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|Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Casino Capitalism||Inverted Totalitarism||Predator state||Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||What's the Matter with Kansas|
|Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Real war on reality||Patterns of Propaganda||The importance of controlling the narrative||New American Caste System||Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich|
|Wrecking Crew: Notes on Republican Economic Policy||Libertarian Philosophy||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Groupthink||Skeptic Quotations||Humor||Etc|
|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.
Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief
In political science and sociology, elite [dominance] theory is a theory of the state which seeks to describe the power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite, policy-planning networks (which include not only think tanks, but also part of academia, see Econned) and selected members of "professional class", holds the most political power. They acquire this power bypassing the democratic elections process and are able to hold into it for a long time (see Two Party System as polyarchy).
This, in a way, is close to position of "classic" or paleo conservatives (not to mix them with neocons). Their position has never been simply that a hierarchical society is better than an egalitarian one; it always has been that an egalitarian, genuinely democratic society is impossible. That every society includes rulers and ruled, and it is rulers(the elite) who make critical decisions, no matter under which sauce: democratic republic, communist dictatorship, authoritarism or some other variant. The central question of politics, therefore is how to select the rulers in an optimal way so that those at the bottom of food chain were not mercilessly squeezed or wiped out.
Extremes meet and in fact Bolsheviks were early adopters of the same "elite dominance" vision as paleoconservatives. Lenin’s classic question “who, whom?” is an essence of Bolshevism. While Bolsheviks promised that a classless society would one day emerge as a variant of Christ Second Coming, in the meantime, however, they were open and enthusiastic practitioners of brutal power politics which they shrewdly called "dictatorship of proletariat", while in reality it was a dictatorship of the Party elite and state bureaucrats (so called "Nomenklatura"). Neoliberalism borrowed a lot from Bolshevism and also created "New Class" out of financial elite, modules of Silicon Valley and military industrial complex. It falsely promoted the idea that the rising tide lift all boats, while in reality middle class sinks under neoliberalism lower and lower and lost both its standard of living and some privileges.
Under neoliberalism any democracy even theoretically is impossible and to claim otherwise is to engage in open and blatant propaganda. Even revolt of people, which is the past was a powerful control mechanism of the elite, now is very unlikely due to the power and sophistication of repressive apparatus and advances in communications, power at which functionless of Stasi could only dream.. Through positions in corporations and corporate boards, as well as the influence over the policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations`` or positions with think tanks or policy-discussion groups, members of the "elite" are able to exert dominant power over the policy decisions of the corporations in their own favor (outsized bonuses of top executives in large corporations is just one example here) and subdue the national governments to the interests of those corporations due to financial levers that corporate wealth provides in influencing politics of the society.
A recent example of this can be found in the Forbes Magazine article  (published in December 2009) entitled The World's Most Powerful People, in which Forbes lists the 67 people, which the editors consider to be the most powerful people in the world (assigning one "slot" for each hundred million of humans).
The initial variant of this theory was proposed In 1956, C Wright Mills. In his book The Power Elite he described how political, corporate and military leaders in the US made policy with minimal, if al all, control, or even just consideration of preferences or concerns of ordinary citizens.
The majority of Americans now feel they are ruled by a remote, detached from their needs elite class. As Robert Johnson noted "Oligarchy now is audacious. They don't really care if they are legitimate. Their slogan is: "Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must." That creates as Christopher Hayes noted "national mood of exhaustion, frustration and betrayal" at the "near total failure of each pillar institution of our society."
As soon as we understand the dominance of elite is inevitable several fundamental questions arise:
Elite dominance theory postulates that there are powerful barriers that exist for citizens participation in the control of government. Rulers are always detached form ruled and pursue the set of interests that only partically if at all overlaps with the interest of the public at large. In less "politically correct" terms we can state that outside rare moments when ideology collapses, "rank-and-file" citizens are politically powerless. Still the stability of the society depends on the ability of the most capable members of the society, no matter in what strata they were born, to rise to the top. Equal opportunities in education in this sense are of paramount importance and represent a real "safety valve" in the society.
As for the question whether the elite is interested in stability and well-being of the given society, the key problem is to determine about which society we are talking. Elite low operates in transnational categories and can value stability of "transnational world" higher then stability and well-being of a given society. The idea that the national elite acts in the interest of the nation is now under review. Dissolution of the USSR, when the elite (aka nomenklatura) singlehandingly decimated and "privatized" the whole country to get their "fair share" of wealth is a telling example, a textbook example of self-centered and destructive behavior of new "transnational" elites.
It has shown that modern elites are not anymore connected with their country of origin and social background and roots. Paradoxically, the KGB elite actively participated in dismantling of the USSR, and Gorbachov was put in power mostly by efforts of Andropov, the guy who was the head of KGB. Here is one telling comment:
IHaveLittleToAdd, Aug 28, 2014 9:03:13 AM
Considering the non-elite citizens of the US have effectively no say in policy, what would happen if all of a sudden our government and media began shooting straight? Seems to me, pretty much nothing. It's not that most of the people I know don't realize we are being deceived to advance an altogether hidden agenda, it's that they simply don't care and are unaware of even the fabricated story.
In other words, the world's ruling elites are abandoning their host countries. They have a global vision and ambitions, their families often live in countries other are then their native country (and the country of main business), and they do not accept any constraints (such as level of taxation) and limits (such as local laws) in the pursuance of their egotistical interests, which are basically money oriented.
They move their money to offshore zones to avoid taxation. They break with impunity local laws to increase profits. It is now common for the leaders and members of the ruling elite to base self esteem upon material success, accumulation of raw wealth, emphasize Randian positivist philosophy and downplay humanistic ideals such as respect and tolerance. They no longer feel in the same boat as the rest of the society and openly worship on the altar of unlimited, pathological greed. This is especially noticeable among the US and GB financial elite. In the USA they also morphed both Republican party and Democratic party into a single party of rent-seekers on behalf of the wealthier members of society.
Marx would turn in his grave, if he saw how his idea of international unity of workers mutated into the actual international unity of elites. And how elites instead of workers implement a version of socialism, "socialism for rich", or "corporate welfare society". And they do it much more effectively then communists ever managed to implement "socialism for working class" (which actually was never a real goal, just a convenient slogan). And like Bolsheviks they also practice redistribution of profits. In the same direction toward "nomenklatura", but much more effectively (also under Stalin regime position in nomenklatura was a precarious, as Stalin practiced "purges" as a method for rotation of the elite)
With NAFTA as a prominent example, Jeff Faux had shown how national elites are morphing into a global governing class ('The Party of Davos') and are shaping the new global economy alongside the lines of their neoliberal gospel. Their long arms are the IMF, the WTO, transnational corporations and transnational economic agreements. Being transnational the US elite does not care that the technological engine of the 20th century, the USA, is fatally wounded. That its high-tech industry, which was envy of the whole world is now outsourced, education way too expensive and outside several top universities is quite mediocre, and its scientific power is waning.
In other words they no longer believe in a Benjamin Franklin's dictum: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
|“Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope.”|
Classic Elite [Dominance] Theory is based on several ideas:
|Quintile of population||Income|
The Pareto principle has also been used to attribute the widening economic inequality in the United States to 'skill-biased technical change'—i.e. income growth accrues to those with the education and skills required to take advantage of new technology and globalization.
The top twelve classical elite theorists include
He also extended on the idea that a whole elite can be replaced by a new one and how one can circulate from being elite to non-elite.
Mosca asserts that elites have intellectual, moral, and material superiority and/or other qualities that is highly esteemed and influential.
Michels stressed several factors that underlie the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy'.
The delegation leads to specialization: the development of bases of knowledge, skills, and resources among a leadership, which further serves to alienate the leadership from the 'mass and rank' and entrenches the leadership in office.
In other words rule by an elite (aka "oligarchy") is inevitable within any large organization and society as a whole because both "tactical and technical necessities". As Michels stated:
"It is organization which gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors, of the mandataries over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organization, says oligarchy".
He went on to state that "Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy." That means that the official goal of democracy of eliminating elite rule is impossible, and any "democracy" is always just a façade legitimizing the rule of a particular elite. What is important is the level of mobility of "non-elite" to the elite and the rotation of the elite.
Mills proposed that those groups emerged through a process of rationalization at work that occurs in all advanced industrial societies. And in all of them power became concentrated at the very top (0.01%), funneling overall control into the hands of a very small, somewhat corrupt group. This tendency is reflected in a decline of politics as an arena for debate about social change and relegation it to a merely formal level of discourse about non-essential issues, a smokescreen for backroom dealings of the oligarchy,
This macro-scale analysis sought to point out that the degradation of democracy in "advanced" societies in not accidental. It reflects the fact that real power generally lies outside of the elected representatives. A main influence on the emergence of this views on politics was Franz Leopold Neumann's book, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944 , a study of how Nazism came to power in the German democratic state.
It provided the tools to analyze the structure of a political system and served as a warning of what could happen in a modern capitalistic democracy.
The study debunks current mythology about the level of ‘democracy’ is present within urban politics.
This type of analysis was also used in later, larger scale, studies such as that carried out by M. Schwartz examining the power structures within the corporate elite in the USA.
Putnam saw the development of technical and exclusive knowledge among administrators and other specialist groups as a mechanism by which power is stripped from the democratic process and slipped sideways to the advisors and specialists influencing the decision making process.
"If the dominant figures of the past hundred years have been the entrepreneur, the businessman, and the industrial executive, the ‘new men’ are the scientists, the mathematicians, the economists, and the engineers of the new intellectual technology."
Previous consensus was that elite generally shares the idea that the society in which they live works best when all members of society can engage in upward mobility and improve their status via education and entrepreneurship. If there is significant upward mobility channels then members of society perceive themselves as belonging to the same team and care about ensuring that that team succeeds.
But in new" internationalized" world dominated by transnational corporations, the notion that a company or corporate executive of transnational corporation or professional (for example, IT professional) working is such a corporation is bound by an allegiance to their country of origin and work for its benefit is passé. The elites of today are bound to their corporations, one another, not to the countries. And their greed is just overwhelming and decimates all other considerations such as patriotism and moral obligations. Amorality became a norm.
People outside the elite became just tools, not compatriots and their standard of living means nothing. This new generation of transnational elite are running the country like a regular for profit corporation in which they are both the members of the board and the controlling shareholders.
Not all elites are created equal. In the last half-century we have witnessed a dramatic expansion of American corporate power into every corner of the world, accompanied by an equally awesome growth in U.S. military power. The means the US elite is higher on pecking order then elites of other countries. That does not make it less transnational. And this new power of the USA as a sole superpower state is not used in traditional way to conquer and plunder the countries (like the USA did in Philippines, Mexico and other countries in the past). Instead it is used to support subservient regimes that favor business interests of transnational companies, putting those interests above interest of the country and its people. And if necessity remove non-complaint regimes by force The USA foreign policy now is essentially based on the coercive use of economic, political, and military power to expropriate other nations land, labor, capital, natural resources, commerce, and markets in the interests of transnational corporation, not in the interest of the American people. Now the decisive factor in the selection of allies and foes is the respective actors' position on "free market policies" like trade liberalization, privatization and deregulation, that favor international corporations and related transnational part of elite. In fact, the USA recent "patterns of intervention" reveal no or little correlation between democratic ideals and the role the US plays in the affairs of other nations. Globalization that is very successfully enforced by the USA foreign policy establishment (which contrary to its critics proved to be very apt and competent in achieving its goals) amounts to a Quiet coup d'état by transnational capital over the peoples of the world, subverting democracy and national autonomy everywhere including the USA itself, while ushering in a new stage of international expropriation of resources in the interest of elite and sending the US citizens to die for the benefit of transnational corporations. the blowback for the US people includes a national security state, an inviolable Pentagon budget, and rampant PTSD among military personnel. From this point of view the popular but simplistic notion that a neoconservative cabal headed by George W. Bush has somehow 'hijacked' the U.S. government looks extremely naive.
In effect the transnational elite behaves as an occupying power, although less brutal, toward the US population as well. In a way America is just another casualty of the new transnational elite. Cutbacks in social programs, decaying infrastructure, declining wages, massive unemployment, and the rise of municipalities facing bankruptcy means not only that a republic in decline, but that unchecked appetites of transnational elite fit classic Marxist scenario -- to expropriate as much above minimum subsistence level as possible.
An important additional factor is the a new elite despise commoners. As Christoper Lasch pointed out in his groundbreaking book: "The new elites, the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension."
Playing with financial flows as if they are computer game lead to high levels of unemployment, which can no longer be regarded as aberrational, but due to labor arbitrage and dramatically improved communications became a necessary part of the working mechanisms of modern capitalist mode of production.
Oligarchy became really audacious. They don't really care if they are legitimate. "Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must." Crass materialism and accumulation of excessive wealth became the primary goal. Privatization and sell of public assets -- the mean to achieve those goals.
They have what Dr. John McMurtry has termed "The Ruling Group Mind" when reality is warped to conform to manufactured delusions submerging the group and its members within a set of hysteria, denials and projections...
The USA still has a privileged position in this "new world order" but no my much. As Napoleon Bonaparte observed
"When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes.
Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain."
Christopher Lasch (1932-1994) was a historian and penetrating social critic. He was the first who promoted the idea that the values and attitudes of elites and those of the working classes have dramatically diverged to the extent that elite became a natural "fifth column" within the state and generally hostile to the nation-state well-being and especially to the well-being of lower strata of the population.
In 1994, Lasch had come to believe that the economic and cultural elite of the United States, who historically has insured the continuity of a culture had lost faith in the traditional values (which that organized the country culture since its inception), and replaced then with unrestrained greed . He saw a threat to the continuation of Western civilization was not a mass revolt as envisioned by the pro-communist New Left of the 1960's, but a rejection of its liberal and pluralistic values by the educated elite. (see Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult)
In the process of throwing off elements of traditional morality, transnational elite adopted Nietzschean "Übermensch" mentality (typically in the form of Objectivism). They also have mastered the art of the shameless transgression of authority for their own enrichment. This tendency became possible because of computer revolution. Computers dramatically increased the capability of transnational corporation making possible growth far beyond that was possible before them. They also enabled "hacking" on monetary system to the extent that was not possible in 1920, although financial elite were always capable to find a sure way to a huge crash to be bailed out by the state again and again. .
Here is a couple of insightful reviews from Amazon:
According to Lasch, contrary to the thesis advanced by Ortega y Gasset in The Revolt of the Masses, the revolt of the masses is over ending in the defeat of communism and is to be followed by a revolt of the cultural elite. Lasch advances arguments showing how we have reached a new stage of political development in America where the elite have become increasingly detached from the concerns of the common man. Unlike the elite of past ages, the former aristocracy of wealth and status, the new elite constitutes an aristocracy of merit. However, unlike in past ages, the new elite have increasingly alienated themselves from the common man. Lasch demonstrates how an increasing division between rich and poor, in which the working class has become alienated from the intellectual class of "symbolic analysts", has led to an utter sense of apathy among the American people.
In addition, the values of the new intellectual class are utterly different from the values of the man in the street. While the working class is fundamentally culturally conservative (a fact which Lasch has certainly latched onto) demanding moral certainties on such issues as homosexual rights, abortion, feminism, patriotism, and religion, the intellectual class demands political correctness advocating affirmative action, feminism, homosexual liberation, and promoting a radical (or rather, pseudo-radical) agenda.
Lasch seems to sympathize with the populists of old, who sought a sort of third way between the horrors of monopoly capitalism and the welfare state. Populists promoted the values of the common man, thus maintaining a cultural conservativism, while at the same time demonstrating an innate fear of bigness and far off bureaucracy. In addition, Lasch sees in communitarianism which seeks to emphasize the role of community, neighborhoods, and organic connectedness (contrary to libertarianism which emphasizes the individual at the whim of market forces and cultural pluralism) a new hope for the working class and cultural conservativism. Those who are opposed to communitarianism argue that based on previous experiments with small close knit communities (particularly emphasizing cases such as Calvin's Geneva and the New England Puritans but also small towns and neighborhoods) that these are oppressive. Obviously a balance needs to be struck; nevertheless, a re-emphasis on community and traditional values is obviously an important way to achieve improvement in human conditions. Unlike many right wing libertarians who may give lip service to "family values" but who then place the family at the whim of unfettered markets and corporate interests, Lasch argues for a restraint in order to facilitate family and community growth. Lasch shows how class remains an important division with equality of opportunity being merely a further means to oppress the working class. In addition, Lasch shows how the left uses the issue of race (extended arbitrarily to include all minorities and underprivileged - as defined by them, particularly so as to include whites) to create further difficulties for the common man, who is utterly alienated by political correctness. Lasch also argues that feminism remains an important force for the new class, because by allowing more women to enter the workforce they have achieved a situation whereby they perpetuate themselves. Lasch also turns his attention to education, showing how the modern system of compulsory education has failed, emphasizing the failures of such individuals as Horace Mann, who sought to eliminate politics from education. In addition, Lasch turns his attention to the university system, a hotbed of political correctness, multiculturalism, and postmodernist philosophies. Lasch shows how these philosophies have totally alienated any contact that universities may have with ordinary citizens, becoming more and more jargon-laden and specialized while at the same time promoting values completely contrary to those of the common man. Lasch refers to this as "academic pseudo-radicalism" to show how it differs distinctly from true radicalism, how it is fundamentally elitist, and how it further denies opportunities to the very minorities that it claims to so valiantly protect. However, unlike many of the other right wing critics of the university system, Lasch argues that corporations have continued to play a large role in the development of departments leading to a weakening of humanities programs. I found Lasch's criticisms of political correctness in the university system to be particularly cogent. While economically Lasch is opposed to unfettered capitalism, nevertheless he finds room to criticize the welfare state and government bureaucracy which promotes dependency and a culture of victimization. Lasch also shows how respect and shame have been misunderstood by the modern age. In addition, Lasch shows how a culture of narcissism has developed in this country, in which individuals have become excessively self interested and rely heavily on psychotherapies which promote self esteem and "happiness" as the highest good. Lasch also argues for a return to traditional religious values as a means for achieving hope and providing an inoculation against otherwise difficult times.
As a cultural conservative, I found Lasch's brand of populism/communitarianism to be particularly interesting. Lasch's analysis of the elites seems to make sense in light of their lack of contact with everyday reality, their lack of respect for common sense and the average person, and their lack of ties to nation and place. Our country is increasingly controlled by political elites in both parties who serve merely as tourists with little interest in America beyond what makes them money. In this respect, I believe Lasch's arguments to be particularly well thought out.
caroline miranda "caroline miranda" (los angeles) -
The aristocratic elitism of modern society's version of royalty--well-educated liberals, university administrators, race and class baiters and political elites who fear accusations of being insufficiently sophisticated and sensitive--are tossed off their thrones by Christopher Lasch. Lasch gives a clear and comprehensive overview of the social and political upheaval of the last 40 years that occurred under the noses of a bland and uncaring populace.
He explains the changes in America that led to morality becoming a code word for judgmentalism, standards becoming a code word for racism, multiculturalism becoming a code word for denigrating an evil European culture, the loss of family and neighborhood hailed as necessary for individual freedom, and the death of social cohesiveness, which never was mourned. "Most of our spiritual energy is devoted precisely to a campaign against shame and guilt, the object of which is to make people 'feel good about themselves.' The churches themselves have enlisted in this therapeutic exercise...," he notes.
Lest one think this is a Bill Bennett-type bromide, Lasch's observations extend far beyond the ain't-divorce-and-latchkey-children-terrible speech and extends to the paradox of modern society in which people have never been better off materially because of capitalism but so in danger of losing the core of their souls and their society's democratic values.
Individuality without community connection and the disintegration of unstated but commonly understood traditional rules and obligations that neighbors and a community once believed they owed other threaten democracy, Lasch believes.
When multiculturalism is seen from a limited tourist-type approach of folk dances and exotic food, when crime and violence in ethnic neighborhoods replace social cohesiveness, when impersonal malls and fast food restaurants displace informal gathering spots where people once discussed ideas and experiences, and when intimidation and name-calling replace reasoned debate, the country is deeply troubled, he notes. Worse yet, no one seems to find these developments alarming, so enmeshed they are in their structured public work worlds and isolated private home worlds.
Lasch pessimistically regrets the faltering of the foundation of a culture lost the very core of its democratic ideals: reasoned governance by an informed populace with a sense of community and ethics. He decries the usurpation of cultural norms instigated by elites, who rarely venture outside their smug circle of we-know-best-for-you compatriots and who refuse to acknowledge a need for individual responsibility and rather see the average, ordinary working person as a spigot for unending social spending and an unsophisticated inferior.
"...Identity politics has come to serve as a substitute for religion--or at least for the feeling of self-righteousness that is so commonly confused with religion," he says, while meanwhile decrying the modern tendency to use religion as a way to achieve personal happiness instead of as a guide to rightful living.
Lasch's clear and flowing writing style and his insights into the disorder and straying of modern society from its historical anchor make the book a timely and informative expose of many of the ills of modern society.
Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He wrote an influential piece in the Atlantic Magazine titled The Quiet Coup. While in reality translation elite is much broader, he concentrated on financial elite (or financial oligarchy) as the dominant player among them and provided an interesting perspective on how they got dominant power position and fully control government of a particular country (in this case the USA was an example):
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.When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon—correctly, in most cases—that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise.
In Russia, for instance, the private sector is now in serious trouble because, over the past five years or so, it borrowed at least $490 billion from global banks and investors on the assumption that the country’s energy sector could support a permanent increase in consumption throughout the economy. As Russia’s oligarchs spent this capital, acquiring other companies and embarking on ambitious investment plans that generated jobs, their importance to the political elite increased. Growing political support meant better access to lucrative contracts, tax breaks, and subsidies. And foreign investors could not have been more pleased; all other things being equal, they prefer to lend money to people who have the implicit backing of their national governments, even if that backing gives off the faint whiff of corruption.
But inevitably, emerging-market oligarchs get carried away; they waste money and build massive business empires on a mountain of debt. Local banks, sometimes pressured by the government, become too willing to extend credit to the elite and to those who depend on them. Overborrowing always ends badly, whether for an individual, a company, or a country. Sooner or later, credit conditions become tighter and no one will lend you money on anything close to affordable terms.
The downward spiral that follows is remarkably steep. Enormous companies teeter on the brink of default, and the local banks that have lent to them collapse. Yesterday’s “public-private partnerships” are relabeled “crony capitalism.” With credit unavailable, economic paralysis ensues, and conditions just get worse and worse. The government is forced to draw down its foreign-currency reserves to pay for imports, service debt, and cover private losses. But these reserves will eventually run out. If the country cannot right itself before that happens, it will default on its sovereign debt and become an economic pariah. The government, in its race to stop the bleeding, will typically need to wipe out some of the national champions—now hemorrhaging cash—and usually restructure a banking system that’s gone badly out of balance. It will, in other words, need to squeeze at least some of its oligarchs.
Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique—the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large.
Eventually, as the oligarchs in Putin’s Russia now realize, some within the elite have to lose out before recovery can begin. It’s a game of musical chairs: there just aren’t enough currency reserves to take care of everyone, and the government cannot afford to take over private-sector debt completely.
He lays out the threat that the American society faced now -- capture of the government by the finance industry:
"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."
"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."
In his NPR interview with Terry Gross he demonstrated that he does not understand the fact that the mousetrap is closed and that financial oligarchy the ruling elite of the country without any significant countervailing forces. So he dispensed a pretty naive advice (Fighting America's 'Financial Oligarchy):
"We face at least two major, interrelated problems," Johnson writes. "The first is a desperately ill banking sector that threatens to choke off any incipient recovery that the fiscal stimulus might generate. The second is a political balance of power that gives the financial sector a veto over public policy, even as that sector loses popular support."
Johnson insists the U.S. must temporarily nationalize banks so the government can "wipe out bank shareholders, replace failed management, clean up the balance sheets, and then sell the banks back to the private sector." But, Johnson adds, the U.S. government is unlikely to take these steps while the financial oligarchy is still in place.
Unless the U.S. breaks up its financial oligarchy, Johnson warns that America could face a crisis that "could, in fact, be worse than the Great Depression — because the world is now so much more interconnected and because the banking sector is now so big."
A good discussion of his key ideas can be found at Jesse's Café Américain Sep 02, 2012 post Reprise -- Simon Johnson On the Quiet Coup d'Etat in the Anglo-American Financial System
In 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.Johnson also wrote a piece in the Atlantic Magazine titled The Quiet Coup. It may be worth re-reading.
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.Here is the introduction to this in The Fall of the American Republic: The Quiet Coup d'Etat in August 2010.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."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 unshakable 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."
An interesting variation of the quiet coup theory was advanced by Mike Lofgren in his influence article Revolt of the Rich (TAC, August 27, 2012)
It was 1993, during congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican congressmen who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.”
That was only the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy, and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.
At the end of the Cold War many writers predicted the decline of the traditional nation-state. Some looked at the demise of the Soviet Union and foresaw the territorial state breaking up into statelets of different ethnic, religious, or economic compositions. This happened in the Balkans, the former Czechoslovakia, and Sudan. Others predicted a weakening of the state due to the rise of Fourth Generation warfare and the inability of national armies to adapt to it. The quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan lend credence to that theory. There have been numerous books about globalization and how it would eliminate borders. But I am unaware of a well-developed theory from that time about how the super-rich and the corporations they run would secede from the nation state.
I do not mean secession by physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that happens from time to time—for example, Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as CEO of the mercenary-for-hire firm Blackwater, moved his company (renamed Xe) to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot.
Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?
Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless. Perhaps that explains why Mitt Romney’s regular-guy anecdotes always seem a bit strained. I discussed this with a radio host who recounted a story about Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury as well as an executive at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup. Rubin was being chauffeured through Manhattan to reach some event whose attendees consisted of the Great and the Good such as himself. Along the way he encountered a traffic jam, and on arriving to his event—late—he complained to a city functionary with the power to look into it. “Where was the jam?” asked the functionary. Rubin, who had lived most of his life in Manhattan, a place of east-west numbered streets and north-south avenues, couldn’t tell him. The super-rich who determine our political arrangements apparently inhabit another, more refined dimension.
To some degree the rich have always secluded themselves from the gaze of the common herd; their habit for centuries has been to send their offspring to private schools. But now this habit is exacerbated by the plutocracy’s palpable animosity towards public education and public educators, as Michael Bloomberg has demonstrated. To the extent public education “reform” is popular among billionaires and their tax-exempt foundations, one suspects it is as a lever to divert the more than $500 billion dollars in annual federal, state, and local education funding into private hands — meaning themselves and their friends. What Halliburton did for U.S. Army logistics, school privatizers will do for public education. A century ago, at least we got some attractive public libraries out of Andrew Carnegie. Noblesse oblige like Carnegie’s is presently lacking among our seceding plutocracy.
In both world wars, even a Harvard man or a New York socialite might know the weight of an army pack. Now the military is for suckers from the laboring classes whose subprime mortgages you just sliced into CDOs and sold to gullible investors in order to buy your second Bentley or rustle up the cash to get Rod Stewart to perform at your birthday party. The sentiment among the super-rich towards the rest of America is often one of contempt rather than noblesse.
Stephen Schwarzman, the hedge fund billionaire CEO of the Blackstone Group who hired Rod Stewart for his $5-million birthday party, believes it is the rabble who are socially irresponsible. Speaking about low-income citizens who pay no income tax, he says: “You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.”
But millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes do pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive, and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues. In 1950, payroll and other federal retirement contributions constituted 10.9 percent of all federal revenues. By 2007, the last “normal” economic year before federal revenues began falling, they made up 33.9 percent. By contrast, corporate income taxes were 26.4 percent of federal revenues in 1950. By 2007 they had fallen to 14.4 percent. So who has skin in the game?
... ... ...
Since the first ziggurats rose in ancient Babylonia, the so-called forces of order, stability, and tradition have feared a revolt from below. Beginning with Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre after the French Revolution, a whole genre of political writings—some classical liberal, some conservative, some reactionary—has propounded this theme. The title of Ortega y Gasset’s most famous work, The Revolt of the Masses, tells us something about the mental atmosphere of this literature.
But in globalized postmodern America, what if this whole vision about where order, stability, and a tolerable framework for governance come from, and who threatens those values, is inverted? What if Christopher Lasch came closer to the truth in The Revolt of the Elites, wherein he wrote, “In our time, the chief threat seems to come from those at the top of the social hierarchy, not the masses”? Lasch held that the elites—by which he meant not just the super-wealthy but also their managerial coat holders and professional apologists — were undermining the country’s promise as a constitutional republic with their prehensile greed, their asocial cultural values, and their absence of civic responsibility.
Lasch wrote that in 1995. Now, almost two decades later, the super-rich have achieved escape velocity from the gravitational pull of the very society they rule over. They have seceded from America.
Mike Lofgren also authored the book The Party Is Over How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted. Here is quote from one of Amazon reviews:
Over time, that sense of entitlement insensibly changed Democrats into what we in the Pentagon would call ENABLERS of Republicans. The Democratic enablers unwittingly played a crucial role in the demolition of the American dream, not unlike that played by infiltration troops in blitzkrieg. Infiltration troops soften up the front by slipping through defenses to find or create holes and weak areas for the tanks to roar thru to reap chaos and destruction deep in the enemy's rear area. Only in this case, the rear area being ruined is the American middle class, and the flood of tanks is taken up by the flood money supplied by the oligarchs who feather their nests by buying Democrats as well as Republicans in one seamless auction.
Put bluntly, to protect a sense of hereditary entitlement to the power that accompanied the coattails of FDR and the New Deal, Democrats abandoned their heritage and moved to Wall Street, Big Pharma, Defense, etc., and in so doing, insensibly mutated into faux Republicans. If you doubt this, look at the enervating, quasi-neoliberal bloviating by the self-inflating Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) or the cynical triangulations and warmongerings of Messrs. Clinton and Obama. The abdication of traditional Democratic principles gave Republican crazies more room to get even crazier, and together the faux Republicans and the real crazy Republicans reinforced each other to create a rightward shift in the American political dynamic that unleashed the emergence of a new gilded age, together with the emergence of a legalized plutocracy that criminal Russian oligarchs would envy. And this mutation came about in a remarkably short time of 30 to 40 years.
In so doing, the Democrats sold out their most important constituency, i.e., John Q. Average American, and colluded in the historic swindle that brought the great American middle class to the brink of impoverishment and debt peonage, a condition some times referred to chillingly in the tone-deaf salons of Versailles on the Potomac as the "new normal."
If you think collusion is too strong a term, I would urge you to think about Bill Clinton's (the DLC's choice for president in the 1992 election) collusion with Republicans in 1999 to nullify of the Depression era Glass-Steagle Act -- one of monuments of reform in the New Deal. This nullification was one of the main deregulatory "initiatives" that unleashed the greedy excesses that led to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. When he left office, Bill Clinton, by the way, did not pick up his grips and retire to a modest house in Independence Missouri like Harry Truman; he chose instead to join the plutocratic elite, where he is now well on his way to becoming a card-carrying member of the one-tenth of one-percent club of the mega rich. The bottom line: the Democrats' sense of entitlement and the consequent corruption of their principles have been a necessary, if not sufficient, condition in the emergence of the current political-economy that is destroying what is left of the middle class in our good ole USA. The reader would make a great mistake if he or she allowed the hilariously disgusting Republican hijinks described by Lofgren to brand his book as an anti-Republican polemic written by a convert, and miss his main message.
Mike, of course, states clearly in his title that his subject is how the madness of the Republicans and the uselessness of the Democrats reinforced each other over the last 30 to 40 years to hose the American People. It is the degenerate nature of their symbiotic relationship that is his thesis and should be the Left's call to arms.
I do not count on this happening, however. The faux Republicans are far more likely to try to exploit the embarrassment of riches in Mike's book for their narrow short-term political advantage, in yet another demonstration of the hypocrisy and opportunism that are central pillars propping up their losing mentality.
Chicago neoclassical economics school is a well known pseudo-science school, one of the pillars of Economic Lysenkoism (along with Supply Side Economics). This is an economic cult, an ideology of financial oligarchy. So it is more proper to it not neoclassical, but as aptly suggested by Bill Black “theoclassical” or Chicago Ponzinomics. It is a neoliberal phenomenon, not neoclassical. Like in Lysenkoism, and high demand sects anybody who strays from the cult is in danger of being ostracized. As Mark Thoma observed:
Some years ago, when I first presented an empirical paper questioning some of the conventional views on trade to a high profile economics conference, a member of the audience (a very prominent economist and a former co-author of mine) shocked me with the question "why are you doing this?"
