the negative side, it has been said that these anti-democratic theories helped European ruling classes by restoring their self confidence and by increasing their consciousness about their privileges; therefore, elite theories become a vehicle for ruling classes (Hughes 1965 (b), p. 149), On the positive side, it has said that elitist theories have helped to enhance democratic theories, Michels himself believed that research on oligarchies necessary for development of democracy by saying that "...a serene and frank examination of oligarchical dangers of democracy will enable us to minimize these dangers,...(Michels 1966, p.370).

It can be said that elitist theories extended and increased awareness of masses and scientist against governments and ruling classes. As a result, many researches have been conducted on application of democracy in organizations.

Researches have shown that oligarchical tendencies are dominant in organizations and can not be eliminated totally. Further more, attempts to reduce oligarchic contrgl in organizations with very few exception have failed. In general, in voluntary organizations, the functional requirements of democracy con not be met most of the time (Lipset, Trow, and Coleman 1956, p.4,6,452).

Is democracy still compatible with elite theories? That has been the question that lead to redefine, reconceptualize the democracy. Here we must pay attention that Pareto, Mosca, and Michels worked J.J. Rousseau's definition of democracy: government by the people, but not government for the people (Burnham 1943, pp.156-7).

New democratic theories like political pluralism, theory of the mass society are compatible with elitist theories. Schumpeter was one of the earliest thinker that he redefined democracy considering elitists 1 arguments. To him democracy defined as "...institutional arrangement for arriving the power to decide by means of competitive struggle for the people's vote" (Bottomore 1964, p.10).

In contrast to compatibility of elitist theories with democracy, it can not be compatible with Marxism. Michels pointed out that M [t]he law of circulation of elites destroy the thesis of the possibility of a society without social levels...[and]... destroy equally the supposition of a ruling class that remains closed and inaccessible" (Michels 1965, p. 106). In terms of preference of political systems he clearly says that "the defects inherent in democracy are obvious. It is none the less true that as a form of social life we must choose democracy as the least of evils" (Michels 1966, p.370).

VI- CONCLUSIONS

Elitist theorists not only introduced elites but also contributed on better understanding of social and political life of societies. The key concept is "power" and who has the power she/he is the leader of society. Heredity, wealth, intellect, organizations are the means to get power.

[Aug 17, 2019] America is the richest country in the world, but it has more than half a million homeless and 28 million people without health insurance out of a population of around 325 million. Is America Crazy? by John Feffer

Decline of neoliberalism in not a pretty picture. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. Greek version of this saying which appers in Sophocles’ play Antigone is more precise: "evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction". Oscar Wilde — 'When the Gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.'
Aug 17, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
The United States witnessed three mass shootings in one week recently in California, Texas, and Ohio. There have been more than 250 mass shootings so far in 2019, more than one a day. This year in America, more than 33,000 shooting incidents have killed more than 8,700 people.

America is the richest country in the world, but it has more than half a million homeless and 28 million people without health insurance – out of a population of around 325 million. The U.S. infant mortality rate places it 33rd out of wealthiest 36 nations.

... ... ...

People from other industrialized countries must think that the United States has simply gone insane. It is a nation of terrible extremes: grotesque wealth and horrific poverty, brilliant minds and widespread ignorance, high rates of volunteerism and endemic violence. America seems to be suffering from some kind of bipolar disorder with pockets of manic energy and large areas of deep depression.

It would be tempting to argue that America is only suffering from a bout of temporary insanity. But mass shootings, gross economic inequality, and corruption didn't begin when Donald Trump became president. He has made matters worse, to be sure. But these trends are longstanding.

So, why do Americans put up with such violence, economic inequality, and political nonsense?

... ... ...

Moreover, more than half of Americans have never traveled to another country. One in ten hasn't even gone outside the state in which he or she was born. Since most of the news about other countries is negative, Americans naturally believe that life is more dangerous outside their borders. They haven't actually seen what it's like in other countries, so there's no way for them to compare the craziness of life in America with life anywhere else.

Of course, plenty of countries experience considerable violence, economic inequality, and political corruption. But they are usually not powerful industrialized nations.

In the 2019 Global Peace Index , for instance, the United States ranks 128 th in the world, between South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Kosovo, Haiti, and Bangladesh all rank higher than America. Part of the reason that the United States ranks so poorly is the amount of military violence that the country inflicts around the world – through war, arms sales, and military bases. But the high homicide rate in the United States also dragged its score down.

The GINI index measures a country's economic inequality. The United States, according to OECD figures , is fourth from the bottom of the wealthiest countries in the world. Only Chile, Turkey, and Mexico have greater income inequality after taxes and transfers.

On corruption issues, the United States has generally been in the top twenty in terms of transparency. But in 2018, it dropped six places to number 22 in the Transparency International rankings. Here, the influence of the Trump administration has been significant. The problem is not ordinary corruption like bribery. Rather, Trump is challenging the very foundations of the rule of law. He promised to "drain the swamp" of political influence-peddling in Washington, DC. But he has only made the nation's capital swampier.

Individuals with mental disorders can seek professional help. They can take medications and enter psychotherapy. They can check themselves into a hospital.

But what happens when a country is crazy?

[Aug 16, 2019] This Is How Epstein Manipulated Vulnerable Young Girls (And How You Can Protect Your Children From Predators)

Aug 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

This Is How Epstein Manipulated Vulnerable Young Girls (And How You Can Protect Your Children From Predators)

by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:25 0 SHARES

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

This article contains content that some may find distressing.

Jeffrey Epstein "was" apparently a serial molester of children. He had manipulation down to an art form, as many molesters do. He seemed to be an expert at figuring out a girl's weak point, whether it was poverty, a deceased family member, or feeling alienated from her peers.

This is a common ploy. Many molesters seek out children or teens who have lost a parent and use this as a way to build a friendship. Then, because children don't think like adults, they are manipulated, coerced, or threatened into sexual activity.

The story below could be told a hundred thousand times with only tiny changes. The names and the faces would be different. The settings might not be a mansion in Manhattan or in Palm Beach but rather a quiet part of a church, a school, or some kind of activity for teens. The setting could be in the house next door to you, where someone with evil intent befriends a vulnerable young person with the stated goal of helping them, but an end result that couldn't be further from reality.

How 14-year-old Jennifer Araoz met Jeffrey Epstein

Jennifer Araoz was 14 years old when she first met her future rapist, Jeffrey Epstein. She wrote about how she was manipulated, first by his recruiter, then by Epstein himself. There are many powerful lessons that we as parents can learn from her story.

During my freshman year, one of Epstein's recruiters, a stranger, approached me on the sidewalk outside my high school. Epstein never operated alone. He had a ring of enablers and surrounded himself with influential people. I was attending a performing arts school on the Upper East Side, studying musical theater. I wanted to be an actress and a singer. ( source )

Another report based on court documents says that the recruiter befriended Jennifer, took her out to eat after school a few times, and learned more about her, such as the fact that Jennifer's father had died from an AIDs-related illness and her family could barely scrape by financially.

The recruiter told me about a wealthy man she knew named Jeffrey Epstein. Meeting him would be beneficial, and he could introduce me to the right people for my career, she said. When I confided that I had recently lost my father and that my family was living on food stamps, she told me he was very caring and wanted to help us financially. ( source )

The recruiter finally got Jennifer to go with her to meet Epstein. Court documents say that they all three met together for the first month or so.

The visits during the first month felt benign, at least at the time. On my second visit, Epstein also gave me a digital camera as a gift. The visits were about one to two hours long and we would spend the time talking. After each visit, he or his secretary would hand me $300 in cash, supposedly to help my family. ( source )

Epstein claimed he was 'a big AIDS activist' which you can imagine would mean a lot to a 14-year-old whose father died of the disease.

Soon the visits would take a dark turn.

By the second month of Jennifer's visits to the mansion, the recruiter no longer attended the visits., the manipulation began in earnest.

But within about a month, he started asking me for massages and instructed me to take my top off. He said he would need to see my body if he was going to help me break into modeling. I felt uncomfortable and intimidated, but I did as he said. The assault escalated when, during these massages, he would flip over and sexually gratify himself and touch me inappropriately. For a little over a year, I went to Epstein's home once or twice a week.

After that day, I never went back. I also quit the performing arts school -- the one I had auditioned for and had wanted so badly to attend. It was too close to his house, the scene of so many crimes. I was too scared I would see him or his recruiter. So I transferred to another school in Queens close to my home. Since I was no longer able to pursue my dream of performing arts I eventually lost interest and dropped out. ( source )

Sure, we can say that she knew things weren't right when he asked her to take her top off. By this point, she was 15 years old. Old enough to know right from wrong. But if she was getting $300 twice a week and helping her family with it, it's pretty easy to see how she would want to continue helping her family despite her discomfort. Epstein knew exactly what he was doing.

Epstein's wealth, power, and connections would have made going against him seem like an insurmountable feat for a vulnerable 15-year-old girl who had recently lost her father. Who would have believed her word against that of this presumed philanthropist?

A few days ago, Jennifer, now 32, filed a massive lawsuit against Epstein's estate, Ghislaine Maxwell, and 3 members of Epstein's household staff. The complaint alleges that Maxwell and the staff "conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape of Plaintiff."

Some of Epstein's victims recruited new girls for him.

Epstein's indictment explains how he manipulated some of the girls he sexually abused to bring other girls to him.

Prosecutors say he lured underage girls, some as young as 14, to his residences, promising them a cash payment in exchange for giving him a massage. Instead, he would sexually abuse them -- groping them, making them touch him while he masturbated, and using sex toys on the minors. Then, he would allegedly ask them to recruit other girls. ( source )

A detailed report in the Miami Herald referred to it as a "sexual pyramid scheme." One of Epstein's accusers, Courtney Wild, reiterates the theme of the story told by Jennifer Boaz.

"Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless. He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right,'' said Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein. ( source )

Courtney's time spent with Epstein nearly destroyed her.

Before she met Epstein, Courtney Wild was captain of the cheerleading squad, first trumpet in the band and an A-student at Lake Worth Middle School.

After she met Epstein, she was a stripper, a drug addict and an inmate at Gadsden Correctional Institution in Florida's Panhandle.

Wild still had braces on her teeth when she was introduced to him in 2002 at the age of 14.

She was fair, petite and slender, blonde and blue-eyed. ( source )

She began to recruit other girls for him in Palm Beach.

Wild said Epstein preferred girls who were white, appeared prepubescent and those who were easy to manipulate into going further each time

"By the time I was 16, I had probably brought him 70 to 80 girls who were all 14 and 15 years old. He was involved in my life for years," said Wild, who was released from prison in October after serving three years on drug charges.

The girls -- mostly 13 to 16 -- were lured to his pink waterfront mansion by Wild and other girls, who went to malls, house parties and other places where girls congregated, and told recruits that they could earn $200 to $300 to give a man -- Epstein -- a massage, according to an unredacted copy of the Palm Beach police investigation obtained by the Herald. ( source )

Epstein had it down to an art form.

Palm Beach police detective Joseph Recarey explains how Epstein insinuated himself into the girls' lives.

"The common interview with a girl went like this: 'I was brought there by so and so. I didn't feel comfortable with what happened, but I got paid well, so I was told if I didn't feel comfortable, I could bring someone else and still get paid,' '' Recarey said.

During the massage sessions, Recarey said Epstein would molest the girls, paying them premiums for engaging in oral sex and intercourse, and offering them a further bounty to find him more girls

Epstein could be a generous benefactor, Recarey said, buying his favored girls gifts. He might rent a car for a young girl to make it more convenient for her to stop by and cater to him. Once, he sent a bucket of roses to the local high school after one of his girls starred in a stage production. The floral-delivery instructions and a report card for one of the girls were discovered in a search of his mansion and trash. Police also obtained receipts for the rental cars and gifts, Recarey said.

Epstein counseled the girls about their schooling, and told them he would help them get into college, modeling school, fashion design or acting. At least two of Epstein's victims told police that they were in love with him, according to the police report. ( source )

You may look at these stories and scorn the victims. After all, they kept going back, didn't they? They liked the money, didn't they?

But they were children. Many of them were isolated, vulnerable, and without support systems. Many of them felt ashamed but didn't know how to extricate themselves. They were confused and scared, and Epstein was a pro at taking advantage of these emotions and doubts.

The girls are not to blame here. The adults are.

Epstein is not the only predator out there.

While this article focuses on how Epstein was able to lure so many victims, as Dagny Taggert recently wrote , there are many more people in power out there preying on children. Clergy, priests, teachers, neighbors, musicians, and random people on the internet are out there preying on and trafficking children.

Dagny wrote:

According to The National Center for Victims of Crime , the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

Statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted (page 24).

Studies by David Finkelhor , Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center , show that:

According to Darkness to Light , a non-profit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified, and even fewer are reported .

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates the CyberTipline , a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation.

In 2018 the CyberTipline received more than 18.4 million reports, most of which related to:

Since its inception, the CyberTipline has received more than 48 million reports.

Those statistics are grim. ( source )

How do you keep your children safe?

When my children's father passed away, it wasn't too long afterward that I left my corporate job. I volunteered when the company began layoffs and took a small payment and my retirement fund to start a new life writing freelance. It wasn't long after that when I started this website.

I wanted to be home when they got back from school every day. I didn't want them to seem like prey to those looking for children with weak support systems. My own daughters could so easily have had a story like the one Jennifer has told.

I know that what I did is not possible for every family that suffers a loss. I was pretty fortunate to be able to find work from home that paid enough to allow me to be there.

What you, as a parent, must understand are the things that make your child seem vulnerable.

Some signs that your child could be getting abused or groomed.

Obviously, these lists are not comprehensive, nor are they sure signs of abuse. What teenager doesn't seem angry and withdrawn from time to time? But it's vital, no matter how hard they push you away, to stay involved, particularly after a traumatic event.

Here are some resources you may find helpful.

Teach your kids that some secrets should not be kept.

Predators manipulate children in all sorts of ways. One of the biggest ways is warning them to keep their "relationship" a secret or else.

Or else what?

Predators often put a burden on a child where they feel as though they must stay silent to protect the people they love.

Kids need to know that if anyone threatens them if they tell a secret, then they absolutely must tell that secret. Mom and Dad will be safe and will protect them. People who ask children to keep their presence in their lives a secret are never to be trusted.

And finally, make sure your children know that whatever they tell you, you will believe them and you know it's not their fault.

[Aug 16, 2019] The Perverted Face of Elite America by Matt Purple

Notable quotes:
"... Bill Clinton flew ..."
"... dozens of times ..."
"... on the Lolita Express; was it really beyond him to order a hit? ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Are the Elites the arch villains from the comic books, probably not, but then again many of them operate corporations that cause suffering to economically deprived populations all over the world. ..."
"... Why is this surprising? Aristocrats have always behaved this way. ..."
"... The sexual abuse of children and kids in their early teens is a very democratic crime. While physical abuse and neglect are linked to lower-income parents, sexual abuse occurs in all strata of society. It is not confined to the elites or to money changers. Nor to Jews, if that is what you are implying. ..."
"... Unconcerned about negative consequences, these people have become increasingly brazen. They certainly know that the laws that apply to you and me do not apply to them. ..."
"... In the words of George Carlin, "it's a big club, and you ain't in it." I stopped reading after the first two para's on this, tone is exactly the same as the sneering disdain from the empire's various MSM propaganda arms aimed at those "not in the club." ..."
"... 1) Either our intelligence agencies knew what was going on with Epstein and did nothing to stop him. Or... ..."
"... 2) They had no clue .. ..."
"... Occam's Razor says Possibility No. 1 is more likely to be the truth. But what would such a truth tell us? ..."
"... "What I am saying is that Epstein's direct testimony – AND ONLY EPSTEIN'S DIRECT TESTIMONY – had the potential to create a Common Knowledge moment that could bring down – not just specific sociopathic oligarchs like Mob Boss Donald or Mob Boss Bill or Mob Boss Andrew if they were the specific targets of that testimony – but the entire Mob system of sociopathic oligarchy. ..."
"... One strongly suspects that Ghislaine Maxwell knows just as much as Epstein did. Her participation was just as important to the operation of this "trafficking" ring. She was the lead recruiter, handled logistics, "grooming" and also was Epstein's "in" to many of his VIP associates (who were really clients). If witness accounts are accurate, she was also a participant in a good number of these depraved, criminal acts. ..."
"... The fact she has not been charged is quite the tell about our system of "justice." ..."
"... This is a dangerous slope. People once bowed to the elites because there was a principle of enforcement called nobless oblige. Society felt that elites had to be held to a higher standard because they carried greater responsibilities and burdens for society and the welfare of the national good. ..."
"... Since the 1960s nobless oblige has been downgraded to sound bites and photo ops for publicity and marketing. The elites have all but abandoned their responsibilities to support religion, to support education (except to indocrinate), to support tradition and society and the national good. The elites have become inward looking, inbred and narcissistic with little to no outward focus except in a marxist totalitarian vein of thought which serves their interest, indulges their hungers, preserves their wealth and power. ..."
"... My point was that as popolo minuti transform into popolo grossi in terms of access to power, they tend to start to transform into them in terms of moral character as well. (Inequality of) power corrupts, and absolute (inequality of) power corrupts absolutely. Thus, it seems that the over-representation of psychopaths in positions of power is because the psychopathy is acquired (and plenty of studies show drastic declines in empathy with even a little priming for power), rather than because it is easier for psychopaths to rise to the top. The worst of the popolo grossi tend to be hereditary. ..."
"... I think we're a lot closer to 1789 France than we want to believe. Read some Chris Hedges to see how the socialists see the current situation. Here's an example. https://www.commondreams.or... ..."
"... "given that all available evidence points to gross negligence on the part of the jail." How is gross negligence different from deliberate negligence? ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In our tense populist moment, Jeffrey Epstein's crimes land like a grenade. August 15, 2019

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, MA on 9/8/04. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images) Hands up, those of you who made a Fort Marcy Park joke last Saturday. Anyone? Surely there were a few. Fort Marcy Park was the Washington, D.C. woodland where White House attorney Vince Foster was found dead in 1993, and while his demise was repeatedly ruled a suicide, certain conservatives spent years afterwards hallucinating that the Clintons had him killed. Now, a quarter century later, both right and left are back in conspiracy mode. Mere hours after pedo-to-the-stars Jeffrey Epstein was reported to have killed himself, the hash tag #ClintonBodyCount began circulating on Twitter, followed closely by #TrumpBodyCount. Both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump had been associates of Epstein's; both, the thinking went, might have been desperate for him not to take the stand.

It is wrong, of course, to publicly speculate that Epstein was whacked, given that all available evidence points to gross negligence on the part of the jail. But can you really blame people? Twenty-five years ago, if you'd said that a roll call of America's elites, everyone from a former president to the most famous lawyer in the country, would be implicated in a sex trafficking ring masterminded by an enigmatic Wall Street financier who was also a member of the Trilateral Commission , you would have been laughed into the darkest corner of the local subway platform (next to the guy holding the "Vatican Hides Pedophiles" sign, presumably). Today, you'd be reading AP copy. Validate an improbable conspiracy theory, and you grant license to all the related improbable conspiracy theories: Bill Clinton flew dozens of times on the Lolita Express; was it really beyond him to order a hit?

And if we know one thing about the Epstein story, it's that everything about it is utterly improbable. Epstein stands credibly accused of assembling a veritable underage harem . One of his victims, Virginia Guiffre, has already implicated Prince Andrew , the third-born of Queen Elizabeth II, and a picture has since emerged showing the royal with his arm around the then-teenager's waist. Guiffre says she was also ordered to have sex with , among others, a "foreign president," a "well-known prime minister," and a "large hotel chain owner." Such an open secret was all this perversion that the current president of the United States made cheeky reference to it back in 2002. So invincible did Epstein think himself that he discussed underage sex openly, telling a New York Times reporter that laws against pedophilia were a "cultural aberration."

That Epstein looked to other cultures to rationalize his behavior is nothing new -- Oscar Wilde wrapped his similar predilections in lofty talk about the Greek ideal. What is different is that rather than being hunted and exposed by the powerful, as Wilde was, Epstein was protected by them for decades. Even after he was convicted of soliciting an underage prostitute in 2008, he was sentenced to only 18 months in prison, held in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, and let out on generous "work release."

Study the Epstein case long enough and you end up at Alex Jones's favorite conclusion: they're all sons of bitches. Everyone who was anyone seemed to be in on this, or at least acting at the behest of someone who was. The essence of the conspiratorial mindset is that powerful shadowy forces are, first, capable of and engaged in the most dastardly skullduggery imaginable, and, second, in cabal-like cooperation with each other across all levels of power. The Epstein case seems to affirm both planks. It makes our elites seem like aliens, of a different culture, a different moral code, a different species -- how else could they have let slide what none of us ever would? Mary Colum's remark to Ernest Hemingway, "The only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money," has rarely rang less true.

There's been for some time now a sense of drift between most Americans and their elites, driven by factors like income inequality, geographic enclaving, and cultural differences. We are living in a populist moment, to be sure, an era when the usual purveyors of class warfare sound more apt than they otherwise would. In such a fraught environment, the Epstein revelation lands like a grenade. Not only are America's gentry hitching rides on the Acela while mumbling about deplorables -- so the feeling goes -- they're also running cover for a Caligula who's preying on little Susie down the street. Suddenly the populist divide doesn't just run between classes or races or regular toast versus avocado, but between ethical extremes, good and literal evil.

This is, of course, what most populists profess: the people as a group are wholesome, the elites as a group are venal, and the former has to be vaulted over the latter in order for society to be made whole again. Yet Epstein's crimes are so wicked as to potentially set this moral chasm ablaze like never before. That's why, though Trump may have associated with Epstein, he's unlikely to be damaged by him: everything that's happened only confirms what he's been saying for years. In fact, you might view the Epstein fracas as a dialectic between two of his former associates, Trump's throw-them-out populism versus Clinton's benevolent stewardship of society by the smart set. And Trump won out.

Just as populisms aren't driven entirely by economic causes, so too are revolutions often about more than bread. Consider the Russian Revolution, sparked at least in small part by the people's perception of Rasputin as a sexual deviant. Consider, too, the French Revolution's rage against the profligate "Madame Déficit" Marie Antoinette. In such cases, the moral tends to get intertwined with the economic; license is seen as enabling decadence while the people pray and starve. This can be a blind spot in traditional conservative thinking. We rightly detest (most) revolutions and the tremors they cause, but we sometimes fail to notice that the Jacobins have good reason to be angry and that the ruling classes they overthrow really are that loathsome.

America is nowhere near 1789 France, or armed revolution in general. But we are anxious, restive, hungry for justice. A republic likes ours depends on the harmonious coexistence of its people and its elites, a matter that our Founders spent a good deal of time worrying about. Now we have a hideous face f0r elite corruption, one that's enabled fever in the national mind and dehumanized those around him. For those of us who prize stability and liberty in a polity, who think populism is always best in modest doses, the weeks ahead may be reason for worry.

Because it seems there's only more to come. On Wednesday, another victim came forward , alleging that Epstein raped her when she was 14 after she turned down sex with him. That this carnal omega, this pathetic loser, this finger-sniffing pervert from every teen comedy lurking outside the pretty girl's home longing for a piece of discarded lingerie was somehow elevated into a Teflon-coated Wall Street sun god is beyond comprehension. My friend Michael Davis calls Epstein and company the Hellfire Club , but just how much will they torch on their way down?

Matt Purple is the managing editor of .


Amy Ehlers a day ago • edited

When I started to see what was going on in this country, which was my journey, I was amazed to find out that there is sex trafficking 8 blocks from the White House and I learned of this in 2011. Lisa Ling did a great documentary on it. "Night time traffic greater than the day time." Pimps attempting to recruit girls walking home from school. If you pay attention it is also a journey of the food chain of Corporate America that supports this.
This is a Money Changer issue, that is about the closing of eyes from both parties. and please don't tell me this is not so. I know better than that.
Krazy Uncle a day ago
To be absolutely, clear there was speculation that Epstein was going to be assassinated weeks before it happened. For the most part citizens aren't so much surprised, as disappointed that Justice is once again foiled.