There is a useful part of neoclassical economy related to thinking about an aggregate social phenomena in terms of costs and benefits of individual participants, and that can be sometimes (but not always) as a useful supplementary approach. Bastartized version of this notion which tries to imply cost-benefit motives in all human interactions is called Freakonomics. Still you can view some choices people make as tradeoffs between desired goals and social constraints (which can interpreted as costs).
Still neoclassical economics as practiced by Chicago school is driven by ideology and financed by financial oligarchy.
And like Trofim Lysenko and his followers those people are as close to criminals as one can get. Like Rabbies and Catolic Priests can be criminals, the same is true about people in academic mantles. Corruption of academics is nothing new, but corruption of economists is a very dangerous mass form of white-collar crime as close to Madoff and his associates as one can get. This is the way we should look at the Chicago schools: kind of incarnation of Lysenko henchmen or, if you wish, Chicago mafia in a university environment. Actually similar way of thinking can be applied to Harvard (see Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia ).
Is neoclassical economics a mafia? Sort of, says Christopher Hayes in a very well-written and very interesting piece in The Nation. He says orthodox economists are a close-knit group and are quick to penalize those among them or from outside who overstep the boundaries. Here is an excerpt:
So extreme is the marginalization of heterodox economists, most people don't even know they exist. Despite the fact that as many as one in five professional economists belongs to a professional association that might be described as heterodox, the phrase "heterodox economics" has appeared exactly once in the New York Times since 1981. During that same period "intelligent design," a theory endorsed by not a single published, peer-reviewed piece of scholarship, has appeared 367 times.
It doesn't take much to call forth an impressive amount of bile from heterodox economists toward their mainstream brethren. John Tiemstra, president of the Association for Social Economics and a professor at Calvin College, summed up his feelings this way: "I go to the cocktail parties for my old schools, MIT and Oberlin, and people are all excited about Freakonomics. I kind of wince and go off to another corner or have another drink." After the EPI gathering, Peter Dorman, an economist at Evergreen State College with a gentle, bearded air, related an e-mail exchange he once had with Hal Varian, a well-respected Berkeley economist who's moderately liberal but firmly committed to the neoclassical approach. Varian wrote to Dorman that there was no point in presenting "both sides" of the debate about trade, because one side--the view that benefits from unfettered trade are absolute--was like astronomy, while any other view was like astrology. "So I told him I didn't buy the traditional trade theory," Dorman said. "'Was I an astrologer?' And he said yes!"
Please note that some of the most close to Lysenkoism figures at Chicago, such as Cochrane and Fama, are in the business school rather than the econ department. And they were key enablers of Goldman Sacks and Co. looters. Deregulation wave was promoted by right wing extremists who recruited corrupted academicians like Milton Friedman to perform specific role of Trojan horse to undermine New Deal. He managed to made the "invisible hand" a prefect pocket picker! And the method of spreading influence was essentially borrowed from the Lysenko book: control the economic department and those who went to college and studied those theories in the 70’s and 80’s would then go to Wall St and Government and enact them. Control the key academic magazines and conferences and any aspiring economists need either to conform or leave the field.
Here is one telling comment about corruption of those modern day Lysenkoists in the blog Crooked Timber
ogmb 09.18.09 at 12:01 pm
...Cochrane is the AQR Capital Management Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth [formerly Graduate] School of Business. Which incidentally also makes his whining that Krugman ‘accuses us literally of adopting ideas for pay, selling out for “sabbaticals at the Hoover institution” and fat “Wall street paychecks”’ a bit malnourished in the introspection department, coming from someone who holds a chair sponsored by a quantitative trading firm at a school sponsored by the founder of an EMH investment firm. (Nevermind that Krugman never, literally or otherwise, accused Cochrane and his peers of selling out to Wall Street…)
In this ideology Milton Friedman is playing the role of false prophet and lesser "giants" producing continued steam of detached from reality papers and speeches. It also includes several clown who as Krugman noted have some qualities of irritable adolescents, but actually are proper heirs of Academician Trofim Lysenko:
And that same adolescent quality was evident in the reactions to the Obama administration’s attempts to deal with the crisis — as Brad DeLong points out, people like Robert Lucas and John Cochrane (not to mention Richard Posner, who isn’t a macroeconomist but gets his take from his colleagues) didn’t say that when serious scholars like Christina Romer based policy recommendations on Keynesian economics, they were wrong; the freshwater crowd declared that anyone with Keynesian views was, by definition, either a fool or intellectually dishonest. So the freshwater outrage over finding their own point of view criticized is, you might think, a classic case of people who can dish it out but can’t take it.
But it’s actually even worse than that.
When freshwater macro came in, there was an active purge of competing views: students were not exposed, at all, to any alternatives. People like Prescott boasted that Keynes was never mentioned in their graduate programs. And what has become clear in the recent debate — for example, in the assertion that Ricardian equivalence rules out any effect from government spending changes, which is just wrong — is that the freshwater side not only turned Keynes into an unperson, but systematically ignored the work being done in the New Keynesian vein. Nobody who had read, say, Obstfeld and Rogoff would have been as clueless about the logic of temporary fiscal expansion as these guys have been. Freshwater macro became totally insular. And hence the most surprising thing in the debate over fiscal stimulus: the raw ignorance that has characterized so many of the freshwater comments. Above all, we’ve seen the phenomenon of well-known economists “rediscovering” Say’s Law and the Treasury view (the view that government cannot affect the overall level of demand), not because they’ve transcended the Keynesian refutation of these views, but because they were unaware that there had ever been such a debate. It's a sad story. And the even sadder thing is that it’s very unlikely that anything will change: freshwater macro will get even more insular, and its devotees will wonder why nobody in the real world of policy and action pays any attention to what they say.
The proper label for neo-classical economics might be "theological voluntarism", the term which has some academic aura... There are several issues here:
Chicago (or as some called it freshwater) school specializes in deification of the market (often in the form of "invisible hand" deification, see The Invisible Hand, Trumped by Darwin - NYTimes.com).
Yves Smith’s in her book Econned, How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism discussed the role of corrupted economics professor in establishing and supporting the rule of financial oligarchy. Here is one Amazon review
Neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy, September 25, 2010
There are many good reviews of the book published already and I don't want to repeat them. But I think there is one aspect of the book that was not well covered in the published reviews and which I think is tremendously important and makes the book a class of its own: the use of neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy. I hope that the term "econned" will became a new word in English language.
Neoclassical economics has become the modern religion with its own priests, sacred texts and a scheme of salvation. It was a successful attempt to legitimize the unlimited rule of financial oligarchy by using quasi-mathematical, oversimplified and detached for reality models. The net result is a new brand of theology, which proved to be pretty powerful in influencing people and capturing governments ("cognitive regulatory capture"). Like Marxism, neoclassical economics is a triumph of ideology over science. It was much more profitable though: those who were the most successful in driving this Trojan horse into the gates were remunerated on the level of Wall Street traders.
Economics is essentially a political science. And politics is about perception. Neo-classical economics is all about manipulating the perception in such a way as to untie hands of banking elite to plunder the country (and get some cramps from the table for themselves). Yves contributed to our understanding how "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, economics professors from Chicago, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and some other places warmed by flow of money from banks for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping Wall Street to plunder the country. The rhetorical question that a special counsel to the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, asked Senator McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency?" applies.
The main effect of neoclassical economics is elevating unregulated ( "free" in neoclassic economics speak) markets into the key mechanism for distribution of the results of economic activity with banks as all-powerful middlemen and sedating any opposition with pseudo-mathematical mumbo-jumbo. Complexity was used as a powerful smoke screen to conceal greed and incompetence. As a result financial giants were able to loot almost all sectors of economics with impunity and without any remorse, not unlike the brutal conquerors in Middle Ages.
The key to the success of this nationwide looting is that people should be brainwashed/indoctrinated to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum level of greed results in maximum prosperity for all. Collapse of the USSR helped in this respect driving the message home: look how the alternative ended, when in reality the USSR was a neo-feudal society. But the exquisite irony here is that Bolsheviks-style ideological brainwashing was applied very successfully to the large part of the US population (especially student population) using neo-classical economics instead of Marxism (which by-and-large was also a pseudo-religious economic theory with slightly different priests and the plan of salvation ;-). The application of badly constructed mathematical models proved to be a powerful tool for distorting reality in a certain, desirable for financial elite direction. One of the many definitions of Ponzi Scheme is "transfer liabilities to unwilling others." The use of detached from reality mathematical models fits this definition pretty well.
The key idea here is that neoclassical economists are not and never have been scientists: much like Marxist economists they always were just high priests of a dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the benefit of the sect (and indirectly to their own benefit). All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: state support was and still is here, it is just working more subtly via ostracism, without open repressions. Look at Sheller story on p.9.
I think that one of lasting insights provided by Econned is the demonstration how the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the neoclassical economic school that has dominated the field at least for 30 or may be even 50 years. And that this ideological coup d'état was initiated and financed by banking establishment who was a puppeteer behind the curtain. This is not unlike the capture of Russia by Bolsheviks supported by German intelligence services (and Bolsheviks rule lasted slightly longer -- 65 years). Bolsheviks were just adherents of similar wrapped in the mantle of economic theory religious cult, albeit more dangerous and destructive for the people of Russia then neoclassical economics is for the people of the USA. Quoting Marx we can say "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce".
That also means that there is no easy way out of the current situation. Ideologies are sticky and can lead to the collapse of society rather then peaceful evolution.
It might well be that for certain part of this new transnational elite with their "cult of greed" can be characterized by a callous disregard for other people feelings typical for psychopaths. Moreover for new, first generation members of this elite those psychopathic tendencies (which does not mean that the person is an outright psychopath, or sociopath) might be a powerful engine in climb to the top and can play a important, if not decisive role in their success. They look more like "well compensated" sociopaths. See Authoritarians and Corporate Psychopaths as Toxic Managers for more information about typical traits that define this condition.
There’s a section in the book The Psychopath Test, in which British journalist Jon Ronson does the psychopath test on "Chainsaw Al" Dunlop, the former CEO of Sunbeam who was notorious for gleefully laying off thousands of workers to make more money. And he redefines a great number of the items on the checklist as business positives. He turned the psychopath test into “Who Moved My Cheese?” The thing that’s so startling about his story is that the more ruthlessly and remorselessly psychopathically he behaved when he was heading up Sunbeam and the company before Sunbeam — Scott — the more he was rewarded. As Times reported on 2011/09/20:
One in 25 bosses may be psychopaths — a rate that’s four times greater than in the general population — according to research by psychologist and executive coach Paul Babiak.
Babiak studied 203 American corporate professionals who had been chosen by their companies to participate in a management training program. He evaluated their psychopathic traits using a version of the standard psychopathy checklist developed by Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Psychopaths, who are characterized by being completely amoral and concerned only with their own power and selfish pleasures, may be overrepresented in the business environment because it plays to their strengths. Where greed is considered good and profitmaking is the most important value, psychopaths can thrive.
Just look at the at their grandiosity, their pathological lying, their lack of empathy, their lack of remorse of the financial elite demonstrated during the crisis of 2008. I know there’s a danger in seeing psychopaths everywhere, but sometimes in this case it’s just impossible not to see some alarming correlations. Look at the apostils of deregulation in the USA such as:
Amorality and psychopathic tendencies of new transnational elite and a special breed of corrupted politicians who serve them are perfectly demonstrated in the new sport for crooked politicians, especially from the part of the US Republican Party which can be called neo-confederates.
Barbara Ellen in her Guardian column (Guardian March 2, 2013) pointed out that the Methodists, the United Reformed Church, the Church of Scotland and the Baptist Union have joined forces to publish a study called The Lies We Tell Ourselves. It highlights myths surrounding people and poverty, including Iain Duncan Smith's much trumpeted "families out of work for three generations" line (which, it turns out, has never been backed up by data).
The report argues that the government is "deliberately misrepresenting" the poor, blaming them for their circumstances while ignoring more complex reasons, including policy deficiencies. Moreover, they feel that this scapegoating is the result of collusion between politicians, the media and the public.
Increasingly, the shame is being taken out of poor-shaming. It didn't seem so long ago that most people would think twice about denigrating fellow citizens who were having a hard time. These days, it appears to have been sanctioned as a new sport for the elites. A politician is one thing but these attitudes are spreading and hardening among ordinary people too. Indeed, poverty seems a trigger to inspire hate speech that would be quickly denounced if it related to race or gender.
Is this our new default setting – that the needy are greedy? This chimes with a slew of government policies that appear to be founded on notions of bulletproof self-reliance, making no allowances for circumstances or sheer bad luck, and which many would require huge amounts of help to put into practice, never mind sustain. Meanwhile, the more fortunate are invited to pour scorn upon anyone who fails.
While there are people whose problem are self-inflicted for many this is not true. In reality substantial number of poor are former people of modest means hit by a serious disease and who run out of options.
And shaming poor is a pretty safe sport. The poor are poor. They have no money, no voice, no representatives, and no means to defend their interests. Poverty is a like collapse of domino – once the first domino falls, all others follow the suit. In such circumstances, if a group of people are "deliberately misrepresents" the real situation with the poor, then there's precious little they can do about it. The churches got it right – if anything, the truth seems so much worse that it must surely be time to put the shame back into poor-shaming.
Poor-shamers are bullies, and right now they're getting away with it.
State interests and interest of large social groups are "projected" on the elite making is less monolithic then otherwise it might be. Here is come to a complex question of "national elite" vs. "transnational elite". This question is often discussed under the banner of "Fifth column". In this sense Color revolutions can be viewed as attempts to "harmonize" elite with the requirements of international corporations plus geostrategic interests of the counties which "home" those corporations. See for example Russian experience in "white Revolution" of 2011-2012
In this sense Civil war can be viewed as a condition in which two parts of the elite in the same country can't reconcile their differences with peaceful means. That's definitely true about the US Civil War.
Existence of "ideologically charged" and openly nationalistic parties which periodically come to power in various countries somewhat undermines the thesis about international elite dominance, unless you assume that such parties represent "blowback" of internationalization of capital and come to power to protect the interest of some parts of the national elite threatened by "more international" (aka comprador) part of the elite. Which is historically true for NDSP (with military-industrial complex as the main supported of them as a tool against communists as well as against Jewish financial oligarchy) as well as for Bolsheviks in Russia (if we assume the theory that the initial core of Bolsheviks movement before Stalin purges was Russian Jewish intelligencia supported by the USA (via Trotsky connections) and some other countries (paradoxically Germany during the period of WWI; it was Germany that "delivered" to Russia by via a special train Bolshevik leaders caught at the beginning of WWI in various European countries including Germany, in violation of the their status as "interned" nationals for the duration of the First World War )).
"Resource nationalism" is another close, but more modern phenomenon
Nationalism is probably the most potent force for undermining the unity of international elite.
The elite in most European countries and the USA consists not of the "best of the breed". It became more like the result of adverse selection. Conversion to neoliberalism just made this problems more acute. At this point the problem of degeneration of elite comes to the forefront. George Bush II was clear a warning in the respect. Obama might well be the second bell. In criticizing the degeneration of the current US or GB elite, we should not forget that such processes are not new and in the past were the cause of several revolutions. Financial oligarchy of the neoliberal society is only a new name for aristocrats. And in the past the self-serving, decadent and corrupted upper class was the important source of instability in the society. level of degeneration of European elite which clearly demonstrated the fact the Cameron managed to came to power in GB in many respects makes the situation even more fragile than in the USA. Here is one telling quote (The EU's ugly kindergarten of intellectually challenged clowns):
It is generally accepted that "politics is the art of the possible" and yet the EU leaders are clearly engaged in the art of the absolutely impossible. The fact that they are all pretending like this is going to have some useful impact is truly a sign of how much the EU leadership has degenerated over the years. Can you imagine Helmut Schmidt, Charles de Gaulle, Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterrand or Francisco Franco engaging in that kind of infantile nonsense? All these leaders had their bad aspects, but at least none of them were clowns, whereas when I look at the current EU leadership, especially Van Rumpey, Adners Fogh Rasmussen or José Manuel Barroso I get the feeling that I am looking at some ugly kindergarten of intellectually challenged clowns and, frankly, I can understand Mrs Nuland's feelings.
Degeneration of elites lead the denunciation of the elites, when to a large body of civil population became clear that the upper class is no longer fulfill their function, do not care about the people, and, in case of neoliberal elite, is not even the part of the same society -- it acquired features of a foreign, parasitizing on the national body occupation force.
If the elite is not regenerates itself, catastrophic crisis in Society became more likely. The state itself became a “quasi-state”: endowed with juridical statehood, yet lacking the political will, institutional capacity, and organized authority to protect human rights and provide socioeconomic welfare for the population. In this case a parallel political authority -- a shadow state replaces the "regular" stat – whose defining characteristic is the change of the role of security services in the governance of the state. See National Security State. Dissolution of the USSR was particularly connected with such a level of degeneration of the elite as well as betrayal of security services with KGB brass changing sides and adopting neoliberalism as a new ideology.At the same time while people like Obama and Cameron are merely instruments of neoliberalism and financial capital. So one explanation of the degradation of elite is the current crisis of neoliberalism. This is somewhat similar to the degradation of Politburo in last years of the USSR. They all however fit the definition of idiocy, repeating the same mistakes that prove so unfailingly disastrous, over and over, the inability to learn from their mistakes.
Here is one telling comment from Moon of Alabama discussion:
jayc | Aug 29, 2014 3:12:01 PM | 13
When Cameron started taking selfies at Mandela's funeral it undermined any remaining notion that he was some kind of leader, he was rather revealed as a mediocre middle-management suckup.
Western political leadership is chock full of these types. Policy is being developed at another level than elected representatives and middle-management is there to sell the policy.
I'm not sure NATO wants a full shooting proxy war - they don't care much about Ukraine or its people and would be content with new bases and new weapons programs.
The intent, it seems, is to isolate Russia from Europe and hope that the effects from sanctions could produce some sort of regime change or fracture the country into territories It seems that the Kiev regime has done just about everything possible to provoke a Russian invasion.
Western politicians and media, by their open hysteria and constant insistence that Russia has "invaded" and shot down a passenger plane, are invoking a sort of nostalgia for the Afghanistan invasion of 1978 or the KAL007 shoot down, when the evil empire stood revealed and the brave middle managers could rush to the barricades.
Unfortunately for them, Russia hasn't played that game and because they are mediocre the West's political leadership cannot summon the imagination for what to do next.
Crest | Aug 29, 2014 6:26:49 PM | 47@jayc 13"Russia hasn't played that game and because they are mediocre the West's political leadership cannot summon the imagination for what to do next."
This is a great line. Western elites have no imagination, because of a generation of brutally purging all dissent from the neoliberalism/financialist imperalism paradigm.
If you don't believe in the Washington consensus, you don't exist.
They simply can't think of anything better, and they won't allow themselves to try.
Aug 12, 2016 | beforeitsnews.com
... ... ...
Back in 2005 police conducted an 11 month-long undercover investigation into Epstein and his estate after the mother of a 14-year-old girl went to police after suspecting her daughter was paid $300 for at least one sexual act on the island in which she was ordered to strip, leaving on just her panties, while giving Epstein a massage.
Although police found tons of photos of young women on the island and even interviewed eyewitnesses, Epstein was hit with a mere slap on the wrist after "pleading to a single charge of prostitution". Epstein later served 13-months of his 18-month service in jail.
In 2008, Epstein was hit again, this time with a $50 million civil suit after another victim filed in federal court claiming that she was "recruited" by Epstein to give him a "massage" but was essentially forced into having sexual intercourse with him for $200 which was payable upon completion. The women were coming out of the woodwork.
Now Bill Clinton is back in the press and not for his controversial relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but rather his friendship with Epstein. In fact, flight records indicate that Bill would frequent the island paradise during the 2002 and 2005 era while Hillary, Bill's wife, was a Senator in New York.
'I remember asking Jeffrey what's Bill Clinton doing here kind of thing, and he laughed it off and said well he owes me a favor,' one unidentified woman said in the lawsuit, which was filed in Palm Beach Circuit Court.
The woman went on to say how orgies were a regular occurrence and that she recalled two young girls from New York who were always seen around the five-house compound but their personal back-stories were never revealed.
"At least one woman on the compound was there unwillingly," reported the Daily Mail in a recent article. The woman was allegedly forced to have sex with "politicians, businessmen, royalty, academicians" at the retreat. Just one of "more than 40 women" that have come forth with claims against Epstein, showing the vast scale of the man's dark operations, which aren't limited only to Little St. James.
Moreover, Epstein was invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding in 2010 amongst 400 other guests, demonstrating his close friendship with the Clinton family.
To top it all off blue blood, "Prince Andrew was allegedly one of the house's visitors. On Friday, the Duke of York was named in a federal lawsuit filed against Epstein, whom the FBI once reportedly linked to 40 young women. Filed in 2008 in the Southern District of Florida, the $50 million lawsuit claimed Epstein had a "sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls gained access to primarily economically disadvantaged minor girls in his home and sexually assaulted these girls,"reported the Washington Post.
Sep 07, 2011 | politicalissues.blog.com
Posted by Political Issues in Sep 07, 2011, under IssuesWho really holds power in the United States' Do "we the people" genuinely run the country through elected representatives? Or is there small elite of Americans that governs behind the scenes? It is difficult to determine the location of power in a society as complex as the Unite States In exploring this critical question, social scientists have developed two basic views of our nation's power structure the elite and pluralism models.
Karl Marx essentially believed that nineteenth century representative democracy was a shape.
He argued that industrial societies were dominated by relatively small numbers of people who owned factories and controlled natural resources.
In Marx's view, government officials and military leaders were essentially servants of the capitalist class and followed their wishes therefore, any key decisions made by politicians inevitably reflected the interests of the dominant bourgeoisie Like others who hold an elite model of power relations, Marx thus believed that society is ruled by a small group of individuals who share a common set of political and economic interests.
The Power Elite . In his pioneering work. The Power Elite , sociologist C. Wright Mills described the existence of a small ruling elite of military, industrial, and governmental leaders who controlled the fate of the United States. Power rested in the hands of a few, both inside and outside of government -- the power elite . In Mill's words:
The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of ordinary men and women, they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. They arc in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society.
In Mills's model, the power structure of the United States can be illustrated by the use of a pyramid. At the top are the corporate rich, leaders of the executive branch of government, and heads of the military (whom Kills called the "warlords"). Below this triumvirate are local opinion leaders, members of the legislative branch of government, and leaders of special-interest groups. Mills contended that such individuals and groups would basically follow the wishes of the dominant power elite. At the bottom of society are the unorganized, exploited masses.
This power elite model is, in many respects, similar to the work of Karl Marx. The most striking difference is that Mills felt that the economically powerful coordinate their maneuvers with the military and political establishments in order to serve their mutual interests. Yet, reminiscent of Marx. Mills argued that the corporate rich were perhaps the most powerful element of the power elite (first among "equals"). And, of course, there is a further dramatic parallel between the work of these conflict theorists The powerless masses at the bottom of Mills's power elite model certainly bring to mind Marx's portrait of the oppressed workers of the world, who have "nothing to lose but their chains".
Mills failed to provide detailed case studies which would substantiate the interrelationship among members of the power elite. Instead, he suggested that such foreign policy decisions as America's entry into the Korean war reflected a determination by business and military leaders that each could benefit from such armed conflict. In Mills s view, such a sharing of perspectives was facilitated by the frequent interchange of commanding roles among the elite. For example, a banker might become the leader of a federal regulatory commission overseeing financial institutions, and a retired general might move to an executive position with a major defense contracting firm.
A fundamental element in Mills's thesis is that the power elite not only has relatively few members but also operates as a self-conscious, cohesive unit. Although not necessarily diabolical or ruthless, the elite comprises similar types of people who regularly interact with one another and have essentially the same political and economic interests. Mills's power elite is not a conspiracy but rather a community of interest and sentiment among a small number of influential Americans.
Admittedly, Mills failed to clarify when the elite acts and when it tolerates protests. Nevertheless, his challenging theories forced scholars to look more critically at the "democratic" political system of the United States.
The Ruling Class
Sociologist G. William Domhoff agreed with Mills that American society is run by a powerful elite. But, rather than fully accepting Mills's power elite model, Domhoff argued that the United States is controlled by a social upper class "that is a ruling class by virtue of its dominant role in the economy and government". This socially cohesive ruling class owns 20 to 25 percent of all privately held wealth and 45 to 50 percent of all privately held common stock.
Unlike Mills, Domhoff was quite specific about who belongs to this social upper class. Membership comes through being pan of a family recognized in The Social Register -- the directory of the social elite in many American cities. Attendance at prestigious private schools and membership in exclusive social clubs are further indications that a person comes from America's social upper class. Domhoff estimates that about 0.5 percent of the American population (or 1 of every 200 people) belongs to this social and political elite.
Of course, this would mean that the ruling class has more than 1 million members and could hardly achieve the cohesiveness that Mills attributed to the power elite. However, Domhoff adds that the social upper class as a whole does not rule the nation. Instead, members of this class who have assumed leadership roles within the corporate community or the nation's policy-planning network join with high-level employees of profit-making and nonprofit institutions controlled by the social upper class to exercise power.
In Domhoff's view, the ruling class should not be seen in a conspiratorial way, as "sinister men lurking behind the throne." On the contrary they tend to hold public positions of authority. Almost all important appointive government posts -- including those of diplomats and cabinet members -- are filled by members of the social upper class. Domhoff contends that members of this class dominate powerful corporations, foundations, universities, and the executive branch of government. They control presidential nominations and the political party process through campaign contributions. In addition, the ruling class exerts a significant (though not absolute) influence within Congress and units of state and local government.
Perhaps the major difference between the elite models of Mills and Domhoff is that Mills insisted on the relative autonomy of the political elite and attached great significance to the independent power of the military. By contrast, Domhoff suggests that high-level government and military leaders serve the interests of the social upper class. Both theorists, in line with a Marxian approach, assume that the rich are interested only in what benefits them financially. Furthermore, as advocates of elite models of power. Mills and Domhoff argue that the masses of American people have no real influence on the decisions of the powerful.
One criticism of the elite model is that its advocates sometimes suggest that elites are always victorious. With this in mind, sociologist J. Alien Whitt (1982) examined the efforts of California's business elites to support urban mass transit. He found that lobbying by these elites was successful in San Francisco but failed in Los Angeles. Whitt points out that opponents of policies backed by elites can mobilize to thwart their implementation.
Domhoff admits that the ruling class does not exercise total control over American society. However, he counters that this elite is able to set political terms under which other groups and classes must operate. Consequently, although the ruling class may lose on a particular issue, it will not allow serious challenges to laws which guarantee its economic privileges and political domination.Pluralist Model
Several social scientists have questioned the elite models of power relations proposed by Marx, Mills, Domhoff, and other conflict theorists. Quite simply, the critics insist that power in the United States is more widely shared than the elite model indicates. In their view, a pluralist model more accurately describes the American political system. According to the pluralist model , "many conflicting groups within the community have access to government officials and compete with one another in an effort to influence policy decisions".
Veto Groups . David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd suggested that the American political system could best be understood through examination of the power of veto groups. The term veto groups refers to interest groups that have the capacity to prevent the exercise of power by others. Functionally, they serve to increase political participation by preventing the concentration of political power. Examples cited by Riesman include farm groups, labor unions, professional associations, and racial and ethnic groups. Whereas Mills pointed to the dangers of rule by an undemocratic power elite, Riesman insisted that veto groups could effectively paralyze the nation's political processes by blocking anyone from exercising needed leadership functions. In Riesman's words, "The only leaders of national scope left in the United States are those who can placate the veto groups".
Dahl's Study of Pluralism . Community studies of power have also supported the pluralist model. One of the most famous -- an investigation of decision making in New Haven, Connecticut -- was reported by Robert Dahl in his book, Who Governs? (1961). Dahl found that while the number of people involved in any important decision was rather small, community power was nonetheless diffuse. Few political actors exercised decision-making power on all issues. Therefore, one individual or group might be influential in a battle over urban renewal but at the same time might have little impact over educational policy. Several other studies of local politics, in such communities as Chicago and Oberlin, Ohio, further document that monolithic power structures do not operate on the level of local government.
Just as the elite model has been challenged on political and methodological grounds, the pluralist model has been subjected to serious questioning. Domhoff (1978) reexamined Dahl's study of decision making in New Haven and argued that Dahl and other pluralists had failed to trace how local elites prominent in decision making were part of a larger national ruling class. In addition, studies of community power, such as Dahl's work in New Haven, can examine decision making only on issues which become pan of the political agenda. This focus fails to address the possible power of elites to keep certain matters entirely out of the realm of government debate. Conflict theorists contend that these elites will not allow any outcome of the political process which threatens their dominance. Indeed, they may even be strong enough to block discussion of such measures by policymakers.
Feb 13, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"He drew near and saw the city, and he wept for it saying, 'If you had only recognized the things that make for peace. But now you are blinded to them. Truly, the days will come when your enemies will set up barriers to surround you, and hem you in on every side. Then they will crush you into the earth, you and your children. And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the way to your salvation.'"
"You hypocrites! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of His messengers.'"
...the results of the Senate GOP finding no evidence of 'collusion' with Russia by the Trump Administration to influence the results of the presidential election..
This last item is not surprising, because this entire Russian collusion meme seems as though it is an hysterical reaction to the spin put out by the Clinton political faction and their neoliberal enablers after their shocking loss in the 2016 Presidential election.
Too bad though, because the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there. And by there we mean on both sides of the fence -- which is why it had to take a back seat to a manufactured boogeyman.
... ... ...
There is a long road ahead before we see anything like a resolution to this troubling period in American political history.
We look back at other troubled periods and places, and either see them as discrete and fictional, a very different world apart, or through some rosy lenses of good old times which were largely benign and peaceful. We fail to see the continuity, the similarity, and the commonality of a dangerous path with ourselves. As they did with their own times gone by. Madness blinds its acolytes, because they wish it so. They embrace it to hide their shame.
We are reassured and misled by the same kinds of voices that have always served the status quo and the monied interests, the think tanks, the so-called 'institutes,' and the web sites and former con men who offer a constant stream of thinly disguised propaganda and misstatements of principle and history. We are comforted by their lies.
People want to hear these reassuring words of comfort and embrace it like a 'religion,' because they do not wish to draw the conclusions that the genuine principles of faith suggest (dare we say command in this day and age) in their daily lives. They blind themselves by adopting a kind of a schizoid approach to life, where 'religion' occupies a discrete, rarefied space, and 'political or economic philosophy' dictates another set of everyday 'practical' observances and behaviors which are more pliable, and pleasing to our hardened and prideful hearts.
We wish to strike a deal with the Lord, and a deal with the Devil -- to serve both God and Mammon as it suits us. It really is that cliché. And it is so finely woven into the fabric of our day that we cannot see it; we cannot see that it is happening to us and around us.
And so we trot on into the abyss, one exception and excuse and rationalization for ourselves at a time. And we blind ourselves with false prophets and their profane theories and philosophies.
As for truth, the truth that brings life, we would interrupt the sermon on the mount itself, saying that this sentiment was all very well and good, but what stocks should we buy for our portfolio, and what horse is going to win the fifth at Belmont? Tell us something useful, practical! Oh, and can you please fix this twinge in my left shoulder? It is ruining my golf game."Those among the rich who are not, in the rigorous sense, damned, can understand poverty, because they are poor themselves, after a fashion; they cannot understand destitution. Capable of giving alms, perhaps, but incapable of stripping themselves bare, they will be moved, to the sound of beautiful music, at Jesus's sufferings, but His Cross, the reality of His Cross, will horrify them. They want it all out of gold, bathed in light, costly and of little weight; pleasant to see, hanging from a woman's beautiful throat."No surprise in this. It has always been so, especially in times of such vanity and greed as are these. Then is now. There is nothing new under the sun. And certainly nothing exceptional about the likes of us in our indulgent self-destruction.
Are you not entertained?