Are the Elites the arch villains from the comic books, probably not, but then again many of them operate corporations that cause suffering to economically deprived populations all over the world.

When the World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, just how close do they seem to achieve a god like status when looking up from the bottom? Maybe that's one reason that people are so angry when it seems that the most vulnerable among us, our children, are the victims of a limited number of the Elites and their twisted and horrific appetites.

I personally doubt much will come of the Epstein affair it will most likely be just one more myth added to the tally of injustice, and the people will have to bitterly swallow it whole. It will probably take many more cases like this being exposed before the people actually have their fill, and decide to do something about it. In the meantime, prepare to see more of the same by the laughing and mocking Elites

Krazy Uncle Bill In Montgomey 15 hours ago
In this day and age, I doubt a reporter will touch this story, and if they did, the real story would never make it into the Main Stream Media. And, most likely the reporter would be permanently black balled, and never work in Journalism again. It's happened many times before, because it doesn't fit within the approved propaganda message.

Give the story a couple decades or more, and it may come out, but otherwise it will be handled as a whack-job Conspiracy Theory.

The Fourth Estate is the only business that is protected by the Constitution, and yet it has been neutered, and those in the Press, who were supposed to be the Watchdogs for the people, have become the Lapdogs of the Elites.

What passes as News today is formulaic programming, passed on from the Propagandist to the Media, both nationally and locally.

Have you ever seen Conan O'Brian's local news videos?
Newscasters Agree: Rising Gas Prices Edition
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAkxR9T01pw
There is one reporter, Julie K. Brown, of the Miami
Herald that actually brought to light the Epstein story again.
Here's the Thing: How Julie Brown broke the Jeffrey Epstein story
https://www.wrvo.org/post/heres-thing-how-julie-brown-broke-jeffrey-epstein-story

So, there is at least one reporter that has the guts to do investigative journalism hope her life insurance policy is up to date.

p.s. I didn't listen to the broadcast in the second link I just posted it in case others are interested. I've read the story elsewhere.

polistra24 a day ago
Why is this surprising? Aristocrats have always behaved this way.
minsredmash a day ago
Two Republican state senators and two New York City Policemen died violently within 72 hours ....

1. On June 4, former Arkansas Senator Linda Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead outside her home, her body unrecognizable on discovery. Police are now investigating her death as a homicide. On June 5, the county prosecutor announced that the circuit judge sealed the documents and statements obtained by police.
2. On June 5, Deputy Chief Steven Silks, 62, weeks away from retirement, was found in an unmarked police car with a gunshot wound to the head. News reports reported indicate it seemed self-inflicted.
3. On June 5, former Oklahoma Sen. Jonathan Nichols, 53, was found shot dead in his home. Police have not announced whether they are investigating a suicide or homicide..
4. On June 6, Detective Joseph Calabrese, 58, was found near his police car on a Brooklyn, NY beach, dead of a gunshot wound in what one report called an apparent suicide.
RIP.
Many other Americans died violently this past week. Why link these four together?

The answer comes down to a dark suspicion and a few hard facts which suggest that one or more of these four deaths might have had something to do with these individuals' work against pedophiles and human trafficking, or the official corruption so often surrounding both.

Source .

Now Jeffrey Epstein...

Jessica Ramer Amy Ehlers a day ago
The sexual abuse of children and kids in their early teens is a very democratic crime. While physical abuse and neglect are linked to lower-income parents, sexual abuse occurs in all strata of society. It is not confined to the elites or to money changers. Nor to Jews, if that is what you are implying.

Just about everyone in America has a family member who was sexually abused by someone who was usually not elite. Therefore, I cannot get worked up about class issues because of Jeffrey Epstein.

What I can get worked up about are the way elites start wars for poor people to die in and the way poor people get cruel sentences while the elite either walk or get the Epstein treatment--private wing, generous work release.

mrscracker Jessica Ramer 16 hours ago
I agree. Young girls are trafficked in more circles than the elite. I don't understand the connection to any particular social class. But better connected people do have better lawyers and can get away with more. Until like Mr. Epstein , they don't.
Bill In Montgomey a day ago • edited
The true character of these people is starting to be revealed. This (lack of) character is not only displayed when these men travel to Pedo Island, it's on display everywhere they go, in everything they do. Every organization they lead, or have anything to do with, is likely rotten to the core.

Unconcerned about negative consequences, these people have become increasingly brazen. They certainly know that the laws that apply to you and me do not apply to them.

If the system is so corrupt to have protected Epstein for decades, who else is being protected? Who else is getting away with figurative rape in every department of government, or house of finance?

The sooner the public recognizes the "true face" of our elites and rulers the better. Left to their own devices, these people - who think they have class but in reality are the worst kind of trash - can bring down a nation.

Krazy Uncle Bill In Montgomey a day ago
who else is being protected?

Good point... who else indeed... and how many more children are suffering?

prodigalson a day ago
Literally no one I know thought this guy would make it to trial alive with the exception of me, as I still had some hope in the system, and I was proven wrong. I've lost whatever remaining faith I had in the system.

In the words of George Carlin, "it's a big club, and you ain't in it." I stopped reading after the first two para's on this, tone is exactly the same as the sneering disdain from the empire's various MSM propaganda arms aimed at those "not in the club."

Sid Finster a day ago
There are two possibilities here:

1) Either our intelligence agencies knew what was going on with Epstein and did nothing to stop him. Or...

2) They had no clue ... which would mean our much vaunted intelligence community knew nothing about the travel habits of the "ruling class" of the world, about Jeff Epstein's real activities, had received no tips, had no insiders, and were incapable of "putting two and two together," etc. In short, Big Brother - with all its resources and intelligence and sources - with capabilities that put the Gestapo or the KGB to shame - had no idea.

Occam's Razor says Possibility No. 1 is more likely to be the truth. But what would such a truth tell us?

Mccormick47 Sid Finster a day ago
The third possibility is that BigBrother was in on it and didn't object to sacrificing teenage girls to get compromising information on people they wanted tp blackmail.
Sid Finster a day ago
"What I am saying is that Epstein's direct testimony – AND ONLY EPSTEIN'S DIRECT TESTIMONY – had the potential to create a Common Knowledge moment that could bring down – not just specific sociopathic oligarchs like Mob Boss Donald or Mob Boss Bill or Mob Boss Andrew if they were the specific targets of that testimony – but the entire Mob system of sociopathic oligarchy.

Jeffrey Epstein was the Missionary to bring down the monsters behind the monster, to bring down the SYSTEM of monsters. Jeffrey Epstein's books and records are not. The individual voices of Jeffrey Epstein's victims are not.

And that's what makes me angriest of all.

That while the individual victims of Jeffrey Epstein's crimes will maybe (maybe!) get some smattering of "justice" and recompense from the show trial of a monster's estate, there will be no Justice served against the monsters behind the monster, that the Mob system of sociopathic oligarchy that CREATED this Jeffrey Epstein and the next Jeffrey Epstein and the next and the next will continue unabated. Untouched. Golden."

https://www.epsilontheory.c...

Bill In Montgomey Sid Finster a day ago
One strongly suspects that Ghislaine Maxwell knows just as much as Epstein did. Her participation was just as important to the operation of this "trafficking" ring. She was the lead recruiter, handled logistics, "grooming" and also was Epstein's "in" to many of his VIP associates (who were really clients). If witness accounts are accurate, she was also a participant in a good number of these depraved, criminal acts.

The fact she has not been charged is quite the tell about our system of "justice."

Tony55398 a day ago
Whether Epstein was killed or committed suicide I don't know. I would however like to know who these elites were who participated in the rapes of these young girls. They are just as guilty as Epstein whether they knew the ages of these girls or not, it was there responsibility to find out.
ChristopherRobin1 a day ago
This is a dangerous slope. People once bowed to the elites because there was a principle of enforcement called nobless oblige. Society felt that elites had to be held to a higher standard because they carried greater responsibilities and burdens for society and the welfare of the national good.

Since the 1960s nobless oblige has been downgraded to sound bites and photo ops for publicity and marketing. The elites have all but abandoned their responsibilities to support religion, to support education (except to indocrinate), to support tradition and society and the national good. The elites have become inward looking, inbred and narcissistic with little to no outward focus except in a marxist totalitarian vein of thought which serves their interest, indulges their hungers, preserves their wealth and power.

What you are have been seeing since the 1960s is the veneer being pulled off the rich and powerful. I would say Nixon and Princess Diana and Ted Kennedy did the most to pull down the veneer from the rich and powerful but it could be argued that Nixon and Princess Diana and Ted Kennedy were accidental victims of circumstance. However Epstein's human trafficking of children for sex and blackmail .... breaks the most because his crimes were no accident nor was he a victim of circumstance. Epstein planned this and created an organization around it elevating his elitist crimes to a level no that I dont think anyone in modern history can match.

atimoshenko ChristopherRobin1 a day ago
I doubt that history's elites were ever any better. It's just that with far less transparency and access, it was much easier for them to hide how awful they were. The 1960s was the start of mass media, and so the veneer started to crack.
Bill In Montgomey ChristopherRobin1 a day ago
I do think this COULD qualify as "the story of the century." That is, If the story was told in its entirety - all "names" exposed.

If fully told, the swamp might, in fact, be "drained."

Now the people in said swamp have a strong incentive to protect their domain. Which is why so many of us are skeptical the true story will ever be told.

If there was ever a time where brave and patriotic whistleblowers were needed ...

BXVI a day ago • edited
"This is, of course, what most populists profess: the people as a group are wholesome, the elites as a group are venal, and the former has to be vaulted over the latter in order for society to be made whole again."

Sorry, but take a look at the average American. The so-called "people" are for the most part just as morally obtuse as the "elites" but they carry the additional burden of being not only ignorant but also stupid. Just look around. Best recent example of the utter stupidity of the American people: a recent survey shows they think 23% of the population is gay. Really.

johnhenry a day ago
"Hands up, those of you who made a Fort Marcy Park joke last Saturday."

Matt, are you tired of people making jokes about *purple prose*?
Just wondering :)

atimoshenko a day ago
But isn't the issue exactly that the "only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money" comment is perfectly true?

The rich and powerful are us, but corrupted by riches and power. Many of them behave the way many of us would quickly start to behave if we found ourselves in their shoes. If the gap in power between you and most other people is so huge that you can do anything to them and get away with it, your morals stop applying to them because you start to view them as somewhat subhuman. In this sense, I'm sure Epstein never even thought of raping the underage daughters of other elites.

Thus, the issue is stratospheric inequality of power (by whatever fungible measure you choose - money, political, religious, social, etc). And we see it happen ALL the time throughout history and across geographies - as soon as the power gap is in excess of social boundaries, as soon as there is a group of people you can do pretty much anything you want to and get away with it, you start going a little crazy. Exploitation, rape, torture, murder, slavery - everything starts looking justified. Then it's just a matter of degree, with tin-pot dictators on one end and Epstein somewhere in the middle.

Cosmin Visan atimoshenko 20 hours ago
Read Machiavelli. He observed that the popolo minuti (regular folks) just wished to be left alone by authorities whereas popolo grossi (fat cats) were of a different psychological composition: they delighted in deception, were vain, greedy and hungry for power.

Centuries later, studies of psychopaths reveal these creatures are different from regular humans at the brain level. The elites are psychopathic (the key ones are) and no, they ain't like regular people. They are literally a different kind.

atimoshenko Cosmin Visan 11 hours ago • edited
My point was that as popolo minuti transform into popolo grossi in terms of access to power, they tend to start to transform into them in terms of moral character as well. (Inequality of) power corrupts, and absolute (inequality of) power corrupts absolutely. Thus, it seems that the over-representation of psychopaths in positions of power is because the psychopathy is acquired (and plenty of studies show drastic declines in empathy with even a little priming for power), rather than because it is easier for psychopaths to rise to the top. The worst of the popolo grossi tend to be hereditary.

In my opinion, there is nothing so dangerous as to believe that evil people are a different breed from the rest of us. Instead, they tend to simply be us, but in different circumstances. History tends to show that revolutions aimed at replacing the evil people with better people end up with corrupted revolutionaries, rather than a fundamentally less abusive system.

minsredmash atimoshenko 6 hours ago • edited
"It reminds me of a well known speech by a defense counsel, who pleaded his client's poverty as an excuse of robbing and murdering six of his victims, on the lines that "My client's poverty drove him to murder six people, everybody else would have done the same!"

Dostoevsky, The Idiot.

phreethink a day ago
Outstanding article. However, I think we're a lot closer to 1789 France than we want to believe. Read some Chris Hedges to see how the socialists see the current situation. Here's an example. https://www.commondreams.or...
Zsuzsi Kruska a day ago
Elites, that is those with more wealth and/or power than the rest of the masses have always been this way. Remember how decadent the European aristocracy was with their sport of "wenching"? that is going around in groups raping young peasant girls. Also, there was the Hellfire Club which you can research if you want details. This scandal will get less and less coverage in the MSM until it fades away like all the others involving the rich and powerful.
Jr. a day ago
The Global "Elite" control our Ruling Class by means of blackmail. A person does not get raised to high truly influential positions of power(Politicians, Judges, Hollywood, etc.) unless they have enough dirt on you to know that they can control you without question. The most powerful form of blackmail that they have is ped0filia because it is THE most abhorrent crime that someone can commit, so much so that even criminals in prison refuse to allow ped0 scumbags to be housed near them.

Trump has an obvious penchant for beautiful WOMEN not kids. He was helping and somewhat part of the "Elite" in that he was joining in with them to buy politicians for influence but Trump neutralized that being over his head by openly admitting to buying politicians. They thought it was safe to allow him to run because they thought it was a joke and he would never get elected. They were wrong. In my opinion, they don't have enough dirt on him to get him to go along with their agenda of selling out the USA to the highest bidder hence the all-out attacks on him.

The key to understanding the "Elite"/Ruling Class dynamic is not conflating the two and realizing that blackmail is the main tool used by the one to keep the other under their control.

*Sorry about the Trump tangent above but it's absolutely ridiculous that people are trying to tie Trump to Epstein even though Trump has been trying to bring national attention to the Epstein case FOR YEARS.

Cosmin Visan 20 hours ago
"given that all available evidence points to gross negligence on the part of the jail." How is gross negligence different from deliberate negligence?

You can tell? And btw the WaPo just came out with news that broken bones in Epstein's neck are more usual in cases of homicide.
I generally see anyone who belittles

'Conspiracy theorists' as part of an Establishment that uses 'incompetence' as the perennial excuse for everything that goes wrong.

stevek9 19 hours ago • edited
The old accusation, that you are a 'conspiracy theorist' (a term invented by the CIA after the Kennedy assassination) is holding less and less weight. The irrational kooks now seem to be the people who think Epstein committed suicide. Jokes were everywhere about how 'we were shocked to hear about the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, next Tuesday' when a day later we hear, 'Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide'.

By the way, this equivalence between Trump and Clinton is bogus, I believe. There isn't much evidence of any involvement of Trump (some evidence to the contrary in fact), but there is a load of evidence suggesting 'Wild Bill' was availing himself.

JeffK from PA stevek9 5 hours ago • edited
Remember when Maxine Waters was labelled a kook for saying the CIA was bringing cocaine into her LA district? She was mocked and ridiculed. Now we know she was right. You can't make this stuff up.
YoungHegelian2020 18 hours ago
I'm sorry, but this case stinks to high heaven, and if you're ready to accept "gross negligence" as the explanation you're likely to believe ANYTHING the authorities tell you. Epstein was either murdered, as the autopsy and reports of shrieking from his cell indicate, or subbed out by intelligence services and replaced by a murdered homeless person who received plastic surgery. Study the history of modern intelligence services: appearances are deceiving, and systemic disinformation is endemic to politics. Careful public speculation, acknowledging where we're uncertain, is very much the responsible thing to do; otherwise there is no hope of democratic accountability. The investigation we're being promised will be conducted by the exact same institution -- the US Department of Justice -- that was responsible for keeping Epstein safe and securing his public testimony about his criminal network. These are the people you want us to trust? Come on, a little critical reasoning, please!
Bryan 10 hours ago
The most ridiculous part is the idea that being rich and powerful gives you a predilection to turn a blind eye. My wife's family turned a blind eye to a perverted uncle that molested multiple family members over decades. No one stood up, it would've been a shame to them to admit it. How is this any different?
Will Thomas 10 hours ago • edited
No one really cares. He was pretty rich. Talk radio and weird cable conspiracies shows will benefit. Truth is irrelevant.

[Aug 15, 2019] Why the Rich Want to Bury Bernie, the Not-Really-Socialist

Notable quotes:
"... The reason the ruler's have decreed 'anybody but Bernie' is that Sanders' (and to a lesser perceived degree, Warren's) campaign proposals challenge the austerity regime that has been relentlessly erected since the 1970s precisely to set American workers and the whole capitalist world on a Race to the Bottom, in which each year brings lower living standards and more insecurity to the population at large. ..."
"... The obscene increases in wealth inequality are the desired result and true essence of austerity. ..."
"... "the top one-tenth of one percent (.1%) of the population -- households making $2.757 million a year -- now number almost 200,000 families, a cohort big enough to create and inhabit a large and coherent social world of its own. ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Sanders (D)(1): "Why the Rich Want to Bury Bernie, the Not-Really-Socialist" [Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report (CI)]. Really excellent.

Here's "why":

"The reason the ruler's have decreed 'anybody but Bernie' is that Sanders' (and to a lesser perceived degree, Warren's) campaign proposals challenge the austerity regime that has been relentlessly erected since the 1970s precisely to set American workers and the whole capitalist world on a Race to the Bottom, in which each year brings lower living standards and more insecurity to the population at large.

The obscene increases in wealth inequality are the desired result and true essence of austerity."

There's much more, but this on local oligarchies is important: "the top one-tenth of one percent (.1%) of the population -- households making $2.757 million a year -- now number almost 200,000 families, a cohort big enough to create and inhabit a large and coherent social world of its own.

From their rich enclaves in every state of the country, this formidable "base" of truly wealthy folks effectively dictate the politics of their regions for the benefit of themselves and the oligarchs at the top of the pyramid. "

[Aug 15, 2019] One of the many purposes of Russiagate was to misdirect people away from the fact that Trump's election represents (among other things) a huge split in the ruling class, which can roughly be described as one between extractive industries (energy, agriculture, mining, etc.) and finance, media and tech.

Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Michael Fiorillo , , August 14, 2019 at 11:53 am

" (the) factional struggle evident in the rise of Trump "

Thank you.

One of the many purposes of Russiagate was to misdirect people away from the fact that Trump's election represents (among other things) a huge split in the ruling class, which can roughly be described as one between extractive industries (energy, agriculture, mining, etc.) and finance, media and tech. A map of the 2016 election results strongly supports this analysis. Thus, Comcast was more than happy to give free reign to Rachel Maddow's two+ years of disinfotainment

This split in the ruling class would provide an immense opportunity if the US had a real functioning Left, rather than lumpen bourgeois and childish virtue signalling about open borders and reparations.

[Aug 14, 2019] Charge of anti-Semitism as a sign of a bitter factional struggle in UK Labor Party between neoliberal and alternatives to neoliberalism wings

Highly recommended!
It attests inventiveness and vicious amorality of neoliberals, who now promote the idea that criticizing neoliberalism and removing Democratic party in the USA and Labor Party in the UK from clutches of Clintonism//Brairism is inherently Anti-Semitic ;-)
Israel lobby wants to extent the anti-Semitism smear to any critique of Israel. which is of course standard dirty trick in witch hunts like neo-McCarthyism.
Notable quotes:
"... This, of course, is compounded by the over-amplifying of anti-Semitism by the media and the alacrity with which it has been taken up by Corbyn opponents, including hypocrites who floated "rootless cosmopolitan" criticisms of Ed Miliband when it suited just a few years ago. ..."
"... The resolution of the anti-Semitism crisis then is not a matter of compromise -- for each side the issue will only go away with the complete crushing and driving out of the party of the other. ..."
"... A good analysis. But, it emphasizes the point I made in the previous post, which is that, the right are currently engaged in an all out push to remove Corbyn and crush the left with the same old bureaucratic means. Whatever else Williamson may or may not be guilty of, his point that the leadership have facilitated this situation by their continual appeasement of the right is absolutely valid. Its that he is being attacked for, not anti-Semitism. ..."
"... Coming on the day when the FT have a column seriously positing that criticizing capitalism is inherently anti-Semitic, it seems to me that dancing on the head of a pin ..."
"... As many of the comments on your blog on Williamson attest, the salient feature of this - well, call it witch-hunt for the sake of argument - is the double standards where we have to be whiter than white, whilst no account whatsoever is taken of the most egregious racism elsewhere. ..."
"... The other nonsense that has grown up is that it is only those that suffer any form of discrimination who can define what that discrimination is, i.e. only Jews can define anti-Semitism, only black people can define racism against them, only women can define discrimination against women. ..."
"... That then assumes that the members of each of these groups are themselves homogeneous, and agreed in such definitions. In reality, it means that dominant elements, i.e. those connected to the ruling class and ruling ideas get to make those determinations. ..."
"... If we look at anti-Semitism, for example, it is quite clear that there is no agreement amongst Jews on what constitutes anti-Semitism. The JVL, certainly have a different definition than the JLM. ..."
"... Secker wrote a piece in the Morning Star last year comparing claims of anti-Semitism within Labour to the story of the emperor's new clothes. ..."
"... Given that the actual data, even allowing for all of the spurious and mischievous accusations of anti-Semitism in the party, made by right-wing enemies of the the party, and particularly of Corbyn and his supporters, amounts to only 0.1% of the membership, and given that of these, 40% were straight away found to be accusations against people who were not even LP members, with a further 20%, being found to have absolutely no evidence to back them, its quite possible that individual members of the LP, have never seen any instance of it. ..."
"... Take out all those mischievous and malicious allegations made in order to whip up the hysteria, so as to to damage the party, by its enemies, and you arrive at a figure of only 400 potential cases, out of a membership of 600,000, which is 1 member in 1500. ..."
"... In fact, based upon the actual facts, as opposed to the fiction and factional hysteria that is being whipped up by right-wing opponents of Corbyn and the party, and by supporters of Zionism for their own narrow political reasons, the chances are about 14: that you will never see any even potential instance of anti-Semitism, even on the narrow definition that the party has now imposed upon itself, which comes pretty close if not entirely to identifying anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, or even just criticism of the current Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu. ..."
"... In the US, Jewish groups that have long been ardent defenders of Israel have more recently come out to criticize the regime of Netanyahu, and the actions of the Israeli state. The main defenders of Zionism, besides the actual Zionists themselves, appear to be people like the AWL, who for whatever reason hitched their wagon to Zionist ideology some time ago, ..."
"... Just because the only case of stabbing I have witnessed was more than 50 years ago, does not, and should not lead me to think that knife crime was worse 50 years ago than it is today. The actual data would seem to suggest that cases of anti-Semitism were greater in the LP in previous times than they are currently, contrary to what the media and those with factional motives would have us believe. ..."
"... The apparent level of anti-semitism in Labour is a modern phenomenon turbo-charged and amplified by social media. People have their views reinforced within their bunkers where anti-Israeli memes become anti-Zionist and then become anti-Semitic. It is much easier to send an anonymous email than a letter. ..."
"... I wouldn't trust Lansman on this issue, any more than on many others. Lansman abolished democracy, to the extent it existed to begin with, by turning it into his personal fiefdom, reminiscent of the activities of Hyndman and the SDF. His position on anti-Semitism, and fighting the witch-hunt, and of appeasing the Blair-right's as they attacked Corbyn, has been appalling throughout. ..."
"... Having abolished any democracy in Momentum, which he now runs as its CEO, he also appears to want Corbyn to do the same thing with the Labour Party, abolishing its internal democratic procedures, and putting himself personally in charge of those disciplinary measures ..."
"... Its notable that, yesterday, when the Welsh Labour Grass Roots organisation came out to call for Williamson's suspension to be reversed, Kinnock and other Blair-rights immediately called for an investigation into them, ..."
"... This truly is reaching into the realms of McCarthyism, where you are found guilty not just of witchcraft, but of consorting with witches, or even having an opinion as to whether an individual charged with witchcraft is guilty, or even the extent to which the number of witches amongst might be exaggerated. ..."
"... It's not a factually accurate description of global political realities, because Israel does not control the US, if that is what the image is intended to imply. But, the message, is thereby anti-Israeli state, not anti-Semitic. It could only be considered anti-Semitic, if in fact you are a Zionist and claim that Israel and Jews are are interchangeable terms, which they are not. ..."
"... If we replace Zionism with Toryism, and Jew with British, the situation becomes fairly clear. If the we show the British state as being controlled by Tories, who implement their ideology of Toryism, in what way would criticism of the British state, under the control of such Tories, or criticism of Tories be the equivalent of British people as a whole? ..."
"... The hope of a Two-State Solution disappeared long ago, and was never credible. It simply allows Zionists to proclaim they are in favour of it, whilst doing everything to make it practically impossible, such as extending West Bank Settlements. The solution must flow from a struggle for democratic rights for Israeli Arabs, and for a right for all Arabs in occupied territories to be extended the same rights as any other Israeli, including the right to vote, and send representatives to the Knesset. As I argued thirty years ago, the longer-term solution is a Federal Republic of Israel and Palestine, guaranteeing democratic rights to all, as part of building a wider Federal Republic of MENA. ..."
"... Jim Denham: imperialist lackey and sycophant turned Witch hunter in chief ..."
"... Let us be very clear about what this witch hunt is about, it is about purging from public life any credible and effective opposition to Israel in particular and more generally opposition to the imperialist barbarians of the imperialist core. It is about driving from universities, social media and intellectual life any form of opposition to the interests of the imperialists. ..."
"... A UN report has concluded that Israel deliberately targeted and killed hundreds of protesting civilians, including children and disabled people and it shot 20,000+ people (yes 20,000+!). The UN says this likely a war crime. Why are the noble defenders of the Palestinian cause in the dock and not notorious Palestinian haters like Jim Denham? ..."
"... These attacks on Corbyn and his supporters, repeated in all of the most aggressive imperialist countries, are simply a proxy attack on the Palestinian people themselves. ..."
"... Jim Denham's comment here illustrates the problem entirely. The picture he has linked to shows an alien symbiote having attached itself to the face of the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty here represents the US. The symbiote has on its back the Israeli Flag, and likewise, thereby represents the state of Israel. The picture therefore, represents the well-worn, and clearly factually wrong meme that Israel controls the US. ..."
"... But, as a Zionist organisation, the AWL and its members cannot distinguish between the state of Israel and Jews, so they cannot distinguish between criticism of the state of Israel, and criticism if Jews. For them, as for the Zionist ideology of the state of Israel, which is most clearly manifest in the ideology of its current political leadership, in the form of the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, with the recent introduction of blatantly racist laws that discriminate even more openly against not Jewish Israeli citizens, and with his willingness to try to keep his corrupt regime in office by going into coalition with an avowedly Neo-Nazi party that until recent times was considered beyond the pale, even by most Zionists, the term Zionism is synonymous with the term Jew. So, any criticism of Zionism, or of Israel is for them immediately equated with anti-Semitism. ..."
"... Once again Jim Denham reefuses to engage in rational debate, and again resorts instead to his assumption that Israel = Jews, as well as his crude attempts at a typical Stalinist amalgam, to conflate the views of his opponents with some hate figure. ..."
"... Again Jim Denham makes the conflation of Israel and Jews explicit when he says, "This image also plays on the tired and disgraceful antisemitic 'conspiracy theory' trope of undue Israeli (Jewish) influence on world affairs." ..."
"... The way that the right are using anti-Zionism as the equivalent for anti-Semitism, and the appeasement of that attack has led them to widen the scope of that attack. As Labour List reports , right-wing Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, is now claiming that to be anti-capitalist is also to be "anti-Semitic". The idea was put forward also by former Blair-right spin doctor, John McTernan, who wrote an article in the FT to that same effect ..."
"... As the right-wing extend their witch-hunt against socialists in the LP to claim that Marxists are necessarily misogynist, as well as anti-Semitic – and the same logic presented by McDonagh, McTernon, and Phillips would presumably mean that the Left must also be xenophobic, homophobic, anti- Green, and many other charges they want to throw into the mix – it will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the AWL, join them in that assault, in the same way they have done in their promotion of Zionism. ..."
Aug 14, 2019 | averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com

... ... ...

The problem, however, is because this is overlaid by factional struggle ...

This, of course, is compounded by the over-amplifying of anti-Semitism by the media and the alacrity with which it has been taken up by Corbyn opponents, including hypocrites who floated "rootless cosmopolitan" criticisms of Ed Miliband when it suited just a few years ago.

Here's the thing. Just because your opponents take up an issue, some times cynically and in bad faith. and use it to inflict as much damage as they can does not mean the problem is fictitious.

Precisely because they can point to Facebook groups full of useful fools, and Twitter accounts with Corbyn-supporting hashtags acting as if the Israel lobby and "Zionists" are the only active force in British politics, this is the stuff that makes the attacks effective and trashes the standing of the party in the eyes of many Jews and the community's allies and friends.

The institutional anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is, therefore, somewhat different to the kind you find in other institutions. It is sustained by the battle for the party, a grim battlefront in a zero sum game of entrenched position vs entrenched position. As such, whatever the leadership do, whatever new processes the General Secretary introduces for one side it will never be enough because, as far as many of them concerned, the leadership are politically illegitimate; and for the other it's a sop and capitulation.

The resolution of the anti-Semitism crisis then is not a matter of compromise -- for each side the issue will only go away with the complete crushing and driving out of the party of the other. A situation that can only poison the well further, and guarantee anti-Semitism won't honestly and comprehensively be confronted.


Boffy said... 3 March 2019 at 16:42
A good analysis. But, it emphasizes the point I made in the previous post, which is that, the right are currently engaged in an all out push to remove Corbyn and crush the left with the same old bureaucratic means. Whatever else Williamson may or may not be guilty of, his point that the leadership have facilitated this situation by their continual appeasement of the right is absolutely valid. Its that he is being attacked for, not anti-Semitism.

It is first necessary to close ranks, and defeat the assault of the Right. As Marr said to Blair this morning, had Prescott announced he was forming a separate group, and was establishing his own witch-hunting bureaucratic apparatus in the party, Blair would have sacked him immediately - actually not so easy as the Deputy is elected. But the thrust is valid. Unless Corbyn deals with Watson, the Right will roll over the Left, despite the huge disparity in numbers.

Again it comes down to whether Corbyn is up for that task, or whether we need a leadership of the left with a bit more backbone to see it through.

asquith said... 3 March 2019 at 18:54
I'm afraid this IS due to the "intersectionality" cult, whereby certain groups are always privileged and wrong, and some are always oppressed and right. Jews are, according to this "analysis", the uber-privileged and uber-white.

We've heard several times that according to "intersectionality" that it's impossible to be racist against white people because racism requires both prejudice and power, and white people are by definition powerful. Therefore, anti-Semitism is dismissed because it can't be a thing because Jews are all-powerful and even more oppressive than other whites.

Those who don't subscribe to all of these beliefs are nevertheless tinged with them, which is why people who aren't staunch antisemites will nevertheless fail to take anti-Semitism seriously.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66qe76gkCxo&t=166s

Ian Gibson said... 4 March 2019 at 05:30
Coming on the day when the FT have a column seriously positing that criticizing capitalism is inherently anti-Semitic, it seems to me that dancing on the head of a pin about whether the 'careless' anti-Semitism you've described means the party is institutionally anti-Semitic is rather missing the point. (OK, the column is by John McTernan, but the FT gave him column inches to argue that case, and I guess they didn't mean it as the satire it most certainly is.)

As many of the comments on your blog on Williamson attest, the salient feature of this - well, call it witch-hunt for the sake of argument - is the double standards where we have to be whiter than white, whilst no account whatsoever is taken of the most egregious racism elsewhere. We live in society: we can never, ever be that whiter than white - especially when it comes to Israel/Palestine, which is so full of contradictions and traps for the unwary (e.g. the position of the Israeli state claiming to speak for all Jewry around the world, in the way that the Board of Deputies position themselves as speaking for all British Jews - neither close to being true, but small wonder that opponents of what they do and stand for take that universality at face value.)

The fight we need to take up is to compare and contrast just how pro-active the current party is against anti-Semitism in its constitution and machinery with the glaring absence of such elsewhere, and to present a positive picture of what we are doing, rather than mumbling apologetically into our beards. We need to take the fight to the rigged system at the same time as being unstinting in rooting out the troubling stuff.

Boffy said... 4 March 2019 at 09:47
The other nonsense that has grown up is that it is only those that suffer any form of discrimination who can define what that discrimination is, i.e. only Jews can define anti-Semitism, only black people can define racism against them, only women can define discrimination against women.

That then assumes that the members of each of these groups are themselves homogeneous, and agreed in such definitions. In reality, it means that dominant elements, i.e. those connected to the ruling class and ruling ideas get to make those determinations.

If we look at anti-Semitism, for example, it is quite clear that there is no agreement amongst Jews on what constitutes anti-Semitism. The JVL, certainly have a different definition than the JLM.

But, just rationally, the concept that only those discriminated against get to define the discrimination is bonkers. Suppose you come from Somalia or some other country that practices FGM, you could argue that it is part of your cultural heritage, and that anyone seeking to prevent you from undertaking this barbaric practice was thereby racist, on your self-definition of what that discrimination against you amounts to. Or Saudis might argue that it is racist to argue against their practice of lopping off women's heads, or stoning them to death for adultery, including having been raped, etc.

Jim Denham said... 4 March 2019 at 15:25
The JVL come pretty close to arguing that there is *no* anti-Semitism in the Labour party (Jenny Manson, for instance, says she's never witnessed any)and Glyn Secker wrote a piece in the Morning Star last year comparing claims of anti-Semitism within Labour to the story of the emperor's new clothes.
Boffy said... 5 March 2019 at 09:00
Given that the actual data, even allowing for all of the spurious and mischievous accusations of anti-Semitism in the party, made by right-wing enemies of the the party, and particularly of Corbyn and his supporters, amounts to only 0.1% of the membership, and given that of these, 40% were straight away found to be accusations against people who were not even LP members, with a further 20%, being found to have absolutely no evidence to back them, its quite possible that individual members of the LP, have never seen any instance of it.

Take out all those mischievous and malicious allegations made in order to whip up the hysteria, so as to to damage the party, by its enemies, and you arrive at a figure of only 400 potential cases, out of a membership of 600,000, which is 1 member in 1500. If the average branch size if 100 active members, it means on average there is one potential case of anti-Semitism in every 15 branches. So, if you are a member in any of the other 14 branches, you would never see that one potential case of anti-Semitism.

In fact, based upon the actual facts, as opposed to the fiction and factional hysteria that is being whipped up by right-wing opponents of Corbyn and the party, and by supporters of Zionism for their own narrow political reasons, the chances are about 14: that you will never see any even potential instance of anti-Semitism, even on the narrow definition that the party has now imposed upon itself, which comes pretty close if not entirely to identifying anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, or even just criticism of the current Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu.

In the US, Jewish groups that have long been ardent defenders of Israel have more recently come out to criticize the regime of Netanyahu, and the actions of the Israeli state. The main defenders of Zionism, besides the actual Zionists themselves, appear to be people like the AWL, who for whatever reason hitched their wagon to Zionist ideology some time ago, probably in their usual knee-jerk reaction of putting a plus sign wherever the SWP put a minus. Having done so, and as a result of the bureaucratic centrist nature of the sect, they find themselves now having to follow through on the position they adopted on the basis of the "practical politics" - opportunism - as it dictated itself to them at the time.

If, and probably more likely when, they change position, it will come as with all their previous changes of position with the assertion that "nothing has changed", as when after claiming a few years ago that the LP was a stinking corpse - as they ridiculously stood their own candidates in elections with the inevitable result - and the next minute proclaimed themselves as its most ardent militants, as they sought to use their sharp elbows to gain positions on Momentum's leading bodies!

Boffy said... 5 March 2019 at 09:22
Incidentally, on the question of "observance", the only time I have seen someone get stabbed, is more than 50 years ago, when I was at school. I've seen plenty of other violent stuff in the intervening period, for example, people getting glassed, people having wrought iron tables smashed over their heads. My sister, who is several years older than me, and was out bopping during the days of the Teddy Boys, saw more people getting slashed, in the 1950's, because the flick knife was the Ted's favoured weapon.

But, that doesn't mean that I disbelieve the media when it talks about the current spate of knife crimes. Its just that, however, terrible such crimes are for those that suffer or witness them, and no matter how much the media that has to sensationalise every story, for its own commercial purposes, talks about an epidemic or a knife crime crisis, the number of knife crimes per head of population is extremely small.

The chances that 999 out of 1,000 of us will never be the victim of, or witness knife crime does not mean it doesn't exist. But, those that then claim that the 999 out of 1,000 of us who say we have not seen it, must be somehow being dishonest, are not dealing with the facts, and are simply fuelling a moral panic.

When some phenomena is statistically insignificant, which 1 in 1,500 cases, is, and when as with many such phenomena there is no normal distribution of the occurrence of such cases - for example, knife crime will tend to be concentrated in particular areas - trying to present any kind of rational analysis based upon personal observation is a mug's game.

Just because the only case of stabbing I have witnessed was more than 50 years ago, does not, and should not lead me to think that knife crime was worse 50 years ago than it is today. The actual data would seem to suggest that cases of anti-Semitism were greater in the LP in previous times than they are currently, contrary to what the media and those with factional motives would have us believe. It is certainly thec ase that anti-Semitism is a bigger problem in the Tory party, and other right-wing organisations than it is in the LP, again not that you would know that from the reporting of it, or from the attitude of certain factional sects, such as the AWL.

Jim Denham said... 5 March 2019 at 11:14

Labour has 'much larger' group of antisemitic members which Corbyn has failed to deal with, Momentum founder warns

By Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor The Independent, Monday 25 February 2019 16:10 |

Labour has "a much larger" group of antisemitic members than it recognises which Jeremy Corbyn has failed to "deal with", Momentum founder Jon Lansman has warned.

The Labour leader's long-standing ally said "conspiracy theorists" had infiltrated the party – a consequence of its huge surge in membership in recent years.

Mr Lansman stopped short of backing the call from Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, for Mr Corbyn to take personal charge of the antisemitism complaints dogging Labour.

But he said: "I do think we have a major problem and it always seems to me that we underestimate the scale of it. I think it is a widespread problem.

"I think it is now obvious that we have a much larger number of people with hardcore antisemitic opinions which, unfortunately, is polluting the atmosphere in a lot of constituency parties and in particular online. We have to deal with these people."

Speedy said... 6 March 2019 at 06:39
Approaching this from another angle...

The apparent level of anti-semitism in Labour is a modern phenomenon turbo-charged and amplified by social media. People have their views reinforced within their bunkers where anti-Israeli memes become anti-Zionist and then become anti-Semitic. It is much easier to send an anonymous email than a letter.

History is very much the tale of new technology transforming the potential of human behaviour and beliefs, and one of the oldest beliefs ("the blood libel") is anti-Semitism.

This is how Labour has changed - ie, the rise of Corbyn has coincided with the ubiquity of this technology. In fact, arguably the rise of Corbyn was aided by it.

Corbyn's nuanced position on Israel/Palestine gives permission to social media extremists.

The rest is history.

Incidentally, this is why you are less likely to confront anti-Semitism in real-life while the internet may be awash with it - there are the real and virtual identities which only occasionally bleed into each other.

Which is true and which is not? We might wonder if technology has evolved ahead of human adaptation - the "real world" filters that govern apparently "real" behaviour missing.

I'm sure even certain posters here are less bananas in "real life" than their online comments might suggest!

Boffy said... 6 March 2019 at 10:42
I wouldn't trust Lansman on this issue, any more than on many others. Lansman abolished democracy, to the extent it existed to begin with, by turning it into his personal fiefdom, reminiscent of the activities of Hyndman and the SDF. His position on anti-Semitism, and fighting the witch-hunt, and of appeasing the Blair-right's as they attacked Corbyn, has been appalling throughout.

Having abolished any democracy in Momentum, which he now runs as its CEO, he also appears to want Corbyn to do the same thing with the Labour Party, abolishing its internal democratic procedures, and putting himself personally in charge of those disciplinary measures. That truly would be the actions of a Bonapartist. That Tom Watson is prepared to do that, as he sets himself up in a situation of dual power, to confront Corbyn is no surprise that anyone who even remotely considers themselves a part of the Left should support should a move is a disgrace. Perhaps no surprise that the AWL supporters of Zionism, and the witch-hunt, appear to be doing so, then.

Its notable that, yesterday, when the Welsh Labour Grass Roots organisation came out to call for Williamson's suspension to be reversed, Kinnock and other Blair-rights immediately called for an investigation into them, and for its Secretary who sits on Labour's NEC to also be suspended, for interfering in an ongoing investigation! So, why did those same Blair-rights not call for the suspension of Watson, who immediately demanded Williamson's suspension, and withdrawal of the whip, before any investigation, or indeed of Hodge and others who on a daily basis go to the media to sally forth about cases that are under investigation, or waiting for investigation.

This truly is reaching into the realms of McCarthyism, where you are found guilty not just of witchcraft, but of consorting with witches, or even having an opinion as to whether an individual charged with witchcraft is guilty, or even the extent to which the number of witches amongst might be exaggerated.

Jim Denham's comment is a case in point. How much more "anti-Semitism" exists? What is the factual basis of the statement, as opposed to click bait headline. Even if the actual extent is 100% more than the data so far presented, that would mean that potentially 1 in 750 LP members might be guilty of some form of anti-Semitism. Its hardly an epidemic, or institutional anti-Semitism, and far less than exists in the Tory Party, which is also infected by Islamaphobia, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia.

In fact, its probably much less than you would find in the BBC, Sky or other establishment institutions. Anti-Semitism exists, and is a problem, but that does not mean it is not being used by Labour's enemies or the proponents of Zionism for their own political ends. The real conspiracy theorists are those that try to present anti-Semitism as a conspiracy based upon infiltration of the LP, the same people who presented the support for Corbyn from 300,000 new members as really just being a case of far left entryism, by Trots.

Jim Denham said... 7 March 2019 at 09:10
This is a meme, taken from Incog Man, a far-right site. It was posted with positive endorsement by a Labour member, Kayla Bibby, a delegate to conference in fact:

Link to the meme:

https://static.timesofisrael.com/jewishndev/uploads/2019/02/ellmann-640x400.jpg

Bibby subsequently received only a formal warning, with Thomas Gardiner of Labour's Governance and Legal Unit (what used to be the Compliance Unit), saying it was only anti-Israel, and not anti-Semitic.

Not only could a Labour member post something obviously anti-Semitic, it was not deemed to be so by the Compliance Unit. I bet we all know people who would agree.

Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 12:36
It's not a factually accurate description of global political realities, because Israel does not control the US, if that is what the image is intended to imply. But, the message, is thereby anti-Israeli state, not anti-Semitic. It could only be considered anti-Semitic, if in fact you are a Zionist and claim that Israel and Jews are are interchangeable terms, which they are not.

In fact, there are probably not an inconsiderable number of Jews, who think that the state of Israel does exercise undue influence over US policy, and certainly it seems to be the case that, in the US, more liberal Jewish groups, seem to think that one reason that the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, in Israel, was so supportive of Trump, and we see the same support for Trump amongst Zionists in Britain, is at least in part due to the fact that Obama had been distancing the US from its historical uncritical support for Israel.

If we replace Zionism with Toryism, and Jew with British, the situation becomes fairly clear. If the we show the British state as being controlled by Tories, who implement their ideology of Toryism, in what way would criticism of the British state, under the control of such Tories, or criticism of Tories be the equivalent of British people as a whole?

Clearly it wouldn't, because there are a majority of British people who oppose Toryism, and thereby oppose the actions of the British state under the control of the Tories. A nationalist, or racist might want to equate the nation state with the whole of its people, but the people who are doing that here, by interpreting criticism of the Israeli state with anti-Semitism, are the Zionists themselves, and their apologists, because they seek thereby to delegitimize any criticism of the state of Israel and Zionism by equating it with anti-Semitism.

That in effect makes the Zionists themselves, and their apologists anti-Semites, because in adopting this equation of Jewishness with being Zionist, and with Israel, they make all Jews thereby responsible for the actions of Zionism and of the state of Israel!

Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 13:47
The problem for the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham, on this issue comes down to this. Until thirty years ago, the organisation, under its previous names, was an ardent defender of the ideas and traditions of Jim Cannon. Cannon's "The Struggle for a Proletarian Party" was required reading for all of its members. Then, in an about face, the organisation overnight collapsed into what Trotsky called "the petit-bourgeois Third Camp", and so became ardent defenders of the enemies of Cannon, the petit-bourgeois Third Camp of Burnham- Shachtman. That kind of wild zig-zag is typical of bureaucratic-centrist organisations, which is what the AWL is.

As part of this collapse into the petit-bourgeois Third Camp, and the moralistic politics it is based upon, the AWL also adopted the ideas of Third Campists like Al Glotzer, in relation to Israel and Zionism, as opposed to the position of Mandel, which represented a continuation of the ideas of Cannon and Trotsky. I set this out in a short blog post 12 years ago Glotzer and the Jews as Special , after the AWL had repeatedly censored it appearing on their website in response to an article setting out Glotzer's position.

Having committed themselves to the reactionary Zionist ideology that essentially underpins Glotzer's stance - the same thing idea of having lost faith in the working-class, and so having to rely on the bourgeois state, or "progressive imperialism" to accomplish the tasks of the working-class, is behind the AWL's support for NATo's war against Serbia, Iraq, Libya etc., but is also behind the politics of other Third Campists such as the SWP, that instead look to other larger forces, such as reactionary "anti-imperialist" states to carry forward its moral agenda - the AWL are left now trying to defend their position of support for the creation of a racist, expansionist state in Israel, as the inevitable consequences of that venture unfold.

For a Marxist, it is not at all difficult to say that the establishment of the state of Israel is one that we should not have supported at the time, because it would lead to the kind of consequences we see today, and yet, to say, 75 years on from the creation of that state, it is an established fact, and trying to unwind history, by calling for the destruction of that state would have even more calamitous consequences for the global working-class. It is quite easy for a Marx to say that the current nature of the Israeli state, as a racist Zionist state, based, like almost no other state in the world on a confessional basis, i.e. of being a Jewish state, a state for Jews in preference to every other ethnic/religious group flows from the ideology, and nature of its creation. But, then to argue that the answer to that is not a destruction of the state of Israel, which could only be done on the bones of millions of Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, but is to wage a working-class based struggle against that racist foundation upon which the state has been founded, and that struggle is one that must unite Jews and Arabs alike. In fact, the position of palestinians today is a mirror image of that of the Jews 75 years ago.

The hope of a Two-State Solution disappeared long ago, and was never credible. It simply allows Zionists to proclaim they are in favour of it, whilst doing everything to make it practically impossible, such as extending West Bank Settlements. The solution must flow from a struggle for democratic rights for Israeli Arabs, and for a right for all Arabs in occupied territories to be extended the same rights as any other Israeli, including the right to vote, and send representatives to the Knesset. As I argued thirty years ago, the longer-term solution is a Federal Republic of Israel and Palestine, guaranteeing democratic rights to all, as part of building a wider Federal Republic of MENA.