Jul 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
NAV , 2 hours ago
Congress and the courts are the enablers of America's destruction. Legislation is morality; it's the definition of how you live together, where people can live together and raise their families. Our Congress instead serves the sex industry, whether it be in our schools and universities or in our homes via television and the internet and magazines. Yvonne Ridley in "**** in the USA" wrote on June 2, 2011:
"In Obama's Apple Pie America, cable and satellite companies pump *********** into millions of homes where the American Dream has, for some, become X-rated.
"And the Americans are keen to share – I remember one of the first things that followed the arrival of US forces in Afghanistan was the sex industry. Scores of channels promoting straight and gay **** suddenly became readily available on television sets without even the need to subscribe ."
And, our media, upon arrival, gleefully subjected small children to **** just to watch their innocence torn asunder.
*********** and its consequences in America wears a Supreme Court robe... *********** is the law of the land.
C I eh? , Jul 11 2019 8:01 utc | 137
Jul 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
anon , Jul 11 2019 6:36 utc | 134 whatever, coward. I won't be staying long I see little point is spending time at a place taken over by nonce's who can only read stuff that adheres to their tiny world view. Otherwise they lose their sh1t.
Even worse few do more than hunt out anything, including stuff from the very same msm they profess to eschew, which buttresses that view in an odd and pointless game of "see what I just read, one upmanship". Actually getting out and involved helping even one of the humans whose life is sh1t thanks to the empire is never even considered.
Of course the types who perpetrated this horror should go down but if you are naive enough to believe the lie that zionists pull all the greedies (jew/gentile/saudi) strings instead of the blindingly obvious, that all the greedies pull the strings of everyone they can, including those of the stupid & ignorant israeli settlers, then the odds of you anon, finding any 'truth' in the machinations of empire are slim.
If there weren't any twisted Clintons or Trumps prepared do do any damn thing just to sodomise a preadolescent girl, no one would abduct the girls in the first place.
Every f++ker who went to edelsteins island should be locked up for the rest of their lives unless they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they only cut the grass/washed the dishes.
ps if 'the jews' control everything why are so many of em on the bones of their arses? Surely any jew who was stuck with driving a cab/pushing a pen/ or even robbing a bank would just manipulate the nearest billionaire 'goy' into handing over his/her dosh?
@ anonjohn , Jul 11 2019 10:25 utc | 143
(((Debisdead))) comes back from the dead to tell everyone the rampant child abuse is the fault of anyone except the jewish names actually involved...
You said it.
What brought me here at 3:30 am was an Amber Alert on my phone, with an incredibly obnoxious alarm, for a child apparently abducted 500kms away. I've received three such alerts in the past hour so I know everyone in Ontario will be talking about it tomorrow.
Psych ops are ramping up ladies and gents...
Krollchem , Jul 11 2019 5:19 utc | 129For more on the pedophile "epidemic in America and the purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.Krollchem , Jul 11 2019 5:31 utc | 131
The Heart of Darkness: The Sexual Predators Within America's Power Elite
By John W. WhiteheadSee also the global incident map for a small portion of sex trafficing in the US and around the world. http://human.globalincidentmap.com/
This site covers lots of other criminal incidents and other issues.anon , Jul 11 2019 6:36 utc | 134
(((Debisdead))) comes back from the dead to tell everyone the rampant child abuse is the fault of anyone except the jewish names actually involvedDebsisdead , Jul 11 2019 7:45 utc | 136
- Billionaire pedophile (((Jeffrey Epstein))) .
- billionaire (((Robert Maxwell))) and his daughter (((Ghislaine Maxwell)))
- (((Alan Dershowitz))), Epstein's lawyer, also accused of raping children
- billionaire clothing magnate (((Les Wexner))) who may have financed Epstein
- (((Harvey Weinstein)))
- billionaire (((Clare Bronfman))) charged with sex trafficking
etc etc etc... ad nauseumre #
Jul 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
The Deep State almost always wins. But if Attorney General Barr leans hard on Trump to unfetter investigators, all hell may break lose, says Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
A s Congress arrives back into town and the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees prepare to question ex-Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller on July 17, partisan lines are being drawn even more sharply, as Russias-gate blossoms into Deep-State-gate. On Sunday, a top Republican legislator, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) took the gloves off in an unusually acerbic public attack on former leaders of the FBI and CIA.
King told a radio audience: "There is no doubt to me there was severe, serious abuses that were carried out in the FBI and, I believe, top levels of the CIA against the President of the United States or, at that time, presidential candidate Donald Trump," according to The Hill.
King, a senior congressman specializing in national security, twice chaired the House Homeland Security Committee and currently heads its Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also served for several years on the House Intelligence Committee.
"There was no legal basis at all for them to begin this investigation of his campaign – and the way they carried it forward, and the way information was leaked. All of this is going to come out. It's going to show the bias. It's going to show the baselessness of the investigation and I would say the same thing if this were done to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders It's just wrong."
The Long Island Republican added a well aimed swipe at what passes for the media today: "The media went along with this – actually, keeping this farcical, ridiculous thought going that the President of the United States was somehow involved in a conspiracy with Russia against his own country."
King: Lashes out.
According to King, the Justice Department's review, ordered by Attorney General William Barr, would prove that former officials acted improperly. He was alluding to the investigation led by John Durham, U.S. Attorney in Connecticut. Sounds nice. But waiting for Durham to complete his investigation at a typically lawyerly pace would, I fear, be much like the experience of waiting for Mueller to finish his; that is, like waiting for Godot. What about now?
So Where is the IG Report on FISA?
That's the big one. If Horowitz is able to speak freely about what he has learned, his report could lead to indictments of former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein, and Dana Boente -- Boente being the only signer of the relevant FISA applications still in office. (No, he has not been demoted to file clerk in the FBI library; at last report, he is FBI General Counsel!).
The DOJ inspector General's investigation, launched in March 2018, has centered on whether the FBI and DOJ filing of four FISA applications and renewals beginning in October 2016 to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page amounted to abuse of the FISA process. (Fortunately for the IG, Obama's top intelligence and law enforcement officials were so sure that Hillary Clinton would win that they did not do much to hide their tracks.)
The Washington Examiner reported last Tuesday, "The Justice Department inspector general's investigation of potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is complete, a Republican congressman said, though a report on its findings might not be released for a month." The report continued:
"House Judiciary Committee member John Ratcliffe (R, Texas) said Monday he'd met with DOJ watchdog Michael Horowitz last week about his FISA abuse report. In a media interview, Ratcliffe said they'd discussed the timing, but not the content of his report and Horowitz 'related that his team's investigative work is complete and they're now in the process of drafting that report. Ratcliffe said he was doubtful that Horowitz's report would be made available to the public or the Congress anytime soon. 'He [Horowitz] did relay that as much as 20% of his report is going to include classified information, so that draft report will have to undergo a classification review at the FBI and at the Department of Justice,' Ratcliffe said. 'So, while I'm hopeful that we members of Congress might see it before the August recess, I'm not too certain about that.'"
Horowitz: Still waiting for his report
Earlier, Horowitz had predicted that his report would be ready in May or June but there may, in fact, be good reason for some delay. Fox News reported Friday that "key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour." According to Fox's sources, at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI has started cooperating -- a breakthrough that came after Durham was assigned to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia case that led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
"Classification," however, has been one of the Deep State's favorite tactics to stymie investigations -- especially when the material in question yields serious embarrassment or reveals crimes. And the stakes this time are huge.
Judging by past precedent, Deep State intelligence and law enforcement officials will do all they can to use the "but-it's-classified" excuse to avoid putting themselves and their former colleagues in legal jeopardy. (Though this would violate Obama's executive order 13526 , prohibiting classification of embarrassing or criminal information).
It is far from clear that DOJ IG Horowitz and Attorney General Barr will prevail in the end, even though President Trump has given Barr nominal authority to declassify as necessary. Why are the the stakes so extraordinarily high?
What Did Obama Know, and When Did He Know It?
Recall that in a Sept. 2, 2016 text message to the FBI's then-deputy chief of counterintelligence Peter Strzok, his girlfriend and then-top legal adviser to Deputy FBI Director McCabe, Lisa Page, wrote that she was preparing talking points because the president "wants to know everything we're doing." [Emphasis added.] It does not seem likely that the Director of National Intelligence, DOJ, FBI, and CIA all kept President Obama in the dark about their FISA and other machinations -- although it is possible they did so out of a desire to provide him with "plausible denial."
It seems more likely that Obama's closest intelligence confidant, Brennan, told him about the shenanigans with FISA, that Obama gave him approval (perhaps just tacit approval), and that Brennan used that to harness top intelligence and law enforcement officials behind the effort to defeat Trump and, later, to emasculate and, if possible, remove him.
Moreover, one should not rule out seeing in the coming months an "Obama-made-us-do-it" defense -- whether grounded in fact or not -- by Brennan and perhaps the rest of the gang. Brennan may even have a piece of paper recording the President's "approval" for this or that -- or could readily have his former subordinates prepare one that appears authentic.
Reining in Devin Nunes
That the Deep State retains formidable power can be seen in the repeated Lucy-holding-then-withdrawing-the-football-for-Charlie Brown treatment experienced by House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, Devin Nunes (R-CA). On April 5, 2019, in the apparent belief he had a green light to go on the offensive, Nunes wrote that committee Republicans "will soon be submitting criminal referrals on numerous individuals involved in the abuse of intelligence for political purposes. These people must be held to account to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future."
On April 7, Nunes was even more specific, telling Fox News that he was preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice "this week," concerning alleged misconduct during the Trump-Russia investigation, including leaks of "highly classified material" and conspiracies to lie to Congress and the FISA court. It seemed to be no-holds-barred for Nunes, who had begun to talk publicly about prison time for those who might be brought to trial.
Except for Fox, the corporate media ignored Nunes's explosive comments. The media seemed smugly convinced that Nunes's talk of "referrals" could be safely ignored -- even though a new sheriff, Barr, had come to town. And sure enough, now, three months later, where are the criminal referrals?
There is ample evidence that President Trump is afraid to run afoul of the Deep State functionaries he inherited. And the Deep State almost always wins. But if Attorney General Barr leans hard on the president to unfetter Nunes, IG Horowitz, Durham and like-minded investigators, all hell may break lose, because the evidence against those who took serious liberties with the law is staring them all in the face.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. No fan of the current President, Ray has been trained to follow and analyze the facts, wherever they may lead. He spent 27 years as a CIA analyst, and prepared the President's Daily Brief for three presidents. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
If you enjoyed this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.
Joe T Wallace , July 8, 2019 at 20:24
I'm a great admirer of Ray McGovern's reporting. He exposes much that is never revealed by the mainstream media. That said, I do have one quibble about this article. In the seventh paragraph, just below the heading "So Where is the IG Report on FISA?" he writes:
"That's the big one. If Horowitz is able to speak freely about what he has learned, his report could lead to indictments of former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein, and Dana Boente -- Boente being the only signer of the relevant FISA applications still in office. (No, he has not been demoted to file clerk in the FBI library; at last report, he is FBI General Counsel!)."
My immediate reaction was: Who is Horowitz? It was confusing not to know. Further down in the article, I learned that Ray was referring to Michael Horowitz, a DOJ watchdog who is preparing an IG report about FISA abuse, but readers should have been informed who he was earlier in the article.
John , July 8, 2019 at 17:10
Peter King? Devin Nunes?
At one point the article says little effort was made to cover tracks because of certainty that HRC would win but later that the FBI et al were planting land mines to either defeat Trump or blow up his presidency. Seemed contradictory to me.
Perhaps you have the skinny on these machinations, if indeed there were machinations by one person or group or another for this purpose or that.
But Peter King and Devin Nunes? If either ever was credible, their track record condemns them to be received, if at all, with extreme skepticism.
Realist , July 8, 2019 at 16:59
It will be a very interesting 2020 campaign if the Democratic candidate has to run with the ripe stinking dead albatross of Russiagate around her neck. Or will she be expected to repudiate the Hitlery-run DNC? Where does the money and the ground game originate if the latter?
The only outcome that could be more bizarre than the last go-round would be to see Trump favored by all the smart money and then lose to the latest corporate Democrat to shamelessly sell out the middle class in broad daylight. I won't like it, but I can see Trump Derangement Syndrome pulling out the chestnuts for the Dems, what with all their celebrity spokespeople constantly running and ranting like their hair is on fire underneath those pussy hats. My poor gullible sister from Cali embraces that whole ball of wax as revealed truth holier than the total dry weight of all the Abrahamic scriptures rolled into one big bale for the recycling center. Kamala Harris seems to be emerging as the new messiah anointed to lead this country back to Obamian gridlock and more prestidigitation like mandated insurance to ensure the health of the insurance companies. Again, it will only be the illusion of "free stuff."
The only way such a scenario won't cause four more years of turmoil for this country (rinse and repeat in 2024) is if the victor is Gabbard and she ends all the illegal and unconstitutional wars by edict, telling all the sure-to-be pissing and moaning Deep State functionaries to pick up their severance pay and go pound sand. Then shut the world-wide spider web of military bases and bring home the troops while we can still afford the carfare. That would be "morning in America," and Gabbard would be the most heroic chief exec since Lincoln and FDR made their marks in the history books, though such fantasies never play out in the real world. More likely all the criminal evidence of treason remains classified, most Americans pop the blue pill, the actual rabbit hole continues to grow ever deeper but the masses are contentedly oblivious to it all, satisfied to blame select scapegoats from Russia, China and other "malign" countries for our viewing entertainment.
Deniz , July 8, 2019 at 17:50
The Grabber in Chief vs Willie Brown's mistress – wonderful.
ML , July 8, 2019 at 20:12
You are really something, Realist. I love the way you flourish that pen of yours. Thank you.
Rob Roy , July 8, 2019 at 20:13
Realist, well said, per usual. To add a bit the Dems probably gave Trump the gift of a lifetime the next election. Wasting three years on Russiagate instead of hammering out a decent platform for the party was beyond dumb. That reminds me. the Dems's next dumbest idea choosing Joe Biden as their next candidate. Just like Hillary, he can't beat Trump. The duopoly is dead, they just don't know it.
As for Tulsi, she's got my vote.
John Earls , July 8, 2019 at 16:55
Looks like Barry Eisler's John Rain (expert in "death by natural causes") will have a lot of work in front of him if the investigation builds and a whole lot of "material witnesses" begin to testify.
ricardo2000 , July 8, 2019 at 16:33
I'm supposed to feel sorry for the surveillance of a right-wing creep? OH PLEASE.
No one in government, or the right wing ReThugs, has ever suffered the intrusive, lying, speculative 'investigations' that social justice, environmental, or human rights activists have over the past 70 years.
When these buttheads suffer what MLK and Malcolm X have suffered then I might just wipe away a few tears, after I stop roaring with laughter and get off the floor.
Realist , July 8, 2019 at 17:08
You prefer a race to the bottom of the cesspool?
You never win when you adopt the methods you claim to revile. The opponent who introduced the tactics you condemn wins if you embrace them as your own. You didn't beat him, you joined him.
LibertyBonBon , July 8, 2019 at 18:12
Must be nice to think the justice system should revolve around your particular emotions, rather than equality and objectivity. Safe and easy.
Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 20:41
ricardo2000, nothing personal, I get the revulsion to Trump and entourage not to mention a large portion of the Maga crowd but this right and left thing is really just an illusion, the people doing the persecuting here regardless of how disgusting Trump is are the same ones doing the persecuting to a large degree of everyone else from Assange to the Iranians, that is this government deep state in combination with all of the various American alphabet soup agencies as well as foreign deep states have cornered the market in State power, hate Trump but don't confuse this with a good thing.
O Society , July 8, 2019 at 16:18
Thank you, Ray McGovern. You are a good man, Charlie Brown!
Thing is, all of this was predictable from the beginning. Many of us saw it coming.
No one really wanted an incompetent baboon running things – the song about Monkey and the Engineer comes to mind – so Obama tried to hamstring Trump with this investigation. I mean, Obama couldn't very well have not completed the transfer of power because it is the most valuable thing about democracy. There is no ten year bloody hellified civil war every time the crown changes hands from one inbred to the next.
So Obama did the next best thing on his way out the Oval Office doors, he put Brennan and the boys on it. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I'm sure. But it backfired because he couldn't call the dogs off once he was no longer president. Not Brennan, not anyone could call them off after the snowball really got rolling because the spooks believed their own story and the media made too much money off selling the mythology:
Only question left to answer now is whether or not Trump the carnival barker can milk his opportunist Armageddon into a second term of fleecing the rubes.
karlof1 , July 8, 2019 at 15:00
This is a very serious Constitutional Law issue and MUST be pursued–and it makes no difference the political party denomination of those breaking the law! The Current Oligarchy–Deep State–is the adversary of the vast majority of US citizens and humanity. With Epstein's arrest and the developments McGovern relates, some progress appears to be happening.
Lydia , July 8, 2019 at 14:51
You summed it up perfectly, Jill.
Pablo Diablo , July 8, 2019 at 14:42
"the effort to defeat Trump and, later, to emasculate and, if possible, remove him." says it all. Trump is a loose cannon. The so called "Deep State" has been "controlling" our Presidents since at least the Dulles Brothers. Truman even admitted giving them power was a BIG mistake. Still question the Kennedy Assassination.
In the 70's, the FBI mailed me a box of drugs, which I refused to take from a very incompetent fake Mail Man, and three minutes later they showed up with a search warrant for my house that listed all the drugs in the failed mailed box signed by a Federal Judge. So much for FISA. The bullshit continues. I could reveal more if necessary.
robert e williamson jr , July 8, 2019 at 14:32
Sam F. whether you realize it or not you got it pretty much on the nose. Except for this.
The judiciary has been compromised by the congresses refusal to hold CIA et. al. accountable for their actions. Why? Those in congress remember what happened to JFK.
The number one reason is because the deep state ensures that if anyone goes after CIA officials or designees that the persons career and life are ruined. Which is something else that needs to be investigated. Something that if explored may very well put a stop to CIA's B.S. of lying about everything and getting away with it.
Currently no deterrent exists. None.
Anytime some one or entity gets close the Deep State ends up with their guy as AG. See the Bill Barr story.
Barr may get his chance to prove me right and at the same time prove "Lady Justice" has little to do with the DOJ! I think he is a cowardly blowhard. Justice would be Trump and Barr going to jail .
Justice in this country for the true scoundrels in government or billionaires is non- existent at this point in time. Putting Epstein in prison for life is called for and if he is threatened with that maybe his jaw will loosen up.
Until DOJ can become a deterrent to bad actors in government, all government the country will be controlled by the Deep State. The SWETS, super wealthy elitists.
Keep your eyes on George Soro and the Kochs.
Paul Merrell , July 8, 2019 at 17:28
@ "Justice would be Trump and Barr going to jail ."
Are you suggesting that *any* of their living predecessors don't deserve the same? If so, which do not and why?
Jay , July 8, 2019 at 14:18
I agree something very suspect occurred.
And it's very likely the Obama White House knew that either the NSA or the FBI was tapping into the communications of some of Trump's campaign team BEFORE Hillary lost in Nov. 2016.
However the xenophobic, lying, terrorist (IRA) supporting, Peter King is not a credible messenger. (Right, Rep Steve King of Iowa is even worse than King of Long Island.)
Peter Dyer , July 8, 2019 at 14:09
DH Fabian , July 8, 2019 at 13:59
Actually, that deep split among the masses, and certainly within the Dem voting base, was achieved in the 1990s -- middle class vs. poor, workers vs. those left jobless, further split by race. The Obama years confirmed that this split is permanent. Russia had nothing to do with the Democrats' 2016 defeat, nor will it be the reason for their 2020 defeat. Democrats maintain their resistance against acknowledging the consequences of dividing and conquering their own voting base.
EuGene Miller , July 9, 2019 at 00:24
DH, that's an interesting assessment. However, I doubt that any House or Senate Democrat sought an advantage by "splitting their base". The elected Dems do not control the narrative. So, who benefits by splitting the masses into rival factions?
Perhaps the narrative of social and political discourse is defined by the owners, boards, and foundations that control the main-stream media and pop-culture.
Robert Reich wrote that an oligarchy divides-and-conquers the rest of us. I suspect that controlling the narrative is not simply a propaganda tool; it is the basis of divide-and-conquer strategy.
robert e williamson jr , July 8, 2019 at 13:56
Is it possible that the DOJ, see the Sec. of Labor's problems developing with the Espstein case, is about to have it's gloriously corrupt underbelly rolled over into the sunlight? (you must roll the snake over to see its belly)
Please Ray tell me this is where we might be heading or instead will we end up with the courts truncating investigation because they say it will be best for the country not to have all this filthy laundry dragged out into the sunlight or someones bull shit sources and methods might be exposed. The DOJ has become a really bad joke!
I'm hoping you know something I don't because Barr's past history pretty much speaks for itself I'd say after be made sure he pardoned all of Bush 41 henchmen!
At this point I certainly do not have much faith in the DOJ doing the right thing. What Acosta did in Florida with Epstein was hardly the right thing to do.
They all need to be locked up.
Eric32 , July 8, 2019 at 13:33
Very little "punishment" will occur, and no deep change cleanup will occur.
The US govt. is controlled by money and blackmail – not "voting" or public outrage.
So many high level people have so much dirt on other high level people that nothing major will be done.
A series of very big events, including the JFK murder and the 9/11 charade went unexposed and undealt with – there is no reason to think that this medium size event will wind up making a big difference.
What will happen is that US "democracy" will continue on its downward course, but maybe with a better facade.
Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 20:59
I personally believe that the empire will crash when it hits maximum overreach it will also simultaneously go broke at the same time, as the money interests at that point Will probably move east, this will partially be due to both the feds tendency to over inflate in order to cover military acquisitions as well as the decline of swift and the ascendancy of China in the rest. I actually think that this is what some American factions desire, it is potentially good for all of us if we can regain a republic but it will mean the end of American hegemony.
Gary Weglarz , July 8, 2019 at 13:22
This is the same "deep state" that assassinated a sitting president, then proceeded to assassinate the next three most important and influential progressive leaders in the country all over a five year period. Problem solved. And just when you thought Allen Dulles didn't know what to do with all those oh so experienced Nazi war criminals he'd recruited to the CIA.
When Congress investigated the CIA in the mid-1970's (before Congress became completely "owned" by the deep state) right on cue witnesses began to "commit suicide" just before they would be scheduled to testify. Problem solved. Hardly a raised eyebrow from the always complicit MSM through all of this. Expecting anything more than a massive coverup of this latest deep state corruption and abuse is beyond my abilities to even effectively fantasize about.
herbert davis , July 8, 2019 at 14:12
Justice in the USA?
John Drake , July 8, 2019 at 13:20
The corporate Democrats strike out again. They run a corrupt, violent(war monger) candidate, who loses to a buffoon-an election which was hers to lose. Meanwhile trying to hedge their bets they play sleazeball with the investigative arm's authority in order to sabotage said buffoon; which as it is revealed gives ammunition and the advantage to their target. i.e. "They were illegally picking on me"
If Trump is smart-a very long stretch, but some advisor might suggest this- he will expose all this slime closer to the election for maximum effect. What a distressing thought. All the more reason to run a progressive Presidential candidate that can disavow the DNC clowns and their corruption.
geeyp , July 8, 2019 at 12:37
It's past time for the Deep State to come up from the deep state of hell in which they reside. At least to purgatory for some fresh air and a wee ray of light. I couldn't let the Schumer warning keep me from giving the go ahead on this. If my coconut is shattered, someone somewhere (not our current media) would have a clue as to what happened to me. Sic 'em, President Trump and A.G. and Devin Nunes!
Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 12:14
The US needs to solve the underlying problem of corruption of secret agencies and judiciary, otherwise the political wrongdoing of one faction will only be matched by that of its opponents, regardless of a few prosecutions. I know from experience the extreme corruption of the Repubs, and little doubt that the Dems do such things at least when desperate.
The solution includes:
1. All secrets meaningfully shared among multiparty committees;
2. All politicians and top officials monitored for corrupt influence;
3. Entire federal judiciary fired, replaced, and monitored like the politicians; and
4. Amendments to protect elections and mass media from control by money power.
Until then all government acts are tribal gangsterism and little more.
Guy , July 8, 2019 at 13:50
You forgot about dual citizenship members of the senate and congress . Elected as a representative for the country of the US should mean just that and not another country . And while we are at it , major reform on monetary contributions to candidates running for re-election . There is something terribly wrong with needing millions if not billions of dollars to run the electoral races.There is much more that needs to be done but this would be a good start .
Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 17:32
Yes, the proposed Amendments would restrict funding of mass media and elections to registered individual contributions (some prefer government funding) limited to the average day's pay annually (for example), with full reporting by candidates and all intermediaries. We all can see the destruction of democracy that was caused by economic power controlling elections, mass media, the judiciary, etc.
But of course we cannot get those amendments because those tools of democracy now belong to the rich, etc. History suggests that we are in for generations of severe decline before the people are hurting enough to turn off the tube and do something, and generations more before they can re-establish democracy.
Herman , July 8, 2019 at 15:20
Ray McGovern writes:"Classification," however, has been one of the Deep State's favorite tactics to stymie investigations -- especially when the material in question yields serious embarrassment or reveals crimes. And the stakes this time are huge"
On the matter of government reform classification there is a great need of public discussion and radical reform. Why? Because the government is playing with an essential right, the right to know. All the red herrings needed to be thrown in the trash and the burden placed on the classifiers to justify why the public does not have a right to know.
Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 17:24
Yes, the facts and their significance (especially about false flags and scandals) need to be publicly debated, as well as policy goals, and the policies derived from facts and goals. We have far too many government secrets to sustain a democracy.
I suggest limiting secrets to ongoing investigations (with a time limit), defensive military plans and operations (not alleged provocations or aggressive war schemes), and personal IDs of those at risk. Beyond that secrets disguise tyranny.
Ida G Millman , July 8, 2019 at 16:02
Another path towards a solution to government corruption could be term limits for all federal representatives. Limiting the number of terms would curtail the opportunities for forming the uninterrupted years of long coalitions between public servants and government officials that result in the abuses of power that have damaged the interests of ordinary less wealthy citizens, in favor of corporate and military interests.
In the matter of the original intentions of the men who wrote our founding documents, we should consider one of the enormous differences that technology has made between us: that our representatives can travel between DC and their homes with enough ease that they can continue reasonably, or nearly reasonably, satisfactory family lives – something that could not be done in the 18th century. The forefathers did not foresee that being a member of government would become a career for a lifetime. They assumed, I believe, that members of government would always be citizens who would give our country a few years of their lives and then return to private life to share their experience and knowledge with their neighbors.
Such a change would not magically reform government corruption. There will always be those who will find a way – but it could slow things down and it would certainly engage an increasing number of citizens who would participate in governing, as well as the circles of people surrounding each of them whose interest in and understanding of government would increase because everyone would know more of their representatives. Got that, kids? L&B&L
Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 17:37
Term limits are useful and we should enact more. There seems to be a sufficient supply of puppets for the rich/WallSt/Mic/zionists to ensure that all new candidates represent only those interests, unless we go further and control funding of mass media and elections, monitoring of politicians and judges for life, etc.
Rob Roy , July 8, 2019 at 20:28
Term limits wouldn't be necessary if money were out of elections and all elections were publicly funded. Next, a law should be passed to prevent retired congress people from lobbying for any private company of any kind. Then people wouldn't have to spend all their time in congress lining up money for the next election, nor would they owe favors to anyone.
Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 21:19
Sam F, all of those goals seem very nice but it would probably be better if we just dissolved back into 50 states save for an interstate system and a very small navy for common defense, maybe four nuclear submarines total, the American people will be best off without a government completely working it out for themselves, if some of them work it out in completely different ways without hurting each other so be it. Besides even a libertarians would have to acknowledge democracy best works for smaller populations. We may never be able to curb the will to power of evil men but we can diminish their abilities to fleece the public if we are not subject to them.
Jay , July 8, 2019 at 11:42
Not a credible source, no matter how invention filled Russia-gate is. And no matter how clear it is that in 2016 the FBI was poking around campaign Trump and likely telling the White House what it found.
Bif Webster , July 8, 2019 at 13:28
I agree that King isn't the best of messengers, but we can also go to others who are not right-wing to see something fishy went on.
Those text messages convinced me something was going on. And that was before all the other stuff came to light.
I think this will be about who has more dirt on the other side you know, leverage?
Jeff Harrison , July 8, 2019 at 11:41
Thank you, Ray. Forgive my cynicism but the US government is so corrupt, has wielded illegitimate power for so long, and has covered the tracks of countless functionaries who have not upheld the constitution that I doubt this will go anywhere. I have been quoting Ben Franklin for some time "you have a republic, if you can keep it." I don't think we can. A reading of "A History of Venice" by John J. Norris would be appropriate here. The most serene republic lasted for essentially 1,000 years from roughly 800 to not quite 1800, first as a democracy, later as an oligarchy. Much like us, including having the most feared secret service in Europe at the time, Venice kept its power through trade but at least we don't hoist the new president up on a chair so that he can throw golden Ducats to the crowd on Wall Street the way that a new Doge would.
I don't see that as necessarily much of a plus.
Steven Berge , July 8, 2019 at 11:40
I don't suppose anything will happen to anybody important about this. After all, nothing happened to anybody when they were caught mass spying on any and all american citizens, even before they made it legal.
Drew Hunkins , July 8, 2019 at 11:32
Unfortunately Webb and Parry exposed much of these gangster criminal "intel" savages for running guns and drugs to Central American pseudo fascist mercenary sadists throughout much of the late 1970s through the '80s. I say unfortunately b/c nothing much ever came along by way of true justice, by way of the criminal players rotting in maximum security jail cells for years on end, not unlike the crack or heroin addict who steals a $400 television.
Jill , July 8, 2019 at 11:15
This has been one long crime against the American people. King should read what he knows into the Congressional Record. I have no sympathy for Trump's fear of the deep state. He has sent people to die knowing full well that his actions were based on lies, lies that would result in the deaths of civilians as well as our own military. If he is going to do that, then he should have the courage to face the deep state. That's partial penance for all the deaths he has caused.
I also don't care about Trump's personal issue about being surveilled. He personally supports that against everyone else. That is why I feel this is a crime against our people as a whole. Our constitution has been stripped bare. We don't have the rule of law. Mass surveillance covering the globe is current reality. It is dangerous. It is wrong. It is lawless. It is a disaster.
Further, Russiagate was used to keep real opposition away from Trump. His supporters doubled down on "liking" Trump because he appeared to be a victim of these lies. Democrats meanwhile learned to further worship the IC. They ignored Trump's actual unlawful behavior, and, in the case of war crimes, still support Trump on every war/regime change action etc. recommended to them by their IC "resistance" "leaders".
People won't speak to one another because of this division, all based on lies. Democrats want Assange put to death because he exposed truthful information about Clinton. Neighbor has turned against neighbor over this. We have stopped talking and stopped thinking about whether claims make sense or have evidence behind them. Political parties have become cults with cult leaders. Meanwhile, many who think it was wrong to use surveillance against Trump, accept mass surveillance against everyone else, including themselves.
This has been one of the most effective propaganda tools I have ever seen against our populace. It has created a divided, unthinking populace who is ripe for the picking by evil men and women. I am truly hoping that once this is exposed people will stop this madness and pull together for a common good. But I'm quite worried that, like most cults, when the leader is shown to be wrong, people cling to them even more.
I cannot believe what Russiagate has done to our own people. I am terrified at the wars it has/may yet cause and the cruelty against others, both foreign and domestic, which it has wrought.
Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 21:51
What else would you call it, there have always been nefarious agents in one government or another for one gangster interest or another, whether was Milner's roundtable or Dulles's Gladio werewolves, these are nefarious individuals there is no gray area in that, however they may conduct themselves and their personal lives, it is not sloppy journalism, is to call something what it is, a this shadow government working in many instances against the direct interest of the American people, I'm not trying to be you over the head with this but Mr. McGovern was once upon a Time swimming in the same waters and he knows what he is talking about. The deep state maybe several different factions but all of it at least so far is fairly I'm Accountable, this thing must be named.
AnneR , July 8, 2019 at 14:18
First the Disclaimer: I'm not a supporter of either side of the one party two headed monster political machine, not of either HRC or DT, both, and their "parties," making me want to puke.
I am curious about the following: "He [DT] has sent people to die knowing full well that his actions were based on lies, lies that would result in the deaths of civilians as well as our own military. If he is going to do that, then he should have the courage to face the deep state. That's partial penance for all the deaths he has caused."