Anonymous said... 7 March 2019 at 16:54

Jim Denham: imperialist lackey and sycophant turned Witch hunter in chief

Let us be very clear about what this witch hunt is about, it is about purging from public life any credible and effective opposition to Israel in particular and more generally opposition to the imperialist barbarians of the imperialist core. It is about driving from universities, social media and intellectual life any form of opposition to the interests of the imperialists.

This is nothing but authoritarianism in action, censorship of political opponents and the closing down of any credible definition of free speech.

In other words this is something any leftist worth half an atom would be fighting against with all their energies.

But what do we find, pathetic pro war pro imperialists leftists and post modern liberals joining the witch hunt.

Meanwhile in the real world:

A UN report has concluded that Israel deliberately targeted and killed hundreds of protesting civilians, including children and disabled people and it shot 20,000+ people (yes 20,000+!). The UN says this likely a war crime. Why are the noble defenders of the Palestinian cause in the dock and not notorious Palestinian haters like Jim Denham?

How can anyone on the left get away with supporting and providing ideological cover for Israel How can any leftist allow a socialist movement to be sabotaged by the Israel state and its army of appalling immoral apologists?

These attacks on Corbyn and his supporters, repeated in all of the most aggressive imperialist countries, are simply a proxy attack on the Palestinian people themselves.

Boffy said... 8 March 2019 at 11:15
Jim Denham's comment here illustrates the problem entirely. The picture he has linked to shows an alien symbiote having attached itself to the face of the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty here represents the US. The symbiote has on its back the Israeli Flag, and likewise, thereby represents the state of Israel. The picture therefore, represents the well-worn, and clearly factually wrong meme that Israel controls the US.

But, as a Zionist organisation, the AWL and its members cannot distinguish between the state of Israel and Jews, so they cannot distinguish between criticism of the state of Israel, and criticism if Jews. For them, as for the Zionist ideology of the state of Israel, which is most clearly manifest in the ideology of its current political leadership, in the form of the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, with the recent introduction of blatantly racist laws that discriminate even more openly against not Jewish Israeli citizens, and with his willingness to try to keep his corrupt regime in office by going into coalition with an avowedly Neo-Nazi party that until recent times was considered beyond the pale, even by most Zionists, the term Zionism is synonymous with the term Jew. So, any criticism of Zionism, or of Israel is for them immediately equated with anti-Semitism.

It is what leads such Zionists to then also insist on their right to determine who is a Jew or not. The AWL do that with all those Jews, such as the JVL, who refuse to accept the AWL's definition of anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism. Its like the old saw that the definition of a Scot is someone who wears a kilt, and when asked about Jock McTavish, from Arbroath, who does not wear a kilt, the reply comes back, then he cannot really be a Scot!

The Zionists insists on defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and thereby closing down debate. Jim Denham does that most clearly here, in his refusal to debate the actual substantive points. It is typical of the attitude of the AWL, in general which long since gave up trying to defend its bourgeois liberal, opportunist politics by rational debate, and instead turned to bureaucratic censorship, and ill-tempered invective.

Boffy said... 9 March 2019 at 08:58
Once again Jim Denham reefuses to engage in rational debate, and again resorts instead to his assumption that Israel = Jews, as well as his crude attempts at a typical Stalinist amalgam, to conflate the views of his opponents with some hate figure.

Again Jim Denham makes the conflation of Israel and Jews explicit when he says, "This image also plays on the tired and disgraceful antisemitic 'conspiracy theory' trope of undue Israeli (Jewish) influence on world affairs."

The conflation of equating Israel with the term Jew flows directly from the Zionist ideology that underpins the Israeli State, but which also adopted by the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham. It thereby effectively denies statehood to non-Jewish Israeli citizens, making them non-persons, erasing them from history, in the same way that Jim Denham has sought to do in diminishing if not entirely denying the genocides against other ethnic groups such as Native North Americans, Australian and New Zealand aboriginals etc., as a result of his Zionist privileging of the specific genocide against Jews in the Holocaust.

It is the same kind of racism, of course, that is applied by the BNP and other white nationalists, who seek to portray Britain as being a nation for white Britons, and thereby deny other Britons the right to consider themselves really British. Every socialist, can understand the racist nature of that ideology when it is applied to Britain, and elsewhere, but the AWL, and its members, like Jim Denham, deny it when it is applied to Israel, which they want to treat as being different to every other state on the planet, in defence of their Zionist ideology that privileges Israeli Jews over others, and by extension equates the term Jew with the term Israel.

Its most extreme version comes with the fascists that Netanyahu has now gone into alliance with, whose ideology states that God only put gentiels on the Earth to be slaves and serve the needs of Jews, as the chosen people! It means that they see the place of non-Jewish Israelis in those terms, as being allowed to remain in Israel only on that subservient basis. This is the ideology that the AWL is now logically tied to, in having adopted Zionism as the answer to the problems of Jewish workers rather than socialism.

And, of course, the extension of that principle for other Zionists is illustrated in their support for fascists like Orban in Hungary, who wants to adopt a similar nationalist ideology of keeping Hungary, and other "white" European nations exclusively for "whites", in the same way that Zionists want to keep Israel exclusively for Jews.

It is a sorry state when socialists have degenerated to such an extent that not only do they fail to distinguish between nationalist ideology and socialist ideology by adopting nationalist solutions to workers problems such as "nationalisation", by the capitalist state, but where, in adopting such reactionary nationalist ideology, the logic of their position drives them to supporting the idea that nation states should be exclusively for particular ethnic groups, such as Israel for the Jews, Hungary for white Christians and so on.

Boffy said... 9 March 2019 at 16:31
The way that the right are using anti-Zionism as the equivalent for anti-Semitism, and the appeasement of that attack has led them to widen the scope of that attack. As Labour List reports , right-wing Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, is now claiming that to be anti-capitalist is also to be "anti-Semitic". The idea was put forward also by former Blair-right spin doctor, John McTernan, who wrote an article in the FT to that same effect

Channelling Jim Denham, McTernan writes,

"As the historian Deborah Lipstadt points out, anti-Semitic tropes share three elements: money or finance is always in the mix; an acknowledged cleverness that is also seen as conniving; and, power -- particularly a power to manipulate more powerful entities.

All of these feature in the criticism of Israel and the so-called Israel lobby. They can be easily moulded into a critique of capitalism, too."

The line of argument was illustrated to me some weeks ago, in a comment I received in relation to an article I wrote about Marx's analysis of fictitious capital, as part of my critique of Paul Mason's Postcapitalism . The commenter, argued that Marx's analysis of fictitious capital appeared to be simply Marx blaming bankers and money lenders, for which read Jews, for the world's ills, and was thereby simply an expression of the well-known fact that Marx was a self-hating Jew, much as the AWL, describe all those other Jews that do not share their commitment to |Zionism. The commenter as evidence of this provided a link to a literary critique of Marx's On The Jewish Question , which is cited as proving that Marx was an anti-semite.

In fact, I pointed out that in nothing that Marx had written about fictitious capital, or what I had written describing Marx's analysis of fictitious capital are bankers discussed, let alone Jewish bankers. The anonymous commenter, has, in fact, since deleted their comments, meaning that my responses to them were also deleted.
But, this is the way this right-wing witch-hunt proceeds, by throwing a net to catch whatever they can trawl in, and at the very least sowing the seeds of doubt as they require those being attacked to respond to their wild accusations. It means that any statement can be framed to mean that there is some subtext beneath the actual words and pictures that is somehow anti-Semitic, if only you know the relevant coda to unlock the true meaning, and anyone who doubts the meaning being placed upon it, is thereby a defender of the anti-Semitic message. As with the attacks on Momentum, and the initial surge of membership supporting Corbyn, it is always phrased in dark conspiratorial language, about unseen forces being behind what is seen on the surface. So, we were supposed to believe that a few hundred Trots in Britain somehow morphed into 300,000 new LP members! But, Momentum now having shown that it is a tame part of the establishment, is even able to recruit McTernan himself as a member.

The appeasement as with all witch-hunts only provokes the witch-hunters to widen the scope of their activities. The AWL, which was at the forefront of helping the witch-hunters with their shameful support for the witch-hunting of Jackie Walker, was repaid by having their own members expelled too, and having right-wing Labour MP's appear on TV, to characterise the AWL themselves as "anti-Semites", despite their well-known Zionist politics. Yet, oddly, the AWL seem to consider that a price worth paying, as their advocacy of Zionism seems to trump any other consideration for them in their politics.

Boffy said... 10 March 2019 at 11:09
It didn't take long for my comment of yesterday to be proved correct. Today we learn that Jess Phillips has claimed that Marxism is necessarily misogynist, because it places class oppression above all else, and so now claims that as well as the Left in the party being anti-Semitic, it is also misogynist. The attack of the Right, as I said yesterday will spread ever wider on this irrational basis, using all of the usual conspiratorial language that such witch-hunts have always adopted. Rather like a Dan Brown novel, it will imply that there are dark (Marxist) forces at work, of which Corbyn is the head of the coven (or even worse that some unseen Dark Overlord is really standing behind Corbyn, who is only its representative on Earth (i.e. in the LP).

It will suggest that these dark forces do not speak openly, but only in codes and symbols that have to be unlocked by the forces of Light, who like Jim Denham, can look into the minds of men and women, and see what is really going inside.

I actually found that despite the anonymous Zionist commenter to my article on Medium having deleted their comments, my replies to them, were in fact still floating around here , here , and here .

As the right-wing extend their witch-hunt against socialists in the LP to claim that Marxists are necessarily misogynist, as well as anti-Semitic – and the same logic presented by McDonagh, McTernon, and Phillips would presumably mean that the Left must also be xenophobic, homophobic, anti- Green, and many other charges they want to throw into the mix – it will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the AWL, join them in that assault, in the same way they have done in their promotion of Zionism.

[Aug 14, 2019] In any case the stuff the Deep State factions are struggling over, war, empire, funny money, and other con games, are inherently corrupt and corrupting, and formal dominance could only mean submission to the rules of the Game. Probably better to lose influentially; victory is death.

Notable quotes:
"... In the case of Epstein, I was thinking not that he was a principal who had to be offed because he ' knew too much ', but was more like the racehorse whose head winds up in someone's bed. ..."
Aug 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Anarcissie , , August 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm

If you consider social democrat types to be Left -- the 'near Left' -- then they've made great progress during the reign of Trump. It is true they are nowhere near dominance as yet, but in any case the stuff the Deep State factions are struggling over, war, empire, funny money, and other con games, are inherently corrupt and corrupting, and formal dominance could only mean submission to the rules of the Game. Probably better to lose influentially; victory is death.

In the case of Epstein, I was thinking not that he was a principal who had to be offed because he ' knew too much ', but was more like the racehorse whose head winds up in someone's bed. Or hearing that someone has been given plutonium tea. 'We can do this, sucker!'

elissa3 , , August 14, 2019 at 2:55 pm

A more elaborate take on factional struggle: https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug19/deep-state-war8-19.html

[Aug 14, 2019] The Citadels of America s Elites Fractured and At Odds with Each Other by Alastair Crooke

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The speed with which US political leaders of all stripes have united behind the idea of a 'new cold war' is something that takes my breath away. Eighteen months ago the phrase was dismissed as fringe scaremongering. Today it is consensus. ..."
"... It is clear that there is indeed now a clear bi-partisan consensus in the US on China ..."
"... A US policy boiled down to one overriding component: 'hammering Russia'. "Hammering Russia" (he insisted repeatedly), will continue until President Putin understands there is no military solution in Syria (he said with heightened verbal emphasis). Russia falsely assumes that Assad has 'won' war: "He hasn't", Jeffrey said. And the US is committed to demonstrating this fundamental 'truth'. ..."
"... Recall how little time ago, the talk was of partnership, of the US working with Russia to find a solution in Syria. Now the talk of the US Envoy is the talk of Cold War with Russia as much as were his Aspen colleagues – albeit in respect to China. ..."
"... All this braggadocio is reminiscent of late 2003 when the war in Iraq was just entering its insurgent stage: It was said then that mere "boys go to Baghdad; but real men chose to go to Tehran ". It gained wide circulation in Washington at the time. This type of talk gave rise, as I well recall, to something approaching an hysteric elation. Officials seemed to be walking six inches above the ground, in anticipation of all the dominos expected to fall in succession. ..."
"... The point here is that the tacit coupling of Russia – now termed a major 'foe' of America by US Defense officials – and China, inevitably is being refracted back at the US, in terms of a growing strategic Russo-Chinese partnership, ready to challenge the US and its allies. ..."
"... So, as we look around, the picture seems to be one in which US bellicosity is somehow consolidating as an élite consensus (with but a few individuals courageously pushing-back on the trend). So what is going on? ..."
"... The two FT correspondents effectively were signalling – in their separate articles – that the US is entering on a momentous and hazardous transformation. Further, it would seem that America's élite is being fractured into balkanised enclaves that are not communicating with one another – nor wanting to communicate with each other. Rather, it is another conflict between deadly rivals. ..."
"... One such orientation insists on a renewal of the Cold War to sustain and renew that supersized military-security complex, which accounts for more than half of America's GDP. Another élite demands that US dollar global hegemony be preserved. ..."
"... Another orientation of the Deep State is disgusted at the contagion of sexual decadence and corruption that has wormed its way into American governance – and truly hopes that Trump will 'drain the swamp'. ..."
"... But all these divided Deep State factions believe that belligerence can work. ..."
"... Like any cosseted élite, they have an exaggerated sense of their entitlement – and their impunity. ..."
"... These élite factions – for all their internal rivalry – however seem to have coalesced around a singularity of talking and thinking that allows the dominant classes to substitute for the reality of an America subject to severe stress and strain – the fable of a hegemon which still can elect which non-compliant governments and peoples to bully and remove from the global map. Their rhetoric alone is curdling the atmospherics in the non-West. ..."
"... The leader of any nation is never sovereign. He or she sits atop a pyramid of quarrelling princelings (Deep State princelings, in this instance), who have their own interests and agenda. Trump is not immune to their machinations. ..."
"... One obvious example being Mr Bolton's successful gambit in persuading the Brits to seize the Grace I tanker off Gibraltar. At a stroke, Bolton escalated the conflict with Iran ('increased the pressure' on Iran, as Bolton would probably term it); put the UK at the forefront of America's 'war' with Iran; divided the JCPOA signatories, and embarrassed the EU. He is a canny 'operator' – no doubt about it. ..."
Aug 03, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Something is 'up'. When two Financial Times columnists – pillars of the western Establishment – raise a warning flag, we must take note: Martin Wolf was first off, with a piece dramatically headlined: The looming 100-year, US-China Conflict . No 'mere' trade war, he implied, but a full-spectrum struggle. Then his FT colleague Edward Luce, pointed out that Wolf's "argument is more nuanced than the headline. Having spent part of this week among leading policymakers and thinkers at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado," Lucetr writes , "I am inclined to think Martin was not exaggerating. The speed with which US political leaders of all stripes have united behind the idea of a 'new cold war' is something that takes my breath away. Eighteen months ago the phrase was dismissed as fringe scaremongering. Today it is consensus."

A significant shift is underway in US policy circles, it seems. Luce's final 'take' is that "it is very hard to see what, or who, is going to prevent this great power rivalry from dominating the 21st century". It is clear that there is indeed now a clear bi-partisan consensus in the US on China. Luce is surely right. But that is far from being the end of it. A collective psychology of belligerence seems to be taking shape, and, as one commentator noted, it has become not just a great-power rivalry, but a rivalry amongst 'Beltway' policy wonks to show "who has the bigger dick".

And quick to demonstrate his, at Aspen (after others had unveiled their masculinity on China and Iran), was the US envoy for Syria (and deputy US National Security Adviser), James Jeffrey: A US policy boiled down to one overriding component: 'hammering Russia'. "Hammering Russia" (he insisted repeatedly), will continue until President Putin understands there is no military solution in Syria (he said with heightened verbal emphasis). Russia falsely assumes that Assad has 'won' war: "He hasn't", Jeffrey said. And the US is committed to demonstrating this fundamental 'truth'.

Therefore, the US plans to 'up the pressure'; will escalate the cost to Russia, until a political transition is in place, with a new Syria emerging as a "normal nation". The US will 'leverage' the costs on Russia across the board: Through military pressure – ensuring a lack of military progress in Idlib; through Israelis operating freely across Syria's airspace; through 'US partners' (i.e. the Kurds) consolidating in NE Syria; through economic costs ("our success" in stopping reconstruction aid to Syria); through extensive US sanctions on Syria (integrated with those on Iran) – "these sanctions are succeeding"; and thirdly, by diplomatic pressure: i.e. "hammering Russia" in the UN.

Well, the US shift on Syria also takes one's breath away. Recall how little time ago, the talk was of partnership, of the US working with Russia to find a solution in Syria. Now the talk of the US Envoy is the talk of Cold War with Russia as much as were his Aspen colleagues – albeit in respect to China. Such 'machismo' is evidenced too coming from the US President: "I could – if I wanted – end the US war in Afghanistan in a week", (but it would entail the deaths of 10 million Afghans), Trump exclaimed. And, in the same mode, Trump now suggests that for Iran, he is easy: war or not – either path is fine, for him.

All this braggadocio is reminiscent of late 2003 when the war in Iraq was just entering its insurgent stage: It was said then that mere "boys go to Baghdad; but real men chose to go to Tehran ". It gained wide circulation in Washington at the time. This type of talk gave rise, as I well recall, to something approaching an hysteric elation. Officials seemed to be walking six inches above the ground, in anticipation of all the dominos expected to fall in succession.

The point here is that the tacit coupling of Russia – now termed a major 'foe' of America by US Defense officials – and China, inevitably is being refracted back at the US, in terms of a growing strategic Russo-Chinese partnership, ready to challenge the US and its allies.

Last Tuesday, a Russian aircraft, flying in a joint air patrol with a Chinese counterpart, deliberately entered South Korean airspace. And, just earlier, two Russian Tu-95 bombers and two Chinese H-6 warplanes -- both nuclear capable -- reportedly had entered South Korea's air defense identification zone.

"This is the first time I'm aware of that Chinese and Russian fighters have jointly flown through the air defence identification zone of a major US ally -- in this case two US allies. Clearly it's geopolitical signalling as well as intelligence collection," said Michael Carpenter, a former Russia specialist with the US Department of Defense. It was a message to the US, Japan, and South Korea: If you strengthen the US-Japan military alliance, Russia and China have no choice but to react militarily as well.

So, as we look around, the picture seems to be one in which US bellicosity is somehow consolidating as an élite consensus (with but a few individuals courageously pushing-back on the trend). So what is going on?

The two FT correspondents effectively were signalling – in their separate articles – that the US is entering on a momentous and hazardous transformation. Further, it would seem that America's élite is being fractured into balkanised enclaves that are not communicating with one another – nor wanting to communicate with each other. Rather, it is another conflict between deadly rivals.

One such orientation insists on a renewal of the Cold War to sustain and renew that supersized military-security complex, which accounts for more than half of America's GDP. Another élite demands that US dollar global hegemony be preserved.

Another orientation of the Deep State is disgusted at the contagion of sexual decadence and corruption that has wormed its way into American governance – and truly hopes that Trump will 'drain the swamp'.

And yet another, which sees DC's now explicit amorality as risking the loss of America's global standing and leadership – wants to see a return of traditional American mores – a 'moral rearmament', as it were. (And then there are the deplorables, who simply want that America should attend to its own internal refurbishment.)

But all these divided Deep State factions believe that belligerence can work.

However, the more these fractured, rival US élite factions with their moneyed and comfortable lifestyles, cloister themselves in their enclaves, certain in their separate views about how America can retain its global supremacy, the less likely it is that they will understand the very real impact of their collective belligerence on the outside world. Like any cosseted élite, they have an exaggerated sense of their entitlement – and their impunity.

These élite factions – for all their internal rivalry – however seem to have coalesced around a singularity of talking and thinking that allows the dominant classes to substitute for the reality of an America subject to severe stress and strain – the fable of a hegemon which still can elect which non-compliant governments and peoples to bully and remove from the global map. Their rhetoric alone is curdling the atmospherics in the non-West.

But a further implication of the incoherence within the élites is applicable to Trump. It is widely assumed that because he says he does not want more wars – and because he is US President – wars will not happen. But that is not how the world works.

The leader of any nation is never sovereign. He or she sits atop a pyramid of quarrelling princelings (Deep State princelings, in this instance), who have their own interests and agenda. Trump is not immune to their machinations.

One obvious example being Mr Bolton's successful gambit in persuading the Brits to seize the Grace I tanker off Gibraltar. At a stroke, Bolton escalated the conflict with Iran ('increased the pressure' on Iran, as Bolton would probably term it); put the UK at the forefront of America's 'war' with Iran; divided the JCPOA signatories, and embarrassed the EU. He is a canny 'operator' – no doubt about it.

And this is the point: these princelings can initiate actions (including false flags) that drive events to their agenda; that can corner a President. And that is presuming that the President is somehow immune to a great 'switch in mood' among his own lieutenants (even if that consensus is nothing more than a fable that belligerency succeeds). But is it safe to assume Trump is immune to the general 'mood' amongst the varied élites? Do not his recent glib comments about Afghanistan and Iran suggest that he might leaning towards the new belligerency? Martin Wolf concluded his FT piece by suggesting the shift in the US suggests we may be witnessing a stumbling towards a century of conflict. But in the case of Iran, any mis-move could result in something more immediate – and uncontained.

[Aug 14, 2019] There is little chance that Western elites will behave any differently than a street corner drug dealer

Highly recommended!
If UK government is an example -- they are already on the same level. Look at Skripal case.
Notable quotes:
"... Now people might say "see the elites succeeded, they crushed the democratic will, got their policies enacted and successfully replaced Democracy with Oligarchism while the sheep did nothing". But this is actually where the elites (Political, Economic and Technical) show their utter incompetency in understanding statecraft and governance. ..."
"... The greatest danger to any state is NOT foreign invasion or even a rebellion by the peasants. Rather it is internal conflict between the elites within the society. ..."
"... If the elites sabotage the legitimacy of the vote by propagandized the masses so that they can't make informed decisions or become to apathetic to vote, then the entire process by which Western Elites resolve internal conflicts in irrevocably tainted and delegitimized, what will happen next time the elites have an major internal dispute? The losing side will simply see the failure of their political position as the result of them not being corrupt and dishonest enough to beat the other side so they will response by trying to subvert the other side's policies through even more corrupt and dishonest actions. ..."
"... Hilary vs Trump is a good example of where the US (and the west in general) is heading, there's scarcely a hair's difference between the policies these two advocated and the terrible consequences that the commoners will be subjected to regardless of who ended up winning the presidency. However, that hair's difference, while having no real impact of the massive majority of the world's population, it still meant tens of BILLIONS of dollars going to one group of elites vs another group of elites. ..."
"... Linking this back to Assange, he campaigned against the Western Elites control of the narrative and for that "crime" they will destroy him whatever the cost to the Empire's prestige, reputation, trust and self-worth. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , Apr 11, 2019 9:56:58 AM | link

@Cynica #30,

oh, I quite agree that the UK government is deliberately torpedoing Brexit through a deliberate campaign of profound incompetence in the hopes that this will allow them to prevent Brexit without outraging the voting public. However, my assertion is that the US & UK elites while think this campaign is oh so clever and will allow them to subvert the will of the people, they are in fact showing their true incompetence by choosing this method of Publicly campaigning on one policy to get elected, then deliberately and obviously sabotaging it.

in civics 101 we are taught that the advantage of a Democracy is that an "informed populous, making informed decisions will enact informed policies that accurately represent the will of the people (and hopefully be the best policies overall). of course, we all know in reality that the political & economic (and now the technical elites) have always despised the whole concept of Democracy because it restricts their power. Their current vision for subverting the will of the people is through total information control or the "control of the narrative" as they call it. But at the end of the day all this really means is a massive domestic propaganda campaign aimed at the seething masses of plebeians aimed that tricking the masses into voting as the elite require. However, a Democracy is still a Democracy so deliberately mis-informing the populous into voting for policies that are bad for the people, but good for the elite will create a dispirited, apathetic population that isn't politically invested in the government.

Now people might say "see the elites succeeded, they crushed the democratic will, got their policies enacted and successfully replaced Democracy with Oligarchism while the sheep did nothing". But this is actually where the elites (Political, Economic and Technical) show their utter incompetency in understanding statecraft and governance.

The greatest danger to any state is NOT foreign invasion or even a rebellion by the peasants. Rather it is internal conflict between the elites within the society. When civics 101 teachers say that "informed populous, making informed decisions will enact informed policies that accurately represent the will of the people", what they really mean (without being able to forthrightly state) is that through the mandate of the vote the populous will resolve specific conflicts between the elites and that the legitimacy resolution of the dispute is intrinsically & inseparably tied to the legitimacy of the vote.

If the elites sabotage the legitimacy of the vote by propagandized the masses so that they can't make informed decisions or become to apathetic to vote, then the entire process by which Western Elites resolve internal conflicts in irrevocably tainted and delegitimized, what will happen next time the elites have an major internal dispute? The losing side will simply see the failure of their political position as the result of them not being corrupt and dishonest enough to beat the other side so they will response by trying to subvert the other side's policies through even more corrupt and dishonest actions.

Hilary vs Trump is a good example of where the US (and the west in general) is heading, there's scarcely a hair's difference between the policies these two advocated and the terrible consequences that the commoners will be subjected to regardless of who ended up winning the presidency. However, that hair's difference, while having no real impact of the massive majority of the world's population, it still meant tens of BILLIONS of dollars going to one group of elites vs another group of elites.

Everyday, throughout the world, people are killed over essentially trivial amounts of money ($20 drug deals gone bad, $10,000 life insurance schemes), does anyone really think that in a conflict over billions of dollars, Western elites will behave any differently than a street corner drug dealer. Bear in mind, that we have overwhelming evidence that the Iraq War, the Libyan war and the Syrian "civil" war were about Western interest's desire to loot these countries natural resource (and the Western tax payer to boot!).

Linking this back to Assange, he campaigned against the Western Elites control of the narrative and for that "crime" they will destroy him whatever the cost to the Empire's prestige, reputation, trust and self-worth. But as I said, their too greedy to see the bigger picture and how their actions against truth, justice, and democracy will place the dagger in the hand that slits their own throats. What group (the public at large, the military, a subgroup of the elite, etc...) specifically does the deed is irrelevant, without a legitimate way to resolve the inevitable internal conflicts between the elites, the end result is clear, societal collapse.

[Aug 14, 2019] Russiagate as a smoke screen for the struggle between two powerful groups of the US elite

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 1, 2019 5:14:39 PM | 93 ">link

@ bevin #90

But that doesn't bother Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and their mob. They think quarter by quarter. Immediate gratification is the name of their game. They know that "in the long run we are all dead". And they don't care what happens then.

Your viewpoint is the same as that of Jonathon Cook. He says "Russiagate" was a faction fight between two groups of the Power Elites.

One wanted to keep 'putting the lipstick on the pig' which is predatory Capitalism, and the other wants to let it all hang out and rape the planet NOW.

Just as there was a clueless "liberal" cheering group for Mueller, the Looters have a fan club among the "right". Both sets of the applauding groups are just puppets. And of course neither has recognized their true role in the unfolding dramas.

[Aug 12, 2019] New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has called Epstein's death "way too convenient."

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?" he asked. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | www.rt.com

"How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?" he asked. Even the BBC website has as its heading of a news story today "Jeffrey Epstein: Questions raised over financier's death."

[Aug 12, 2019] If the authorities and the Ministry of Truth say that Epstein is dead I go to my Orwellian dictionary and it states that he is alive .

Aug 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

9/11 Inside job , says: August 11, 2019 at 11:33 pm GMT

Per ArcAngel "If the authorities and the Ministry of Truth say that Epstein is dead I go to my Orwellian dictionary and it states that he is alive . "

[Aug 12, 2019] There is the possibility that Epstein functioned as a pass to the highest echelons

The philandering and pedophilia of elites and politicians clearly gave intelligence againces significant leverage over many movers and shakers within Western establishments
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Goy , says: August 10, 2019 at 10:44 pm GMT

@Haxo Angmark Why would anyone have to bring down Trump? The man is fully compromised, a puppet and the FBI has already likely 15 years of material on him as revealed in Kushner, Inc.

There is the possibility that Epstein functioned as a pass to the highest echelons: you would compromise yourself by having intercourse with minors, let Epstein record it, hand it over to Mossad and possibly other agencies he worked with. To show that you can be trusted. Not unlike Unz himself suggested and exemplified by McCain.

But that is not necessary for Trump. Netanyahu gets everything he wants. And the whole Trump campaign was a distraction, bankrolled by Sheldon Adelson and managed by a former AIPAC guy and Christian Zionist and personal friend of Adelson Steve Bannon no less. Anyone who still believes Trump is not part of the deepest filth of "the swamp" is delusional and ignores way too many facts.

There is no left, no right. There is no democracy. There is an unelected oligarchy and its political puppets. Long since bought and paid for before you and I were even born

Goy , says: August 11, 2019 at 1:29 am GMT

@peterAUS Well, the particularity with Epstein is: Many people did and are paying attention. Millions. And the elite knows that we know. As you said it yourself: this was not just a cover-up. It was a demonstration of power directed at us.

And they are laughing at us; as they are getting away; as they are taking every bit of freedom and sovereignty away which the patriot act hadn’t already devoured, through bipartisan decision of the system which should (theoretically) serve the people.

The Dystopia is also already here: the cold-blooded apathy with which the ruling class in Britain treated victims as in Rotherham, the Savile case and now Epstein exposing their true characters, and those are also the leaders and elites who lecture us on morality: Ghislaine Maxwell -- save nature! Clinton Foundation, Mother Merkel… It’s disgusting.

And so many unthinkable theories which were declared “conspiracy theories” about WW2, the aftermath and our current reality turn out to be true.

But I agree: the internet allowed us to decode the illusion of the media Matrix and its artificial reality. And it is those possibilities which the ruling class wants to snuff out for good. So that the monopoly to manufacture consent, truth and reality goes back to them


Securitate , says: August 11, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT

Systemic elite kompromat shielded with arbitrary acts spanning all levels of government. Now anybody who tells you this is a democracy, or an open society, or a free country, or any of that shit, is either a mental defective or a pedo CP star in Comey’s personal Playpen stash.

You can’t pretend we’re ever going to vote our way out of this. We’re deep in the forcible-overthrow zone. If you aspire to rights or rule of law lots of CIA vermin are going to have to be Ceaușescued.

Alden , says: August 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian Epstein was a pimp. The girls were prostitutes
Colin Wright , says: • Website August 11, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian ‘…All pimps are criminals. But not all criminals are the same.’

Indeed. Some grow up in circumstances at least as dreadful as those of their victims, and while they indeed need to be locked up, are to be pitied as well.

Others have been given perfectly decent lives, and are even affluent — and yet still commit acts of depravity and cruelty.

These I have no sympathy for at all. Who is worse: the person who has never known a decent life, or the person who has been offered it, but prefers moral depravity?

Jeffrey Epstein enjoyed chewing up unfortunate children and spitting them out like sunflower husks when he was done. There was nothing keeping him from being a reasonably decent, moral man.

annamaria , says: August 12, 2019 at 1:30 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian Could you just show some decency and stop fantasizing about “female sexuality?”

This is a story of Mossad’s blackmailing operation and the abuse of underage girls.
If you have an itch for discussing “female desires” and such, look for the appropriate blogs. This forum is not an appropriate venue for you: https://empireexposed.blogspot.com/2018/02/chapter-14-jeffrey-epstein-scandal.html

During the ensuing decade since Epstein’s conviction, the seedy truth has slowly trickled out, exposing the dark, twisted, perverse sex slave trafficking operation that Epstein and his bevy of co-conspirators recruited child victims as sex slaves from poor neighborhoods in Florida, New York, South America, Europe and Russia, including three 12-year old girls from France as a birthday gift. Incredibly, his procuring pimp co-conspirators and scores of powerful pedo patrons were all granted immunity…

[Aug 11, 2019] This does significantly strain the overall credibility of the system

Aug 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

John Merryman , 10 August 2019 at 06:20 PM

This does significantly strain the overall credibility of the system, among those who would like nothing more than to believe in it, but still have some conscience and working brain cells.

Yet having been raised fairly rural, with a significant respect for the natural cycles, this is nothing so much as watching necrotic tissue decay even further. Only for those raised in fairly sterile conditions, does it seem abnormal.

strateshooter , 11 August 2019 at 09:06 AM
this corruption in US politics and DOJ is now so so pervasive hat I think only way to clear the cancer is for trump to use the Military to replace CIA, FBI, DOJ , clean out the Judges , clean out the Media and start again with STRICT compliance to the Laws of the US Constitution.

The FBI /DOJ is clearly infested with the cancer of corruption.
The DC and NY offices need to be fired in entirety and replaced by mid America new blood.

EK -> strateshooter... , 11 August 2019 at 10:43 AM
I was wondering when I would see a Trump supporter explicitly promoting a military coup in the US in a Trump supportive blog with the alibi of returning to "Constitution and Law strict compliance"...

No wonder a military coup is anti-constitutional....

I always thought all these stories of the "deep state", the "borg", "drainning the swmp", "paedophilia conspiracy theories", "Epstein case", "white supremacism terrorism", and attacks by Trump, and his ideologues, against any US institution, were designed to sow the enough ammount of distrust and confussion amongst the US population so that they become more rone to allow such an outrage...

"The FBI /DOJ is clearly infested with the cancer of corruption."

Mainly since both ends of the bipartisan system try to hijack the independence of some these powers by placing their ideologically kindred men any time they grab presidency. This includes Trump.

"The DC and NY offices need to be fired in entirety and replaced by mid America new blood."

A public officers corps which reachs its position by merits independent from political filiation is the best gurantee for a Constitutional rule and a vaccine against authoritarian aims/intends like coup d´etats.

turcopolier -> EK... , 11 August 2019 at 11:15 AM
EK

I suppose that from your position of "resistance" tht I appear to be a Trump supporter but I am not. I support the constitution and little else.

[Aug 11, 2019] Epstein s suicide is simply too convenient for too many wealthy, politically powerful people (of both parties) whom he might have implicated.

Notable quotes:
"... Last time we were promised someone whose integrity was “beyond question” we got Robert Mueller and a team of Hillary donors investigating a GOP President ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | twitter.com

Robert P. George ‏ 8:12 AM - 10 Aug 2019

Epstein's suicide--while on suicide watch in a prison--is simply too convenient for too many wealthy, politically powerful people (of both parties) whom he might have implicated. The investigation must be thorough, transparent, and by someone whose integrity is beyond question.

Robert P. George‏ @McCormickProf Aug 10

We won't get a special counsel in a case like this, but if I had the power to appoint one the choice would be easy: Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School. We need a person of his exceptional ability and integrity to get to the bottom of this and stop the further erosion of trust.

Will Chamberlain‏ @willchamberlain Aug 10

Replying to @McCormickProf

Last time we were promised someone whose integrity was “beyond question” we got Robert Mueller and a team of Hillary donors investigating a GOP President

[Aug 11, 2019] What hopefully happens now is called diffusion of responsibility .

Notable quotes:
"... What hopefully happens now is called "diffusion of responsibility". The AG is suitably "appalled". We find that the dumbest prison guard in the history of New York was rostered on that night. He was called away to the telephone- by what proved to be an overseas telemarketing call. The paper records got jammed in the printer. The supervisor had a flat tire on the way to work. The computer broke down. You know the drill. ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

walrus , 10 August 2019 at 06:51 PM

What hopefully happens now is called "diffusion of responsibility". The AG is suitably "appalled". We find that the dumbest prison guard in the history of New York was rostered on that night. He was called away to the telephone- by what proved to be an overseas telemarketing call. The paper records got jammed in the printer. The supervisor had a flat tire on the way to work. The computer broke down. You know the drill.

I said "hopefully" because if an investigation discovers a perpetrator, then they will be dead in short order too. You always remove two links between victim and murderer. That way the crime is impossible to investigate.

What this now means in practical terms is that HRC is free to run again for President.

[Aug 11, 2019] One weak spot of the conspiracy theory that Epstein was killed: Why not terminate him overseas before his return? No mess, no fuss

Highly recommended!
The question why Epstein was not terminated oversees is the critical one. It supports suicide version of his demise.
Notable quotes:
"... Why not terminate him overseas before his return? No mess, no fuss. ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Petrel , 10 August 2019 at 06:53 PM

Epstein may have been lured back to the US with some cover story of a get-out-of-jail fake death -- only the powers that be had decided to terminate his contract.
ancientarcher said in reply to Petrel... , 11 August 2019 at 03:28 AM
We still don't know whether it's the real Epstein who died! We'll be told that, of course. But if you believe that, you'll believe anything
JP Billen , 10 August 2019 at 07:39 PM
Petrel -

Why not terminate him overseas before his return? No mess, no fuss.

[Aug 11, 2019] Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.

Notable quotes:
"... Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence. ..."
"... Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators… ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ron Unz: August 10, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT

This reminds me a little of a almost forgotten incident from the 1960s

Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.

The local Texas court ruled it an apparent suicide and that's exactly how it was reported in the Washington Post and the other national newspapers

Iris : August 11, 2019 at 12:16

His name was Henry Marshall.

In 1984, Billie Sol Estes told a grand jury investigating the 1961 shooting death of Henry Marshall, an official with the Department of Agriculture, that LBJ’s associate Malcolm Wallace was Marshall’s murderer.

Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence.

Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators…

lysias , says: August 11, 2019 at 1:34 am GMT

@Iris Shortly before he died, Estes collaborated with a French journalist on a book called “Le dernier temoin” (“The Last Witness”) in which Estes claimed that he had participated in a meeting with LBJ in which the JFK assassination was planned. The book was published in French (I have a copy), but no English translation has ever appeared.

[Aug 06, 2019] Do you see how the caste system works in India? Same thing in US -- we have 4 castes.

Aug 06, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Iohannes Livingston Seagull said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , August 03, 2019 at 01:18 PM

Joe Biden as a front-runner.
"

the upwardly-mobile are the voice for those left behind. do you see how the caste system works in India?

4 castes! same thing in US. we have 4 castes.

1. we have billionaires,

2. then we have the multi-millionaires those who have more than 50 million dollars per household but not as much as 1 billion,

3. then we have the millionaires who have more than 1 million dollars but not 50 million dollars

4. then we have everyone else, the poor, We the People if you like, We the 89%,

how can we prevent upward Mobility?

Ahh! Very simple! all we have to do is tax people back down to their own level; in other words, if we can simply tax the Billionaire's at a rate which is equal to 2% of the net worth each year, but tax poor people at a rate of 7% of their net worth each year then we can prevent upward Mobility. do you see how easy that is?

whoops we don't even have to do that. according to Elizabeth Warren we are doing that already. we can relax now.

was Joe Biden presiding over the Senate when all that ground work was being done on the tax code so that we don't have to do any of that anymore? well bless his bones! senile as he is, he was right there with it when we needed him the most.

I'm voting for Uncle Joe. hell! he's not

creepy; he is a
visionary
.!

[Aug 03, 2019] The what to they call it in the US? Ah dog and pony show, that's right; anyway this dog and pony show has become much more practised and polished in its performance since the trump asshole was initially installed.

Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

A User , Aug 3 2019 3:40 utc | 53

It appears to me, a simple citizen of planet earth that the temporary joining together of both halves of the american empire party in order to prevent a fellow DC politician from being installed as the Director Intelligence will enter the history books as the classic example, the epitome of how the deep state or secret state or whatever this a-democratic & inhuman coalition of the ungood and the greedy is finally called.

The what to they call it in the US? Ah dog and pony show, that's right; anyway this dog and pony show has become much more practised and polished in its performance since the trump asshole was initially installed. It took them forever to purge Flynn as National Security advisor which wasn't even a cabinet position.
Now after one trump trial balloon tweet, the scum floating on the surface of the DC cesspool quickly drop all the animosity that they reckon they feel for each other and unite to make sure that the only advice the orange fool can access is their advice.

Trump should just go for temporary appointments, I dunno how disadvantaged a temp is at that level, but it would stop the MIC from gaining the complete control they currently have.

[Aug 03, 2019] State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

Aug 03, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , July 23, 2019 at 02:55 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/20/opinion/sunday/inequality-taxes.html

July 20, 2019

State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

Most states lean heavily on lower-income families. An Illinois referendum is a step toward correcting the problem.

Economic inequality is on the rise in Illinois, and the state government is part of the problem. Illinois taxes low-income families at much higher rates than high-income families, asking the most of those who have the least.

Low-income households in Illinois pay about 14 cents in state and local taxes from every dollar of income, while the state's most affluent households pay about 7 cents per dollar.

That gap between the poor and the wealthy in Illinois is one of the largest in any state, but the poor pay taxes at higher rates in 45 of the 50 states, according to a 2018 study * by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

It's a bipartisan phenomenon. The institute's list of the 10 states with the most regressive tax systems -- the states doing the most to increase inequality through taxation -- also includes conservative Tennessee and Texas, purple Nevada and Florida, and liberal Washington.

Now Illinois is trying to take its name off the list. The state plans to hold a referendum next year on a constitutional amendment that would authorize the state to tax higher incomes at progressively higher rates -- the system used by the federal government and 32 states.

Illinois currently taxes income at a flat rate of 4.95 percent. Under the proposed system, income below $100,000 would be taxed at a slightly lower rate. Income up to $250,000 would be taxed at the current rate. And income above that amount would be taxed at rates of up to 7.99 percent. There is also a kind of millionaire's tax: Individuals making more than $750,000, or couples making more than $1 million, would pay the 7.99 percent rate on all their income.

Moving Toward Tax Fairness

Illinois will hold a referendum next year on replacing its flat income tax with a system requiring higher-income households to pay higher rates. Even including sales and property taxes, the rich still would pay a smaller share of income in state and local taxes than lower-income people.

Economic inequality in the United States has reached the highest levels since the 1920s, and there is mounting evidence that the unequal distribution of income and wealth is contributing to the nation's economic and political problems. Reducing inequality ought to be a focus of public policy. Rewriting state tax laws to place the greater burden on those with greater means is an effective and sensible response.

Taxation in the United States remains progressive because the federal income tax remains the largest source of government revenue. But the distribution of the total burden has become much less progressive. In 1961, Americans with the highest incomes paid an average of 51.5 percent of that income in federal, state and local taxes. Half a century later, in 2011, Americans with the highest incomes paid just 33.2 percent of their income in taxes, according to a study ** by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman published last year. Over that same period, the bottom 90 percent of Americans, ranked by income, saw their tax burden increase from 22.3 percent of income to 26 percent of income.

Tax Cuts for the Affluent, More Taxes for Everyone Else

Over 50 years, federal tax cuts reduced the overall burden on the well-to-do, while others paid more because of increases in federal payroll taxation, and in state and local taxes.

(Since 2011, federal income taxation has increased under President Barack Obama and declined under President Trump. Data on the full impact of those countervailing changes is not yet available.)

The headline problem is that Congress sharply reduced taxation of the wealthy, cutting top income tax rates as well as corporate and estate taxation.

Meanwhile, the tax burden on everyone else has increased. One reason is the gradual rise of federal payroll taxation, the flat-rate income tax that provides funding for Social Security and Medicare. The Social Security tax is particularly regressive because it applies only to income up to $132,900. The relative scale of state and local taxation also has risen, partly because the federal government increasingly funds its operations with borrowed money rather than tax dollars.

State and local governments rely heavily on sales and property taxes, which impose a greater burden on less affluent households because wealthier people typically spend a smaller share of income on food, housing and other forms of consumption. In roughly one-third of states, this effect is partly offset by progressive income taxation. But even in most of those states, the overall burden still falls more heavily on those with lower incomes. Only a handful of states -- California, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey and Vermont -- and the District of Columbia have written their tax laws so that those with the highest incomes pay the largest share of their incomes.

The Illinois plan is a step in the right direction rather than a complete corrective. Under current law, households in the bottom quintile of the income distribution pay 14.4 percent of their income in taxes on average, while those in the top 1 percent pay 7.4 percent of their income in taxes -- a difference of 7 percentage points. The proposed changes in the income tax would cut that gap to 4.3 percentage points, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Illinois is seeking to address longstanding fiscal problems, notably an underfunded pension system, so it is raising taxes on the rich without significantly reducing taxes for everyone else. Other states, however, could do better by raising taxes on the rich and using the money to reduce the taxation of low-income families.

Opponents of progressive taxation warn that wealthy people and businesses will flee to other states, and that those with the most money are the most mobile. People can vote with their feet, and some do prefer low-tax states like Florida. But a quick look at the list of states with progressive tax structures should make clear that plenty of rich people choose to stay put.

Indeed, the Cornell sociologist Cristobal Young has calculated that people with million-dollar incomes move across state lines less often than other Americans. They are more likely to be married, more likely to have children, more likely to be involved in civic and social groups -- and, in many cases, their wealth stems from their communities. A successful Springfield dentist cannot relocate her patients to Missouri. A man who owns a chain of gas stations around Peoria is likely to remain in Peoria. A company that relies on Chicago's highly educated work force may not be focused on finding the place with the lowest tax rates.

The potential cost of losing a few millionaires also needs to be weighed against the benefits of equitable taxation. By imposing a somewhat larger burden on high-income households, states can significantly improve the material circumstances of lower-income households and slow the troubling expansion of economic inequality.

At the very least, states ought to stop making things worse.

* https://itep.org/wp-content/uploads/whopays-ITEP-2018.pdf

** https://www.nber.org/papers/w22945.pdf

[Jul 29, 2019] Longtime NYPD said as a father it was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen.

Jul 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Chris Dakota -> Pairadimes Feb 19, 2017 5:54 PM

http://yournewswire.com/district-attorney-obama-treason/

and then kill them all, every damn one of them!

You better be tough to watch this, not for women unless you are like me who will watch it and spread it.

Warning: you can't unwatch this and will need to claim your space after and pray.

This IS John Podesta. This IS what I said was coming to him last summer/fall.

What did I say about this coming eclipse? It is in Pisces, water, water pourer, dams, leaks, secrets and film. Note the color purple which is the Pisces color.

People are saying this is John Podesta torturing a boy in a shower. I had to turn the sound off it was so horrific. This came from Weiners laptop, the cops must be leaking now Life insurance file.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud_TJe0v6IY

John Podesta's voice a match!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=qzRcPK571mI

divingengineer -> Chris Dakota Feb 19, 2017 6:04 PM

Is this what Comey showed the Senate group this week when they came out looking like they were seasick?

Chris Dakota -> divingengineer Feb 19, 2017 6:13 PM

Yes and longtime NYPD said "as a father it was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen."

because it is evil.

I am thinking it is MKULTRA stuff, designed with strobe light to split the personality. vulcanraven Pinto Currency Feb 19, 2017 1:47 PM I fucking hope so. I just wonder what the hell they are waiting for, but the more I think about it this is the best I can come up with:

If Pedogate is finally blown wide open, it is going to rip a hole through the fabric of reality for the unawashed sheeple. It will also destroy any and all faith in the US government, and full blown chaos will erupt everywhere.

So whoever is holding the goods on PG, also knows that reality hangs in the balance upon opening that can of worms. I also believe when the dam finally does break and people are getting led away in handcuffs on national TV, a large majority of the population will still be in full blown denial... finding any and every reason to somehow blame the scandal on Trump/Russia/The Flying Spaghetti Monster

[Jul 29, 2019] The hidden control mechanism of what the late Paul A. Samuelson called our "democratic oligarchy".