While I have no doubt that DT has been responsible for civilian deaths (I am far less concerned about military deaths – join the military and you cannot expect not to have to chance it, particularly in a warmongering nation state; if the recruit doesn't recognize this reality, then they need to do some reading), *most* such deaths in those countries we (the US and its vassal states and proxies) have been happily bombing, shelling, destroying one way or another, even since the late 1980s (not therefore including the appalling and illegal warring on Vietnam et al) are down, not to DT, but rather to presidents: BC, GHB, GWB, BO. Pretty evenly divided betwixt the two heads, wouldn't you say?
That's not to excuse DT (and I wouldn't excuse HRC either – think Libya; as bad as MA, if with different forms of warfare; but then they're buddies, like attracting like).
We – the US – need to stop killing other peoples (let's cry for the war-making profiteers), stop destroying other countries (and for our corporate-capitalists who plunder them); need to mind our own "shop" and business. And stop pretending that we're such a wonderful, white-hatted, "good" nation.
Jill , July 8, 2019 at 15:15
We have had war criminal presidents from the legacy parties, period. Barr is a party to war crimes so I share other's doubts that he will do anything about actual justice. He may be in on the current winning side of the IC and they may be purging some enemies at this time. That is the only thing I see Barr being involved in.
Speaking as someone who has done counter-recruitment in schools, I will just give you my experience. Students are tracked from grade school. A file is kept on them with over a thousand data points. These files are taken by recruiters and used to "pitch" the military to young people. I don't know if you were sophisticated at 16. I was a little bit but not much. So here's an example–they told one young woman who had a single mother that if she went in the military she would not be a burden on her mother any longer. They understood the family had few resources and they played on this young woman's "guilt" over being a financial "drain" on her mother. No, recruiters do not tell the truth to those they meet. They lie and they lie very well because they have excellent information to help them tell the correct lies. That girl is dead and I mourn her death.
Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 22:05
AnneR, you have so much anger, I understand, it is terrible what our nation has done and is continuing to do, it has gone on so long that many of the people currently perpetrating the crimes against foreign populations are themselves of descendents of peoples the US has victimized. It's the propaganda, the United States is one of the most heavily propagandize societies in the world, we make the Soviets look like children. No one wants you to have sympathy for Donald Trump, you do not have to agree or like a person to see that the cartel seeking to damage him is also simultaneously against your interests and they are against your interests whether you're from the left or the right because they do not have an ideology just it will to power.
Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 22:09
Jill that was an incredibly cogent description of the mess we are currently in, congratulations on such clarity, peace out.
David Otness , July 9, 2019 at 00:18
With you on all that you state, Jill. It's really exposed the U.S. population for what we unfortunately are, if not what we've become. So reminiscent of the darker days of the Cold War. A stark education has just played out to this point. I wonder how many have learned anything at all from it?
Jul 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Luongo,
"Bernie Birnbaum is a horse of a different color, ethics-wise that is...
...as in he ain't got none!"
-- Johnny Caspar, "Miller's Crossing"
Serial pederast Jeffrey Epstein is going to be arrested again. The big questions are why? And why now? I never doubted Donald Trump's sincerity in wanting Hillary in jail. But the reality is that Trump was not in any position to do so. Until a few months ago.
When Attorney General William Barr ended the Mueller investigation back in February that was a turning point. I talked about it back then in a piece called " The Old Political Order is Just Old ."
Mueller, his staff of hatchetmen, the Obama administration and the rest of the corrupt old-guard in D.C. fully expected to be allowed free rein to convict Trump politically of Obstruction of Justice based on an interpretation of Federal Statutes that could only be justified in the world of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report. When that didn't happen, they are now looking at potential blowback from a vain and vindictive man occupying the supposedly most powerful office in the world.
But is that really the case anymore? It seems John Bolton has been more president than Trump recently.
I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders. His foreign policy maneuvers didn't fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope.
But domestically signs were there that he had stabilized the battlefield.Epstein's arrest tells me he's now out for blood.
Because this goes directly to the heart of the matter. Trump left the Clintons' social circle in disgust and I'm convinced he ran to stop her corrupt sell out of the U.S. Never forget that, while corruption is rampant in D.C., it is not all-pervasive. It's not a black and white thing.
William Barr may not be a Boy Scout or anything but even he, like Trump, has a disgust circuit. And that circuit has a threshold.
The level of corruption of the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury and the intelligence agencies needed to coordinate the RussiaGate hoax all to serve as Hillary's revenge porn was too much for enough people.
And there are still plenty of people in all of those departments willing to step up now that the board state has changed. Remember back when Trump said we should just leave Hillary be, she's been through enough? That wasn't him capitulating to the Deep State, that was him offering her a way out. He knew then what was going on but thought he was powerless to stop it, politically.
To go after her you go after the person who is her Achilles' heel, Epstein through his association with Bill. Because what if this isn't just about Bill's antics? But this is more than just Hillary and Bill. This is likely far deeper a rabbit hole than anyone in D.C. wants to admit. Don't think for a second that Epstein hasn't been blackmailing very prominent people for years. Because he has. And they are all now scared to death.
And Robert Mueller is up to his neck in this. Because it was Mueller who helped Epstein mostly get off the hook the last time and had the court documents sealed.
Now that Mike Cernovich worked to get those documents unsealed, we have an arrest warrant a week later by a Justice Department led by someone, at this point, loyal to Trump.
Even if Barr and Trump have a marriage of convenience here, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Epstein will no longer be able to hide behind Clinton bag men and will this time have to cut a real deal to stay out of gen pop.
This process will be slow and painful, but it will grind to the kind of conclusion that will only benefit Trump's re-election bid. It will be an epic drip feed of leaks, innuendos, implications, indictments and the rest.
Because there comes a point where the Alinsky method of accusing your enemy of the thing you do backfires when it's raping 14-year-old girls.
Once this thing gets a head of steam, once the #MeToo crowd gets a hold of this, there won't be anyone left standing. I always said Hillary would indict herself. Her insane lust for power and revenge against her obstacles led us here. And it will lead her to the kind of shame and disgrace that befits her avarice.
When Nancy Pelosi's daughter is out there signaling for her mother on this immediately, you know this is bad. Pelosi doesn't roll over for nothing folks. Think what you want about her but she's a pitbull. And she rolled over on border wall funding last week.
This Epstein arrest is a testament to what happens when the pendulum swings too far in one direction. Where despicable people get away with the most heinous acts simply because they are connected in a web of corruption and venality.
Maybe this is the moment of Peak Swamp? Maybe it's the moment where we can see things begin, ever so slightly to improve. Is it too little, too late? Likely. But something had to be done to keep our faith in our political and social institutions intact. Because otherwise that way leads to only chaos and collapse.
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Join my Patreon because you also weep for humanity at where these people have led us.
Jul 09, 2019 | www.unz.com
Robjil says: July 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm GMT 500 Words @ChuckOrloski
There another famous person who died that day. Aldous Huxley.
Poor old Aldous Huxley. In other circumstances, his name would be all over the place today, the 50th anniversary of his death. Yet, just moments after his demise, the Brave New World author had the misfortune, if that's the right word, of becoming a key member of the "eclipsed celebrity death club".
Huxley died at 5:20pm, London time, on 22 November 1963. About ten minutes later, CS Lewis died. Just under an hour after that, of course, JFK was shot and killed in Dallas. There may never have been a deadlier 70 minutes for celebrity
A book has been written about these three deaths on the same day by Peter Kreeft. He imagines them talking together in the heavens.
Fifty years ago, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C. S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. In 1982, philosophy professor Peter Kreeft imagined the three of them in conversation after their deaths.
Positioning Lewis as a proponent of ancient Western theism, Kennedy as a modern Western humanist, and Huxley as an ancient Eastern pantheist, Kreeft wrote a conversational book entitled Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. "
Aldous Huxley said something that points exactly what happening in the world now. We are lead by a wild species. The Zios don't want to be domesticated by freedom of speech. Spare the rod ( of freedom of speech) spoil the child. The Zios want to be wild forever. They want to do whatever they want on earth with no scolding feedback.
This question and answer talk was at Berkeley Univ. on March 20 1962. This fear of being domesticated is why the ADL went crazy on 6/6/19, closing down websites and videos all over the internet.
9:23 t0 10:44
Another point which was made by Sir Charles Darwin in his book "The Next Million Years" which I think was one would with in different terms .
I envisaged in brave new world .I mean here he points out that the human species is still a wild species, it has never been domesticated .
I mean domesticated species is one which has been tamed by another species. Well, until we get an invasion from Mars we shall not be tamed by another species. All we can do is to try to tame ourselves.
An oligarchy tries to tame ourselves but the oligarchy still remains wild. I mean however much it succeeded in taming the domesticating the rest of the race it from it must remain wild. And this was the part of the fable the dramatic part of the fable of brave new world is that the people in the upper hierarchy who were not ruthlessly conditioned could break down.
I mean this Charles Darwin insists that because man is wild he can never expect to domesticate himself because the people on top would always be undomesticated sooner or later always run wild. I think there's a good deal to be said for this this point of view in in regard to the permanence of any dictatorship. "
Jul 06, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
zephirine -> josephinireland
The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs.
This view has taken hold in the UK too, where the tabloids peddle the view that anyone who claims state benefits must be a fraud. But at least, people here and in mainland Europe have the direct experience of war within living memory and we understand that you can lose everything through no fault of your own. In the US, even when there's a natural disaster like Katrina it seems to be the poor people's fault for not having their own transport and money to go and stay somewhere else.
It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.
Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com
Originally from The plot to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power, by Jonathan Cook - The Unz Review
... ... ...
In the preceding two years, it was hard to avoid on TV the figure of Russell Brand, a comedian and minor film star who had reinvented himself, after years of battling addiction, as a spiritual guru-cum-political revolutionary.
Brand's fast-talking, plain-speaking criticism of the existing political order, calling it discredited, unaccountable and unrepresentative, was greeted with smirking condescension by the political and media establishment. Nonetheless, in an era before Donald Trump had become president of the United States, the British media were happy to indulge Brand for a while, seemingly believing he or his ideas might prove a ratings winner with younger audiences.
But Brand started to look rather more impressive than anyone could have imagined. He took on supposed media heavyweights like the BBC's Jeremy Paxman and Channel 4's Jon Snow and charmed and shamed them into submission – both with his compassion and his thoughtful radicalism. Even in the gladiatorial-style battle of wits so beloved of modern TV, he made these titans of the political interview look mediocre, shallow and out of touch. Videos of these head-to-heads went viral, and Brand won hundreds of thousands of new followers.
Then he overstepped the mark.
Democracy as charade
Instead of simply criticising the political system, Brand argued that it was in fact so rigged by the powerful, by corporate interests, that western democracy had become a charade. Elections were pointless . Our votes were simply a fig-leaf, concealing the fact that our political leaders were there to represent not us but the interests of globe-spanning corporations. Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant.
Brand didn't just talk the talk. He started committing to direct action. He shamed our do-nothing politicians and corporate media – the devastating Grenfell Tower fire had yet to happen – by helping to gain attention for a group of poor tenants in London who were taking on the might of a corporation that had become their landlord and wanted to evict them to develop their homes for a much richer clientele. Brand's revolutionary words had turned into revolutionary action.
But just as Brand's rejection of the old politics began to articulate a wider mood, it was stopped in its tracks. After Corbyn was unexpectedly elected Labour leader, offering for the first time in living memory a politics that listened to people before money, Brand's style of rejectionism looked a little too cynical, or at least premature.
While Corbyn's victory marked a sea-change, it is worth recalling, however, that it occurred only because of a mistake. Or perhaps two.
The Corbyn accident
First, a handful of Labour MPs agreed to nominate Corbyn for the leadership contest, scraping him past the threshold needed to get on the ballot paper. Most backed him only because they wanted to give the impression of an election that was fair and open. After his victory, some loudly regretted having assisted him. None had thought a representative of the tiny and besieged left wing of the parliamentary party stood a chance of winning – not after Tony Blair and his acolytes had spent more than two decades remaking Labour, using their own version of entryism to eradicate any vestiges of socialism in the party. These "New Labour" MPs were there, just as Brand had noted, to represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people.
Corbyn had very different ideas from most of his colleagues. Over the years he had broken with the consensus of the dominant Blairite faction time and again in parliamentary votes, consistently taking a minority view that later proved to be on the right side of history . He alone among the leadership contenders spoke unequivocally against austerity, regarding it as a way to leech away more public money to enrich the corporations and banks that had already pocketed vast sums from the public coffers – so much so that by 2008 they had nearly bankrupted the entire western economic system.
And second, Corbyn won because of a recent change in the party's rulebook – one now much regretted by party managers. A new internal balloting system gave more weight to the votes of ordinary members than the parliamentary party. The members, unlike the party machine, wanted Corbyn.
Corbyn's success didn't really prove Brand wrong. Even the best designed systems have flaws, especially when the maintenance of the system's image as benevolent is considered vitally important. It wasn't that Corbyn's election had shown Britain's political system was representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was that accident.
'Brainwashing under freedom'
Corbyn's success also wasn't evidence that the power structure he challenged had weakened. The system was still in place and it still had a chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous "accident", such as his becoming prime minister.
Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this kind of " brainwashing under freedom " since birth.
The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist, unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless, unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired – not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the party the largest in Europe.
As the establishment's need to keep him away from power has grown more urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks.
Jake , says: July 5, 2019 at 11:43 am GMTJake , says: July 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm GMT
What is the last refuge of the scoundrel in the Anglo-Zionist Empire?
Smearing decent people, people who see things we are not supposed to see, as anti-Semites.@Ordinary Brit
There were no Jews anywhere around most native Britons. And yet the Empire was banked most importantly by Jews back to at least the post-Glorious Revolution closing the 17th century, and that pattern of Jewish bankers being indispensable to the UK and the Brit WASP Empire goes back to Oliver Cromwell.
... ... ...
Apr 10, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
Originally from: Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse - Van Badham - Opinion - The Guardian
slorter, 27 Apr 2018 01:37bryonyed -> slorter , 27 Apr 2018 01:41
Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good.
Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable.
At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes.
The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around.
Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labour conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits those who work for an hourly wage.
You also need to remember that voting the coalition out, which you need to do, will not necessarily give you a neoliberal free zone; Labor needs to shed some the dogma as well.
Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have complexes of deservedness.
Jun 30, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
As I documented on March 9 on this platform in my article " What Makes Gavin Run ?" Williamson knows no shame or integrity and is the living embodiment of the repulsive, two-faced backstabber, intriguer and liar Sammy Glick in the great writer Budd Schulberg's legendary 1941 novel of Hollywood "What Makes Sammy Run?" So he is a natural fit for Johnson, whose entire career has been dictated by similar shameless, reckless lies, opportunism and crass incompetence.
No one gets every, or usually most, professional predictions right, and in the news business sensible people make the best of their brilliant insights – or lucky guesses – when they can. But I have seldom hit a hole-in-one prediction that came true as quickly as my column on Williamson did.
On March 9, Williamson, after only a decade in the UK main chamber of parliament, the ancient House of Commons was still riding high and making a fool of himself insulting major nations from Russia to China and also the UK's badly-needed European allies as the most incompetent defense chief in the modern history of his nation.
On May 1, less than two months after my article appeared – and with no causality that I could see – Williamson was humiliatingly sacked by his benefactor, Prime Minister Theresa May after being accused of leaking highly confidential national security information to the media.
Williamson immediately turned on his long-time benefactor Mrs. May savagely and helped drive her from office – which was admittedly long overdue. She resigned on June 7, just over a single month after sacking him.
Williamson then joined May's arch-enemy, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who had relentlessly schemed to topple her for years and joined Johnson's own campaign to win the leadership of the rapidly disintegrating Conservative Party and thence become prime minister.
At the time of writing, Johnson remains far in the lead in the contest to replace May as prime minister despite repeated attacks on his character, utter lack of political consistency, convictions or achievement and his entertainingly squalid private life.
Johnson is twice divorced with neither marriage lasting longer than five years and he is now being accused of screaming rows with his 20-years-younger girl friend that may or may not have involved him hitting her, which he naturally denies.
Through all this Williamson, who like Johnson himself does not lack for energy in the service of his own ambition, has been rounding up support for his new master among Conservative Party Members of Parliament.
According to many UK media reports – which Williamson understandably denies – his most effective weapons are bullying, bluster and threats. These are patterns of behavior which those who have worked for him or who have bothered following his career over the years find extremely convincing and in character (or, rather, lack of it).
Reports are also circulating in the UK media – which are usually well-connected and informed on such matters – that Williamson is holding out to be reappointed as the UK's defense chief or as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is my native land and is tiny in size. But over the past century and more it has repeatedly displayed an infinite capacity for generating wars, embarrassment and catastrophe for both Ireland and the UK, which otherwise get along easily and well.
Putting Williamson in charge of such a delicate, nervously balanced and ultra-sensitive province is like appointing a Sith Lord as head of the Jedi Knights in "Star Wars" or putting the late Boston underworld mass murderer Whitey Bulger in charge of the FBI.
Therefore it will probably happen.
Because like attracts like, competent honorable people in any country and culture seek to promote and advance others with the same qualities and empty, shallow sociopaths and confidence tricksters similarly admire and advance people exactly like themselves.
On Monday, June 24, without mentioning Williamson once, one of the UK's most experienced and respected journalists, war correspondents and historians, Sir Max Hastings wrote a scathing article in the liberal "Guardian" newspaper entitled "I was Boris Johnson's boss: he is utterly unfitted to be prime minister."
Therefore Johnson will re-elevate Williamson, either to drive Northern Ireland back into civil war or destroy the remaining security of the entire UK as defense secretary once again. And Williamson will remain loyal, until he in his turn sees the chance to stab Johnson in the back and briefly rule as prime minister until he in his own turn is politically knifed and toppled by one of his own hand-picked sociopaths.
And Sammy Glick will rise again – on the suffering and smashed lives of everyone else.
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.Giant Meteor , 5 hours ago link44_shooter , 5 hours ago link
Moral leaders, lead. There is your moral decay.
It didn't matter when they did. McStain fought, and absolutely LOVED war. Plenty of the Hawks served and fought, it's like frat boys who were hazed, carrying on the hazing.
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.
There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too.
I've previously covered two other key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline: complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what I have termed a failure of imagination.
Michael Grant described these causes of decline in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire , a short book I have been recommending since 2009:
There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.
This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.
This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.
A lengthier book by Adrian Goldsworthy How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower addresses the same issues from a slightly different perspective.
Glenn Stehle, commenting on a thread in the excellent website peakoilbarrel.com (operated by the estimable Ron Patterson) made a number of excellent points that I am taking the liberty of excerpting: (with thanks to correspondent Paul S.)
The set of values developed by the early Romans called mos maiorum, Peter Turchin explains in War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires , was gradually replaced by one of personal greed and pursuit of self-interest.
"Probably the most important value was virtus (virtue), which derived from the word vir (man) and embodied all the qualities of a true man as a member of society," explains Turchin.
"Virtus included the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to act in ways that promoted good, and especially the common good. Unlike Greeks, Romans did not stress individual prowess, as exhibited by Homeric heroes or Olympic champions. The ideal of hero was one whose courage, wisdom, and self-sacrifice saved his country in time of peril," Turchin adds.
And as Turchin goes on to explain:
"Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome's total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, as mentioned previously, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen...
The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion's payroll...
The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen."
Now compare that to the situation in Late Antiquity when
"an average Roman noble of senatorial class had property valued in the neighborhood of 20,000 Roman pounds of gold. There was no 'middle class' comparable to the small landholders of the third century B.C.; the huge majority of the population was made up of landless peasants working land that belonged to nobles. These peasants had hardly any property at all, but if we estimate it (very generously) at one tenth of a pound of gold, the wealth differential would be 200,000! Inequality grew both as a result of the rich getting richer (late imperial senators were 100 times wealthier than their Republican predecessors) and those of the middling wealth becoming poor."
Do you see any similarities with the present-day realities depicted in these charts?
And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.
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Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org
It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.
This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.
-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013
The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.
Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.
First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.
Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:
It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.
Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:
This assessment is based on intelligence .
He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .
Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation
The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .
There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.
Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:
This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.
The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:
Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.
The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.
Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:
40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.
This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.
The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.
Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.
William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,
After getting curb stomped on the debate stage by Tulsi Gabbard, the campaign for Tim "Who the fuck is Tim Ryan?" Ryan posted a statement decrying the Hawaii congresswoman's desire to end a pointless 18-year military occupation as "isolationism".
"While making a point as to why America can't cede its international leadership and retreat from around the world, Tim was interrupted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard," the statement reads.
"When he tried to answer her, she contorted a factual point Tim was making -- about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks by providing training, bases and refuge for Al Qaeda and its leaders. The characterization that Tim Ryan doesn't know who is responsible for the attacks on 9/11 is simply unfair reporting. Further, we continue to reject Gabbard's isolationism and her misguided beliefs on foreign policy . We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it's ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people."
Ryan's campaign is lying. During an exchange that was explicitly about the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ryan plainly said "When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings." At best, Ryan can argue that when he said "they" he had suddenly shifted from talking about the Taliban to talking about Al Qaeda without bothering to say so, in which case he obviously can't legitimately claim that Gabbard "contorted" anything he had said. At worst, he was simply unaware at the time of the very clear distinction between the Afghan military and political body called the Taliban and the multinational extremist organization called Al Qaeda.
More importantly, Ryan's campaign using the word "isolationism" to describe the simple common sense impulse to withdraw from a costly, deadly military occupation which isn't accomplishing anything highlights an increasingly common tactic of tarring anything other than endless military expansionism as strange and aberrant instead of normal and good.
Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. This removal of a desirable opposite of war from the establishment-authorised lexicon causes war to always be the desirable option.
This is entirely by design. This bit of word magic has been employed for a long time to tar any idea which deviates from the neoconservative agenda of total global unipolarity via violent imperialism as something freakish and dangerous. In his farewell address to the nation , war criminal George W Bush said the following:
"In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."
A few months after Bush's address, Antiwar 's Rich Rubino wrote an article titled " Non-Interventionism is Not Isolationism ", explaining the difference between a nation which withdraws entirely from the world and a nation which simply resists the temptation to use military aggression except in self defense.
"Isolationism dictates that a country should have no relations with the rest of the world," Rubino explained. "In its purest form this would mean that ambassadors would not be shared with other nations, communications with foreign governments would be mainly perfunctory, and commercial relations would be non-existent."
"A non-interventionist supports commercial relations," Rubino contrasted. "In fact, in terms of trade, many non-interventionists share libertarian proclivities and would unilaterally obliterate all tariffs and custom duties, and would be open to trade with all willing nations. In addition, non-interventionists welcome cultural exchanges and the exchange of ambassadors with all willing nations."
"A non-interventionist believes that the U.S. should not intercede in conflicts between other nations or conflicts within nations," wrote Rubino. "In recent history, non-interventionists have proved prophetic in warning of the dangers of the U.S. entangling itself in alliances. The U.S. has suffered deleterious effects and effectuated enmity among other governments, citizenries, and non-state actors as a result of its overseas interventions. The U.S. interventions in both Iran and Iraq have led to cataclysmic consequences."
Calling an aversion to endless military violence "isolationism" is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people "agoraphobia". Yet you'll see this ridiculous label applied to both Gabbard and Trump, neither of whom are isolationists by any stretch of the imagination, or even proper non-interventionists. Gabbard supports most US military alliances and continues to voice full support for the bogus "war on terror" implemented by the Bush administration which serves no purpose other than to facilitate endless military expansionism; Trump is openly pushing regime change interventionism in both Venezuela and Iran while declining to make good on his promises to withdraw the US military from Syria and Afghanistan.
Another dishonest label you'll get thrown at you when debating the forever war is "pacifism". "Some wars are bad, but I'm not a pacifist; sometimes war is necessary," supporters of a given interventionist military action will tell you. They'll say this while defending Trump's potentially catastrophic Iran warmongering or promoting a moronic regime change invasion of Syria, or defending disastrous US military interventions in the past like Iraq.
This is bullshit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, virtually no one is a pure pacifist who opposes war under any and all possible circumstances; anyone who claims that they can't imagine any possible scenario in which they'd support using some kind of coordinated violence either hasn't imagined very hard or is fooling themselves. If your loved ones were going to be raped, tortured and killed by hostile forces unless an opposing group took up arms to defend them, for example, you would support that. Hell, you would probably join in. Secondly, equating opposition to US-led regime change interventionism, which is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful, is not even a tiny bit remotely like opposing all war under any possible circumstance.
Another common distortion you'll see is the specious argument that a given opponent of US interventionism "isn't anti-war" because they don't oppose all war under any and all circumstances. This tweet by The Intercept 's Mehdi Hasan is a perfect example, claiming that Gabbard is not anti-war because she supports Syria's sovereign right to defend itself with the help of its allies from the violent extremist factions which overran the country with western backing. Again, virtually no one is opposed to all war under any and all circumstances; if a coalition of foreign governments had helped flood Hasan's own country of Britain with extremist militias who'd been murdering their way across the UK with the ultimate goal of toppling London, both Tulsi Gabbard and Hasan would support fighting back against those militias.
The label "anti-war" can for these reasons be a little misleading. The term anti-interventionist or non-interventionist comes closest to describing the value system of most people who oppose the warmongering of the western empire, because they understand that calls for military interventionism which go mainstream in today's environment are almost universally based on imperialist agendas grabbing at power, profit, and global hegemony. The label "isolationist" comes nowhere close.
It all comes down to sovereignty. An anti-interventionist believes that a country has the right to defend itself, but it doesn't have the right to conquer, capture, infiltrate or overthrow other nations whether covertly or overtly. At the "end" of colonialism we all agreed we were done with that, except that the nationless manipulators have found far trickier ways to seize a country's will and resources without actually planting a flag there. We need to get clearer on these distinctions and get louder about defending them as the only sane, coherent way to run foreign policy.
* * *
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Vitor , 31 minutes ago linkAussiekiwi , 49 minutes ago link
It's like someone being labeled anti-social for stopping to bully and pick up fights.Quivering Lip , 57 minutes ago link
"If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."
Fascinating belief, has he been to Libya lately, perhaps attended an open air slave Market in a country that was very developed before the US decided to 'free' it.Toshie , 1 hour ago link
Until Tulsi pimp slapped that Ryan guy I never heard of him. I would imagine I'll never here about him in another 2 months.onasip123 , 1 hour ago link
yeah , keep at it US Govt ;- keep fighting those wars overseas on behalf the 5th foreign column.
Keep wasting precious lives ,and the country's wealth while foreign rising powers like China are laughing all the way to the bank.
may you live in interesting times !Dr Anon , 1 hour ago link
War forever and ever, Amen.thisguyoverhere , 1 hour ago link
When we weren't there, they flew planes into our buildings?
Excuse me mutant, but I believe we paid Israel our jewtax that year like all the others and they still flew planes into our buildings. And then danced in the streets about it. Sick people.Dougs Decks , 2 hours ago link
All Wars Are Evil. Period. "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." – Henry Kissinger
Picture if you will Jesus. Seriously? Can you imagine Jesus firing a machine gun at a group of people? Can you picture Jesus in an F-16 lobbing missiles at innocents?
Do you see Jesus piloting a drone and killing Muslims, other non-believers, or anyone for that matter? Can you picture Jesus as a sniper?
Impossible.Brazen Heist II , 2 hours ago link
Soooo,,, If my favorite evening activity, is to sit on the front porch steps, while the dog and the cats run around, with my shotgun leaning up next to me,,, Is that Isolationist, or Protectionist,,,vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link
You know the system is completely broken when they want to silence/kill/smear anybody talking sense and peace.Herdee , 2 hours ago link
and isis are referred to as freedom fightersardent , 2 hours ago link
The CIA and MI6 staged all the fake chemical incidents in Syria as well as the recent one in England. False Flags.vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link
What America needs is to get rid of all those Jewish Zionist Neocons leading us into those forever wars.
ALL MidEast terrorism and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.Wild Bill Steamcock , 2 hours ago link
instead of getting us out of Syria, Trump got us further in. Trump is driving us to ww3. we can't do **** if we're glazed over in a nuclear holocaust. maybe Tulsi is lying through her teeth, but i am so pissed Trump went full neoconJD Rock , 2 hours ago link
"Won't Get Fooled Again"- The Whovienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link
funny how people, fresh from the broken promises "build that wall" etc, quickly forget all that and begin IMMEDIATELY projecting trustworthiness on yet ANOTHER candidate. I'Il vote for Tulsi when she says no more Israeli wars for America.WillyGroper , 2 hours ago link
she did slam NetanyahuKnightsofNee , 2 hours ago link
saying & doing are different animals. she's powerless. more hope n chains.White Nat , 2 hours ago link
If you read her positions on various issues, a quick survey shows that she supports the New Green Deal, more gun control (ban on assault rifles, etc.), Medicare for all. Stopped reading at that point.New_Meat , 2 hours ago link
We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it's ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. ~ Joseph GoebbelsDebt Slave , 1 hour ago link
- Edward Bernays, relative of Sigmund Fraud, propagandist for Woodrow Wilson.
Back then, being a "propagandist" held no stigma nor antipathy.
fifyLOL123 , 3 hours ago link
The better educated among us know exactly as to who Goebblels was referring to. Even a dullard should be able to figure out who benefits from all of our Middle East adventures.vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link
"Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. "
Under military might WAS the old world order... Under the new world order the strength is in cyber warfare .
If under technology the profiteers can control the masses through crowd control ( which they can-" Department of Defense has developed a non-lethal crowd control device called the Active Denial System (ADS) . The ADS works by firing a high-powered beam of 95 GHz waves at a target that is, millimeter wavelengths. Anyone caught in the beam will feel like their skin is burning.) your spending power ( they can through e- commetce and digital banking) and isolation cells called homes ( they can through directed microwaves from GWEN stations).... We already are isolated and exposed at the same time.
That war is an exceptable means of engagement as a solution to world power is a confirmation of the psychological warfare imposed on us since the creation of our Nation.
Either we reel it in and back now or we destroy ourselves from within.
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincolnmetachron , 2 hours ago link
if there's even a small chance Tulsi can get us out of the forever wars i will be compelled to vote for her, as Trump clearly has no intention on doing so. yes, it is that importantHurricane Baby , 3 hours ago link
Idiot, Tulsi is a sovereign nationalist on the left. You have just never seen one before. If you were truly anti-globalist you'd would realize left and right are invented to divide us. The politics are global and national, so wake the **** upFred box , 3 hours ago link
Actually, I don't see where a few decades of US isolationism would be all that bad.Malleus Maleficarum , 3 hours ago link
""War Is the U.S. Racket!"" They are not good at it, there "great at it". My entire life 63yrs,they been fighting someone or something. When times where rough in the 1800s,Hell! they fought themselves(Civil War. As I said b4 No one seems to ask, Where does the gold go of the vanquished foe? Truly Is A Well Practiced Racket.dunlin , 2 hours ago link
Good article with several salient points, thought I would ask "what's wrong with a little isolationism?" Peace through internal strength is desirable, but good fences make good neighbors and charity begins at home!
The gradual twisting of language really is one of most insidious tactics employed by the NWO Luciferians. I think we'd all like to see the traitorous Neocons gone for good. Better yet, strip them of their American citizenship and ill-gotten wealth and banish them to Israel. Let them earn their citizenship serving in a front-line IDF rifle company.
As for this next election? Is Ron Paul running as an independent? No? Well then, 'fool me once...' Don't get me wrong: I hope Gabbard is genuine and she's absolutely right to push non-interventionism...but the rest of her platform sucks. There's also the fact that she's a CFR member and avowed gun-grabber, to boot. Two HUGE red flags!
She almost strikes me as a half-assed 'Manchurian Candidate.' So, if she's elected (a big 'if' at this point) I ask myself 'what happens after the next (probably nuclear) false flag?' How quickly will she disavow her present stance on non-interventionism? How quickly and viciously will the 2nd Amendment be raped? Besides, I'm not foolish enough to believe that one person can turn the SS Deep State away from it's final disastrous course.tardpill , 2 hours ago link
What's cfr? Duck duck gives lots of law firms.tardpill , 2 hours ago link
council on foreign relationsSinophile , 32 minutes ago link
the whos who of globalist satanists..Justapleb , 3 hours ago link
Mal, she is NOT a CFR member. You are misinformed.Smi1ey , 3 hours ago link
These word games were already in use looong ago. Tulsi Gabbard is using Obama's line about fighting the wrong war. She would have taken out Al Qaeda, captured Bin Laden, and put a dog leash on him. So that she could make a green economy, a new century of virtue signalling tyranny. No thanks.I am Groot , 3 hours ago link
You beat me to that. Thanks for saving my breath.