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... " that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise." ..."
"... "Indeed, under our putative system of democracy, especially since JFK, the oligarchy will not allow the election of any candidate who cannot be blackmailed." ..."
"... No wonder the shenannigans of compromised office-holding puppets (actors, really) and their shadowy string-pullers never seem to be known to their spear-carriers in MSM. ..."
Jul 29, 2019 | www.unz.com

St-Germain , says: July 29, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT

Kudos, Ron Unz. Excellent article and a useful tutorial on the hidden control mechanism of what the late Paul A. Samuelson called our "democratic oligarchy".

I applaud your parlor joke:

" that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise."

A great French investigative reporter crafted an unfunny version:

"Indeed, under our putative system of democracy, especially since JFK, the oligarchy will not allow the election of any candidate who cannot be blackmailed."

-- Thierry Meyssan, Before our very eyes -- fake wars and big lies from 9/11 to Donald Trump , p. 146.

He had just described the 911 caper as a Cheney-led deep-state coup to activate the secret but long-standing CoG procedure to sideline the Constitution. It succeeded when clueless Dubya was reinstated as figure-head president within 24 hours after agreeing to the clique's CoG (continuity of government) agenda, including the planned wars.

No wonder the shenannigans of compromised office-holding puppets (actors, really) and their shadowy string-pullers never seem to be known to their spear-carriers in MSM.

[Jul 29, 2019] Once you start researching the Epstein matter - not for the lurid details - but the unprecedented, jaw dropping preferential treatment of an actual human sex trafficker ( not this fake #metoo hysteria) all hope is lost.

Notable quotes:
"... The Epstein conspiracy grows worse. One of the victims filed a federal lawsuit. Once filed, this is public record. The only redactions allowed are social security numbers and the like. ..."
"... When the Miami Herald went to obtain the Motion for Summary Judgment, it was completely redacted. 137 pages of blacked out paragraphs. ..."
"... This type of redaction is unheard, unprecedented- appalling. ..."
"... If the redactions stand, we should riot in the street. We knew justice was bought, but pedophilia usually will stir up some dregs of bureaucratic slugs to action. ..."
"... Once you start researching the Epstein matter - not for the lurid details - but the unprecedented, jaw dropping preferential treatment of an actual human sex trafficker ( not this fake #metoo hysteria) – all hope is lost. ..."
"... Dozens of little girls – all poor and from fatherless backgrounds marred by parental drug abuse, suicides and physical abuse- selected and sexually devastated by Epstein- not a word. ..."
Jul 29, 2019 | www.unz.com

TKK , says: July 29, 2019 at 11:31 am GMT

The Epstein conspiracy grows worse. One of the victims filed a federal lawsuit. Once filed, this is public record. The only redactions allowed are social security numbers and the like.

When the Miami Herald went to obtain the Motion for Summary Judgment, it was completely redacted. 137 pages of blacked out paragraphs.

A motion for summary judgment is basically saying there are no material issues in dispute- nothing to litigate. This document would contain all relevant facts about the case. This type of redaction is unheard, unprecedented- appalling.

The only reason the Herald is in pursuit ( and any other MSM) is because they believed it would destroy Trump.

It's now on appeal. If the redactions stand, we should riot in the street. We knew justice was bought, but pedophilia usually will stir up some dregs of bureaucratic slugs to action.

And with a parallel to McCain, if Clinton slithers out of this- with over 27 flights on the Lolita Express- he is officially the most untouchable man in history.

Once you start researching the Epstein matter - not for the lurid details - but the unprecedented, jaw dropping preferential treatment of an actual human sex trafficker ( not this fake #metoo hysteria) – all hope is lost.

Note the strange silence from Hollywood and the elites regarding Epstein's victims, when they were wearing hair shirts over Christine Fords 30 year old accusation.

A wealthy smug scold, who looks like an exploded can of rotten biscuit dough had them weeping on camera.

Dozens of little girls – all poor and from fatherless backgrounds marred by parental drug abuse, suicides and physical abuse- selected and sexually devastated by Epstein- not a word.

[Jul 29, 2019] American Pravda John McCain, Jeffrey Epstein, and Pizzagate by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history. ..."
"... An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky. One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. ..."
"... I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise. ..."
"... In The Dark Side of Camelot , famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claimed that secret blackmail evidence of JFK's extra-marital affairs probably played a crucial role in having his administration overrule the unanimous verdict of all top Pentagon advisors and award the largest military procurement contract in U.S. history to General Dynamics instead of Boeing, thereby saving the former company from likely bankruptcy and its major organized-crime shareholders from devastating financial losses. Hersh also suggests that a similar factor likely explains JFK's last-minute reversal in the choice of his Vice President, a decision that landed Lyndon Johnson on the 1960 ticket and placed him in the White House after Kennedy's 1963 assassination. ..."
"... Similar rumors swirl around events much farther back in history as well, sometimes with enormous consequences. Well-placed contemporary sources have claimed that Samuel Untermyer, a wealthy Jewish lawyer, purchased the secret correspondence between Woodrow Wilson and his longtime mistress, and that the existence of that powerful leverage may have been an important factor behind Wilson's astonishingly rapid rise from president of Princeton in 1910 to governor of New Jersey in 1911 to president of the United States in 1912. ..."
"... Without naming any names, since 2001 it has been difficult to avoid noticing that one of the most zealous and committed supporters of the Neocon party-line on all Middle Eastern foreign policy matters has been a leading Republican senator from one of the most socially-conservative Southern states, a man whose rumored personal inclinations have long circulated on the Internet. The strikingly-sudden reversal of this individual on a major policy question certainly supports these suspicions. There have also been several other such examples involving prominent Republicans. ..."
"... There are lurid rumors that the Syndicate possessed secret photos of Hoover wearing a dress and high-heels, but just a few years ago Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose desperately placed his eight-year-old transgendered grand-daughter front-and-center in his unsuccessful attempt to win reelection. ..."
"... There seems to be a great deal of evidence that powerful organizations and individuals have successfully managed to suppress credible accusations of that practice for very long periods of time if no group with substantial media influence chose to target the offenders for unmasking. ..."
"... There is also the intriguing example of Dennis Hastert. As the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history, holding office during 1999-2007, Hastert was third in line to the Presidency and even ranked as our nation's top Republican elected official during some of that period. Based upon my newspaper readings, he had always struck me as a rather bland and ordinary individual, with journalists sometimes even strongly hinting at his mediocrity, so that I occasionally wondered just how someone so unimpressive could have risen to such extremely high national office. ..."
"... During the summer of 2007, the Internet was ablaze with claims that Sen. John Edwards, a runner-up in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, had just fathered a child with his mistress, and those reports were backed by seemingly-credible visual evidence, including photos showing the married senator holding his new-born baby. Yet as the days and even the weeks went by, not a whiff of this salacious scandal ever reached the pages of any of my morning newspapers or the rest of the mainstream media although it was a top conversation topic everywhere else. ..."
"... Probably one reason I paid so little attention to the topic was the exceptionally lurid nature of the claims being made. Epstein was supposedly an enormously wealthy Wall Street financier of rather mysterious personal background and source of funds, who owned a private island and an immense New York City mansion, both regularly stocked with harems of underage girls provided for sexual purposes. He allegedly hobnobbed on a regular basis with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Harvard's Alan Dershowitz, and numerous other figures in the international elite, as well as a gaggle of ordinary billionaires, frequently transporting those individuals on his personal jet known as "the Lolita Express" for the role it played in facilitating illegal secret orgies with young girls. When right-wing bloggers on obscure websites claimed that former President Clinton and the British Royals were being sexually serviced by the underage girls of a James Bond super-villain brought to life, I just assumed those accusations were the wildest sort of Internet exaggeration. ..."
"... The author of a long 2003 Epstein profile that had appeared in Vanity Fair explained that she had personally spoken to some of his victims and included their highly-credible accounts in her article, but that those portions had been stricken and removed by her timorous editors. ..."
"... As presented by these media outlets, Epstein's personal rise also seemed rather inexplicable unless he had benefited from some powerful network or similar organization. Lacking any college degree or credentials, he had somehow gotten a job teaching at one of New York City's most elite prep schools, then quickly jumped to working at a top investment bank, rising to partner with astonishing speed until he was fired a few years later for illegal activity. Despite such a scanty and doubtful record, he was soon managing money for some of America's wealthiest individuals, and keeping so much of it for himself that he was regularly described as a billionaire. According to newspaper accounts, his great specialty was "making connections for people." ..."
"... Obviously, Epstein was a ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustler. But extremely wealthy individuals must surely be surrounded by great swarms of ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustlers, and why would he have been so much more successful than all those others? Perhaps a clue comes from the offhand remark of Epstein's now-disgraced prosecutor, saying that he had been told to go very easy on the sex-trafficker because he "belonged to intelligence." The vague phrasing of that statement raises questions about whether the intelligence service may not have been one controlled by the U.S. government. ..."
"... Philip Giraldi, a highly-regarded former CIA officer, put things very plainly when he suggested that Epstein had probably been working for the Israeli Mossad, operating "honey traps" to obtain blackmail information on all the wealthy and powerful individuals whom he regularly plied with underage girls. Indeed, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis recounted his early 1990s visit to Epstein's enormous NYC mansion, in which he had barely crossed the threshold before he was offered an "intimate massage" by one of the many young girls there, presumably in a bedroom well-stocked with hidden cameras. ..."
"... Given my personal lack of interest in the Epstein case, then or now, perhaps a few of these details may be garbled, but it seems undeniable that he was exactly the sort of remarkable renegade often faced by Agent 007 in the movies, and the true facts will presumably come out at his trial. ..."
"... John Podesta had been a longtime fixture in DC political circles, becoming chief of staff to President Bill Clinton in 1998, and afterward remaining one of the most powerful figures in the Democratic Party establishment. While serving as as chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, his apparent carelessness with the password security of his Gmail account allowed it to easily be hacked, and tens of thousands of his personal emails were soon published on WikiLeaks. A swarm of young anti-Clinton activists began scouring this treasure-trove of semi-confidential information, seeking evidence of mundane bribery and corruption, but instead they came across some quite odd exchanges, seemingly written in coded language. ..."
"... Now use of coded language in a supposedly secure private email account raises all sorts of natural suspicions regarding what might have been under discussion, with the most likely possibilities being illegal drugs or sex. But most of the references didn't seem to fit the former category, and in our remarkably libertine era, in which political candidates compete for the right to be Grand Marshal at an annual Gay Pride Parade, one of the few sexual activities still discussed only in whispers would seem to be pedophilia, with some of the very strange remarks possibly hinting at this. ..."
"... The researchers also soon discovered that his brother Tony Podesta, one of the wealthiest and most successful lobbyists in DC, had extremely odd taste in art. Major items of his very extensive personal collection seemed to represent tortured or murdered bodies, and one of his favorite artists was best known for paintings depicting young children being held captive, lying dead, or suffering under severe distress. ..."
"... Furthermore, some of the rather suspiciously-worded Podesta emails referred to events held at a local DC pizza parlor, greatly favored by the Democratic Party elite, whose owner was the gay former boyfriend of David Brock, a leading Democratic activist. The public Instagram account of that pizza-entrepreneur apparently contained numerous images of young children, sometimes tied or bound, with those images frequently labeled by hashtags using the traditional gay slang for underage sexual targets ..."
"... Closely connected Instagram accounts also included pictures of young children, sometimes shown amid piles of high-value currency, with queries about how much those particular children might be worth. None of this seemed illegal, but surely any reasonable person would regard the material as extremely suspicious. ..."
"... oddly enough, GQ Magazine had ranked that gay pizza parlor owner with a strange focus on young children as being one of the 50 most powerful people in our national capital, placing him far ahead of many Cabinet members, Senators, Congressional Chairmen, Supreme Court justices, and top lobbyists. Was his pizza really that delicious? ..."
"... Some of the best summaries of the Pizzagate case were produced by a young British YouTuber named Tara McCarthy, whose work was published under the name of "Reality Calls," and her videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Although her channel was eventually banned and her videos purged, copies were later reloaded to other accounts, both on YouTube and BitChute. Some of the evidence she presents seemed rather innocuous or speculative to me and other elements were probably based upon her unfamiliarity with American society and culture. But a great deal of extremely suspicious material remains, and I would suggest that people watch the videos and decide for themselves. ..."
Jul 29, 2019 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

...The Arizona senator had traded on his national reputation as our best-known former POW to bury the story of those abandoned prisoners, permitting America's political establishment to escape serious embarrassment. As a result, Sen. McCain earned the lush rewards of our generous ruling elites, much like his own father Admiral John S. McCain, Sr., who had led the cover-up of the deliberate 1967 Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty , which killed or wounded over 200 American servicemen.

As publisher of The American Conservative , I ran Schanberg's remarkable piece as a cover story, and across several websites over the years it has surely been read many hundreds of thousands of times, including a huge spike around the time of McCain's death. I therefore find it rather difficult to believe that the many journalists investigating McCain's background might have remained unaware of this material. Yet no hints of these facts were provided in any of the articles appearing in any remotely prominent media outlets as can be seen by searching for web pages containing "McCain and Schanberg" dated around the time of the Senator's passing.

John McCain and the POW Cover-Up Sydney Schanberg • May 25, 2010 • 8,200 Words

Schanberg's journalistic stature had hardly been forgotten by his former colleagues. Upon his death a couple of years ago, the Times ran a very long and glowing obituary , and a few months later I attended the memorial tribute to his life and career held at the New York Times headquarters building, which more than two hundred prominent journalists mostly from his own generation, including those of the highest rank. Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. gave a speech describing how as a young man he had always so greatly admired Schanberg and had been mortified by the unfortunate circumstances of his departure from the family's newspaper. Former Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld recounted the many years he had worked closely with the man he had long considered his closest friend and colleague, someone whom he almost seemed to regard as his older brother. But during the two hours of praise and remembrance scarcely a single word was uttered in public about the gigantic story that had occupied the last two decades of Schanberg's celebrated career.

This same blanket of media silence also enveloped the very serious accusations regarding McCain's own Vietnam War record. A few years ago, I drew upon the Times and other fully mainstream sources to strongly suggest that McCain's stories of his torture as a POW were probably fictional, invented to serve as a cover and an excuse for the very real record of his wartime collaboration with his Communist captors. Indeed, at the time our American media reported his activities as one of the leading propagandists of our North Vietnamese foes, but these facts were later flushed down the memory-hole. McCain's father then ranked as one of America's top military officers, and it seems likely that his personal political intervention ensured that the official narrative of his son's wartime record was transmuted from traitor to war-hero, thereby allowing the younger McCain to later embark upon his celebrated political career.

John McCain: When "Tokyo Rose" Ran for President Ron Unz • March 9, 2015 • 4,200 Words

The story of the abandoned Vietnam POWs and McCain's own Communist propaganda broadcasts hardly exhaust the catalog of the major skeletons in the late Senator's closet. McCain was regularly described by reporters as being remarkably hot-headed and having a violent temper, but the national press left it to the alternative media to investigate the real-life implications of those rather suggestive phrases.

In a September 1, 2008 Counterpunch expose later published online , Alexander Cockburn reported that interviews with two emergency room physicians in Phoenix revealed that around the time that McCain was sucked into the political maelstrom of the Keating Five Scandal, his wife Cindy was admitted to her local hospital suffering from a black eye, facial bruises, and scratches consistent with physical violence, and this same situation occurred two additional times over the next few years. Cockburn also noted several other highly suspicious marital incidents during the years that followed, including the Senator's wife appearing with a bandaged wrist and her arm in a sling not long after she joined her husband on the 2008 campaign trail, an injury reported by our strangely incurious political journalists as being due to "excessive hand-shaking." It's an odd situation when a tiny leftist newsletter can easily uncover facts that so totally eluded the vast resources of our entire national press corps. If there were credible reports that Melania Trump had been repeatedly admitted to local emergency rooms suffering from black eyes and facial bruises, would our corporate media have remained so uninterested in any further investigation?

McCain had first won his Arizona Congressional seat in 1982, not long after he moved into the state, with his campaign bankrolled by his father-in-law's beer-distributorship fortune, and that inheritance eventually elevated the McCain household into one of the wealthiest in the Senate. But although the Senator spent the next quarter-century in public life, even nearly upsetting George W. Bush for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, only in late 2008 did I learn from the Times that the Phoenix beer-monopoly in question, then valued at around $200 million, had accrued to a man whose lifelong business partner Kemper Marley had long been deeply linked to organized crime . Indeed, close associates of that latter individual had been convicted by a jury of the car-bomb assassination of a Phoenix investigative crime reporter just a few years before McCain's sudden triumphal entrance into Arizona politics. Perhaps such guilt-by-association is improper, but would our national press-corps have remained silent if the personal fortune of our current president were only a step or two removed from the car-bomb assassins of a nosy journalist who died while investigating mobsters?

As I gradually became aware of these enormities casually hidden in McCain's background, my initial reaction was disbelief that someone whose record was so deeply tarnished in so many different ways could ever have reached such a pinnacle of American political power. But as the media continued to avert its eyes from these newly revealed facts, even those disclosed in the pages of the Times itself, I gradually began to consider matters in a different light. Perhaps McCain's elevation to great American political power was not in spite of the devastating facts littering his personal past, but because of them. As I wrote a few years ago:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky. One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence.

I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

In physics, when an object deviates from its expected trajectory for inexplicable reasons, we assume that some unknown force has been at work, and tracing the record of such deviations may help to determine the characteristic properties of the latter. Over the years, I've increasingly become aware of such strange ideological deviations in public policy, and although some are readily explained, others suggest the existence of hidden forces far beneath the surface of our regular political world. This same situation may have occurred throughout our history, and sometimes the political decisions that so baffled contemporaries eventually came to light decades later.

In The Dark Side of Camelot , famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claimed that secret blackmail evidence of JFK's extra-marital affairs probably played a crucial role in having his administration overrule the unanimous verdict of all top Pentagon advisors and award the largest military procurement contract in U.S. history to General Dynamics instead of Boeing, thereby saving the former company from likely bankruptcy and its major organized-crime shareholders from devastating financial losses. Hersh also suggests that a similar factor likely explains JFK's last-minute reversal in the choice of his Vice President, a decision that landed Lyndon Johnson on the 1960 ticket and placed him in the White House after Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

As I recently mentioned , in the 1950s Sen. Estes Kefauver shifted the focus of his Organized Crime Hearings after the Chicago Syndicate confronted him with the photographs of his sexual encounter with two mob-supplied women. A decade later, California Attorney-General Stanley Mosk suffered much the same fate, with the facts remaining hidden for over twenty years.

Similar rumors swirl around events much farther back in history as well, sometimes with enormous consequences. Well-placed contemporary sources have claimed that Samuel Untermyer, a wealthy Jewish lawyer, purchased the secret correspondence between Woodrow Wilson and his longtime mistress, and that the existence of that powerful leverage may have been an important factor behind Wilson's astonishingly rapid rise from president of Princeton in 1910 to governor of New Jersey in 1911 to president of the United States in 1912. Once in office, Wilson signed the controversial legislation establishing the Federal Reserve system in 1913 and also named Louis Brandeis as the first Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court despite the public opposition of nearly our entire legal establishment. Wilson's swiftly changing views on American involvement in the First World War may also have influenced by such personal pressures rather than solely determined by his perceptions of the national interest.

Without naming any names, since 2001 it has been difficult to avoid noticing that one of the most zealous and committed supporters of the Neocon party-line on all Middle Eastern foreign policy matters has been a leading Republican senator from one of the most socially-conservative Southern states, a man whose rumored personal inclinations have long circulated on the Internet. The strikingly-sudden reversal of this individual on a major policy question certainly supports these suspicions. There have also been several other such examples involving prominent Republicans.

But consider the far different situation of Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who in 1987 became the first member of the Congress to voluntarily admit that he was gay. Not long afterward, a notorious scandal erupted when it was revealed that his own DC townhouse had been used by a former boyfriend as headquarters for a male-prostitution ring. Frank claimed to have had no knowledge of that sordid situation, and his liberal Massachusetts constituents apparently accepted that, since he was resoundingly reelected and went on to serve another 24 years in Congress. But surely if Frank had been a Republican from a socially-conservative district, anyone possessing such evidence would have totally controlled his political survival, and with Frank spending several years as Chairman of the very powerful House Financial Services Committee, the value of such a hold would have been enormous.

This demonstrates the undeniable reality that what constitutes effective blackmail material may vary tremendously across different eras and regions. Today, it is widely accepted that longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover lived his life as a deeply-closeted homosexual and there seem to be serious claims that he also had some black ancestry, with the secret evidence of these facts probably helping to explain why for decades he stubbornly refused to admit the existence of American organized crime or focus his G-men on efforts to uproot it. But in today's America, he surely would have proudly proclaimed his sexuality and racial ancestry in an New York Times Magazine cover-story, rightly believing that they enhanced his political invulnerability on the national stage. There are lurid rumors that the Syndicate possessed secret photos of Hoover wearing a dress and high-heels, but just a few years ago Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose desperately placed his eight-year-old transgendered grand-daughter front-and-center in his unsuccessful attempt to win reelection.

The decades have certainly softened the effectiveness of many forms of blackmail, but pedophilia still ranks as an extremely powerful taboo. There seems to be a great deal of evidence that powerful organizations and individuals have successfully managed to suppress credible accusations of that practice for very long periods of time if no group with substantial media influence chose to target the offenders for unmasking.

The most obvious example is the Catholic Church, and the failings of its American and international hierarchy in that regard have regularly made the front pages of our leading newspapers. But until the early 2000s and the breakthrough reporting of the Boston Globe as recounted in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight , the Church had routinely fended off such scandals.

Consider also the remarkable case of British television personality Sir Jimmy Savile , one of his country's most admired celebrities, eventually knighted for his public service. Only shortly after his death at age 84 did the press begin revealing that he had probably molested many hundreds of children during his long career. Accusations by his young victims had stretched back across forty years, but his criminal activities had seemingly been protected by his wealth and celebrity, along with his numerous supporters in the media.

There is also the intriguing example of Dennis Hastert. As the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history, holding office during 1999-2007, Hastert was third in line to the Presidency and even ranked as our nation's top Republican elected official during some of that period. Based upon my newspaper readings, he had always struck me as a rather bland and ordinary individual, with journalists sometimes even strongly hinting at his mediocrity, so that I occasionally wondered just how someone so unimpressive could have risen to such extremely high national office.

Then a few years ago, he was suddenly thrust back into the headlines, arrested by the FBI and charged with financial crimes relating to what apparently had been his past history of abusing young boys, at least one of whom had committed suicide, with the federal judge who sent him to prison denouncing him as "a serial child molester" at sentencing . Perhaps I've led an overly sheltered life, but my impression is that only a tiny sliver of Americans have had a long record of child molestation, and all things being equal, it seems rather unlikely that someone of such a background but who possesses no other great talents or skills would rise to near the absolute top of our political heap. So perhaps not all things were otherwise equal. If some powerful elements held the hard evidence that placed a particular elected official under their total control, making great efforts to elevate him to Speaker of the House would be a very shrewd investment.

At times the unwillingness of our national media to see major stories in front of their very noses reaches ridiculous extremes. During the summer of 2007, the Internet was ablaze with claims that Sen. John Edwards, a runner-up in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, had just fathered a child with his mistress, and those reports were backed by seemingly-credible visual evidence, including photos showing the married senator holding his new-born baby. Yet as the days and even the weeks went by, not a whiff of this salacious scandal ever reached the pages of any of my morning newspapers or the rest of the mainstream media although it was a top conversation topic everywhere else. Eventually, the National Enquirer , a notorious gossip tabloid, scored a journalistic first , by receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination for breaking the story that no other outlet seemed willing to cover. Would our media have similarly averted its eyes from a newborn baby Trump coming from the wrong side of the bed?

Over the years, it became increasingly obvious to me that nearly all elements of our national media were often quite willing to enlist in a "conspiracy of silence" to minimize or entirely ignore stories of tremendous potential interest to their readership and major public importance. I could easily have doubled or tripled the number of such notable examples I provided above without much effort. Moreover, it is quite intriguing that so many of these cases involve the sort of criminal or sexual misbehavior that would be ideally suited for blackmailing powerful individuals who are less likely to be vulnerable to other influences. So perhaps many of the elected officials situated at the top of our democratic system merely reign as political puppets, dancing to invisible strings.