Rule #1 All politcians lie
Rule #2 See Rule #1Boogity , 3 hours ago link
Just as they did with Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Pat Buchanan, the MSM and the swamp have already effectively buried Gabbard. It's unlikely that she'll make the next debate cut as the DNC and MSM will toss her out.
All the MSM is talking about post-debates, even on Faux Noise, is Harris's race-baiting of old senile Biden.
I went to some of the so-called liberal websites and blogs and the only mention of Gabbard is in the context of her being a Putin stooge. This combined with the fact that virtually all establishment Republicans are eager to fight any war for Israel clearly shows that it will take something other than the ballot box to end Uncle Scam's endless wars.
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens JOHN CHUCKMAN , Jun 26, 2019 2:10:12 PM | 23
Yesterday the news agencies Associated Press and Reuters mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. They made it sound as if Rouhani insulted U.S. President Donald Trump as 'mentally retarded'. Rouhani never said that.
The agencies previously made a similar 'mistake'.
A 2005 speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was famously misquoted. Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president headlined the Guardian at that time. Others used similar headlines. The New York Times wrote :Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
The statement was used by the G.W. Bush administration and others to whip up hostility against Iran :Ever since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.
Here, for example, is R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, recently: "Given the radical nature of Iran under Ahmadinejad and its stated wish to wipe Israel off the map of the world, it is entirely unconvincing that we could or should live with a nuclear Iran."
However Ahmedinejad never used those words :"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."
Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."
Despite the above and other explanations the false "wipe Israel off the map" translation never died. Years later it still reappeared in Guardian pieces which required it to issue multiple corrections and clarifications.
Now, as the Trump administration is pushing for war on Iran, a similar mistranslation miraculously happened. It were again 'western' news agencies who lightened the fire:The Associated Press @AP - 7:52 utc - 25 Jun 2019
BREAKING: Iran's President Rouhani mocks President Trump, says the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation."
Farsi speakers pointed out that the Rouhani never used the Farsi word for "retarded":Sina Toossi @SinaToossi - 13:49 utc - 25 Jun 2019
A lot of Western media is reporting that Iranian President Rouhani called Trump "mentally retarded." This is inaccurate.
Regarding Trump, he just said "no wise person would take such an action [the new sanctions imposed]."Reza H. Akbari @rezahakbari - 15:58 utc - 25 Jun 2019
Absolutely incorrect. There is a word for "retarded" in Persian & Rouhani didn't use it. Prior to him saying "mental disability" he even prefaced his comment by saying "mental weakness." Those who speak Persian can listen & judge for themselves. Here is a video clip of Rouhani's comment: link
But the damage was already done:Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 14:42 utc - 25 Jun 2019
Iran leadership doesn't understand the words "nice" or "compassion," they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..
....The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more...
.... Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement , put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!
Reuters , which also peddled the mistranslation, gleefully connected the dots :
Cont. reading: Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' HappensExcellent summary of how malevolence works in many subtle ways.
Jonathan Gillispie , Jun 26, 2019 1:11:48 PM | 4Don Wiscacho , Jun 26, 2019 1:32:54 PM | 13
Trump was right more than he realizes that the press is the enemy of the people. They goad nations into unnecessary and bloody war.This follows in the footsteps of a rich history of mistranslating and obfuscating which is rarely, if ever, corrected by our Guardians of Truth. I will not hold my breath for AP to pull its tweet out issue any sort of correction. The war machine is revving up, truth be damned.Uncle Jon , Jun 26, 2019 1:36:27 PM | 14
To add a few obfuscations to the list of mistranslations: the Palestinian intifada. Sounds scary, no? Violence against the benevolent Israelis. Because what does intifada actually mean? Uprising, which by its nature suggests oppression, something which just 'can't' be happening in Palestine, hence the need for intifada.
Or take jihad, 'a pillor' of Islam. Again, very scary, as jihad 'means' suicide bombs and killing infidels. What the Guardians of Truth never mention is that jihad in Islam is a very, very broad term that includes such things as helping the poor or less fortunate, educating oneself, quiet reflection, and prayer. Jihad as meaning 'holy war' was a sense meaning derived much later than the founding of the religion, as a reaction to very real threats to believers of the time, the Crusades and Mongol invasions. That this specific sense meaning was essentially confined to history afterward, only to be revived by Wahhabists and takfiris, and one not believed in by the vast majority of Muslims, is never explained. 'Cause all them crazy Muslims believe in jihad!
In all cases where the boogeyman of the day needs concocting, rest assured the 'mainstream' press, with AP in the lead, will be there to build a gleaming edifice mistruths, omissions, and lies.Ahmadinejad's true and correct translation reads: "Zionism should be wiped from the pages of history."jared , Jun 26, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 17
Now who can argue with that.In approximately 17 months, the american public can make strides to fix this mess.dh , Jun 26, 2019 1:51:03 PM | 18
I guess that is a long time for the iranians, but still maybe best option.Just in case there is any doubt in American minds here is the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. He thinks the sanctions are working well. Iran is panicking.wagelaborer , Jun 26, 2019 2:43:01 PM | 31
Good job guys. Keep squeezing.
https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-ambassador-iran-panicking-increased-us-sanctionsThey mistranslate Trump all the time, or they spin what he says. It is amazing to watch.michaelj72 , Jun 26, 2019 4:02:36 PM | 40
For instance, at the Helsinki meeting, where he met with Putin and they discussed multiple topics, but the press ignored any topic but demanding that Trump denounce Putin and "admit" that Putin helped him steal the election, and that he was therefore not the legitimate president.
Obviously, Trump was not going to say that, so he said that he was the legitimate president, and the mockingbird media spun that into "the president is a traitor to America because he said that 17 national intelligence agencies are lying"......The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies,Virgile , Jun 26, 2019 5:10:59 PM | 48
the priests lie .
These lies mean that the country wants to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons .
And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the
enormous caravans from beneath,
stringing together the vague and foolish words.
It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open
It's a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines --
This is the thrill that leads the President on to lie....
Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked at Last, originally published by City Lights books 1970Maybe the translation is inacurate but the message had the expected reaction from Trump: Tweet furor.Abx , Jun 26, 2019 5:20:42 PM | 49
It is good that Trump realizes that he does not have the monopole of insulting leaders.
The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war. How could it give a lesson to Iran who won a 8 years war against Iraq despite the support that the USA, the Gulf countries and Western countries gave to Iraq.
Loud noise and indecisive actions: The disaster of the USA foreign policyI remember watching CNN translate Khamenei's "Nuclear Power" to "Nuclear Weapons" right on live TV in 2013. This is not new./div> Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.
Posted by: Harry Law , Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.Kooshy , Jun 26, 2019 5:45:20 PM | 53
Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50b-0use4msm , Jun 26, 2019 6:24:08 PM | 57
I am a Persian speaker and is true that president Rouhani never said Trump is retarded, we now have way passed the point that insults can matte. Nevertheless it was better if President Rouhani would have called Trump and the rest of the ruling US regime like what the whole world has now come to understand, a true and unique collection of retards on a shining hill.Reminds me of when Nikita Khruschev attempted to explain in 1956 his view that that capitalism would destroy itself from within by quoting Marx: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." This was notoriously mistranslated into English as "We will bury you", as if the Soviets were out to kill all westerners themselves. Of course this mistranslated was quoted time and time again in western media, fueling Cold War paranoia for years to come.juandonjuan , Jun 26, 2019 6:31:20 PM | 59blue @ 19 The news media are wedded to the state which is wedded to the banking system which are all subsidiaries of global capitalism. They don't need to correct themselves. They may have the occasional family feud, but they're all on the same team. They will admit to "mistakes" being made, but only long after it makes no difference.ADKC , Jun 26, 2019 7:00:39 PM | 63
We have a FREE PRESS in America-Pravda on the Potomac, Izvestia on the Hudson.
Have a look sometime at the Venn Diagrams that portray the overlapping/interlocking memberships of the regulatory/financial/corporate leadership class.
But more than that, whatever the idea of a free press once meant, with the rise of digital corporate networking "platforms", not subject to any accountability, the barriers to entry of any competing narratives to the mainstream discourse are nearly insurmountable. Except maybe through subversion?
What is missing is a true public 'Marketplace of Ideas'The deliberate mis-translations of non-english speaking "adversaries" of the US is common in the msm. Putin is frequently and deliberately mis-translated to make him appear dictatorial and aggressive.pj , Jun 26, 2019 7:11:03 PM | 65I listened to Rohani's speech. He said that if JCPOA is bad, it is bad for all parties; and if it is good, it is good for all parties. They cannot expect for JCPOA to be bad for them and good for us. They withdrew from the JCPOA and expect us to stay with the agreement. This is what he meant when he said: White house has been affected by mental inability and mental disability.Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:26:38 PM | 72ADKCkarlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:39:51 PM | 75
Iran is at war. US and gang are trying to destroy Iran as a nation. The biggest asset in times of war is deception. Used by both the attacker and the attacked.Khamenei has Tweeted a series of tweets, and his scribe has posted what he tweeted along with other words at his website in English so there's no mistranslation. Here's one of the series of 6:goldhoarder , Jun 26, 2019 8:39:33 PM | 80
"The graceful Iranian nation has been accused & insulted by world's most vicious regime, the U.S., which is a source of wars, conflicts & plunder. Iranian nation won't give up over such insults. Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened & remain powerful."
They were made 14+ hours ago, yet I'm the first to post notice of them here?!The USA government excels at propaganda. It always has. Doesn't matter if it babies and incubators, mistranslated leaders of targeted countries, or supposed mass graves. BTW... what ever happened to all those mass graves in Iraq? HRW was going to dig them all up and document them. Hundreds of thousands. Most Americans I talk to still believe in this. Was it true? Saddam himself had claimed it wasn't true. That it was Kurdish propaganda to gain sympathy. He claimed the Anfal campaign was only to push the Kurds off the border so he could control arms smuggling and that casualties were minimal. Looking into the search. They are graves with a few hundred here and there but where are the rest of the bodies? If you google Iraq mass graves there are more articles about ISIS mass graves than the Anfal campaign. There were people killed in the South during the Shia uprising after the first gulf war than there was for the Anfal campaign. Was that a lie too? Nearly every American believes it still.Arata , Jun 26, 2019 10:40:53 PM | 98
PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT First published on Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT
Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.
In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'Anyone who can undestand Farsi ( Persian language) can litsen Rouhani's speech. He did not name "Trump", he said " White House".Paora , Jun 26, 2019 11:18:41 PM | 101
I have been watching CNN news channel who said that Rouhani made a personal attack on Trump! That was not true.
There was no personal attack on Rouhani's speech.
Importantly, the context of the speech and conclusion is diffent from western media reports and western translations.
I would like give few links of some Iranian news agencies, reporting Rouhani's speech for International use, as reference here:
1) FrasNews Agency
"These days, we see the White House in confusion and we are witnessing undue and ridiculous words and adoption of a scandalous policy,"
..."The US sanctions are crime against humanity. The US recent measures indicate their ultimate failure. The new US measures are the result of their frustration and confusion over Iran. The White House has mental disability,"
2) ISNA English
"They are having mental problems and today, the White House has become mentally paralysed and don't know what to do".
Le président iranien, affirmant que les États-Unis, malgré de nombreuses tentatives de pression exercées par divers leviers sur l'Iran, ont échoué dans leurs objectifs, a poursuivi : "Une étrange frustration et une grande confusion règnent au sein du Corps dirigeant de la Maison Blanche. Ils se sentent déçus car ils n'ont obtenu aucun résultat, ils s'attendaient à voir l'Iran brisé dans l'espace de quelques mois, mais ils ont fini par constater que les Iraniens agissent de plus en plus fermement, de manière plus créative que jamais ".
The president also decried the new US sanctions against Iran, saying the White House has been thrown into confusion as its officials are making "inappropriate and ridiculous" comments and adopting the policy of disgrace.
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/06/26/2041386/iran-urges-us-europe-to-return-to-jcpoa0use4msm @54Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26, 2019 11:23:51 PM | 102
Wow that's amazing! Probably the best known Khrushchev 'quote', presented as evidence of his boorish nature, is an intentional mistranslation. And the Marx quote is not exactly obscure, it's from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto for eff sake! At least it makes a change from the 'lets just make things up' cottage industry of Lenin & Stalin 'quotes'."A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."Circe , Jun 27, 2019 10:19:52 AM | 136 Noirette , Jun 27, 2019 10:50:17 AM | 137
Mark Twain (or some other student of wisdom)
Apr 26, 2017 - Mark Twain is one of many who gets credit for famous quotations he never wrote or said. ... credited with saying "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" ... Proverbial wisdom, in which a quotation is elevated to the status of a proverb because its source is unknown;.Mistranslations are a classical cheap n easy way to sway opinion.
Interesting that the examples b quotes, and most of those promoted currently by the US-uk-eu, afaik, understand, are intended to project into the voice of Iranians, Russians, Syrians, utterances, declarations, to be labelled insults, slander, threats, impropriety, even rage, coming from these parties, as
there is nothing much else to display!
(Spanish is too comprehensible > does not apply to Mexico, Cuba, S. America.)
Often cultural matters play a role, but are ignored. Ahmadinejad was endlessly vilified and mocked by the W-MSM for saying what was translated as there are no homosexuals in Iran (no idea what the original formulation was) - which 'obviously' can't be 'true.'
Besides homosexuality being unacceptable in conservative rule-books, Iran is, or was (to 2010) above (or with) Thailand the no. 1. practitioner / destination for sex change operations. Iran had super educated docs, great hospitals, etc.
Ahmadinejad was relying on a kind of fundamentalist principle where the 'soul' or the 'essential quality' of a person is what is tantamount, what counts above all. The physical manifestation, here the human body, can be transformed to be in harmony with the deep-felt or 'innately' ascribed orientation or 'spirit.' So, no homosexuals in Iran, or only a few who are in 'transition.' (Not denying real suffering of gays in Iran, other story.)
The W, in first place the US, is doing precisely the same with its 'gender change' promotion, as applied to children and young teens. Here too, 'feelings' and 'identity' override 'nature' : the physical can be overturned, overcome, fixed.
Such cultural issues play a role in mis-translations, deliberate or not. It may appear that I wandered far off topic, I just picked a topical comprehensible ex. Sharia law is more complex..
Jun 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Late last year, I linked to a review of John Patrick Leary's Keywords: The New Language of Capitalism (Haymarket Books), and put it on my list of "one more book to read." And now I've finally gotten around to it! Which is no reflection on the book, or its cover; merely on my own scattered-brained schedule.
Leary describes (page 180) the genesis of Keywords as follows:
The project began when I was walking through a downtown Chicago food court with Lara Cohen and Christine Evans, complaining at length about how the word "innovation" seemed to be everywhere.
Who among us! More:
Christine suggested that instead of just getting mad, I make some small effort at getting even by writing up my criticisms this turned into a blog chronicling the other terms that celebrated profit and the rule of the market with guileless enthusiasm. This book is the product of her suggestion. Lara has been the first reader of virtually everything in book and its most important critic.
"Getting even" is certainly a strange motivation for starting a blog! MR SUBLIMINAL [snort!] And, after the usual list of thank-yous that befit an Acknowledgements section, this:
Thank you to my Wayne State students for your hopeful example of a generation unimpressed by the promises of an innovation economy.
Let us, indeed, hope! Here is the list of terms that Leary, er, curated; I am sure, readers, that many will provoke a thrill -- or shudder -- of recognition in you all:
Table 1: Leary's Word List
Accountability Grit Artisanal Hack Best practices Human capital Brand Innovation Choice Leadership Coach Lean Collaboration Maker Competency Market Conversation Meritocracy Content Nimble Creative Outcome Curator Passion Data Pivot Design Resilience Disruption Robust DIY Share Ecosystem Smart Empowerment Solution Engagement Stakeholder Entrepreneur Sustainable Excellence Synergy Fail Thought leader Flexible Wellness Free
Continuing along with those who have not run screaming from the room: From Leary's list, I have picked three words: Our favorite, innovation , and then market , and smart . I'll provide an extract of the definition of each term, followed by a brief comment. I'll conclude with some remarks on the book as a whole.
From page 114 et seq.:
For most of its early life, "innovation" was a pejorative, used to denounce false prophets and political dissidents. Thomas Hobbes used innovator in the seventeenth century as a synonym for a vain conspirator [Joseph Schumpeter], in his 1911 book The Theory of Economic Development used "innovation" to describe capitalism's tendnecy toward tumult and and transformation. He understood innovation historically, as a process of economic transformation, but for him this historical process relied upon a creative, private agent to carry it out [T]he entrepreneur. s
Other than mystifying creativity [another term] itself -- which now looks like an intuitive blast of inspiration, like a epiphany, and less like work -- "innovation" gives creativity a specific professional, class dimension. It almost always applies to white-collar and profit-seeking activities Rarely do we hear of the innovative carpenter, plumber, or homemaker .
The innovator is a model capitalist citizen for our times. But the object of most innovations today is more elusive [than in the days of Bell and Edison]: you can touch a telephone or a phonograh, but who can lay hands on an Amazon algorithm, a credit default swap, a piece of proprietary Uber code, or an international free trade agreement? As an intangible, individualistic, yet strictly white-collar trait, innovation reframes the cruel fortunes of an unequal global economy as the logical products of a creative, visionary brilliance. In this new guise, the innovator retains both a touch of the prophet and the hint of the confidence man.
That's the stuff to give the troops! I especially like the part about innovative plumbing; after all, potable water and indoor plumbing have probably saved more lives than all the Lords of Silicon Valley combined! However, I could wish for the class analysis to be sharpened with respect to finance: For credit default swaps, to the executives (not just "white collar" workers) who committed accounting control fraud; for Uber, the executive crooks and liars who run the never-to-be profitable business. The intangibles are listed without being categorized in terms of political economy.
From page 132 et seq.:
The market is both a widely dispersed metaphor of exchange and an economic term often used a a shorthand for capitalist forms of exchange, especially when modified by the word free [another term].
The word's oldest meaning is its simplest: "A place where trade is conducted," a meaning that appears in Old English as far back as the twelfth century. This spatial menaing of the market place obviously persists in farmer's markets, stock markets, and supermarkets, but today the market is something more abstract. The most recent definition given by the OED is "the competive free market; the operation of supply and demand." Its first example of this usage comes from 1970, at the rough beginning of the neoliberal era .
When politicians speak of "market forces" they presume their autonomy; we are creatures of the market rather than the other way around. [But] in key moments of recent economic history -- the United States Troubled Asset Relief Program, the European austerity measures to enforce "market discipline" on Greece -- market autonomy is nowhere to be seen
A synonym for exchange, whether intellectual or economic, an ontological feature of human social, an implacable natural force, or a cybernetic network reliant on a strong state: The market can be whatever you need it to be.
Once again, I would quarrel with the financial detail of the glossary item; the Treasury's TARP, at $700 billion, was dwarfed by the real bailout outlay from the Fed , which has been estimated at $7.7 (Bloomberg) to $29 trillion (Levy Institute). Further, European austerity measures damaged not only Greece, but the EU's entire southern tier, most definitely including Italy and Spain. Finally -- although this may seem like a debater's point -- if "market" can be "whatever you need it to be," then why can't the left repurpose it? Leary himself instances the Communist Party of the USA's ludicrous coinage of "the marketplace of ideas"; on the editorial pages of the New York Times, no less!) So "market" may be malleable, but it's not that malleable. Why?
Finally, from page 158 et seq.:
Smart, used as an adjective modifying a technology, connotes an efficeint, clean, orderly pragmatism . Smartness just works . Smart technologies, from munitions to ID cards to refrigerators to mattresses, usually do one of three related things, and often all three: they allow (or require) a user to remotely access a computer-linked network, they generate data [a term] about that user, and they act autonomously, or seem to do so . In addition, smart means moderr. The six thousand dollar smart refrigerator that tells you when you're out of milk shows that the key to a smart technology isn't whether it is, in fact, a wise idea. To be smart is simply to belong ti the new age, . Smart therefore presumes the political neutrality of the technologies we use.
I think Leary could have leaned a little harder on how crapified most "smart" technology is; readers will be familiar with the material we periodically post on the Internet of Sh*t. More centrally, I'm a bit stunned that Leary has limited smart to technology, foregoing the opportunity to perform a class analysis, as Thomas Frank did in Listen, Liberal! . From page 22:
Professionals are a high-status group, but what gives them their lofty position is learning, not income. They rule because they are talented, because they are . A good sociological definition of professionalism is "a second hierarchy" -- second to the main hierarchy of money, that is -- "based on credentialed expertise
presumed to be politically neutral, exactly as smart technology is. I think expanding the glossary to "smart" in Frank's sense would have enriched the book. (Frank goes on to use "smart" throughout the book, with varying degrees of scorn and derision; used without irony, it's a veritable tocsin of bad faith.)
Leary's Keywords is definitely stimulating and well worth a read (and at $16.00, within reach for most). At the very least, you should run a mile from any public figure -- whether executive or politician -- who takes the words listed in Leary's keywords (see Table 1) seriously.
My criticism takes the form of Table 2, which is the list of terms from the great Raymond Williams, whose book, also entitled Keywords ( PDF ), was published in 1977, in the Eoneoliberal Period, and which Leary describes as a "classic". Here are the terms defined by Williams:
Table 2: Williams' Word List
Aesthetic Exploitation Originality Alienation Family Peasant Anarchism Fiction Personality Anthropology Folk Philosophy Art Formalist Popular Behaviour Generation Positivist Bibliography Genetic Pragmatic Bourgeois Genius Private Bureaucracy Hegemony Progressive Capitalism History Psychologica Career Humanity Racial Charity Idealism Radical City Ideology Rational Civilization Image Reactionary Class Imperialism Reader's Collective Improve Realism Commercialism Individual References Common Industry Reform Communication Institution Regional Communism Intellectual Representative Community Interest Revolution Consensus Isms Romantic Consumer Jargon Science Conventional Labour Select Country Liberal Sensibility Creative Liberation Sex Criticism Literaturw Socialist Culture Man Society Democracy Management Sociology Determine Masses Standards Development Materialism Status Dialect Mechanical Structural Dialectic Media Subjective Doctrinaire Mediation Taste Dramatic Medieval Technology Ecology Modern Theory Educated Monopoly Tradition Elite Myth Unconscious Empirical Nationalist Underprivileged Equality Native Unemployment Ethnic Naturalism Utilitarian Evolution Nature Violence Existential Notes Wealth Experience Ordinary Welfare Expert Organic Western Work
If you compare the tables, you will see that Williams' list of keywords is both more abstract and more powerful, although some that we would expect to see today ("identity," "rentier") are missing. Of course, it's extremely unfair of me to make compare Leary's and Williams' lists in this way; in fact, I admonish others not to complain that the author did not write a book about penguins, when the author plainly intended to write a book about crows. Leary promised a "field guide to the capitalist present, and he has delivered. Nevertheless, it would be nice to have a second edition of Keywords , written with Leary's clarity, knowledgeability, and verve, and containing more powerful terms, most of which have been erased. Starting, perhaps, with "class."
 To be fair, Leary writes (page 5): "The words in my collection are generally more specific to the contemporary moment. They can also be understood as blockages -- that is, they are the words we use when we aren't calling things by their proper name. William's collection has "management" and "labor"; this one has "leadership" and "human capital." Tacklage is, I suppose, what happens, in addition to blockage, if some prole of an analyst uses the wrong (that is, the right) words. That said, can the truth be reverse engineered out of bullshit? One for the judges.
Tom , June 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm
What happened to " vibrant "? Did it go out of fashion?
Plenue , June 25, 2019 at 7:45 pm
Have you considered audio books? We already know you listen to podcasts.
Carolinian , June 25, 2019 at 8:02 pm
What, no "muscular"? Hillary probably like muscular because it made her sound more threatening. Nikki Haley took up the same gig with her stilletto heels.
flora , June 25, 2019 at 8:36 pm
Thanks for this post. Leary's list looks like TED talk word cloud, imo. Ad speak. ha.
I don't know if Williams' word list was based on ad speak of the 1970s. Maybe not.
Many of Williams' words place people in relation to each other or to the society, within society. Not getting that same larger society idea from the words in Leary's ad speak list; it's more 'rational man' alone against the world. Maybe that's the essence of ad speak. "Army of one." "Be all YOU can be." etc.
Or now: Be all the smart, innovative, creative, nimble, passionate leader YOU can be." ;)
a different chris , June 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm
>Continuing along with those who have not run screaming from the room
After the first couple words I averted my eyes and scrolled madly. So I'm still here!
Socal Rhino , June 25, 2019 at 9:30 pm
I think I've seen powerpoint presentations composed of just those words, almost.
"Cadence" is one i do not see here.
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 12:46 am
Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.
Steve Ruis , June 26, 2019 at 8:35 am
If you just coined this phrase, you are brilliant, sir! If not thanks for passing it along.
hunkerdown , June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am
Edward Tufte, 2003. Still brilliant.
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:33 am
I am not 100% certain of this; everybody should read Tufte's ESSAY:
THE COGNITIVE STYLE OF POWERPOINT: PITCHING OUT CORRUPTS WITHIN , but the exact quote does not appear in there. The quote does occur in Tufte's 2003 Wired essay , but as a deck beneath the headline, and not in the body of the article. Therefore, I am not sure whether Tufte coined the phrase, or some anonymous editor. Can any readers clarify?
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:28 am
I should have added the cite, but I was in a rush. However, this quote should be propagated as widely as possible.
JEHR , June 26, 2019 at 10:51 am
ShamanicFallout , June 25, 2019 at 10:23 pm
I like 'leverage' and 'drive'. I hear that a lot. Like 'leveraging innovation to drive sales'. So smart!
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 12:42 am
Man, I hate that usage of "drive." To be fair, the nice thing is that you can leverage sales to drive innovation, too.
Tom , June 26, 2019 at 9:49 am
To leverage sth. means to use it, afaict.
There's something taboo about use . Even reasonable people will prefer usage over use .
Amfortas the hippie , June 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm
please include in yer Language things like this:
for those who need it spelled out:
"And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why"
read the whole fucking thing.
more than ten years ago.
things are much worse, now
Hopelb , June 26, 2019 at 12:10 am
They play this on wyep quite often and I am always thankful that my daughter is familiar with it because of that.
Susan the other` , June 25, 2019 at 10:34 pm
Thank you Lambert. You manage to keep me sane. This exposure to and of nonsense is very timely now. In the end all we have is a set of words which allow us to trust each other. We need to find them.
LifelongLib , June 25, 2019 at 10:58 pm
Most of Leary's list is familiar from events I occasionally attended as a government IT specialist. "Wellness" overlaps with what I call the language of therapy (don't know the "correct" term) e.g. "conversation", "healing" which if anything is even more grating
The Rev Kev , June 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm
Never thought about it before but in the use of the word 'market' today, it is like it is trying to replace the word 'society' and how it was used before. Is that what Thatcher meant? That there was no society but a 'market' instead?
Alfred , June 25, 2019 at 11:43 pm
I'd say yes, exactly.
ShamanicFallout , June 25, 2019 at 11:22 pm
I was just thinking that maybe we need rehabilitate the phrase (which appears in some famous document which we in theory revere) 'promote the general welfare'. This connotes of course citizenship, commons, community. Everything that we desperately need.
Arizona Slim , June 26, 2019 at 9:02 am
Nowadays, "community" really means something that you pay for. Or, if you're not paying for it, well, you're the product.
Take, for example, online groups. They're often called communities. You may have to pay to belong, but if you don't, the data that you and your fellow "members" produce is being sold and resold.
In the offline world, there are businesses that refer to their customers as members. And what are they members of? Well, my dear, that is a community.
So, add these two words to the list of words that need to be taken outside and shot:
Alfred , June 25, 2019 at 11:40 pm
Sounds like a great book; anyhow a superb post. I'd have liked to see what Mr Leary has to say about 'associate' (noun; see also employee [archaic]) and service (noun; as in "software as a service"). Perhaps also "industry" (as in "the payday loans industry") – which now I think has senses that Williams could not have imagined. Oh, and why not "Crapification?" On a more serious note, there is "Inequality." (Hat tip to Tom, above, for the peerless "Vibrant.")
Hopelb , June 26, 2019 at 12:05 am
I love you Lambert. Thanks for always sharing your unearthed treasures.
dbk , June 26, 2019 at 4:27 am
Perhaps worth adding: "gig economy," "[education/health care, etc.] reform."
Yesterday I read a story in the NYT ["Love" section, formerly "Weddings"] about an Instagram "Influencer couple."
Some terms are euphemisms; others are buzzwords for the increasing privatization / shrinking of public space/services/goods (what was once known in some circles as the "theft of the commons," but hey, I'm old).
Such terms deserve to be called out repeatedly, with their actual meaning helpfully provided in (). Thus "ed reformers" (i.e. privatizers through various means such as ESAs, ETCs, vouchers) or "right to work," which I finally decided to define as "right to fire at will." Far-right think tanks are great sources of such terms; the bills ALEC writes for state legislatures are, too.
My own special bugbear is "grit" (someone who still demonstrates faith in the system which has betrayed them).
OTOH, such words are helpful in identifying the ideological perspective an author is coming from.
Jack Lifton , June 26, 2019 at 4:54 am
I was wondering where the use of the phrase, "We need to have a conversation about " In place of " we should discuss" or "let's talk about" came from. I find it " to be a given" that anything that Kamala Harris says is meaningless noise these days. She seems to have acquired this mea!y mouth way of avoiding taking a position after only a short time in the Senate. She's well on her way to being permanently inconsequential.
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am
"We need to" or "you need to" is one of my pet peeves, because of the power-tripping assumption that my interlocutor gets to determine my needs (all for the greater good , of course! Always for the good!)
herman_sampson , June 26, 2019 at 6:54 am
Need to add "competition": the competitors implied are other businesses but what management means are their own employees.
La Peruse , June 26, 2019 at 6:56 am
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was both pilloried and held in uncertain awe for his contribution to the English lexicon of 'incentivising', as in 'incentivising and rewarding hard work'.
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:07 am
Or "prioritize." By which I mean "center." (A supplementary glossary for the non-profit industrial complex would be welcome.)
Steve H. , June 26, 2019 at 7:18 am
Etymology shows that word meanings can change and even invert over time. Floyd Merrell looked at the poetics of ambiguity, where 1:1 is unambiguous, 1:2 can have two meanings (a dog growling may be warning or playing), to n:n where meaning is entirely contextual.
There are people, and places, and objects which have changed in affect for me, usually through an aversive experience. We see this with words; for example, 'socialist' will always carry resonances of fascism since Adolph called his thing 'National Socialism'. As useful as 'class' is it, carries Marxist overtones, which causes reflexive affect for some. 'Well' carries positive connotation in some evangelical circles.
Words can get stink on them from dogwhistles. Will you argue about old words, or avoid quagmires with Smart Innovative people by creating clever and fresh new words with less historical accretion? That's what Shakespeare did and we're still looking at him four hundred years later. As a friend said to me in a conversation about demented mothers, "You've got to let'em go." You can still love them, but if they control the conversation, there madness lies.
Svante , June 26, 2019 at 8:04 am
All the BEST werds?
I'm guessing: aside from acceptance, involvement & touch from loving, comforting, equanamous parents (community integration amongst disparate peers), the sociopathic/ somatic neuroses evinced in this addiction to euphamism, platitude and obfuscatory pleonasm as glib, off-handed, day-to-day BS subterfuge, reflects cytokine imbalances, resulting from unresolved childhood trauma and fast-food diets, deficient in pre-biotics? Not enough roughage, huh?
Alexandra , June 26, 2019 at 8:28 am
The ones that turn my stomach the most are "influencer," "maker," and "ask" as a noun (as in, "Hey, I know it's a big ask, but I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday "). Oh! And also "content" used to mean information. A friend who is a university professor said the administration are now referring to faculty as "content distributors." Barf.
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:05 am
> A friend who is a university professor said the administration are now referring to faculty as "content distributors."
First thing we do, let's kill all the college administrators. Or take away their titles, perks, and money, which will do worse than kill them.
bob , June 26, 2019 at 10:11 am
Take away their drivers, leave them stranded and entitled.
Mael Colium , June 26, 2019 at 8:28 am
Ever had a conversation with a Teacher? Oh excuse me; an "educator" LOL. They use so many sucky phrases and words that you can't even remember what the discussions were about in the first place. It's bad enough in secondary schools but now in pre-school (early learning centres) you need an interpretation booklet to make any sense of what your child is up to in the damn place. I must confess that my MBA taught me a whole bunch of weasel words and obscure terminology so that my management reports were rarely tested for veracity. And therein lies the issue. Words were once used to impart knowledge, whereas now, as the article alludes to, words and phrases are redesigned and reoriented to avoid, obfuscate, marginalise, confuse etc you get the picture.. Look no further than your local politician for tricky word speak – it makes Trump's burbling seem almost sensible by contrast. At least we know what a pussy is now!
JCC , June 26, 2019 at 8:42 am
Here is one left off the list: handcrafted
I took a trip last weekend to Palm Springs, CA. and Laughlin, NV. and everywhere I went I was inundated with offers for "handcrafted" margaritas and coffees and various food stuffs.
It is right up there with artisanal.
Arizona Slim , June 26, 2019 at 9:07 am
No need to order this book from the Evil River, aka Amazon. Here's the publisher's page:
HomoSapiensWannaBe , June 26, 2019 at 9:09 am
They left out "sound", as in "sound science," which is, of course, "science" which supports profit seeking.
For example, "Pesky environmental regulations are an undue, unfair burden on business, and aren't backed by sound science."
Barry Fay , June 26, 2019 at 9:13 am
I´m thinking "going forward" belongs in this discussion as well!
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:10 am
Thanks for being part of our team.
Wukchumni , June 26, 2019 at 9:54 am
Words are what you make of them.
Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:03 am
"Men make their own
historyvocabulary, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living."
Mike Mc , June 26, 2019 at 10:18 am
21st century version(s) of this classic:
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com
...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.
Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com
murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:40Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare.
Love it. When push comes to shove all those ideologies and beliefs crumble into the dust of practical needs. Another individual who cloaked the self-interest of the rich and powerful into some kind of spurious ideology.
George wrote a rather good article about Von Hayek a few years ago I seem to remember.
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
1Byron , 5 Mar 2012 17:44It's no wonder the US is so screwed up these days. Somehow the NeoCons, before and after stealing the 2,000 election for Bush, with the help of abundance of Liars 4 Hire think tanks like CATO, CEI, AEI, Heritage Foundation blah, blah, blah, bankrolled by the likes of the Koch Bros, The Scaifes, Exxon, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont the Nuke Industry etc. were, and are still able to convince low intelligence people that wrong is right, bad is good, meanness is "compassion" and abuse is "tough love".
But it only works if those being duped are already predisposed to hateful philosophy, and that they got in spades with careful conditioning (brainwashing) from bastards like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch, people with no moral scruples whatsoever.
Thus the right today (actually for a long while now) is no more than a collection of racists and bigots, pathological liars and scammers, charlatans and greedmeisters.
It's why they care nothing for the poor, nothing for protection the environment, nothing for anyone or anything but themselves. They are the cult of mean.
As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com
macfeegal , 6 Mar 2012 03:56Another very informative article from one of the few writers with any sense of having a 'finger on the pulse.'
It's sad that it's taken over 30 years for the real shaping influences behind the current system to be identified and discussed outside the boundaries of a few university conferences.
The Right have been absolutely brilliant at media control and obfuscation. Their gurus have been camouflaged and the whole process of influencing Reagan and Thatcher's governments from the late 1970's has escaped exactly the kind of scrutiny that George gives Rand.
We might also investigate the influence of John Nash's (A Beautiful Mind) 'Gameplay' experiments in a similar fashion along with the economic gurus who followed Hayek so slavishly.
It has been known for years that the neo liberal project was designed not just to under mine democracy and convert people into passive cloned market junkies, but to put an end to the whole of the Enlightenment Project, which perhaps naively saw human development,. growth and other human qualities totally savaged and defeated by this poisonous evil, which emulates all the worst aspects of Fascism without the flags and theatre.
Sadly, this is not a 'this is happening' phenomenon; it's a 'this has happened phenomenon.' The taint and viral effect of its impact on uk and usa political structures has already caused major damage. All three major political parties in the uk have for 30 years subscribed to its tenets though they were no doubt not presented in such a flagrant form as Rand's writing.
How problematic is it to now look at the polity and rescue it from such a major ideological shift? Certainly, the major parties cannot shuck off the cape of their key beliefs after promoting Right wing ideologies for so long, and the traditional Left is no more.
However, it is good to see some pithy journalism that goes to the heart of the matter - those of us who have been pleading for less x factor celebrity worshipping of politicians can at least feel as though this shifts the spectrum to real and significant issues that have affected the lives of everyone for so long.
Spot on George; one of your best.
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
Kikinaskald , 6 Mar 2012 14:14
I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security.
In case nobody mentioned this book before, which is relevant to the theme:
The Submerged State by Suzanne Mettler
From the Amazon book description:
These submerged policies, Mettler shows, obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry. Neither do they realize that the policies of the submerged state shower their largest benefits on the most affluent Americans, exacerbating inequality.
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The evidence suggests that foreign policymakers do not seek insight from scholars, but rather support for what they already want to do.
As Desch quotes a World War II U.S. Navy anthropologist, "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance.
Jun 21, 2019 | thefreethoughtproject.com
Portland, OR -- A former top level Walt Disney executive was sentenced to prison this month for nearly seven years for child rape. Michael Laney, 73, who was the Vice President of Walt Disney was found guilty of four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and sentenced to 81 months in prison.
After the sentencing, Laney's attorneys pleaded with the judge to suspend the sentence, claiming that Laney's wife would suffer if her husband goes to jail.
According to Oregon Live , Laney's wife's doctor, Blain Crandell, submitted a letter on Laney's behalf, saying his wife "could be expected to suffer serious consequences to her health and well-being" without an in-home caregiver, a role her husband had been filling.
Thankfully, the judge and district attorney did not see it that way. In response to this request, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Charles Mickley called the claims "peculiarly offensive and insulting."
"Defendant wholly ignores the compelling evidence of his guilt presented at trial, including the evidence of his longstanding sexual interest in children," Mickley wrote.
Laney will also have to serve an additional 120 months of probation after prison, pay a $4,000 fine, and register as a sex offender.
... ... ...
This article originally appeared on The Free Thought Project .Matt Agorist Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter , Steemit , and now on Minds.
- PurpleCarrot 8h
Pedophilia is the link between all these Hollyweird freaks and politics as well. I believe they are all lured into being compromised and dirt kept on them all collectively, in order to use them and manipulate them and gain control over society.
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.
Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."
Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."
Jun 10, 2019 | off-guardian.org
Every empire is a dictatorship. No nation can be a democracy that's either heading an empire, or a vassal-state of one. Obviously, in order to be a vassal-state within an empire, that nation is dictated-to by the nation of which it is a colony.
By contrast, 'enemy' nations are ones that the imperial power has placed onto its priority-list of nations that are yet to become conquered. There are two main reasons to conquer a nation. One is in order to be enabled to extract, from the colony, oil, or gold, or some other valuable commodity. The other is in order to control it so as to be enabled to use that land as a passageway for exporting, from a vassal-nation, to other nations, that vassal-nation's products.
International trade is the basis for any empire, and the billionaires who own controlling blocs of stock in a nation's international corporations are the actual rulers of it, the beneficiaries of empire, the recipients of the wealth that is being extracted from the colonies and from the domestic subjects. The idea of an empire is that the imperial nation's rulers, its aristocracy, extract from the colonies their products, and they impose upon their domestic subjects the financial and military burdens of imposing their international dictatorship upon the foreign subjects.
Some authors say that there is a "Deep State" and that it consists of (some undefined elements within) the intelligence services, and of the military, and of the diplomatic corps, of any given dictatorship; but, actually, those employees of the State are merely employees, not the actual governing authority, over that dictatorship.
The actual Deep State are always the aristocrats, themselves, the people who run the revolving door between 'the private sector' (the aristocracy's corporations) and the government. In former times, many of the aristocrats were themselves governing officials (the titled 'nobility'), but this is no longer common. Nowadays, the aristocracy are the individuals who own controlling blocs of stock in international corporations (especially weapons-making firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, because the only markets for those corporations are the corporation's own government and its vassal states or 'allies'); and such individuals are usually the nation's billionaires, and, perhaps, a few of the mere centi-millionaires.
A small number, typically less than 100, of these extremely wealthy individuals, are the biggest donors to politicians, and to think tanks, and to other non-profits (these latter being also tax-write-offs to their donors, and so are tax-drains to the general public) that are involved in the formation of the national government's policies.
Of course, they also are owners of and/or advertisers in the propaganda-media, which sell the aristocracy's core or most-essential viewpoints to the nation's subjects in order to persuade those voters to vote only for the aristocracy's selected candidates and not for any who oppose the aristocracy. These few, mainly billionaires, are the actual Deep State -- the bosses over the dictatorship, the ultimate beneficiaries in any empire. In order to maintain this system, of international dictatorship or empire, the most essential tool is deceit, of the electorate, by the aristocracy. The method of control is: the bought agents of the Deep State lie to the public about what their polices will be if they win, in order to be able to win power; and, then, once they have won power, they do the opposite, which is what they have always been paid by the Deep State (the aristocracy) to help them to do. Thereby, elections aren't "democratic" but 'democratic': they are mere formalities of democracy, without the substance of democracy.
All of the well-financed candidates for the top offices are actually the Deep State's representatives, and virtually none are the representatives of the public, because the voters have been deceived, and were given choices between two or more candidates, none of whom will represent the public if and when elected. Here are some recent examples of this system -- the imperial system, international dictatorship, in action: During Donald Trump's Presidential campaign, he said :The approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness, and idiocy. They're fighting each other and yet we're fighting both of them. You know, we were fighting both of them. I think that our far bigger problem than Assad is ISIS, I've always felt that. Assad is, you know I'm not saying Assad is a good man, 'cause he's not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it's ISIS. I think, you can't be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other."Assad is allied with Russia against the Saudis (who are the chief ally of the U.S. aristocracy), so the U.S. (in accord with a policy that George Herbert Walker Bush had initiated on 24 February 1990 and which has been carried out by all subsequent U.S. Presidents) was determined to overthrow Assad, but Trump said that he was strongly opposed to that policy. Months before that, Trump had said :I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can't be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can't go -- and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won't be able to solve the problem. We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we'll start thinking about it. But we can't be fighting Assad. And when you're fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you're fighting -- you're fighting a lot of different groups. But we can't be fighting everybody at one time."In that same debate (15 December 2015) he also said:In my opinion, we've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we've had, we would've been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It's not like we had victory. It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart."Did he do that? No. Did he instead intensify what Obama had been trying to do in Syria -- overthrow Assad -- yes.
As the U.S. President, after having won the 2016 Presidential campaign, has Trump followed through on his criticism there, against the super-hawk, neoconservative, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham? No. Did he instead encircle himself with precisely such super-hawks, such neoconservatives? Yes.
Did he intensify the overthrow-Assad effort as Graham and those others had advocated? Yes.
Did America's war against Syria succeed? No.
Did he constantly lie to the voters? Yes, without a doubt.
Should that be grounds for impeaching him? A prior question to that one is actually: Would a President Mike Pence be any different or maybe even worse than Trump? Yes.
So: what, then, would be achieved by removing Trump from office? Maybe it would actually make things a lot worse. But how likely would the U.S. Senate be to remove Trump from office if the House did impeach Trump?
Two-thirds of the U.S. Senate would need to vote to remove the President in order for a President to be removed after being impeached by the House. A majority of U.S. Senators, 53, are Republicans. If just 33 of them vote not to convict the President, then Trump won't be removed. In order to remove him, not only would all 47 of the Democrats and Independents have to vote to convict, but 20 of the 53 Republicans would need to join them. That's nearly 40% of the Republican Senators.
How likely is that? Almost impossible.
What would their voters who had elected them back home think of their doing such a thing? How likely would such Senators face successful re-election challenges that would remove those Senators from office? Would 20 of the 53 be likely to take that personal risk?
Why, then, are so many Democrats in the House pressing for Trump's impeachment, since Trump's being forced out of the White House this way is practically impossible and would only install a President Pence, even if it could succeed? Is that Democratic Party initiative anything else than insincere political theater, lying to their own gullible voters, just being phonies who manipulate voters to vote for them instead of who are actually serving them?
Is that what democracy is, now: insincere political theater? Is that "democracy"? America's voters are trapped, by liars, so it's instead mere 'democracy'. It's just the new form of dictatorship. But it's actually as ancient as is any empire.
There's nothing new about this -- except one thing: the U.S. regime is aiming to be the ultimate, the last, the final, empire, the ruler over the entire world; so, it is trying especially hard, 'to defend freedom, democracy and human rights throughout the world', as Big Brother might say.
Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, was just as evil, and just as insincere, as Trump, but only a far more skillful liar, who deceived his voters to think that he would fight corruption , work to improve relations with Russia , provide a public option in his health-insurance plan , and otherwise work to reduce economic inequality , to improve the economic situation for disadvantaged Americans , and to prosecute banksters .
He abandoned each one of those stated objectives as soon as he won against John McCain, on 4 November 2008, and then yet more when he defeated Mitt Romney in 2012.
And aren't some of those promises the same ones that candidate Trump had also advocated and then abandoned as soon as he too was (s)elected ?THE THREAT TO THE EMPIREThe heroic fighters for the freedom of everyone in the world are the whistleblowers, who report to the public the corruption and evil that they see perpetrated by their superiors, their bosses, and perpetrated by people who are on the public payroll or otherwise obtaining increased income by virtue of being selected by the government to become government contractors to serve an allegedly public function.
All liars with power hate whistleblowers and want to make special examples of any part of the press that publishes their truths, their facts, their stolen documents. These documents are stolen because that's the only way for them to become public and thereby known to the voters so that the voters can vote on the basis of truths as in a democracy, instead of be deceived as in a dictatorship.
Even if the truth is stolen from the liars, instead of being kept private ("Confidential") for them, are the whistleblowers doing wrong to steal the truth from the liars? Or, instead, are the whistleblowers heroes: are they the authentic guardians of democracy and the precariously thin wall that separates democracy from dictatorship?
They are the latter: they are the heroes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such heroes are also martyrs -- martyrs for truth, against lies. Every dictatorship seeks to destroy its whistleblowers. That's because any whistleblower constitutes a threat to The System -- the system of control. In all of U.S. history, the two Presidents who pursued whistleblowers and their publishers the most relentlessly have been Trump and Obama.
The public are fooled to think that this is being done for 'national security' reasons instead of to hide the government's crimes and criminality. However, not a single one of the Democratic Party's many U.S. Presidential candidates is bringing this issue, of the U.S. government's many crimes and constant lying, forward as being the central thing that must be criminalized above all else, as constituting "treason."
None of them is proposing legislation saying that it is treason, against the public -- against the nation. Every aristocracy tries to deceive its public in order to control its public; and every aristocracy uses divide-and-rule in order to do this. But it's not only to divide the public against each other (such as between Republicans versus Democrats, both of which are actually controlled by the aristocracy), but also to divide between nations, such as between 'allies' versus 'enemies' -- even when a given 'enemy' (such as Iraq in 2003) has never threatened, nor invaded, the United States (or whatever the given imperial 'us' may happen to be), and thus clearly this was aggressive war and an international war-crime, though unpunished as such.
The public need to fear and hate some 'enemy' which is the 'other' or 'alien', in order not to fear and loathe the aristocracy itself -- the actual source of (and winner from) the systemic exploitation, of the public, by the aristocracy.
The pinnacle of the U.S. regime's totalitarianism is its ceaseless assault against Julian Assange, who is the uber-whistleblower, the strongest protector for whistleblowers, the safest publisher for the evidence that they steal from their employers and from their employers' government. He hides the identity of the whistleblowers even at the risk of his own continued existence.
... ... ...
On 20 May 2019, former British Ambassador Craig Murray (who had quit so that he could blow the whistle) headlined "The Missing Step" and argued that the only chance that Assange now has is if Sweden refuses to extradite Assange to the US in the event that Britain honors the Swedish request to extradite him to Sweden instead of to the US (The decision on that will now probably be made by the US agent Boris Johnson instead of by the regular Tory Theresa May.)
How can it reasonably be denied that the US is, in fact (though not nominally) a dictatorship ?
All of its allies are thus vassal-nations in its empire. This means acquiescence (if not joining) in some of the US regime's frequent foreign coups and invasions; and this means their assisting in the spread of the US regime's control beyond themselves, to include additional other countries.
It reduces the freedom, and the democracy, throughout the world; it spreads the US dictatorship internationally. That is what is evil about what in America is called "neoconservatism" and in other countries is called simply "imperialism." Under American reign, it is now a spreading curse, a political plague, to peoples throughout the world. Even an American whistleblower about Ukraine who lives in the former Ukraine is being targeted by the US regime .
This is how the freedom of everyone is severely threatened, by the US empire -- the most deceitful empire that the world has ever experienced. The martyrs to its lies are the canaries in its coal mine. They are the first to be eliminated.
Looking again at that rank-ordered list of 23 countries, one sees the US and eight of its main allies (or vassal-nations), in order: US, UK, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Japan, France, Indonesia. These are countries where the subjects are already well-controlled by the empire. They already are vassals, and so are ordained as being 'allies'.
At the opposite end, starting with the most anti-US-regime, are: S. Africa, India, Russia, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, S. Korea, Turkey. These are countries where the subjects are not yet well-controlled by the empire, even though the current government in some of them is trying to change its subjects' minds so that the country will accept US rule.
Wherever the subjects reject US rule, there exists a strong possibility that the nation will become placed on the US regime's list of 'enemies'. Consequently, wherever the residents are the most opposed to US rule, the likelihood of an American coup or invasion is real. The first step toward a coup or invasion is the imposition of sanctions against the nation. Any such nation that is already subject to them is therefore already in danger.
Any such nation that refuses to cooperate with the US regime's existing sanctions -- such as against trading with Russia, China, Iran, or Venezuela -- is in danger of becoming itself a US-sanctioned nation, and therefore officially an 'enemy'. And this is why freedom and democracy are ending. Unless and until the US regime itself becomes conquered -- either domestically by a second successful American Revolution (this one to eliminate the domestic aristocracy instead of to eliminate a foreign one), or else by a World War III in which the US regime becomes destroyed even worse than the opposing alliance will -- the existing insatiable empire will continue to be on the war-path to impose its dictatorship to everyone on this planet.
ANDREW CLEMENTSThis should be taught in schools'Ramdan
I will get my coat"Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump. Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no longer democratic. We must, like liberation movements of the past, engage in acts of sustained mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation. By turning our ire on the corporate state, we name the true sources of power and abuse. We expose the absurdity of blaming our demise on demonized groups such as undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, liberals, feminists, gays and others. We give people an alternative to a Democratic Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward tyranny." Chris HedgesAndrew PaulSurely, as well as some billionaires and centi-millionaires, there are other perhaps more institutionalised individuals with power to dispose of much even more clandestine wealth hidden in black budgets operated by and for the interests of unaccountable military and intelligence services in the putative empire, and there is also 'organised crime' and there are wealthy religious organisations, and these too can strongly influence politicians and the public opinion-forming 'narrative' shaping this false 'democracy' in the name of an elitist, highly hierarchical, socially as well as environmentally destructive global empire under full spectrum dominance.Yarkob
At the global level the most viable alternative to this, I suggest, and barring destructive world war (but perhaps following a US and even a UK civil war, unfortunately), will be a world federation or confederation with a high council at which all cultures and social interest-groups, great and small, of this world are properly, and preferably directly democratically, represented.
Many thanks for the food for thought here."So: what, then, would be achieved by removing Trump from office? Maybe it would actually make things a lot worse."mark
See: Saddam HusseinWe could get President Pocahontas or President Buttplug instead.ANDREW CLEMENTSPresident silence of the pestilentWilmers31We see a merger today between Raytheon and United Technologies. Here one para from 0hedge:mark
"Of course, there is a simpler way to boost profit margins that avoids cutting costs – just boost revenue, which of course would require war. Luckily, the Trump admin's neocon hawks are doing everything in their power to make sure that that's precisely what happens as the stock of the combined company will continue its relentless levitation."
Don't let them use you – don't enlist. Freedom might still be ended, but less profitable for them.As another man at another time asked, "What is to be done?"Frank Poster
The power of the billionaires, their bought and paid for politicians, and their servile media need to be broken.
In living memory, tax rates in the UK and US reached 98% and 91% respectively. There's no need to go back anywhere near those confiscatory levels, just ensure those people do actually pay SOME taxes. Last year, Amazon and Netflix should have paid over $16 billion in taxes. They paid nothing – they were actually given rebates of over $4 billion. Boeing hasn't paid a cent in taxes for 15 years. The same applies to a rogues' gallery of all the big boys, Google, Starbucks, General Electric, Boots, to name but a few. Profits are made to disappear and turned into losses by financial sleight of hand. An inflated level of debt is incurred to finance share buy backs instead of R&D, reinvestment and training. Trillions are salted away illegally in tax havens. The working and middle classes, 99.9% of the population, endure decades of austerity, declining wages, salaries and benefits, disappearing pensions, endemic insecurity. Rocketing house prices, £500,000 for a crappy one bed London flat. Children unable to leave home. Education and health privatised or becoming so. All public services or formerly public services declining to third world standards. A level of inequality not seen since Dickensian times. A financialised, spiv and shyster economy. A parasitic financial elite bleeding productive businesses dry, committing crime with impunity, and looting the public Treasury of untold trillions. Criminal wars of aggression abroad, taking the lives and destroying the future of tens of millions.
All this and much more needs to be changed.
Easier said than done. But is it?
We have seen what happens when anger and outrage are mobilised into an irresistible force.
This can happen surprisingly easily.
Things like the MPs expenses scandal, the Gilets Jaunes in France, Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US, political chaos in the EU. whatever you think of those developments, one way or another. The elites have a very tenuous grip on power, which can be broken quite easily.
All of the above characteristics of our present system can be changed by public pressure. It can be done.
Tax avoidance and tax havens can be closed down. If the big boys can't see which way the wind is blowing, they will do after a few of them are jailed. Anything that works against the public interest targeted for radical change. Public utilities and rail companies that fail to clean up their act properly regulated and if necessary nationalised. Housing and health treated as human needs and human rights. The NHS and a massive post war social housing programme went ahead though the country was completely bankrupt. It is a question of will and priorities. All this can be done. It is doable. All it needs is the mobilisation of sufficient outrage. And there are many recent examples of this."The elites have a very tenuous grip on power, which can be broken quite easily.mark
All of the above characteristics of our present system can be changed by public pressure. It can be done."
Easily? Sorry Mark, I agree with your sentiments but there's nothing easy about it whatsoever, and you must be living on a different planet to me, sorry to say – let's examine each of your examples –
MPs expenses scandal : minimal effect, the buggers carry on, and with a self-appointed overseer.
Gilets Jaunes : smashed, sadly.
Brexit : this is not democracy, it's a US / neocon hijack of Britain.
Trump : Enriching the rich even more.
Political chaos in the EU : it's a US tactic to "shake the tree" and knock the confidence in the EU, it became too strong a competitor for the US. Divide and conquer is their game with the EU. Tariffs will follow, and they are doing exactly the same to China, and indeed Russia.
It's sad that the most common social purpose in European modern history is being attacked not only by the right wing nutters, but also the blinkered Trotskyists on the left.You're right about some of the outcomes. The point I was trying to make is that it's not possible to paper over the cracks any more. People realise that they have been lied to and the system does not work for them, if it ever did. This may sound nebulous, but it has an effect. The credibility and influence of the MSM has been shredded by its own mendacity and lack of integrity. This has far reaching consequences which may not be readily apparent on a day to day basis. But it is important. The same applies to all the institutions and organs of the state. The world is becoming increasingly turbulent and unstable, and support for elites and the systems they represent is dwindling rapidly. The whole economic and financial system is like a house of cards. At such times, change that had previously been inconceivable becomes inevitable. Of course, there is no guarantee that these changes will be positive, like Russia in 1917 or Germany in 1933.Frank PosterPfff, what happened to the new OffG function to be able to edit one's posts, it's disappeared!OffGIt vanished during our DoS attack – we haven't managed to get it back yet. Infuriating, I know.Gezzah PottsClearly explained analysis of the deep shit we're all in. Unfortunately tho I don't see a second American revolution breaking out anytime soon. I think the large majority have been too crushed by the system; many working 2 or 3 jobs just to survive, many a couple paychecks away from being homeless, many living in cars or under bridges, and sadly, the large large majority lap up the propaganda spewed out by the stenographers. And believe it. Which leaves us with the next option for stopping this evil blood drenched Empire. And that is probably where we're heading. Scary times Eric.markYou may be right, GP. When I lived in America I was quite shocked by the low standard of living of very many people. Working 2 or 3 jobs, unable to run a car, health care completely out of their reach, living in houses like wooden shacks. Even buying food a problem. Completely ignorant of the outside world.George
Half a million are now homeless, with third world shanty towns next to the gated developments of the rich, the streets covered with human faeces, TB, typhoid and tapeworm becoming major problems.
What I see is this becoming worse and forming a critical mass, when it can no longer be ignored. As such, there are grounds for optimism. Things becoming so bad that they can no longer be tolerated. Perhaps that is unrealistic, I don't know."Working 2 or 3 jobs, unable to run a car, health care completely out of their reach, living in houses like wooden shacks. Even buying food a problem. Completely ignorant of the outside world."Gezzah Potts
Hey – but haven't you heard? That's FREEDOM!Appreciate both your comments Mark, and yes, the Gilets Jaunes are probably the best current example of people fighting back against the system and saying Enough. I've never been to the UK so can't really judge from first hand experience, know the situation in United States by a fair bit of reading on the levels of poverty and precariousness state many live in, tho here in Australia the levels of cognitive dissonance, apathy and groupthink (derived from mainstream media) seem very high, and I speak to lots of people while out selling The Big Issue mag. About the angriest people get here is griping about Aussie politicians. I don't get any sense of anger or disgust at the Actual economic system.wardropper"Things becoming so bad that they can no longer be tolerated" ?mark
Nothing a couple more wars couldn't fix, MarkYou may be right, but the outcome of any wars that are currently being threatened, Iran, Venezuela, DPRK, Russia, China, would be the final nail in the coffin of the AngloZionist Empire.wardropperMy greatest worry is that this AngloZionist Empire doesn't care about anything at all – not even the nails in their own coffin.nwwoods
They fondly imagine some kind of capitalistic "rapture" is going to whisk them off to "Money Heaven" and we will be left with their crap and their puke all over our planet.
I no longer think it's exaggerated to talk of demonic beings here, and if they are not demonic, then why are they acting as if they were?FWIW, Tulsi Gabbard uttered a full-throated defense of both Assange and Manning.SteveIt has to be remembered that Assange is an Australian and Manning was born in West Wales to a UK mother. These countries must stand up for their citizens.nwwoodsGiven the recent federal police raids on Australian journalists, it seems unlikely that Australia will be coming to the aid of Julian Assange any time soon.TutisicecreamYes this is true. Tulsi Gabbard is the real deal and a bellwether of the current corrupt system and its stupefying echo chambers. She has no chance at the moment, but that's not the point. She exposes the corruption of the aristocracies and their corrupt system and shills.Frank Poster
As we are here. Take the Fruadian Tulsi ticks all their supposed PC boxes and yet their is no mention of her anywhere. But "Creepy Joe" Biden who epitomises the corrupt entitlement the system offers is reported on add nauseum.
As the Fraud, can't attack her it appears they can't report on her either. So her good campaign work is reported on the alt media, you know where the fake stuff is!
So there you have it, a perfect example of a faux feedback loop
Oh, and excellent article by Eric as well.She won't last long then, unfortunately.nwwoodsNo, I am hoping that the DNC doesn't change the rules in order to block her from at least the first round of televised debate. But I'm not holding my breath.Ramdan
BTW, I read somewhere that DNC intends to split the first (D) debate into two groups, ostensibly because of the ridiculous number of candidates, which stands at 24, last I looked.
DNC is going to make certain that only centrist liberals are on the same debate stage with Joe Biden, "the only real progressive in the race" (in his own words).
Bernie and Tulsi will probably be dining at the kids table, if at all.
Frank PosterGood point, I agree with you.der einzigeIf these sentences of Mr. Eric are trueEinstein
Of course, they also are owners of and/or advertisers in the propaganda-media, which sell the aristocracy's core or most-essential viewpoints to the nation's subjects in order to persuade those voters to vote only for the aristocracy's selected candidates and not for any who oppose the aristocracy.
These few, mainly billionaires, are the actual Deep State -- the bosses over the dictatorship, the ultimate beneficiaries in any empire.
the rest of Assange is a lie
What Mr. Mossange did in these media which promoted him? Who he worked for? for Arab Springs? for Rothschilds? What he did on tea in The Economics, Guardian, NYT, The Bild etc.? What?Excellent piece.DunGroaninJA is a thorn in their side.wardropper
JC is a stake through their heart.
The v'empires fear is palpable.
Neither the throwing of the book or the kitchen sinks full of shit at their nemesises is working, as these polls demonstrate.
Hillarious. Bring on the much delayed GE.Sorry to be a wet blanket, but, frankly, it's been a long time since a GE fixed anythingSteve
Elections, as I think George Carlin said, are only there to make us think we have a voice.If the UK elect Jeremy Corbyn all bets are off, he will expose ALL corrupt politicians media and foreign powers. Why do you think there is such a concerted effort to prevent him gaining office, even Pompeo has said "the US will prevent him becoming PM"wardropperI think there is a misunderstanding here, Steve. I couldn't agree with you more, especially about the concerted efforts (which I noticed a long time ago) to prevent Corbyn from gaining office.Rhisiart Gwilym
My "wet-blanket" point is really only connected with your last quote from Pompeo, "The US will prevent him becoming PM". Surely no one today is under any illusions as to whether Pompeo means what he says, much as I would love to throw a spanner in his works.
Nothing would please me more, either, than to learn that I had been overly pessimistic. But I still have no doubts that Pompeo could and would fix any election that suited him. He has already admitted, in another context, to lying, cheating, stealing and killing.Pompous Hippo, TIGW – The Insane Geriatric Walrus, Donny Les Tweets, Elliott Demon, Veryfew Pence and the rest of the delusional criminal inadequates of the DCSwamp may be against JC and wish to stop him, but – judging by their steadily-increasing ineffectualness on the world stage (how're those regime changes in Syria and Venezuela going? how's the bankrupting-Russia-with-sanctions going?) – they may not be too effective at preventing his entry to Downing Street.wardropperI pray you're right. Those dull-witted thugs may indeed be increasingly ineffectual, but the fact that they are still committed to their insane agenda continues to cost the world a great deal of suffering.different frankPeople will be the good sheeple that the establishment want them to be.kevin morris
They will vote who they are told to vote for.
Hate who they are told to hate.
Fear who they are told to fear.
Devoid of all independent thought. Forever sleeping. Always conforming. Always consuming. The sheeple serve their establishment masters well. maybe a crumb will fall from the big table. They can fight each other for that. good sheep. baaaWe're all sheeple!wardropperAssange isn't.Annie BesantI will first quote the final passage from your tract which reads "Unless and until the US regime itself becomes conquered -- either domestically by a second successful American Revolution (this one to eliminate the domestic aristocracy instead of to eliminate a foreign one), or else by a World War III in which the US regime becomes destroyed even worse than the opposing alliance will -- the existing insatiable empire will continue to be on the war-path to impose its dictatorship to everyone on this planet." Whist it has not yet sunk in to the heads of the faceless perpetrators within the Hegemon, it is true to say that a much greater proportion, the greater percentage of humanity are now enlightened to the truth that should a global nuclear conflict break out, either by accident or design, there would be no living person remaining to gloat over the spoils.wardropper
This is where "American Exceptionalism" meets its nemesis, for at that moment all their power, influence, wealth, and vanity would evanesce as the towers of Mammon are reduced to rubble. Even their nuclear bunkers would provide no safe haven and there would be even less time for them to come to their senses, for we are contemplating the total extinction of the human species here.