Given my awareness of this remarkable track-record of major media cover-ups, I'm ashamed to admit that I had paid almost no attention to the Jeffrey Epstein case until it exploded across our national headlines earlier this month, suddenly becoming one of the biggest news stories in our country.

For many years, reports about Epstein and his illegal sex-ring had regularly circulated on the fringes of the Internet, with agitated commenters citing the case as proof of the dark and malevolent forces that secretly controlled our corrupted political system. But I almost entirely ignored these discussions, and I'm not sure that I ever once clicked on a single link.

Probably one reason I paid so little attention to the topic was the exceptionally lurid nature of the claims being made. Epstein was supposedly an enormously wealthy Wall Street financier of rather mysterious personal background and source of funds, who owned a private island and an immense New York City mansion, both regularly stocked with harems of underage girls provided for sexual purposes. He allegedly hobnobbed on a regular basis with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Harvard's Alan Dershowitz, and numerous other figures in the international elite, as well as a gaggle of ordinary billionaires, frequently transporting those individuals on his personal jet known as "the Lolita Express" for the role it played in facilitating illegal secret orgies with young girls. When right-wing bloggers on obscure websites claimed that former President Clinton and the British Royals were being sexually serviced by the underage girls of a James Bond super-villain brought to life, I just assumed those accusations were the wildest sort of Internet exaggeration.

Moreover, these angry writers did occasionally let slip that the fiendish target of their wrath had already been charged in a Florida courtroom, eventually pleading guilty to a single sexual offense and receiving a thirteen month jail sentence, mitigated by very generous work-release provisions. This hardly seemed like the sort of judicial punishment that would lend credence to the fantastical accusations against him. If Epstein had already been investigated by law enforcement authorities and given the sentence one might expect for writing a bad check, I found it quite unlikely that he was actually the Goldfinger or Dr. No that deluded Internet activists made him out to be.

Then these same wild, implausible claims previously found only on anonymous comment-threads were suddenly repeated as solid fact on the front pages of the Times and all my other morning newspapers, and the former federal prosecutor who had signed off on Epstein's legal slap-on-the-wrist was forced to resign from the Trump Cabinet. Epstein's safe had been found to contain a huge cache of child-pornography and other highly suspicious material, and he was quickly rearrested on charges that could send him to federal prison for decades. Prestigious media outlets described Epstein as the mastermind of a huge sex-trafficking ring, and numerous underage victims began coming forward, telling their stories of how he had molested, raped, and pimped them. The author of a long 2003 Epstein profile that had appeared in Vanity Fair explained that she had personally spoken to some of his victims and included their highly-credible accounts in her article, but that those portions had been stricken and removed by her timorous editors.

As presented by these media outlets, Epstein's personal rise also seemed rather inexplicable unless he had benefited from some powerful network or similar organization. Lacking any college degree or credentials, he had somehow gotten a job teaching at one of New York City's most elite prep schools, then quickly jumped to working at a top investment bank, rising to partner with astonishing speed until he was fired a few years later for illegal activity. Despite such a scanty and doubtful record, he was soon managing money for some of America's wealthiest individuals, and keeping so much of it for himself that he was regularly described as a billionaire. According to newspaper accounts, his great specialty was "making connections for people."

Obviously, Epstein was a ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustler. But extremely wealthy individuals must surely be surrounded by great swarms of ruthlessly opportunistic financial hustlers, and why would he have been so much more successful than all those others? Perhaps a clue comes from the offhand remark of Epstein's now-disgraced prosecutor, saying that he had been told to go very easy on the sex-trafficker because he "belonged to intelligence." The vague phrasing of that statement raises questions about whether the intelligence service may not have been one controlled by the U.S. government.

Philip Giraldi, a highly-regarded former CIA officer, put things very plainly when he suggested that Epstein had probably been working for the Israeli Mossad, operating "honey traps" to obtain blackmail information on all the wealthy and powerful individuals whom he regularly plied with underage girls. Indeed, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis recounted his early 1990s visit to Epstein's enormous NYC mansion, in which he had barely crossed the threshold before he was offered an "intimate massage" by one of the many young girls there, presumably in a bedroom well-stocked with hidden cameras.

Given my personal lack of interest in the Epstein case, then or now, perhaps a few of these details may be garbled, but it seems undeniable that he was exactly the sort of remarkable renegade often faced by Agent 007 in the movies, and the true facts will presumably come out at his trial. Or perhaps not. Whether he lives to see trial is not entirely clear given the considerable number of powerful individuals who might prefer that hidden facts remain hidden, and the Friday newspapers reported that Epstein had been found injured and unconscious in his prison cell.

When one seemingly implausible pedophilia scandal has suddenly jumped from obscure corners of the Internet to the front pages of our leading newspapers, we must naturally begin to wonder whether others might not eventually do the same. And a very likely candidate comes to mind, one that seemed to me far better documented than the vague accusations being thrown about over the last few years against a wealthy financier once given a thirteen-month jail sentence in Florida a decade earlier.

I don't use Social Media myself, but near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, I gradually began seeing more and more Trump supporters referring to something called "Pizzagate," a burgeoning sexual scandal that they claimed would bring down Hillary Clinton and many of the top leaders of her party, with the chatter actually increasing after Trump was elected. As near as I could tell, the whole bizarre theory had grown up on the far-right fringe of the Internet, with the utterly fantastical plot having something to do with stolen secret emails, DC pizza parlors, and a ring of pedophiles situated near the top of the Democratic Party. But given all the other strange and unlikely things I'd gradually discovered about our history, it didn't seem like something I could necessarily dismiss out of hand.

At the beginning of December, a right-wing blogger produced a lengthy exposition of the Pizzagate charges, which finally gave me some understanding of what was actually under discussion, and I soon made arrangements to republish his article. It quickly attracted a great deal of interest, and some websites pointed to it as the best single introduction to the scandal for a general audience.

Pizzagate Aedon Cassiel • December 2, 2016 • 3,100 Words

A couple of weeks later, I republished an additional article by the same writer, describing a long list of previous pedophilia scandals that had occurred in elite American and European political circles. Although many of these seemed to be solidly documented, nearly all of them had received minimal coverage by our mainstream media outlets. And if such political pedophile rings had existed in the relatively recent past, was it so totally implausible that there might be another one simmering beneath the surface of today's Washington DC?

Precedents for Pizzagate Aedon Cassiel • December 23, 2016 • 6,200 Words

Those interested in the details of the Pizzagate Hypothesis are advised to read these articles, especially the first one, but I might as well provide a brief summary.

John Podesta had been a longtime fixture in DC political circles, becoming chief of staff to President Bill Clinton in 1998, and afterward remaining one of the most powerful figures in the Democratic Party establishment. While serving as as chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, his apparent carelessness with the password security of his Gmail account allowed it to easily be hacked, and tens of thousands of his personal emails were soon published on WikiLeaks. A swarm of young anti-Clinton activists began scouring this treasure-trove of semi-confidential information, seeking evidence of mundane bribery and corruption, but instead they came across some quite odd exchanges, seemingly written in coded language.

Now use of coded language in a supposedly secure private email account raises all sorts of natural suspicions regarding what might have been under discussion, with the most likely possibilities being illegal drugs or sex. But most of the references didn't seem to fit the former category, and in our remarkably libertine era, in which political candidates compete for the right to be Grand Marshal at an annual Gay Pride Parade, one of the few sexual activities still discussed only in whispers would seem to be pedophilia, with some of the very strange remarks possibly hinting at this.

The researchers also soon discovered that his brother Tony Podesta, one of the wealthiest and most successful lobbyists in DC, had extremely odd taste in art. Major items of his very extensive personal collection seemed to represent tortured or murdered bodies, and one of his favorite artists was best known for paintings depicting young children being held captive, lying dead, or suffering under severe distress. Such peculiar artwork obviously isn't illegal, but it might naturally arouse some suspicions. And oddly enough, arch-Democrat Podesta had long been a close personal friend of former Republican Speaker and convicted child-molester Dennis Hastert, welcoming him back into DC society after his release from prison.

Furthermore, some of the rather suspiciously-worded Podesta emails referred to events held at a local DC pizza parlor, greatly favored by the Democratic Party elite, whose owner was the gay former boyfriend of David Brock, a leading Democratic activist. The public Instagram account of that pizza-entrepreneur apparently contained numerous images of young children, sometimes tied or bound, with those images frequently labeled by hashtags using the traditional gay slang for underage sexual targets. Some photos showed the fellow wearing a tee-shirt bearing the statement "I Love Children" in French, and by a very odd coincidence, his possibly assumed name was phonetically identical to that very same French phrase, thus proclaiming to the world that he was "a lover of children." Closely connected Instagram accounts also included pictures of young children, sometimes shown amid piles of high-value currency, with queries about how much those particular children might be worth. None of this seemed illegal, but surely any reasonable person would regard the material as extremely suspicious.

DC is sometimes described as "Powertown," being the seat of the individuals who make America's laws and govern our society, with local political journalists being closely attuned to the relative status of such individuals. And oddly enough, GQ Magazine had ranked that gay pizza parlor owner with a strange focus on young children as being one of the 50 most powerful people in our national capital, placing him far ahead of many Cabinet members, Senators, Congressional Chairmen, Supreme Court justices, and top lobbyists. Was his pizza really that delicious?

These few paragraphs provide merely a sliver of the large quantity of highly-suspicious material surrounding various powerful figures at the apex of the DC political world. A vast cloud of billowing smoke is certainly no proof of any fire, but only a fool would completely ignore it without attempting further investigation.

I usually regard videos as a poor means of imparting serious information, far less effective and meaningful than the simple printed word. But the overwhelming bulk of the evidence supporting the Pizzagate Hypothesis consists of visual images and screen shots, and these are naturally suited to a video presentation.

Some of the best summaries of the Pizzagate case were produced by a young British YouTuber named Tara McCarthy, whose work was published under the name of "Reality Calls," and her videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Although her channel was eventually banned and her videos purged, copies were later reloaded to other accounts, both on YouTube and BitChute. Some of the evidence she presents seemed rather innocuous or speculative to me and other elements were probably based upon her unfamiliarity with American society and culture. But a great deal of extremely suspicious material remains, and I would suggest that people watch the videos and decide for themselves.

Around the same time that I first became familiar with the details of the Pizzagate controversy, the topic also started reaching the pages of my morning newspapers, but in an rather strange manner. Political stories began giving a sentence or two to the "Pizzagate hoax," describing it as a ridiculous right-wing "conspiracy theory" but excluding all relevant details. I had an eery feeling that some unseen hand had suddenly flipped a switch causing the entire mainstream media to begin displaying identical signs declaring "Pizzagate Is False -- Nothing To See There!" in brightly flashing neon. I couldn't recall any previous example of such a strange media reaction to some obscure Internet controversy.

Articles in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times also suddenly appeared denouncing the entirety of the alternative media -- Left, Right, and Libertarian -- as "fake news" websites promoting Russian propaganda , while urging that their content be blocked by all patriotic Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Prior to that moment, I'd never even heard the term "fake news" but suddenly it was ubiquitous across the media, once again almost as if some unseen hand had suddenly flipped a switch.

I naturally began to wonder whether the timing of these two strange developments was entirely coincidental. Perhaps Pizzagate was indeed true and struck so deeply at the core of our hugely corrupted political system that the media efforts to suppress it were approaching the point of hysteria.

Not long afterward, Tara McCarthy's detailed Pizzagate videos were purged from YouTube. This was among the very first instances of video content being banned despite fully conforming to all existing YouTube guidelines, another deeply suspicious development.

I also noticed that mere mention of Pizzagate had become politically lethal. Donald Trump had selected Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as his National Security Advisor, and Flynn's son served as the latter's chief of staff. The younger Flynn happened to Tweet out a couple of links to Pizzagate stories, pointing out that the accusations hadn't yet been actually investigated let alone disproven, and very soon afterward, he was purged from the Trump transition team, foreshadowing his father's fall a few weeks later. It seemed astonishing to me that a few simple Tweets about an Internet controversy could have such huge real-life impact near the top of our government.

The media continued its uniform drumbeat of "Pizzagate Has Been Disproven!" but we were never told how or by whom, and I was not the only individual to notice the hollowness of such denunciations. An award-winning investigative journalist named Ben Swann at a CBS station in Atlanta broadcast a short television segment summarizing the Pizzagate controversy and noting that contrary to widespread media claims, Pizzagate had neither been investigated nor debunked. Swann was almost immediately purged by CBS but a copy of his television segment remains available for viewing on the Internet.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-GZFHLAcG8A?feature=oembed

There is an old wartime proverb that enemy flak is always heaviest over the most important target, and the remarkably ferocious wave of attacks and censorship against anyone broaching the subject of Pizzagate seems to raise obvious dark suspicions. Indeed, the simultaneous waves of attacks against all alternative media outlets as "Russian propaganda outlets" laid the basis for the continuing regime of Social Media censorship that has become a central aspect of today's world.

Pizzagate may or may not turn out to be true, but the ongoing Internet crackdown has similarly engulfed topics of a somewhat similar nature but with vastly stronger documentation. Although I don't use Twitter myself, I encountered the obvious implications of this new censorship policy following McCain's death last August. The senator had died on a Saturday afternoon, and readership of Sydney Schanberg's long 2008 expose quickly exploded, with numerous individuals Tweeting out the story and a large fraction of our incoming traffic therefore coming from Twitter. This continued until the following morning, at which point the huge flood of Tweets continued to grow, but all incoming Twitter traffic suddenly and permanently vanished, presumably because "shadow banning" had rendered those Tweets invisible. My own article on McCain's very doubtful war record simultaneously suffered the same fate, as did numerous other articles of a controversial nature that we published later that same week.

Perhaps that censorship decision was made by some ignorant young intern at Twitter, casually choosing to ban as "hate speech" or "fake news" a massively-documented 8,400 word expose by one of America's most distinguished journalists, a Pulitzer-prize winning former top editor at The New York Times .

Or perhaps certain political-puppeteers who had spent decades controlling that late Arizona senator sought to ensure that their political puppet-strings remained invisible even after his death.

Related Reading:

John McCain and the POW Cover-Up by Sydney Schanberg John McCain: When "Tokyo Rose" Ran for President Pizzagate by Aedon Cassiel What We Know About Pizzagate So Far by Tara McCarthy Precedents for Pizzagate by Aedon Cassiel

Carlton Meyer , says: Website July 29, 2019 at 4:13 am GMT

My tribute to the late Senator, from my blog:

Aug 27, 2018 -- The Truth about John McCain

John McCain was a leading American neocon who always advocated war and ever greater military spending for a growing worldwide empire. This made him a successful politician and explains why our neocon corporate media praises him and refuses to reports facts about his life. By several accounts ("The Nightingale Song" for example) he only got into the Naval Academy for a free college degree because dad and grandfather were admirals, and should have been kicked out several times. He graduated near the bottom of his class and was a lousy pilot who got into trouble often and crashed two aircraft because of neglect. He was shot down on his first tour over Vietnam while bombing a civilian power plant, and getting captured is not heroic.

[Hide MORE]
What happened in captivity is controversial, but upon returning from POW status he passed a physical and regained flight status as a pilot. Yet after he finished 20 years of service that allowed generous retirement pay, he obtained a 100% VA disability rating allowing him to collect some $40,000 a year tax free too! The LA Times mentioned this when McCain insisted he was fit to serve as President. For the past two decades, he hauled in over $240,000 a year from the Feds for military retirement, 100% VA disability, social security retirement, while working full-time in the US Senate. He was paid for being retired, disabled, and gainfully employed! This is textbook case of why our system needs reform to protect taxpayers from rich welfare kings like McCain.

McCain's loyal wife was disabled in a serious auto accident while he was a POW. Soon after he returned, McCain dumped her for a wealthy woman 20 years younger. The Reagans were so angry they never spoke to him again. He then married his new babe before he officially got divorced, so there's that bigamy thing. McCain used his wife's family money to run for Congress and quickly got into trouble with the Keating Five scandal. McCain got $112,000 in "campaign contributions" and an equal amount of luxury perks from one of our nation's leading fraudsters. In return, he helped change laws and threatened regulators to allow this multi-billion real estate scam to grow.

I don't know why any Arizonian voted for this crazed man, especially since he was a big advocate for open borders. At a union meeting, he told workers illegals are needed because Americans are too lazy to work farm fields, even for $50 an hour. McCain never labored his entire life, always on the government dole earning ten times minimum wage worker pay, whose increase he opposed.

McCain grew up wealthy and enjoyed free government health care his entire life, yet thought it nothing workers deserve. While running for President and attacking programs for the poor, a reporter asked how many houses he owned. He was unsure, but thought maybe seven. But his worst damage was to oppose any attempt at world peace, often demanding that the USA bomb the neocon designated villain of the year, currently Iran. McCain was a key player in the senseless deaths of thousands of American GIs and a million foreigners over the past two decades. He will not be missed.

Sep 2, 2018 -- John McCain Will Not Be Missed

As a follow-up to my Aug 27th blog, I ask people to name McCain's most important accomplishment during his long political career. They can think of none, but the TV tells them McCain was great because he was a neocon. Senator Paul Laxalt saw more combat than McCain and had an equally long and distinguished career. He was not a crazed neocon so our media barely reported his death last month.

Here are two examples of McCain's bad character just this past year. McCain had always opposed Obamacare and campaigned against it. The Republicans had tried to repeal it for years. The election of President Trump also brought in more Republican congressmen. The House easily repealed it, and the Senate finally had a majority to vote for a partial repeal. This would be a big victory for the Republicans led by President Trump. When the vote was held, McCain shocked everyone and voted against it, thus abandoning his principles and backstabbing his party! This was applauded by the Democrats and the insurance companies who profit from Obamacare. They praised McCain as a "maverick", although everyone knows this was done just to thwart a Trump victory.

On his deathbed, McCain directed his staff not to invite his Presidential running mate Sarah Palin to his funeral. She campaigned for him as a loyal teammate and never said a bad word about McCain during the campaign or after their loss. McCain blamed her for his loss and expressed this in a childish manner. Allow me to summarize his life. John McCain was a selfish, spoiled brat who had no sense of decency.

Richard Wave , says: July 29, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
Another great article, Ron.

One of the most blatant examples of news media's silence on a topic of great national interest is the lack of coverage of closed-door "globalist" meetings like Bilderberg (which is attended by employees of such publications as The New York Times and Washington Post .)
The overheard conversation between Angela Merkel and Mark Zuckerberg on what Facebook can do to further her immigration agenda also received astonishingly little coverage from the establishment press:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/30/angela-merkel-caught-on-hot-mic-confronting-mark-z/

Alden , says: July 29, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT
If you look closely at Hoover's pictures it's hard to miss the kinky hair, broad nose and just something about the bone structure of his face that reveals some negro ancestry. There's a high school picture of him in some kind of band or cadet uniform that makes his bit of black blood obvious.

That Mayor Moscone of San Francisco who was shot had a thing for 11-13 black girls, small ones. He liked to beat them up a bit too. Probably not as badly as the bearings their mothers face them all their lives. His driver was a district attorney investigator who had to drive him to the projects and Protero Silver Av neighborhoods to meet his little friends. He met them at their mothers homes. I assume the mothers consented and some pimps arranged things.

One time Mayor Moscone drive himself to the Sunnyvale projects. While he was inside with his little friend some black guys removed all the tires from his city car and he had to call the police to drive him home.

He had 4 or 5 kids, Catholic Church attendance catholic schools the whole ostentatious Italian Catholic thing but he liked sex with those really young black girls in their project homes.

Miro23 , says: July 29, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

But as the media continued to avert its eyes from these newly revealed facts, even those disclosed in the pages of the Times itself, I gradually began to consider matters in a different light. Perhaps McCain's elevation to great American political power was not in spite of the devastating facts littering his personal past, but because of them.

Agree with this. The message from the McCain funeral was that the blackmailed US political class would be well looked after -right to the end -- if they remained docile and obedient and followed their scripts.

For "War Hero" McCain, it was his unswerving hard line calling for the destruction of Iran.

But, the Zio-Glob still failed to get their war through McCain, and they also failed to get it through Hillary Clinton. Both of them were rejected by voters despite massive media support. This points to a basic problem that the Empire's has with Democracy. The public clearly doesn't want another ME war, and is now aware that it was tricked into Iraq (WMD), and significantly, their (the public's) resistance to war is sufficiently strong enough to overcome massed MSM propaganda pushing the other way.

If the MSM can't swing it, then they need to get a compromised candidate elected on an anti-war and immigration control platform, who then does a 180º turn when in office. Trump wasn't their candidate (which suggests that he's clean), and (so far) he hasn't enabled a war with Iran, so what happens with him is an open question.

Also agree that the media reaction to the Pizzagate (pedophilia) story was one of extreme sensitivity -- almost panic, with a massive and coordinated overreaction. This suggests that Pizzagate is in fact the nightmare subject at the root of American politician's worst dreams.

Jimmy R , says: July 29, 2019 at 4:52 am GMT

The most obvious example is the Catholic Church, and the failings of its American and international hierarchy in that regard have regularly made the front pages of our leading newspapers. But until the early 2000s and the breakthrough reporting of the Boston Globe as recounted in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, the Church had routinely fended off such scandals.

I'm an investigator in Boston. Just to put things in perspective, Globe's Spotlight investigation really only involved 8 priests (3 of them no longer in the priesthood- one in prison- at the time of the Spotlight piece) and went back 30 years. I don't have numbers on minors involved in this Epstein scandal but I would guess they are much higher.

I always found it curious that Marty Baron decides to launch a major expose of the Boston Catholic Church right after arriving from Miami. Seriously? A dozen priests out of thousands in the Boston Archdiocese? I really would like to know who was behind this concerted operation to take down the heart of American Catholicism. They make the folks behind the Trump-Russia collusion plot look like amateurs.

trelane , says: July 29, 2019 at 5:13 am GMT
Strange. What a funny thing.

I guess I was just your puppet you held on a string.

Strange how you stopped loving me. How you stopped needing me. . When she came along

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KAVLz8hKYGk?feature=oembed

Tusk , says: July 29, 2019 at 5:14 am GMT
Don't forget the arrest of Ars Technica writer Peter Bright, @DrPizza on twitter (account still up), who was arrested last month for soliciting sex with children and admitted to abusing an 11 year old girl. A guy named 'Dr Pizza' who had a pizza emoji next to his name, who tweeted often that Pizzagate was completely made up and once to the effect that "why would pedophiles put badges that could identify them up online" was arrested for being a pedophile and then subsequently came out he had constantly argued for relaxations on things like child porn and sexual-related issues. If this doesn't at least give doubters cause for concern that maybe something is up I don't know what will.

https://noqreport.com/2019/06/13/internal-boards-show-dr-pizza-debated-ars-technica-staff-legalizing-child-porn/

https://heavy.com/news/2019/06/peter-bright-dr-pizza/

Alfred , says: July 29, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
This is a well-known weakness of Representative Democracy -- in all its versions.

The Balfour Declaration which led eventually to the creation of the state of Israel was undoubtedly the result of complex blackmail and bribery. Perhaps the USA would not have entered into WW1 unless Jews were promised Palestine in a deal.

Democracy is supposed to be a negative-feedback system -- like all control system. The only way to make it function properly is to have Direct Democracy -- where people vote on all issues and at the lowest level commensurate with the matter to be decided.

Anon [185] Disclaimer , says: July 29, 2019 at 5:37 am GMT
Journolist is probably weak sauce compared to the major editors of the largest television networks and newspaper syndicates deciding amongst themselves "whats news". Ive thought this for years. We know the CIA has people placed in media organizations, and probably has dirt on highly placed people in media organizations who are not CIA.
utu , says: July 29, 2019 at 5:46 am GMT

McCain's own Communist propaganda broadcasts

McCain must have been susceptible to pressure from Russians or Chinese who certainly knew everything McCain did in Vietnam? Or is KGB/FSB also run form Tel Aviv?