Even in the face of an almost overwhelming resignation to fate, I am well aware that I am not alone in the belief that our planet will survive until that time when our sun ceases to exist. Perhaps we can share Mr Zuess's suggestion that the key to our survival here is by "domestic revolution" whereby within national limits, any country can create a groundswell of solidarity working to find a humane fix for the broken socio-economic system which thrives on the incompetence of dysfunctional leaders. This can be brought about by de-centralisation in matters of how our citizens are governed, rather than the current situation where our citizens are controlled and monitored, both in public and in private.
Localised government, informed by local people, can address all the issues in respect of which there are many who currently feel disempowered and thereby render themselves vulnerable to the general apathy and malaise that is fertile ground for the mischief of authority. This is a matter of systemic transformation and it is taking place right now with innumerable (largely unreported) peace, education, economic and apolitical bodies. Working together on a global basis, realising the interconnectedness of our lives, we will replicate the chain reaction of an atomic device. However, in our case it will be the gradual acceleration of our energies, all directed towards the betterment of all our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters on this planet who ask for one thing, and one thing only – that being an end to all this narcissism, cowardice, arrogance and greed, that are the dramatic personae for this litany of misery which has been inflicted by devilish forces upon the masses of humanity over centuries. No matter how small or insignificant my personal effort is here, I am now convinced that there are millions of others who feel the same. This is why the movement is growing at such a pace. When all our creative, and positively directed energies eventually coalesce we will approach the point of critical mass. At that time we will see the brainwashed troops of the military hegemon suddenly attain enlightenment and throw down their weapons – and the cowards who have previously been in control will flee to exile on some nice sunny beach. This is going to happen because I have already seen it.BigB
But they won't LET you decentralize, Annie. It doesn't suit them. Millions of others do indeed share your concern, but merely imagining a better system doesn't make it happen. It doesn't get through the layers and layers of entrenched investment in the current system, or through the layers and layers of ruthless militarism protecting it. Our enemy will never step aside and voluntarily make way for something worthy of the name, "society".
Somebody, somewhere, sometime, is going to have to insist.Annie is absolutely right: I think we need to start looking ahead. Neoliberal capitalism is dead: it cannot be revived because there are neither the mineral or energy primary resource assets left for permanent expansionism. Monetizing debt is short term firefighting – fighting fire with fire, debt with debt. We need to stop thinking like capitalists: assessing consciousness and wellbeing against fake GDP and monetized debt prosperity and start thinking as humanists. Like Annie.wardropper
By all measures: capitalism is due another crisis Taleb's Black Swan is in clear view we can expect the unexpected. No one can predict the timing or severity: but the debt hangover from GFC 1 makes GFC 2 look potentially worse.
Then capitalism has one more shot of adrenaline (more easing; ZIRPS; savings 'haircuts'; going cashless; potentially a change in reserve) then what? Fascism or socialism. Angry people make for fascism. Peaceful people make for socialism. Materialism won't be that much of an option: apart from the grotesque levels of conspicuous ersatz wealth that will build up in the meantime.
Capitalism is time-limited and finite: humanism is time-independent and limitless. We chose to measure our wealth and happiness in terms of finite resources that were bound to run short. Perhaps now we can turn to the one non-finite resource we have overlooked – ourselves?Philosophically, I'm with you 100%, BigB.harry law
But it's also the crux of your own matter as to where the mechanisms for choosing either fascism or socialism really are in our current system.
Many of us here want to know what to DO, rather than merely pass judgment on what is wrong.
For example, by nature, I am very inclined to follow Annie's path, but we have to know exactly what is the nature of the colossal resistance we will definitely encounter. Will we be stuck in jail, or even "permanently disappeared", because we can think for ourselves?
Or will the media simply keep up their current assault on our intelligence and education until, after a decade or two, nobody is left who could rub two coherent sentences together?Trumps promises before the election about the trillions wasted in futile wars, and promising to redirect those trillions into US infrastructure etc, turned out to be outrageous lies. Here are some quotes from HL Mencken which in my opinion sum up the passengers in the out of control US clown car, Trump, Bolton, Pence and Pompeo.
- The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.
- The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.
- The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.
- Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
Jun 14, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
gjohnsit on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 5:42pm
The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i
-- Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) June 14, 2019
When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid.
When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it.
This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies.
You mean "Mr. We Lied, We Cheated, We Stole"? What a disgraceful character... pic.twitter.com/pMtAgKaZcG
-- Brave New World (@ClubBayern) June 13, 2019
Then there are the many problems of their "proof".
Where is the video of the Iranians PLACING explosives & detonating them? Removal would be prudent by any Navy/CG. Also location of explosives is VERY high off waterline ...Weird. It's not a limpet mine, it's a demo charge. Had to be put on by fairly high boat w/ a long gaff/pole https://t.co/3qzB7TrrYv
-- Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) June 14, 2019
The distress call went out at 6 am. So, according to CENTCOM's analysis of this video, they're suggesting that 10 hours after the tanker was hit, the IRGC just casually pulled up to the tanker to remove unexploded limpet mine in broad daylight?!
-- Rosalind Rogers راز (@Rrogerian) June 14, 2019
BREAKING: Owner says Kokuka Courageous tanker crew saw "flying objects" before attack, suggesting ship wasn't damaged by mines.
-- The Associated Press (@AP) June 14, 2019
The Japanese company that owns the ship has refused to cooperate in this false flag mission.But in remarks to Japanese media, the president of the company that owns the ship said the vessel wasn't damaged by a mine. "A mine doesn't damage a ship above sea level," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. "We aren't sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship," he said.
When the propaganda begins to fall apart and @realDonaldTrump tries to find another way to start a war to win an election. pic.twitter.com/r8Cp7BNQ7z
-- Bamboozll (@bamboozll) June 14, 2019
Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag".
Finally, there is the question of "why"?
What would Iran hope to accomplish by this? I found one establishment source that tried to rationalize.Iran denied responsibility, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif descending to bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad.
If you're not inclined to believe the Trump administration – and such skepticism is entirely reasonable – most detectives would still tell you that the most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime.
To those seeking logic behind the attacks, though, it may be hard to see why Iran would do this – but that assumes that the regime in Tehran is a rational actor.
The Gulf of Oman attacks are especially hard to explain: targeting Japanese shipping on the very day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on a well-publicized peace mission would seem extraordinarily counterproductive, even for a regime with an almost fanatical commitment to self-harm.
Have you ever noticed that everyone that we want to start a war with is crazy? Regimes that stand solid for generations under hostile conditions are always run by maniacs. You'd think that insanity would prevent them from taking power in the first place, but that seems to only be true with our allies.
As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that.
Since the U.S.'s tightening of sanctions has squeezed Iranian oil exports, nobody else's should be allowed to pass through waters within reach of the IRGC.
The Iranians know that these threats, if repeated, can lose their power if not followed with action. The attacks on the tankers, then, can be explained as a demonstration that Khamenei's attack dogs have some teeth.
There is another rationale. If Iran does eventually agree to negotiate with the U.S., it will want to bring some bargaining chips to the table – something it can exchange for the removal of sanctions. In the negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran was able to offer the suspension of its nuclear program. It doesn't have that particular chip now, although Tehran has recently threatened to crank up the centrifuges again.
Meanwhile, the regime may have calculated that the only way to secure some kind of negotiating position is blackmail: End the sanctions, or we take out some more tankers, and send oil prices surging.
This almost sounds logical, except for one thing: Iran tried that in 1988 and it didn't work. It only caused the one thing the U.S. was itching for: to kill some Iranians.
Do you think that they've forgotten? Or that the U.S. is less warlike? Oh wait. Iranians are crazy and can't be reasoned with, amirite?
US public radio @NPR does not mention it was Iranians who saved the crew. That's how terrible they are at journalism
-- boomerWithaLandline (@Irene34799239) June 14, 2019
The only real question is, why such a transparent lie? Has the ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid? Or do they think that we are that lazy and stupid? I have an alternative theory .For the last two years, as you've probably noticed, the corporate media have been not so subtly alternating between manufacturing Russia hysteria and Nazi hysteria, and sometimes whipping up both at once. Thus, I've dubbed the new Official Enemy of Freedom "the Putin-Nazis." They don't really make any sense, rationally, but let's not get all hung up on that. Official enemies don't have to make sense. The important thing is, they're coming to get us, and to kill the Jews and destroy democracy and something about Stalin, if memory serves. Putin is their leader, of course. Trump is his diabolical puppet. Julian Assange is well, Goebbels, or something. Glenn Greenwald is also on the payroll, as are countless "useful idiots" like myself, whose job it is to sow division, discord, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, anti-Hillaryism, collusion rejectionism, ontological skepticism, and any other horrible thing you can think of.
Their bullsh*t lies have gotten lazy and stupid because real effort isn't required to start a war and kill a lot of people.
WoodsDweller on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:18pmI'm going to go with "desperate"Sirena on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
Something's happening to move up the time table, and it isn't the election, we're already in plenty of wars, another one won't help El Trumpo.Who is playing who?TheOtherMaven on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
That is the question, I ask thee? If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual?All of the aboveAlligator Ed on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:33pm
Lazy, stupid, and desperate.The answer to your title is YES
The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency.
My money, the little that I have, is on either the Saudis or the Israelis; maybe even both.
But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp.
Jun 19, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com
The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken.
America's managerial elite came to do good and stayed to do well--at the expense of everyone beneath them. Now that they've entrenched themselves at the top of the status quo, there's no way to dislodge them, even as their failure to address what's broken, much less actually fix what's broken, insures systemic breakdown.
In government, the managerial elite is known as The Deep State : those who remain in power regardless of who's in elected office. In local government, managerial elites often shift positions, moving from elected office to a plum position in the bureaucracy where they can draw a big paycheck out of sight until they retire.
In Corporate America, managerial elites also move around, leaving sinking ships (that they may well have helped sink) as needed, and moving to think tanks or academia if their failures start multiplying.
Changing elected officials does nothing to dislodge our managerial elite overlords. The new mayor, governor or president comes and goes, and all the major institutions--education, higher education, healthcare, national defense, critical infrastructure--continue down the same path of enriching entrenched insiders while the institution fails its core missions.
If you think this chart of soaring student loan debt is a sign of "success," you are 1) delusional 2) protected from the dire consequences of this failure 3) getting your paycheck from this failed system. That in a nutshell is the state of the nation: those who are protected from the consequences of failure are loyal to the Establishment, as are the millions drawing a paycheck from systems they know are irredeemable failures.
Let's review the central institutions of the nation:
- Healthcare: a failed system doomed to bankrupt the nation.
- Defense: a failed system of cartels and Pentagon fiefdoms that have saddled the nation with enormously costly failed weapons systems like the F-35 and the LCS.
- Higher Education: a bloated, failed system that is bankrupting an entire generation while mis-educating them for productive roles in the emerging economy. (I cover this in depth in The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy .)
- Foreign policy: Iraq: a disaster. Afghanistan: a disaster. Libya: a disaster. Syria: a disaster. Need I go on?
- Political governance: a corrupt system of self-serving elites, lobbyists, pay-to-play, corporate puppet-masters, and sociopaths who see themselves as above the law.
In Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform , I explain why the only possible output of these systems is failure .
The sole output of America's managerial elite is self-serving hubris.
In an open market, failed leadership has consequences. Customers vanish and the enterprise goes bankrupt, or shareholders and employees rally to fire the failed leadership.
In our state-cartel system, failed leadership only tightens its grip on the nation's throat. The Deep State can't be fired, nor does it ever stand for election. The two political parties are interchangeable, as are the politicos who race from fund-raiser to fund-raiser.
It's tempting to blame the individuals who inhale the wealth and power of our failed system, but it's the system, not the individuals , though a more corrupt, craven, self-serving lot cannot easily be assembled.
Centralized hierarchies concentrate power at the top of the pyramid. That power is a magnet for everyone who seeks to wield power and enrich themselves in the process.
In the financial system, this concentration of power is visible in the chart below: the super-rich have become immensely richer in the past few decades of central banks' vast expansion of credit and financialization.
As systems become more complex, the need for a professional class to manage the overwhelming complexity grows. This class excels at appearing to manage complexity while ignoring the larger dynamics driving the system over the cliff.
And so we have endless meetings of highly paid people over trivial issues while the entire system careens toward meltdown. "Stakeholders" multiply in endless profusion, dooming every project to a glacial process that increases the sums paid to manage the glacial process and pushes the final cost to the moon.
The self-serving managerial elite always has one answer for every problem: give us more money. If the budget expands by 10% and nothing actually changes for the better, then the "solution" is a 25% increase in funding.
Budgets expand by leaps and bounds, but none of the systemic problems are ever resolved.
It's not hard to figure out why: look at the system's incentives. If systems were radically simplified and made more efficient, the need for an ever-expanding class of permanent managers would diminish. And so the solution is always more fodder for the managerial elite: more complexity, more meetings, more accumulation of power, more managers and always, more money.
Thus it is no surprise that the calls for "free" college and "Medicare for All" are rising: the managerial elite that has bankrupted higher education and healthcare while enriching themselves desperately needs to be bailed out, lest the systems they've steered toward the fiscal cliff deservedly go broke.
In a similar set of incentives, few weapons systems ever come in under budget when the Pentagon can always come up with another $10 or $20 billion for cost over-runs.
The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken. Unfortunately we'll all suffer when the managerial elite is no longer able to stave off the dire fiscal consequences of their self-serving leadership.
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com
Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.
Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.
... ... ...
As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.
Jun 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
In a May, 22, 2019 appearance in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared that "I don't do cover-ups ." Various news outlets immediately started to enumerate a long list of bona fide cover-ups associated with the president.
... ... ...
Unfortunately, Trump's behavior is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cover-ups. One can surmise that just by virtue of being the head of the U.S. government, the president -- any president -- must be directly or indirectly associated with hundreds of such evasions. That is because, it can be argued without much paranoia, that every major division of the government is hiding something -- particularly when it comes to foreign activities.
Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
The fact that much of this violence is done to other innocent people trying to get a peaceful night's rest is "classified" information. So woe be it to the truth tellers who defy these rationalizations and sound off. For they shall be cast out of our democratic heaven into one of the pits of hell that pass for a U.S. prison -- or, if they are fleet-footed, chased into exile.
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com
Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at the New Yorker and author, most recently, of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time .
All presidents lie. Richard Nixon said he was not a crook, yet he orchestrated the most shamelessly crooked act in the modern presidency. Ronald Reagan said he wasn't aware of the Iran-Contra deal; there's evidence he was. Bill Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman; he did, or close enough. Lying in politics transcends political party and era. It is, in some ways, an inherent part of the profession of politicking.
But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it. A whopping 70 percent of Trump's statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false, while only 4 percent were completely true, and 11 percent mostly true. (Compare that to the politician Trump dubbed "crooked," Hillary Clinton: Just 26 percent of her statements were deemed false.)
Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and '90s found him categorically different from the other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them. In his own autobiography, Trump used the phrase "truthful hyperbole," a term coined by his ghostwriter referring to the flagrant truth-stretching that Trump employed, over and over, to help close sales. Trump apparently loved the wording, and went on to adopt it as his own.
On January 20, Trump's truthful hyperboles will no longer be relegated to the world of dealmaking or campaigning. Donald Trump will become the chief executive of the most powerful nation in the world, the man charged with representing that nation globally -- and, most importantly, telling the story of America back to Americans. He has the megaphone of the White House press office, his popular Twitter account and a loyal new right-wing media army that will not just parrot his version of the truth but actively argue against attempts to knock it down with verifiable facts. Unless Trump dramatically transforms himself, Americans are going to start living in a new reality, one in which their leader is a manifestly unreliable source.
What does this mean for the country -- and for the Americans on the receiving end of Trump's constantly twisting version of reality? It's both a cultural question and a psychological one. For decades, researchers have been wrestling with the nature of falsehood: How does it arise? How does it affect our brains? Can we choose to combat it? The answers aren't encouraging for those who worry about the national impact of a reign of untruth over the next four, or eight, years. Lies are exhausting to fight, pernicious in their effects and, perhaps worst of all, almost impossible to correct if their content resonates strongly enough with people's sense of themselves, which Trump's clearly do.
What happens when a lie hits your brain? The now-standard model was first proposed by Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert more than 20 years ago. Gilbert argues that people see the world in two steps. First, even just briefly, we hold the lie as true: We must accept something in order to understand it. For instance, if someone were to tell us -- hypothetically, of course -- that there had been serious voter fraud in Virginia during the presidential election, we must for a fraction of a second accept that fraud did, in fact, take place. Only then do we take the second step, either completing the mental certification process (yes, fraud!) or rejecting it (what? no way). Unfortunately, while the first step is a natural part of thinking -- it happens automatically and effortlessly -- the second step can be easily disrupted. It takes work: We must actively choose to accept or reject each statement we hear. In certain circumstances, that verification simply fails to take place.
As Gilbert writes, human minds, "when faced with shortages of time, energy, or conclusive evidence, may fail to unaccept the ideas that they involuntarily accept during comprehension."When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.
Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream...
... ... ...
In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. Trump won over Republican voters, as well as alienated Democrats, by declaring himself opposed to "Washington," "the establishment" and "political correctness," and by stoking fears about the Islamic State, immigrants and crime. Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people:
"The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.
Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. When people read an article beginning with George W. Bush's assertion that Iraq may pass weapons to terrorist networks, which later contained the fact that Iraq didn't actually possess any WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the initial misperception persisted among Republicans -- and, indeed, was frequently strengthened.
In the face of a seeming assault on their identity, they didn't change their minds to conform with the truth: Instead, amazingly, they doubled down on the exact views that were explained to be wrong.It's easy enough to correct minor false facts if they aren't crucial to your sense of self. Alas, nothing political fits into that bucket.
With regard to Trump specifically, Nyhan points out that claims related to ethno-nationalism -- Trump's declaration early in the campaign that Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border, for instance -- get at the very core of who we are as humans, which "may make people less willing or able to evaluate the statement empirically." If you already believe immigrants put your job at risk, who's to say the chastity of your daughters isn't in danger, too? Or as Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker puts it, once Trump makes that emotional connection, "He could say what he wants, and they'll follow him."
... ... ...
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support. As Benjamin Friedman and I wrote in a 2015 article on the subject, think tanks undertake research with an operational mindset: that is, "the approach of a passenger riding shotgun who studies the map to find the ideal route, adjusts the engine if need be, and always accepts the destination without protest."
As former senator Olympia Snowe once put it, "you can find a think tank to buttress any view or position, and then you give it the aura of legitimacy and credibility by referring to their report." Or consider the view of Rory Stewart, now a member of parliament in the UK, but once an expert on Afghanistan who was consulted on the Afghan surge but opposed it:
It's like they're coming in and saying to you, "I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?" And you say, "I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff." And they say, "No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt." And you say, "Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt." And then they say, "We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart, and he says "
Or look at how policymakers themselves define relevance. Stephen Krasner, an academic who became a policymaker, lamented the uselessness of much academic security studies literature because "[e]ven the most convincing empirical findings may be of no practical use because they do not include factors that policy makers can manipulate."
The explicit claim here is that for scholarship to be of any practical use, it must include factors that policymakers can manipulate. This reflects a strong bias toward action, even in relatively restrained presidencies.
To take two recent examples, the Obama administration blew past voluminous academic literature suggesting the Libya intervention was likely to disappoint. President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.
As Desch tracks the influence of scholars on foreign policy across the 20th century, a pattern becomes clear: where scholars agree with policy, they are relevant. Where they do not, they are not.
In several of the cases Desch identifies where scholars disagreed with policy, they were right and the policymakers were tragically, awfully wrong. In the instances where scholars differed with policy at high levels, Desch blames their "unrealistic expectations" for causing "wartime social scientists to overlook the more modest, but real, contribution they actually made" to policy. But why would we want scholars to trim their sails in this way? And why should social scientists want to be junior partners in doomed enterprises?
Social scientists have produced reams of qualitative and historically focused research with direct relevance to policy. They publish blog posts, tweets, excerpts, op-eds, and video encapsulations of their work. The only thing left for them to do is to convey their findings via interpretive dance, and a plan for doing that is probably in the works already. In the meantime, it should be simultaneously heartening and discouraging for policy-inclined scholars to realize that It's Not Us, It's Them.
In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws -- and thinking about how they might help rebuild.
Justin Logan is director of programs and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.
Oleg Gark June 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm[Karl Rove] said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [ ] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:56 am
Experts, shmexperts! Who needs realism when you're creating your own reality.I was thinking -- the academics involved in policy are in think tanks and thenEliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
"It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support."
but what I found intriguing is the assessment concerning most of the research being faulty or dead wrong in various ways.
Given that and the real world success of the think tank players who develop foreign policy Dr. Desch should consider the matter a wash --
Those on the field aren't scoring any big points. in fact they seem intend on handing the ball over to the opposing team repeatedly.
trying to predict and then replicate human behavior is a very dicey proposition.
enjoyed the reference to the ongoing debate quantative analysis verses qualitative.Sadly when the numbers quantative research ruled they could really be abusive in stating what the data meant.polistra , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:23 am
Nowhere is this more evident than with crime stats.Excellent article.JohnT , says: June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
Another question occurs to me: Who are the executives or politicians trying to impress when they bring in captive consultants or scholars? Ordinary people (customers or voters) don't care. Customers just want a good product, and voters just want sane policies.
Competing leaders know the game and don't bother to listen.
So who's the audience for the "thinkers"?In so much of the world's leadership today it is not science that is being ignored and corrupted so much as rational thought and a personal insight mature enough to find indisputable the need for the opinion of others.Taras 77 , says: June 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm
But, to this post's point, I once had a statistician with a doctorate in his profession casually state their numbers predicted Stalin would fail. In response, my thought was when in the history of the known galaxy did putting a soulless person in charge ever not fail? Compassion alone would predict that outcome.The absolute most corrupting influence in current foreign policy discussion is the growth of the mis-named growth of "think" tanks. One can discern immediately the message when determining author and organization.Kouros , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm
Moar war, russia, iran, et al are threats, moar military spending, support israel at all costs, etc, etc.
These 'think' tanks are extremely well funded by oligarchs and foreign money so the bottom line is directed towards pre-selected objectives. Even the state dept is getting into the act to atk pro-Iran activists.
Where is the level playing field?While the academics might be deemed irrelevant when views differ, the government in-house analysts might even loose their jobs if their positions differ from those of the decision makers. I know I lost mine, and it wasn't even in foreign policy or national securityChristian J Chuba , says: June 13, 2019 at 7:13 amIt's the mentality of forever war that considers diversity subversive.C. L. H. Daniels , says: June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
The purpose of Think Tanks and foreign policy experts (misnamed) is to rally the troops against our enemies list, not to improve our interaction with the rest of the world but to defeat them. To them, it is always WW2. Yemen must die because we can connect them to Iran; they are Dresden.
BTW I know the author was talking about actual experts. They have all been purged and dismissed as Arabist or enemy sympathizers. Track records don't matter, to them we are at war and will always be so.President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.Dr. Diprospan , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
*Silently screams in frustration*
And this is why I ended up ultimately disappointed with Obama. The man was utterly incapable of standing up to what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway. "Hope and change," my butt. The hoped for change never did arrive in the end.
Say what you will about Trump, he surely doesn't give a flying fart about wisdom, conventional or otherwise. Instead of driving the car off a cliff, he just sets it on fire from the get go to save on gas.I liked the article.
A good reminder that if people did not heed the divine warning in Paradise,
but chose the disastrous advice of the serpent, then what can we expect
from modern politicians? Wrong, dangerous behavior seems to be inherent
in the human mentality, otherwise who would smelt metals, descend into mines,
discover America, study radiation?
Cult of the Irrelevant reminds me of the 80 and 20 statistical, empirical principle,
where out of 100 things, articles, words, recommendations, 20% are useful,
80% are useless. However for 20 useful percent to form, you need a statistical
pressure of 80 useless.
"Practice is the criterion of truth." Having eaten the forbidden apple, people were driven out of paradise, but instead they learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Without this property, it would be impossible to recognize "the effective treatments"significantly exaggerated by dishonest pharmacologists..
Jun 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comThe FBI Tragedy: Elites Above The Law
by Tyler Durden Tue, 06/11/2019 - 22:25 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via NationalReview.com,
After decades in the FBI, the top brass came to believe they could flout the law and pursue their own political agendas.
One of the media and beltway orthodoxies we constantly hear is that just a few bad apples under James Comey at the FBI explain why so many FBI elites have been fired, resigned, reassigned, demoted, or retired -- o r just left for unexplained reasons. The list is long and includes director James Comey himself, deputy director Andrew McCabe, counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, attorney Lisa Page, chief of staff James Rybicki, general counsel James Baker, assistant director for public affairs Mike Kortan, Comey's special assistant Josh Campbell, executive assistant director James Turgal, assistant director for office of congressional affairs Greg Bower, executive assistant director Michael Steinbach, and executive assistant director John Giacalone . In short, in about every growing scandal of the past two years -- FISA, illegal leaking, spying on a presidential candidate, lying under oath, obstructing justice -- someone in the FBI is involved.
We are told, however, that the FBI's culture and institutions are exempt from the widespread wrongdoing at the top. Such caution is a fine and fitting thing, given the FBI's more than a century of public service. Nonetheless, many of those caught up in the controversies over the Russian-collusion hoax were not recent career appointees. Rather, many came up through the ranks of the FBI. And that raises the question, for example, of where exactly Peter Strzok (22 years in the FBI) learned that he had a right to interfere in a U.S. election to damage a candidate that he opposed.
And why would an Andrew McCabe (over 21 years in the FBI) think he had the duty to formulate an "insurance policy" to take out a presidential candidate? Or why would he even consider overseeing an FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's improper use of emails when his wife had been a recent recipient of Clinton-related PAC money?
And why would McCabe contemplate leaking confidential FBI information to the press or even dream of setting up some sort of operation to remove a sitting president under the 25th Amendment? And how did someone like the old FBI vet Peter Strozk ever end up at the center of the entire mess -- opening up the snooping on the Trump campaign while hiding that fact and while briefing the candidate on Russian interference in the election, interviewing Michael Flynn, preening as a top FBI investigator for Robert Mueller's dream team, right-hand man of "Andy" McCabe, convincing Comey to change the wording of his writ in the Clinton-email-scandal investigation, softball coddling of Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, instrumental in the Papadopoulos investigation con -- all the while conducting an affair with fellow FBI investigator and attorney Lisa Page and bragging about his assurance that the supposedly odious Trump would be prevented from being elected. If a group of Trump zealots were to call up the FBI tomorrow and allege that a member of Joe Biden's family has had unethical ties with the Ukrainian or Chinese government, would that gambit "alarm" the FBI enough to prompt an investigation of Biden and his campaign? How many career-professional Peter Strozks are still at the agency?
In sum, why did so many top FBI officials, some with long experience in the FBI, exhibit such bad judgment and display such unethical behavior, characterized by arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and a belief that they were above both the law and the Constitution itself? Were they really just rogue agents, lawyers, and administrators, or are they emblematic of an FBI culture sorely gone wrong?
How and why would James Comey believe that as a private citizen he had the right to leak classified memos of presidential conversations that he had recorded on FBI time and on FBI machines?
Does the FBI inculcate behavior that prompts its officials to repeatedly testify under oath that they either don't know or can't remember - in a fashion that would earn an indictment for most similarly interrogated private citizens? Was Strozk's testimony to the Congress emblematic of a career FBI agent in his full? Was Comey's? Was McCabe's?
To answer those questions, perhaps we can turn to an analogous example of special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller. We are always advised something to the effect that the admirable Vietnam War veteran and career DOJ and FBI administrator Bob Mueller has a sterling reputation, and thus we were to assume that his special-counsel investigation would be free from political bias. To suggest otherwise was to be slapped down as a rank demagogue of the worse kind.
But how true were those beltway narratives? Mueller himself had a long checkered prosecutorial and investigative career, involving questionable decisions about the use of FBI informants in Boston, and overseeing absolutely false FBI accusations against an innocent suspect in the sensationalized anthrax case that began shortly after 9/11.
The entire Mueller investigation did not reflect highly either on Mueller or the number of former and current DOJ and FBI personnel he brought on to his team. In a politically charged climate, Mueller foolishly hired an inordinate number of political partisans, some of whom had donated to the Clinton campaign, while others had legally defended the Clinton Foundation or various Clinton and Obama aides. Mueller's point-man Andrew Weissman was a known Clinton zealot with his own past record of suspect prosecutorial overreach.
Mueller did not initially disclose why FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strozk were taken off his investigative team, and he staggered their departures to suggest that their reassignments were normal rather than a consequence of the couple's unprofessional personal behavior and their textual record of rank Trump hatred. Mueller's very appointment was finessed by former FBI director and Mueller friend James Comey and was largely due to the hysteria caused by Comey's likely felonious leaks of confidential and classified FBI memos -- a fact of no interest to Mueller's soon-to-be-expanded investigation.
During the investigation, Mueller was quite willing to examine peripheral issues such as the scoundrelly behavior of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the inside lobbying of Paul Manafort for foreign governments. Fine. But Mueller was curiously more discriminating in his non-interest in crimes far closer to the allegations of Russian collusion. That is, he was certainly uninterested about how and when the basis for his entire investigation arose -- the unverified and fallacious Steele dossier that had been deliberately seeded among the FBI, CIA, and DOJ to achieve official imprimaturs so it could then be leaked to the press to ruin the campaign, transition, and presidency of Donald Trump.
Mueller's team also deliberately edited a phone message from Trump counsel John Dowd to Robert Kelner, General Michael Flynn's lawyer, to make it appear incriminating and possibly unethical or illegal. Only after a federal judge ordered the full release of the transcript did the public learn the extent of Mueller's selective and misleading cut-and-paste of Dowd's message.
Mueller's own explanations about the extent to which he was guided by the precedent of presidential exemption from indictment are at odds with his own prior statements and in conflict with what Attorney General Barr has reported from a meeting with Mueller and others. In those meetings, Mueller assured that he was after the truth and did not regard prior legal opinions about the illegality of indicting a sitting president as relevant to his own investigations. But when he essentially discovered he had no finding of collusion, he then mysteriously retreated to the previously rejected notion that he was powerless to indict Trump on a possible obstruction charge.
Mueller displayed further contortions when he recited a number of alleged Trump wrongdoings but then backed off by concluding that, while such evidence for a variety of different reasons did not justify an indictment of Trump, nonetheless Trump should not be exonerated of obstruction of justice.
Mueller thereby established a new but lunatic precedent in American jurisprudence in which a prosecutor who fails to find sufficient cause to indict a suspect nonetheless releases supposedly incriminating evidence, with a wink that the now-besmirched suspect cannot be exonerated of the alleged crimes. Think what Mueller's precedent of not-not-guilty would do to the American criminal-justice system, as zealous prosecutors might fish for just enough dirt on a suspect to ruin his reputation, but not find enough for an indictment, thereby exonerating their own prosecutorial failure by defaming a "guilty until proven innocent" suspect.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that Mueller's team knew early on in their investigation that his lead investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had been correct in their belief that there was "no there there" in the charges of collusion -- again the raison d'être of their entire investigation.
Yet Mueller's team continued the investigation, aggregating more than 200 pages of unverified or uncorroborated news accounts, online essays, and testimonies describing all sorts of alleged unethical behavior and infelicities by Trump and his associates, apparently in hopes of compiling their own version of something like the Steele dossier. Mueller sought to publish a compendium of Trump bad behavior that fell below the standard of criminal offense but that would nonetheless provide useful fodder for media sensationalism and congressional partisan efforts to impeach the now supposedly not-not guilty president.
Note again, at no time did Muller ever investigate the Steele dossier that had helped to create his existence as special counsel, much less whether members of the FBI and DOJ had misled a FISA court by hiding critical information about the dossier to obtain wiretaps of American citizens, texts that Mueller himself would then use in his effort to find criminal culpability.
We were told throughout the 22-month investigation that "Bob Mueller does not leak." But almost on a weekly schedule, left-wing cable news serially announced in formulaic fashion that "the walls were closing in on" and the "noose was tightening around" Trump as another "bombshell" disclosure was anticipated, according to "sources close to the Mueller investigation," "unnamed sources," and "sources who chose to remain unidentified." On one occasion, CNN reporters mysteriously showed up in advance at the home of a Mueller target, to capture on camera the arrival of paramilitary-like arresting officers.