R.G. Camara , says: Website July 29, 2019 at 5:46 am GMT
Alex Jones -- yes, Alex Jones -- gave a coherent argument about the pedophilia accusations that avoided Satanism and the like but was still coherent. And its the same as the one you talk about.

Simple Kompromat .

Basically, national intelligence agencies identify up-and-comers in media and politics, then either get kompromat on them early or, if they can find nothing, set up a scenario where kompromat is created. In this latter scenario, the up-and-comer is invited to dinner, drugged, and then wakes up with either a dead body next to him or is shown pictures of him either killing someone or else molesting children. Then the up-and-comer is trapped for life.

Remember The Godfather, Part II ? They got the Nevada Senator to become their slave when they drugged him in a whorehouse and Neri killed the girl he was sleeping with, and the senator wakes up confused next to the girl and doesn't know if he did it or not -- and Michael promises to keep it all quiet -- for a price, of course. That's how it happens to these folks.

Then they own you for years.

Which makes you really scared -- not only is the FBI and NSA and CIA spying on us all illegally and spying on Trump at Obama's behest and allowing Hillary to skate -- they're running murder and child sex rings themselves. To gain leverage.

R.G. Camara , says: Website July 29, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
@Jimmy R Surprisingly, the Globe's in-bad-faith attack on the Church might have begun a a greater renewal in it. Once it came out, people who had faith started noticing that almost all the priests doing the abuse were -- gay men abusing teenage boys. 81% of the cases weren't "pedophilia", they were homosexuals getting sexually mature but underage, vulnerable boys behind closed doors and taking advantage of them.

Catholics like Michael Voris at Church Militant have put 2 and 2 together. The problems in the Church isn't pedophilia, its homosexuals -- and Voris has exposed a ton more, including many bishops, and called them out harshly. The Church is supposed to purge homosexuals from the priesthood (by Catholic dogma), but haven't -- because higher-up homos have protected the lot.

But now many Catholic lay groups are organized and pushing to attack the illegal gay priests and get them out of the cloth. The homomafia is now proven to exist -- and, much like when the original Mafia was admitted to exist by the Kefauver hearings, an organized rounding up can occur.

renfro , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:04 am GMT

I learn from the Times that the Phoenix beer-monopoly in question, then valued at around $200 million, had accrued to a man whose lifelong business partner Kemper Marley had long been deeply linked to organized crime.

Jim Hensley the beer baron and McCain father in law was convicted of liquor related federal crimes (stealing from warehouses) but must have had a friendly judge lol cause he didn't do jail time , got probation and paid a big fine. He was working for Kemper Marley at the time.
So liar McCain married into a crime family .makes sense for a career fuck up who once his father died would start failing downward instead of upward.

Organized crime loves beer and liquor distributorships cause its a all cash business .the retailer pays you for the beer before it goes on their shelves or in their bar. no credit, no billing, pay up front. I bought a beer distributorship in 1975 so I know a bit about it .and Hensley had to have had some state officials in his pocket or his friend Marley had them cause is no way the state is going to give you a license if you've been convicted on anything worse than a speeding ticket.
You've got to be investigated by your state FBI for starters, account for every year of your life, your schools, your wife's life, your parents and relatives, list people you associate with in business or socially, then they go interview people who know you,,,in fact they do that before they even personally interview you and you have to give them your financial records, what your source of money is and all your tax returns. All of this is to make sure you have no ties to any kind of organized crime and the money purchasing the distributorship isn't coming from any shady figures.
Hensley or his backer had some very serious political pull and pay offs.

The number one career choice for aspiring crooks and fuckups is politics .McCain with his punk complex temper couldn't have held on to job anywhere else.

eah , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:07 am GMT
Over the years, it became increasingly obvious to me that nearly all elements of our national media were often quite willing to enlist in a "conspiracy of silence" to minimize or entirely ignore stories of tremendous potential interest to their readership and major public importance.

Yes, how about an update on the investigation into the killing of Seth Rich -- does that count as a 'cold case' at this point?

Also media interest in the Las Vegas mass shooting seemed to fizzle -- as did the investigation.

getaclue , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:29 am GMT
This is the concept of Kakistocracy. I always found McCain getting a pass on what he did to the left behind POWs hard to fathom -- this explains it. Before I read this article I thought that Pizzagate was just some kind of lunacy/nothing and had heard some guy went and shot up a restaurant over it (probably the creeps involved in it arranged that themselves to discredit those exposing them?) and it was since faded away discredited, I see it attacked by the same people who are always using the CIA created term "Conspiracy Theory" seems it is in fact the opposite of what I thought (due to the Globalist Propagandist Media) and its creepy players are "running" things and highly protected by the Propagandist Globalist NWO Media, seems Obama himself is in deep if the video is correct? hard to even look at the video as to these creatures .So Question? Is the Q thing also for real? I have never really followed it and seen it "debunked" on a site that made it sound like lunacy but this makes me wonder .
IfAmericansKnew , says: Website July 29, 2019 at 6:32 am GMT
Well done and case in point -- a current puppet show:

2020 presidential candidates' views on Israel

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8KY2_qaROFY?feature=oembed

Truth will set America free -- only If Americans Knew !

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXLRhe7EQV3rg-bdK0cr1zw

Parisian Guy , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:43 am GMT
@Jimmy R Sometimes ago, the Mexican Bishops Conference, when speaking about Mexican monopolistic oligarches, said they were like contemporary slave-owners .
About one year later, one of theses oligarches, Carlos Slim, bought a part of the NYTimes. Then the NYT started its own crusade against Catholic priests paedophilia.

At the time, I noticed the coincidence, but it was like I was the only one noticing it.
Is J. Gutierez around? He may confirm the story.

Dan Hayes , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:45 am GMT
@Jimmy R Jimmy R:

I appreciate your telling "the rest of the story" regarding the actual (as opposed to purported) extent of the Boston sex abuse scandal.

The same abuse exaggerations also occurred in Pennsylvania."Grossly misleading, irresponsible, inaccurate, and unjust" is how former New York Times religion reporter Peter Steinfels described last August's grand jury report in its sweeping accusations that Pennsylvania Catholic bishops refused to protect children from sexual abuse.

BTW, some time ago our patron Ron off-handedly accepted as factual the Globe narrative. When contrary opinion and facts were brought to his attention, he appeared to have accepted that they were at least worthy of consideration. (Or that's the way I vaguely remember what transpired.)

Mark James , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:48 am GMT
I did not know anything about any physical violence that may or many not have been present in McCain's marriage. I certainly did feel, that much of the senator's last days were being carefully orchestrated in order to maintain the highest degree of hero status possible. His wealthy wife certainly had the resources to leave if she wanted to. She always seemed to me extremely loyal and attentive.

I would say it was similar concerning Bush 41. Perfectly understandable that negative stories wouldn't be brought up during his long wake/funeral -- in Tx and DC -- but how about never? Several books have said that Bush's -- and campaign manager W. Casey -- CIA connections helped Reagan get elected by keeping the hostages in Iran .

The Vice-Pres was also up to his neck in the Iran/Contra affair in spite of him saying he was "out of the loop (he wasn't)." A sexual affair is unimportant. But the family says it never happened. Others have said otherwise. Jesse Ventura and his writer Dick Russell have done a nice job laying out some things that you will never hear from the Bush flack John Meacham. Or pretty much anyone else in on- air media.

niteranger , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:56 am GMT
The Corporate Fascist Military Industrial-Intelligence Police State will tell us who our heroes, presidents, and icons are. It has already been decided. McCain was commonly known as "crash" for all the incidents he had. He was a terrible pilot and would have never been one except for his father. His beatings of his wife were widely known but covered up because of his "War Hero Status." Our entire society is nothing more than a projection by the "controllers."

Examples of this are of course Obama and his wife. The media asked him almost no questions and he was guided by the Jew Axelrod to the Media's satisfaction. What Obama and his wife got away with in Chicago would embarrass the Mafia. Michele Obama had to surrender her law license to the Illinois State Disciplinary Committee. The files have been sealed.

Just look at the group running for President. All basically selected by the same controllers. They will not make a mistake in letting another Trump spoil their plans. Our entire democracy is just a mirage. The founder fathers were afraid that this would happen but their plans in the Constitution to protect the nation have become "gang banged" by the Marxist Mobs whose heroes are icons like Obama who bombed seven Muslim countries, murdered thousands of innocent people, destroyed the middle class and started wars and lied to the nation yet these people are on their knees to his royal presence.

We have no chance of getting to the truth on anything because to even ask a question is now an act of racism, antisemitism, and hatred.

LondonBob , says: July 29, 2019 at 7:28 am GMT
One of the more extreme accusers in Britain has revealed to be a fantasist, his claims went well beyond other claims and included such unlikely characters as Field Marshall Lord Brammal, and this is being used to Bury the paedophile scandal in Britain. Greville Janner's children have been given prominent coverage to suggest this shows their father is innocent despite the fact that the evidence against their father is very substantial and has little to do with the fantasist.

https://villagemagazine.ie/index.php/2019/07/does-nicks-conviction-mean-jimmy-savile-is-innocent-yes-if-you-work-for-the-british-media/

Perhaps most interesting is the allegations surrounding Kincora Boys' Home, in particular the involvement of the intelligence services.

https://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/leo-mckinstry/569181/sex-abuse-claims-Leo-McKinstry

The Alarmist , says: July 29, 2019 at 8:50 am GMT

There is an old wartime proverb that enemy flak is always heaviest over the most important target, and the remarkably ferocious wave of attacks and censorship against anyone broaching the subject of Pizzagate seems to raise all sorts of dark suspicions.

I guess we can look forward to another day of heavy DDoS of unz.com.

How is it we don't yet have a Grand Unifying Theory that links the seemingly unconnected paedophelia stories that have simmered simultaneously in D.C., Westminster, and Brussels over the past couple of decades? The Church would seem to fit right in in this NWO orgy, but has instead been hung out to dry.

HoekomSA , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:15 am GMT
One of the elite one worlder groups is the (in)famous Skull and Bones society at Yale. Its membership included both president Bushes as well as John Kerry and a multitude of other politicians. Anthony Sutton carried out an expose in his book America's secret establishment. Part of the inition occurs in a crypt surrounded by skulls , including Geronimos's skull while lying in a coffin. If that isnt weird enough part of the initiation includes something around sexual misadventure. According to Kay Riggs, whose husband was a colnel in the intelligence services the sexual side of the initiation involves the person being sodomised by an member of the society. According to her , in order to enter the higher levels of many parts of government this is not an uncommon practice.

In the murky world of american political elites the truth is impossible to be certain of.

The skull and bones society has been well publicised so presumably now the power has been withdrawn from it.

Bill Jones , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
I've had much enjoyment over the years by asking McCain worshipers to give me the name of one Vietnamese with as many confirmed kills of American military as John McCain.
swamped , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:29 am GMT
Another long-winded & annoyingly inchoate ramble raising several important but seemingly disparate subjects, each of which could & probably should have been pursued independently. Is there really any viable connection between Sydney Schanberg & Epstein, between the Catholic Church & John McCain, between Berezovsky & Pizzagate, etc.? What a jumbled mishmash that leaves you more confused than when you started. "Perhaps" this & "perhaps" that, doesn't help very much. The most urgent question though is why are so many high & mighty tempted by pedophilia in the first place, where does that psychosis come from & why are the power games more important than the pawns, the poor kids, that are used to play it? Hanging is much too good for an unspeakable filth like Epstein & whoever aided him. There is no punishment or torture ever devised that would be sufficient, if found guilty, for the crimes for which he stands accused. That should come first, the rest is chickenfeed.
Bill Jones , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:33 am GMT
Picky typo-asshole here, reporting for duty
"but I might was well provide a brief summary."

but I might as well provide a brief summary.

Ahoy , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:39 am GMT
We have progressed (here we laugh) from the times of Gentlemen and Ladies to so-called emancipated men and women with human rights fit for animals. Just to refresh your memory

https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=RDKAVLz8hKYGk

After I heard this I am convinced we moved from great CASH to trash.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=RDKAVLz8hKYGk

Ahoy , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:54 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Lq0fUa0vW_E?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UcVM20BboZI?feature=oembed

Realist , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:09 am GMT
@Mike Johnson

The last big VA scandal where many Veterans died waiting to get medical treatment happened in Arizona. You cannot tell me that McCain did not know that Veterans were dying while waiting to get help at the Phoenix VA. In my opinion McCain was a worthless human being.

The most devastating victory the North Vietnamese had over the US was the return of McCain alive.

Gordo , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:11 am GMT
Thank you for this article Mr Unz.
Nodwink , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:23 am GMT
I'm not convinced by the evidence against Comet Ping Pong, but I am intrigued by the possible connections that the Podesta brothers have to the disappearance of the British girl, Madelaine McCann, in Portugal over a decade ago. John Podesta is known to have been in Portugal around the time of Madelaine's disappearance. There is also a description eerily similar to Anthony Wiener.
Jacques Sheete , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:37 am GMT
I've long been convinced, and who can deny, that most of the wars the US has been involved in, and all of the ones Zionists and Communists have been involved in, have roots in outrageous sadistic psychopathology like this.:

Major items of his very extensive personal collection seemed to represent tortured or murdered bodies, and one of his favorite artists was best known for paintings depicting young children being held captive, lying dead, or suffering under severe distress

.

As for the slime, McCain, and the rest of the political establishment, none of it surprises me. The type was recognized long ago.

(1) Roy Cohn (1927-86) allegedly ran child sex and blackmail operations for decades, operating out of locales such as New York's Plaza Hotel

(2) Robert Keith Gray (1921-2014), USA lobbyist, "specialist in homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA and reported to have collaborated with Roy Cohn"

(3) Bruce Ritter (1927-99), Roman Catholic priest and founder of Covenant House for homeless teenagers, "eventually accused of having sexual relationships with many of the underaged boys he had taken in", Ritter supported by Cardinal Spellman closely tied to Roy Cohn, and tied to George H W Bush's Yale room-mate

(4) Craig Spence (1941-89), another USA lobbyist; "in June 1989, it was revealed that he had been pimping out children to the power elite in the nation's capital throughout the 1980s in apartments that were bugged with video and audio recording equipment reports on Spence's child sex ring also reveal his close ties to none other than the ubiquitous Roy Cohn

"Spence had been able to enter the White House late at night during the George H.W. Bush administration with young men whom the Washington Times described as 'call boys' Spence often boasted that he was working for the CIA Not long after the Washington Times report on his activities was published, Spence was found dead in the Boston Ritz Carlton and his death was quickly ruled a suicide."

(5) Lawrence E. King Jr, lobbyist and credit union banker, key figure in the "infamous Franklin child sex abuse and ritual murder scandal run out of Omaha, Nebraska Larry King and his Nebraska-based call boy ring, was discovered by looking through the credit card chits of Spence's ring King and Spence were essentially business partners as their child trafficking rings were operated under a larger group that was nicknamed 'Bodies by God' the rings run by both King and Spence were connected to each other and both were also connected to prominent officials in the Reagan and subsequent George H.W. Bush administrations, including officials with ties to the CIA and Roy Cohn and his network"

(6) Jeffrey Epstein (born 1953) then comes in on the scene, convicted of the same kinds of activities, and linked to the networks reflected in the above

(7) NXIVM recent sex-slave and child pornography scandal involving Clare Bronfman

By the way, the 'police break-in' to Epstein's New York City 27,000 square foot mansion, is regarded as a staged fake event by many, because as was clear, Epstein had multiple live-in staffers, there was always a butler or someone present 24/7, who would simply have opened the door for the police. The crowbar damage to the door would not have opened the high-security portal, and would have set off massive alarms. The people walking out with cheap rubbish bags of alleged 'evidence' did not even look like police or feds on a high-profile operation.

Epstein always had lots of aides & helpers such as Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of 'Israeli super-spy Robert Maxwell', allegedly helping procure all the young girls etc., yet somehow not yet so touched by these events when a 'serious' prosecution would certain quickly dragnet all such people. What is really going on, remains yet to be seen.

Greg Bacon , says: Website July 29, 2019 at 10:46 am GMT
That some, if not many US politicians have degenerate backgrounds and bizarre tastes can't be brushed off as some coincidence.

If you're a tiny ME nation that is doing a good job of occupying the most powerful military on Earth or if you're some bankster gangster that wants to keep your fraudulent fiat money scheme afloat, our corrupt politicians are just what the doctor ordered.

Jacques Sheete , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:48 am GMT
@Tusk

A guy named 'Dr Pizza' who had a pizza emoji next to his name, who tweeted often that Pizzagate was completely made up and once to the effect that "why would pedophiles put badges that could identify them up online" was arrested for being a pedophile and then subsequently came out he had constantly argued for relaxations on things like child porn and sexual-related issues.

The bastards just love molesting our minds as well. Who can deny that they enjoy it even more when they ply their perversions in our faces? It should also be crystal clear that the gratuitous Isreali sniping and crippling and a thousand other outrageous crimes against humanity stimulate the hell out of the perverts.

When will people finally get it through their heads that politics is all about domination , most often in perverted and sadistic forms?

None of this should be a bit surprising.

Jacques Sheete , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:58 am GMT
@Jimmy R I'm no Catholic, but it's long been obvious that the incessant harping on the Church's pedophilia is a twofer; it's not only a huge smear campaign, but it's no doubt worth $$ to the usual suspects. Look what the Commies did to religious folk in the former USSR and to the largely Christian Germany, and tell me that there's no connection.

Sadistic perverts rule with the consistent support of the "great" US moneyed ruling classes while the drooling rubes and dupes do their part as well.

Robjil , says: July 29, 2019 at 11:08 am GMT
@Jimmy R It is all about stopping the Catholic Church from having a voice to oppose Zion BC wars and coups. The Jewish Zionists want to continue the mass destruction of our planet without any back talk.

Planted Memories is a good trick to silence any organization and a big one like the Catholic Church.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/media-spotlight/201211/implanting-false-memories

Planted memories have used since the 1990s against the Catholic Church in a big way. After the end of the cold war, the ZUS wanted wars for Zion mania. No back talk allowed from any one or group is "allowed". This planted memories games works like a charm and has been used over and over again on the Catholic Church to silence it. It allows the wars and the coups for Zion BC go on and on endlessly with no back talk. It is a common trick for many cases these days.

"There is no credible scientific support for the idea that we can take eleven years of brutalization and banish it into the unconscious and then undergo some therapy which is going to make us aware of it," Dr. Loftus reported as she discussed the Holly Ramona case, "and yet these kinds of things were being introduced into court cases throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s and still today." While her outspoken opposition to recovered memory has led to her being targeted by feminist and victims' rights groups over the years (including the controversial "Jane Doe case"), Dr. Loftus continues to stand by her own research into false memory.

Brabantian , says: July 29, 2019 at 11:11 am GMT
Regarding the fabled photos of J Edgar Hoover in a woman's dress and with his gay lover, held as successful blackmail by the Jewish mob & Meyer Lansky, Ms Whitney Webb says in her Mint Press News series on Epstein connections:

Anthony Summers, former BBC journalist and author of 'Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover', has argued that it was not Lansky, but William Donovan, the director of the OSS, who obtained the original photos of Hoover and later shared them with Lansky.

Ms Webb argues for a quite long series of connections between the USA-Canadian Jewish & Italian mobs going back a century, the paedophile and under-age-sex-slave blackmail groups, and the USA & Israel intel agencies. Her series is quite something, the first two installments:
https://www.mintpressnews.com/shocking-origins-jeffrey-epstein-blackmail-roy-cohn/260621/
https://www.mintpressnews.com/blackmail-jeffrey-epstein-trump-mentor-reagan-era/260760/
Many connections are indeed striking. Trump's current USA Attorney General Barr (born 1950) & his father Donald Barr (1921-2004), were both CIA-intel officers & both linked to Epstein. William was CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him going to law school, father Donald with OSS & Bill Donovan the CIA predecessor during WW2.

Barr's later law firm Kirkland & Ellis represented Epstein; Donald Barr, when NYC Dalton School headmaster, gave Jeffrey Epstein his first job, teaching teen-age girls & boys 1973-75, whilst William Barr was at the CIA. Father Donald Barr was fascinated by sex slavery as much as Epstein apparently, Barr authoring a 1973 fantasy novel on the subject, 'Space Relations: A Slightly Gothic Interplanetary Tale" book published when Jeffrey Epstein was his underling & school-teacher of teens.

Ms Webb recounts multiple child molestation and political blackmail groups -- which had a collective name, 'Bodies from God' -- all linking ultimately with Jeffrey Epstein, intel agencies, and Jewish mobsters; Lansky etc., and such as the Bronfmans of Canada, the Bronfmans in 1991 joining with Epstein's patron & the original buyer of his New York City mansion, Les Wexner, to found the 'Mega Group' of 20 or so Zionist Jewish billionaires who are now often perceived to be the Mossad-backed money source for Epstein. A short list of these groups and persons mentioned by Webb

[MORE]
(1) Roy Cohn (1927-86) allegedly ran child sex and blackmail operations for decades, operating out of locales such as New York's Plaza Hotel

(2) Robert Keith Gray (1921-2014), USA lobbyist, "specialist in homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA and reported to have collaborated with Roy Cohn"

(3) Bruce Ritter (1927-99), Roman Catholic priest and founder of Covenant House for homeless teenagers, "eventually accused of having sexual relationships with many of the underaged boys he had taken in", Ritter supported by Cardinal Spellman closely tied to Roy Cohn, and tied to George H W Bush's Yale room-mate

(4) Craig Spence (1941-89), another USA lobbyist; "in June 1989, it was revealed that he had been pimping out children to the power elite in the nation's capital throughout the 1980s in apartments that were bugged with video and audio recording equipment reports on Spence's child sex ring also reveal his close ties to none other than the ubiquitous Roy Cohn

"Spence had been able to enter the White House late at night during the George H.W. Bush administration with young men whom the Washington Times described as 'call boys' Spence often boasted that he was working for the CIA Not long after the Washington Times report on his activities was published, Spence was found dead in the Boston Ritz Carlton and his death was quickly ruled a suicide."

(5) Lawrence E. King Jr, lobbyist and credit union banker, key figure in the "infamous Franklin child sex abuse and ritual murder scandal run out of Omaha, Nebraska Larry King and his Nebraska-based call boy ring, was discovered by looking through the credit card chits of Spence's ring King and Spence were essentially business partners as their child trafficking rings were operated under a larger group that was nicknamed 'Bodies by God' the rings run by both King and Spence were connected to each other and both were also connected to prominent officials in the Reagan and subsequent George H.W. Bush administrations, including officials with ties to the CIA and Roy Cohn and his network"

(6) Jeffrey Epstein (born 1953) then comes in on the scene, convicted of the same kinds of activities, and linked to the networks reflected in the above

(7) NXIVM recent sex-slave and child pornography scandal involving Clare Bronfman

By the way, the 'police break-in' to Epstein's New York City 27,000 square foot mansion, is regarded as a staged fake event by many, because as was clear, Epstein had multiple live-in staffers, there was always a butler or someone present 24/7, who would simply have opened the door for the police. The crowbar damage to the door would not have opened the high-security portal, and would have set off massive alarms. The people walking out with cheap rubbish bags of alleged 'evidence' did not even look like police or feds on a high-profile operation.

Epstein always had lots of aides & helpers such as Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of 'Israeli super-spy Robert Maxwell', allegedly helping procure all the young girls etc., yet somehow not yet so touched by these events when a 'serious' prosecution would certain quickly dragnet all such people. What is really going on, remains yet to be seen.

Biff , says: July 29, 2019 at 11:16 am GMT
Trust Wikipedia to get the story strait(sarcasm).

"

Pizzagate" is a debun