When it is established beyond a doubt that foreign surveillance of and contact with George Papadopoulos was used to entrap a minor Trump aide as a means of providing an ex post facto justification for the earlier illegal FBI and CIA surveillance of the Trump campaign, and when it is shown without doubt that Steele had little if any corroborating evidence for his dirty dossier, Mueller's reputation unfortunately will be further eroded.
Yet the question is not merely whether a Comey, McCabe, or Mueller is atypical of the FBI. Rather, where in the world, if not from the culture of the FBI, did these elite legal investigators absorb the dangerous idea that FBI lawyers and investigators could flout the law and in such arrogant fashion use their vast powers of the government to pursue their own political agendas? And why was there no internal pushback at a supercilious leadership that demonstrably had gone rogue? Certainly, the vast corpus of the Strzok-Page correspondence does reflect a unprofessional, out-of-control culture at the FBI.
Just imagine: If an agent Peter Strozk interviewed you and overstepped his purview, would you, the aggrieved, then appeal to his boss, Andrew McCabe? And if Andrew McCabe ignored your complaint, would you, the wronged, then seek higher justice from a James Comey, who in turn might rely on a legal opinion from a Lisa Page or a brief from a James Baker? And failing that, might a Robert Mueller as an outside auditor rectify prior FBI misconduct?
Fairly or not, the current FBI tragedy is that an American citizen should be duly worried about his constitutional rights any time he is approached by such senior FBI officials. That is not a slur on the rank and file, but the legacy of the supposed best and brightest of the agency and their distortions of the bureau's once professional creed.
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More-Cowbell , 2 minutes ago linkReaper , 3 minutes ago link
As if this is something new. J Edgar held incriminating files on anyone of importance in DC and used them to get what he wanted from CONgress.
He virtually owned and ran the politihos like a pimp runs his stable.wee-weed up , 8 minutes ago link
The rot is institutional. It starts with the Form 302 interviews, where the content is not recorded, but remembered days or months later in its written form. Any intelligent person knows humans cannot remember exact spoken words in an extensive interview. Plus, the incentive for moving up in the FBI provides an incentive for fabrications.lulu34 , 13 minutes ago link
"Why did so many top FBI officials exhibit such bad judgment, unethical behavior, and belief they were above both the law itself? Were they really just rogue agents, or are they emblematic of an FBI gone wrong?"
They were working for the lawless Admin of Obozo... The most corrupt president in American history! And trying to see that it would continue under... The even more lawless... Hitlery Clinton!Teeter , 13 minutes ago link
What a ******** "question". FBI , rotten to the core. as has always been the case. I speak with first hand knowledge.Mike Rotsch , 15 minutes ago link
The FBI culture of corruption was started by Mueller when he ran the place for many years and continued by Comey. These dirty agents grew up in the culture they created.skippy9 , 19 minutes ago link
Remember how they tried to get the Jessie Smollett case transferred to the FBI? It was supposed to be behind the curtain, but then someone leaked that effort, and it was all over the press.
For 1 or 2 days. Then you never heard about it again. And the effort was spoiled and stopped dead in its tracks. And the case continued as normal.
So how else can you get that case over to the FBI anyway, even after you've been caught? Easy. Just let him walk in a show of such blatant bias, that it forces the FBI to involve itself . In the end, the case went to the FBI, and placed in one of its deepest, darkest holes, never to be heard about again.
Every leftist freak who wants to get off scott-free, wants the FBI to handle their case.I am Groot , 12 minutes ago link
Great article. But why keep exonerating the 99% who kept a closed eye to what their superiors were doing? The FBI is kaput. No one will believe anything they bring forth. The agency needs to be abolishedd and a new national police force established under close scrutiny.Proud-Christian-White-American-Man , 19 minutes ago link
Why do we need a national police force ? No we don't. Why can't the resources they consume just be divided up to the states themselves. Feds always come in to takeover investigations from local police and they don't ever have a clue what's going on.
The concept of the FBI has been replaced by having a centralized law enforcement database of information that can be shared at all level of law enforcement. There is no legitimate reason for the FBI.
We have so many known and unknown 3 letter agencies now all doing god knows what, and totally unchecked, with totally black budgets and classified missions. there is virtually no way to have accountability for these agencies. If they are incorporated into the states, budgets would become a lot more transparent.fersur , 20 minutes ago link
Where.. "did these elite legal investigators absorb the dangerous idea that FBI lawyers and investigators could flout the law and in such arrogant fashion use their vast powers of the government to pursue their own political agendas? "
a) The Clinton Crime family
b) Globalist traitors
c) Deep State Obama carryovers
d) Lack of prosecution of similar illegal actions since Nov 1963I love your wife , 21 minutes ago link
The end result is No matter how much 'Damage Control' Begged for the last 30 months, it did Not work, No One Trusts the FBI, C_A and the like, or' at least Not until the first Arrest, followed by many, then follow-up punishment must be of the upmost severity allowed ( Times Square Hangings, preferably ) or the mistrust will trickle down to a War on authority !end times prophet , 5 minutes ago link
They all think so highly of themselves. We should have never seen Comey on TV. Your job never required a direct audience with the American people, unless you thought a face to face would make it easier for us to swallow the lie.bilbert , 7 minutes ago link
" the current FBI tragedy is that an American citizen should be duly worried about his constitutional rights any time he is approached by such senior FBI officials. That is not a slur on the rank and file"
The rank and file enabled this just as much as the leaders. They prepared the reports, filed the paperwork and took notes at the meetings. The whole thing is corrupt...let it burnI am Groot , 22 minutes ago link
Having watched the Comey testimony, I can only surmise that he is a certified psychopath, who could lie through his teeth, AND pass a polygraph test without registering a single "blip".
The man is without ethics, whatsoever, and if Comey doesn't see FIVE years in jail, I fear the worst for the USA.Gen. Ripper's Ghost , 25 minutes ago link
I keep saying that we need a million man armed march on D.C. If Black men can do it, We The People can do it to take our nation back.
We remove and suspend the FBI, the CIA, the FED, the SES and Congress. We also need to remove and suspend all local politicians guilty of treason and sedition. Any resistance to removal will be met with deadly force.
Every able Patriot should muster with arms, a first aid kit and 3-5 days of field rations.gpeter , 26 minutes ago link
Both the executive and legislative branchs of the federal government should be pared down to no more than 10,000 employees.2banana , 33 minutes ago link
Federal Bureau of Idiots. Power hungry, fascist, corrupt, loser idiots. Disband the fuckery of the FBI and the Central Lack of Intelligence immediately.
Passes to Gitmo for everyone. No exceptions.Sphira , 33 minutes ago link
Why isn't Jon Corzine in jail? Why isn't Hillary Clinton in jail? Why isn't Eric Holder in jail? Seems to be a pattern...Chupacabra-322 , 37 minutes ago link
Here is American Justus . Intelligence Assessment with Kevin Shipp Whistleblowers Roundtable with Bill Binney & John Kiriakou
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ_XSd1SXXkTBT or not TBT , 24 minutes ago link
It's absolute, complete, open in our Faces Tyrannical Lawlessness and absolutely NO ONE of highly compartmentalized levels of the FBI, DOJ, CIA Clinton, Obama, Clapper, Brennan & others will be Indicted.
Only low hanging fruit will be Indicted to give the Slaves the illusion of a Justice System.
Mueller was playing God decades before his recent foray to make his own justice, for example letting 4 men die in prison for crimes.he knew they were framed for, to protect an FBI "source" who was playing both ends and making fools of the FBI.
Jun 10, 2019 | off-guardian.org
alt media-verse is currently on fire with the news that the US State Dept's answer to Al Capone, Mike Pompeo, has been caught promising "Jewish leaders" to send the boys round to Jeremy Corbyn if he should get elected and subsequently prove to be uppity and out of line. According to the WaPo , who broke the story:The remarks, which are contained in audio of a private meeting leaked to The Washington Post, make Pompeo the second senior U.S. official to comment on Britain's turbulent leadership succession in the past week.
During his meeting with Jewish leaders in New York, Pompeo was asked if Corbyn "is elected, would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the U.K.?"
In response, Pompeo said, "It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gantlet and get elected. It's possible. You should know, we won't wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best," he said to fervent applause from attendees.
"It's too risky and too important and too hard once it's already happened," he said.
Of course the idea the "Jewish leaders" harbor any real fear that Jeremy Corbyn (Jeremy Corbyn!) is going to make life "difficult" for British Jews if elected is simply risible. They know, just as every moderately informed person knows, that that's absurd. They know Corbyn has no wish to make life difficult for anybody – except possibly the uber wealthy and the profiteer class.
They know the "antisemitism" fear is just a cover for the very very real fear that a Corbyn government will break the unwritten rules of modern western governance and reject the agenda of austerity, exploitation and perpetual war that has been creating huge profits and ideological thrills for the blessed few over the last twenty years.
They know that what Pompeo is promising is action to prevent this possibility coming about.
People are up in arms about this, and some seem quite shocked. Apparently the idea the neoliberal elites would try regime change or regime-control on a relatively prosperous western country was something they didn't previously think possible.
Unfortunately it's more than possible. The state apparatus of the different western nations are a tight bond of mutual regard and interest, just as likely to foment regime change on their own or their allies' elected representatives as on those of impoverished or "developing" countries, if they believe those representatives threaten the perceived interests of the state. Of course it isn't too often necessary, since the same western state apparatus also works to ensure that only governments that don't threaten perceived state interests manage to get elected. But, when the unthinkable happens, MI5 and the CIA are quite happy to step up to the plate and throw their own or their allies' democratic governments out the window. It's happened – or nearly happened – at least twice in the last fifty years.
In the 1960s the UK security agencies, senior military and members of the royal family were apparently contemplating a fullblown coup against Labour prime minister Harold Wilson.
In 1975 it was Australia's turn , when democratically elected reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam was overthrown in a bloodless constitutional coup organised jointly by the US and UK .
The old empire and the new have form in this regard, and this means no one should take Pompeo's words (spoken in private let's not forget) lightly.
It's also interesting to look at how the WaPo frames the revelation. There's no sense of outrage or surprise there. In fact it's an almost matter-of-fact piece, written with no awareness of its potential impact. Even those in the comments who object in some form are mostly doing it within the permissible current language of dissent – blaming Trump , because in these identity politics-saturated times, your morality resides in who or what you are NOT in what you do.
To the WaPo – and many of its readers – there's nothing intrinsically either wrong or surprising in the idea a US secretary of state should be overtly promising to interfere in the democratic governance of another country.
It's just what they do when they need to.
BarovskySee Caitlin Johnson’s piece: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/06/10/uh-what-did-pompeo-mean-when-he-vowed-to-push-back-against-corbyn/
Jun 01, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org
If man were wise, he would gauge the true worth of anything by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life.
-- Michel de Montaigne, Complete Book of Essays , Book 11, Essay 12, Page 543
For your consideration, the modern idiot in a habitat of prime viral fecundity; after centuries of western civilization spreading toxic oppressive imperialism through contrived financial schemes and brutish warfare the dream of global neoliberalism has come to full fruition where all personal responsibility for actions of selfish business interests has been discretely removed from the profiteers and accountability placed upon all powerful implacable nation states. As a result what has been set into motion is the perfect bewildering breeding ground for the whims of the idiot mind to thrive. Complexity is artificially created in financial systems, legalese, and bureaucratic nomenclature to obfuscate the deceptions and allow the idiots in charge to more deftly carry out their scams on the general public..
What is before us now are the death throes of capitalism, which is oddly enough also capitalism at its apogee with a precipitous descent ahead due to its profound unsustainability. A common analogy of our times is referencing going off a cliff of some kind to describe the present trajectory of this idiot society, e.g. an unstoppable train with no brakes going over a cliff, or Wile E. Coyote having already gone over the cliff and simply hasn't bothered to look down yet to notice he's run out of terra-firma. Whatever variation of the analogy chosen, the point is that we know the cliff is there, but the collective state of our idiocy doesn't seem to care too much. It has other idiot priorities it deems more necessary to care about, so it plows ahead despite knowing it has run out of track.
This state of being has of course been intentionally manufactured by the idiots in charge. The direct derivation of widespread capitalist ideology creates faux democracies run by political stooges who are sycophantic to corporate power amounting to an orchestrated production of bureaucratic theater where everyone affected by the reach of this system catches the virus of idiocy and finds themselves at various stages of recovery. Each person inculcated into the cult of the idiot via institutional systems is ensnared by the traps set by boardroom bandits who conspire to break the will of the people by attempting to normalize that which isn't normal, and comport the natural better intentions of the masses to enrich the loosely formed global capitalist state.
Their scheme is simplistic yet highly effective; engineer a society based on a need for money issued from a central source and then see to it that money is always in scarce supply for all but an elite class. The effect on the common person is a state of perpetual fear and desperation which allows for the masses to be easily controlled, always servile to the money. The idiotic mind is then molded by saturating the senses in a simulacrum overlay of reality which obscures our real values, uses our love against us, and reforms us into the idiot that the idiots in charge wish us to be so we may be easily exploited once the will is broken, hence the average human animal won't put up much resistance when they are asked to do the cruel and often ecologically ruinous labor for an elite class. After the institutional indoctrination the hope for a better world becomes a futile prospect with the specter of our own conscious/cognitive deficiencies looming large over our collective actions. And certainly any would-be paradise or substantially better world for all, which theoretically could come into being, will never emerge so long as the agenda of the idiot prevails over higher wisdom.
A melancholic realization of our predicament is to understand we are trapped in a death spiral
under idiotic reign where some horrific form of collapse is nearly inevitable due to our own
inability to change the compulsory-destructive-
The idiot is inherently an idiot because they are motivated by idiotic whims. At the core of the idiot are misplaced values leading to misplaced priorities that lead them to take up activities and belief systems which are antithetical to their own contentment, and typically not only are these types of activities a path to nowhere for them but also have added externalities which make their actions corrosive to all life as well. Inevitably their facile search for greater pleasure, status, and legacy damns not only them to their own personal hell, but has the potential to damn all others impacted by their decisions chasing after shallow endeavors.
The idiot mind argues their positions with a barrage of overlapping nested logical fallacies couched in reductionism and baked down to simplistic one liners which buries the truth so far down it takes an hour to fully unpack a single sentence. "Everything is a cycle", "Communism has killed 100 million people", "Capitalism has led to the greatest increase in quality of life", "Guns don't kill people, people do" – twisted distractive arguments ignoring a compendium of logical antecedents all purposed to defend capitalist propaganda people have either conveniently or unwittingly absorbed and requires time and a calm dialectical conversation to break apart the conflated lies. However the conditioned idiot mind isn't really interested in hearing the counterarguments to these claims. They only want a simple reassurance that their previously held positions are correct because admitting one is wrong is painful and requires a degree of humility, a virtue which the idiot has in short supply. And if one attempts to fully explain the full breadth of the argument the more hardened idiots will proclaim that if one cannot manufacture the counterargument in an equally terse and trite statement it must be wrong. The idiot mind will ultimately dismiss the opposing arguments with laconic stupidity and they'll quickly come to rest on the premise that we can "agree to disagree", or they'll claim on any point in which they might potentially be wrong is simply that the truth may be in the middle somewhere, or they'll suddenly become spurious epistemological philosophers and question what can truly ever be known?
To be glib and facile is a common feature of the idiot and entails not thinking about arguments in proper scope or with valid supporting warrants, or to casually perhaps conveniently misattribute the root of a problem which in fact may be be a product of a deeper problem(s). The idiot sees before them only what they desire, and their desire so often blinds them. The idiot is jealous, competitive and desires material stuff and power while sometimes not even questioning why they want what they believe they want. Like why do idiots care so much about immigrants? If they had their border wall built and actually were able to keep out 100% of illegal immigration their lives would not appreciable improve in any manner, there would be no sudden spike in their pay or offering of jobs. There's a long line of issues people think they care about that if corrected would not make much of a difference, and some of them being symptoms of deeper problems.
A rich entitled idiot will spend countless hours trying to think of ways to make more money and for what? More sexual partners? A new boat? Bigger house? A private jet? What exactly is gained and why is that worthwhile? And a war-mongering bureaucrat like Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, does anyone think he actually cares so much about the security of the US that he feels it necessary to try to attack Iran and Venezuela, and what would be accomplished when they are toppled? Even if he admitted the true reason he wants to attack these countries, for economic neoliberal expansion and to plunder their resources, what is gained even then? What is the end game there? Why do any of these folk who already are much wealthier than the common person and also nearing the end of their lives feel it so absolutely necessary to impose their will violently on others? The results will only end like every military conflict does, with throngs of innocent people dead and the world no more peaceful or better off than it was when they started the conflict.
And what exactly is gained if an already wealthy US gains more wealth? What happens? Who is happier? Who is better off? Almost nobody. Why they do what they do is an insanity and spreads discord throughout the world, as Hans Koning stated in his book Columbus: His Enterprise regarding the Spanish empire's plundering of the Americas:
For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain did not make the Spanish people richer. It gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing those wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class.
This is the typical result of imperialism. Always has been. Thus the elites imposing their selfish will on others doesn't do anything of value and never has. This realization doesn't stop the present idiots in charge from doing their nefarious deeds or cause a hint self introspection, the idiot mind is a busied mind supremely confident they are correct. And once they have a head of steam in a direction they will most always barrel on forward out of nothing more than foolish pride reassuring themselves that whatever minor gains they may receive from any heinous act they take up is worth it, while often taking the shortest, most brutish path, to acquire more of what they desire but don't need in any conceivable way. They don't bother to think of the ramifications or the pain they cause; they just do because they feel they have the power to do so, consequences be damned.
And the facile machinations of the modern idiot in western countries doesn't seem to want to stop doing even the most frivolous of activities in order to stop the bleeding of mother Gaia. Any capitalist desire is of utmost importance to be maintained to the idiots in charge. They feel like it's their right in their ostensibly free market to use their money to engage in whatever spectacle or peculiarity they wish no matter the consequence and won't budge or go without one less triviality, not one less light buzzing over Times Square. Not a single casino can be sacrificed. It would be a tragedy if there was one less assault rifle rolling off an assembly line. An impossibility to go with one less cruise ship, or one less all you can eat buffet, not one less computer server warehouse storing useless surveillance information, not one less gaming console, or Hollywood car crash scene, or all night convenience store or fast food restaurant Not a thing they will do to impede what their idiot facile minds believe is freedom. To the idiot it's somehow all a worthwhile endeavor despite if it means inducing abrupt climate change or killing off the majority of the flora and fauna on the planet. The idiots simply won't stop being idiots until some force greater than them makes them.
And to diminish the rapid onset of climate change the idiot mind speaks of the money needed to do so. As if human will was solely reliant on convincing the idiots in charge to create more currency for the most pressing issue humans have perhaps ever faced. The idiot ignores history of Native Americans who primarily used a gift economy for likely thousands of years in comparative peace and were more advanced than most modern idiots give them credit, certainly leaps and bounds more advanced socially. But in modernity and throughout the history of western civilization money has been a tool of power and created through loans and enslaving people into debt in the billions of dollars everyday for the most absurd reasons. But debate in the public sphere continually revolves around the idea of how can we afford to maintain our highly destructive system in the face of anthropogenic Armageddon. They insist it's an impossibility that a bunch of corrupt bankers can't create the money as they do all the time and an equally impossible idea that perhaps we free ourselves entirely from these shackles and abandon the concept of money altogether to do what is necessary through the bonds of trust and lessen the damage to our environment so we have a habitat to live in while also freeing ourselves from cycle of imperial idiocy created through the use of currency. Truly the reasons for which we are destroying this planet are idiotic, and the things that are stopping the people from fully revolting against the idiots in charge are also idiotic considering what is on the line.
Our cultural heritage in western civilization is rooted in idiocy, driven by elite idiots in charge with an agenda to make the inability to discern the difference between a higher truth and an outright lie a widespread epidemic so they can convince the masses to do the stupid things the idiots in charge desire. Through tyranny and manipulation the idiot powers that be have manufactured a world which has planted seeds of doubt in otherwise unassailable truths. And perhaps this is why so many people in the west have sought out wisdom within eastern philosophy and shamanistic societies. They seek to find truth that is shunned by the modern western mind, and to understand truth one must disengage from this toxic culture so they can remember once again what the truth looks like.
The idiocy is compounded by an ironic competitive pride in their intellectual abilities where one idiot proclaims to be smarter and more qualified than another based on idiotic criteria. Like the spurious intelligence in being able to out maneuver another capitalist through underhanded means, or exhibiting the callousness to exploit employees more than their competitors. Or the supposed craftiness in brown-nosing up to one's superiors in a place of work and appearing more subservient than coworkers as to be awarded a promotion. These are not acts of intelligence but acts of one who is making an obsequious race to the bottom and proclaiming themselves champions for their willingness to sink to lower levels of deception to achieve their so called success. However there is no success when the entire ecology of our world is recklessly destroyed so their ideas of success can be had. There is no success when needless wars and mass human suffering are imposed so their ill conceived goals can be achieved. The idiot's idea of success is in actuality grand treachery.
Examples of the idiot's falsely contrived ideas of success are everywhere. The unemployment rate is seemingly quite low at 3.6%, but what does this mean when so many are excluded out of the equation once they haven't had any employment for a long enough amount of time, and further, what is considered employment in many cases doesn't provide the ability to afford a roof over your head. And who cares if the unemployment number is low when the end product of these jobs also makes species extinction and climate change worse. What good are these jobs when they create so much human misery that lives have little value to all those who are stuck in the labor. And who cares if a metric like the GDP goes up if it is achieved through barbarous imperialism, or grossly overcharging for medical care/housing/education, or by creating slave like conditions for people thousands of miles away so corporations can glean more profits? This is again is not success, it is but the apex of disdainful human treachery.
The idiot is constantly seeking validation externally from others and never generates their own validation through self acceptance. Thus they are ravenous attention seekers, and will inevitably sniff out all things that garner attention for them so they create awards shows, diplomas with haughty ceremonies, important sounding titles of all sorts to manufacture the facade of their worth. If an action is harmful to others in their trek for external validation it's not of any great importance to the idiot, the worthiness of action is again determined by if it's beneficial to them and exclusionary society comprised of other idiots so it compliments their high sense of themselves which their ego assures them is valid.
The idiot believes all things are impossible except what currently exists. They are exceptional at meeting the criteria for the definition for insanity. They do the same thing over and over and expect different results. The idiot does not understand history even when they read it since cultural and self reinforced myopia has rotted away the plasticity of thought in their minds so what they take away from the reading of history is only what is convenient to their present system of thought. The idiot believes in social systems like representative democracies, centralized government in nation states, courts, and prisons that cannot cure the simplest of society's ailments over thousands of years of use, but to the idiot just one more election is going to make all the difference. One more go around the installed idiotic system with idiotic desires at the root is going to change course and suddenly become wise. They believe by just replacing the current idiots in charge they will be able to cause the change that is so desperately needed, but like a hiker refusing to admit they are lost and continuing down the trail out of hubris they are only further compounding the problem by insisting they aren't lost. And our society is most certainly lost, and it's a long way back to the trail that leads to redemption and a place we actually want to be, which we get further away from each day we stay on our present course.
And after all our idiotic overcomplicated plots and schemes, they are but to mask simple truths the idiot facade tries so desperately to avoid; the inner torments of being afraid of not being good enough, not measuring up to our peers, not meeting arbitrary expectations we either accept from others or set for ourselves, or quite simply feeling like we are not worthy of love. So we play these pointless high stakes games which have a rewards as meaningless and worthless as a plastic trophy just to prove our worth. The idiot is a temporal state of being, although many are finer long term examples of displaying the behaviors of the idiot; however none of us are the perfect idiot. To avoid the affectations of being in an idiotic state it takes conscious effort to live our lives moment to moment with authenticity, to be in a state of awareness of our actions, to always be willing to suffer for something worthwhile and to be consistently well reasoned examiners of what constitutes something worthwhile.
Jason Holland is a writer and a proponent of peaceful revolution. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @ReasonBowl. Youtube content at Reason Bowl Radio. Read other articles by Jason , or visit Jason's website .
This article was posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at 10:13pm and is filed under Capitalism , Classism , Imperialism , Neoliberalism .
Jun 06, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
Voters looking ahead to 2020 are being bombarded with soundbites from the twenty plus Democratic would-be candidates. That Joe Biden is apparently leading the pack according to opinion polls should come as no surprise as he stands for nothing apart from being the Establishment favorite who will tirelessly work to support the status quo.
The most interesting candidate is undoubtedly Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is a fourth term Congresswoman from Hawaii, where she was born and raised. She is also the real deal on national security, having been-there and done-it through service as an officer with the Hawaiian National Guard on a combat deployment in Iraq. Though in Congress full time, she still performs her Guard duty.
Tulsi's own military experience notwithstanding, she gives every indication of being honestly anti-war. In the speech announcing her candidacy she pledged "focus on the issue of war and peace" to "end the regime-change wars that have taken far too many lives and undermined our security by strengthening terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda." She referred to the danger posed by blundering into a possible nuclear war and indicated her dismay over what appears to be a re-emergence of the Cold War.
In a recent interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson, Gabbard doubled down on her anti-war credentials, telling the host that war with Iran would be "devastating, " adding that "I know where this path leads us and I'm concerned because the American people don't seem to be prepared for how devastating and costly such a war would be So, what we are facing is, essentially, a war that has no frontlines, total chaos, engulfs the whole region, is not contained within Iran or Iraq but would extend to Syria and Lebanon and Israel across the region, setting us up in a situation where, in Iraq, we lost over 4,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniform. A war with Iran would take far more American lives, it would cost more civilian lives across the region Not to speak of the fact that this would cost trillions of taxpayer dollars coming out of our pockets to go and pay for this endless war that begs the question as a soldier, what are we fighting for? What does victory look like? What is the mission?"
Gabbard, and also Carlson, did not hesitate to name names among those pushing for war, one of which begins with B-O-L-T-O-N. She then asked "How does a war with Iran serve the best interest of the American people of the United States? And the fact is it does not," Gabbard said. "It better serves the interest of people like [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia who are trying to push us into this war with Iran."
Clearly not afraid to challenge the full gamut establishment politics, Tulsi Gabbard had previously called for an end to the "illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government," also observing that "the war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria – which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world." She then backed up her words with action by secretly arranging for a personal trip to Damascus in 2017 to meet with President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was important to meet adversaries "if you are serious about pursuing peace." She made her own assessment of the situation in Syria and now favors pulling US troops out of the country as well as ending American interventions for "regime change" in the region.
In 2015, Gabbard supported President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran and in 2016 she backed Bernie Sanders' antiwar candidacy. More recently, she has criticized President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Last May, she criticized Israel for shooting "unarmed protesters" in Gaza, a very bold step indeed given the power of the Israel Lobby.
Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years, and that is why the war party is out to get her. Two weeks ago, the Daily Beast displayed a headline : "Tulsi Gabbard's Campaign Is Being Boosted by Putin Apologists." The article also had a sub-headline: "The Hawaii congresswoman is quickly becoming the top candidate for Democrats who think the Russian leader is misunderstood."
The obvious smear job was picked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, television's best known Hillary Clinton clone, who brought it up in an interview with Gabbard shortly thereafter. He asked whether Gabbard was "softer" on Putin than were some of the other candidates. Gabbard answered: "It's unfortunate that you're citing that article, George, because it's a whole lot of fake news." Politico the reported the exchange and wrote: "'Fake news' is a favorite phrase of President Donald Trump ," putting the ball back in Tulsi's court rather than criticizing Stephanopoulos's pointless question. Soon thereafter CNN produced its own version of Tulsi the Russophile , observing that Gabbard was using a Trump expression to "attack the credibility of negative coverage."
Tulsi responded "Stephanopoulos shamelessly implied that because I oppose going to war with Russia, I'm not a loyal American, but a Putin puppet. It just shows what absurd lengths warmongers in the media will go, to try to destroy the reputation of anyone who dares oppose their warmongering."
Tulsi Gabbard had attracted other enemies prior to the Stephanopoulos attack. Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept described how NBC news published a widely distributed story on February 1 st , claiming that "experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard."
But the expert cited by NBC turned out to be a firm New Knowledge, which was exposed by no less than The New York Times for falsifying Russian troll accounts for the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to suggest that the Kremlin was interfering in that election. According to Greenwald, the group ultimately behind this attack on Gabbard is The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), which sponsors a tool called Hamilton 68 , a news "intelligence net checker" that claims to track Russian efforts to disseminate disinformation. The ASD website advises that "Securing Democracy is a Global Necessity."
ASD was set up in 2017 by the usual neocon crowd with funding from The Atlanticist and anti-Russian German Marshall Fund. It is loaded with a full complement of Zionists and interventionists/globalists, to include Michael Chertoff, Michael McFaul, Michael Morell, Kori Schake and Bill Kristol. It claims, innocently, to be a bipartisan transatlantic national security advocacy group that seeks to identify and counter efforts by Russia to undermine democracies in the United States and Europe but it is actually itself a major source of disinformation.
No doubt stories headlined "Tulsi Gabbard Communist Stooge" are in the works somewhere in the mainstream media. The Establishment politicians and their media component have difficulty in understanding just how much they are despised for their mendacity and unwillingness to support policies that would truly benefit the American people but they are well able to dominate press coverage.
Given the flood of contrived negativity towards her campaign, it is not clear if Tulsi Gabbard will ever be able to get her message across.
But, for the moment, she seems to be the "real thing," a genuine anti-war candidate who is determined to run on that platform. It might just resonate with the majority of Americans who have grown tired of perpetual warfare to "spread democracy" and other related frauds perpetrated by the band of oligarchs and traitors that run the United States
Jun 05, 2019 | off-guardian.org
Francis Lee says May 5, 2019Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.
Thus:Capital controls = fuddy duddy Capital Account liberalisation = cool Worker's Rights = fuddy duddy Flexible Labour markets = cool World Peace -- fuddy duddy War = Cool National Sovereignty = fuddy duddy Globalization = Cool Social Mobility = fuddy duddy Inequality = cool Respect for elections/referenda = fuddy-duddy Flexible referenda/elections = cool Social solidarity = fuddy-duddy Rampant nihilistic invidualism = cool Respect for human rights and the UN International Law = fuddy-duddy Blatant Imperialism = cool
And so the agenda goes on. Counter-revolution qua revolution
Jun 03, 2019 | russia-insider.com
John Tosh JimB • 2 months ago ,
The growth of the USA is going to depend on the ability of the people in government to disband the Central Intelligence Agency which has become a bottleneck in the progress of the USA. The USA cannot grow as long as you have such a powerful bottleneck similar to a dictator with absolute power.
The truth is as the world's economy becomes free of the US and its think-tanks, the world gets richer but those of us in the USA who make our living by working and getting paid will become poorer. Our money will not be able to cover for a good lifestyle.
Its sad to see the disastrous policies of the CIA's economic unit has to be paid by the hard working US citizens who only want a good life like everyone else. We did not ask for the CIA, the CIA imposed itself on us, making the decisions without our consent. Now we pay for their disastrous policies by becoming a third world country.
We are being left behind .... China is going to keep growing... there is nothing the USA can do to stop her now. If war is used, the USA will lose, if economics of scale is compared the USA loses. China is a giant with an almost monolithic population of over one billion. Can you imagine what an educated country with over one billion people can do???
The USA has a lot of blacks, hispanics, asians, Arabs etc, we are not a single group of people. While diversity is a good thing when you have a lot of money to keep everyone happy, poverty will be the enermy of diversity. People will be at each other's jugulars fighting for the little scraps of wealth left behind after the big and powerful grab all they can.
We are into a very hard future in the USA.... no thanks to the silly Central Intelligence Agency. For heavens sake, cant the CIA learn from Chinese or Russian intelligence???? How do the intelligence agencies of the Chinese or Russians operate? Learn instead of sitting on the silly high horse thinking US intelligence is anything but primitive and third rate!
Now the entire USA has to pay for the silly inteliigence agencies which keep expanding with acronyms like rats!
Jun 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
snake , Jun 2, 2019 3:41:49 PM | 8
https://www.rt.com/news/460854-snowden-surveillance-social-control/ <=Snowden at Dalhousie University..
Robert Thibault, Att, HK Canada, (I think) Snowden's lawyer explained the law protecting whistle blowers.
Describes the incredible pressure governments are applying on anyone who steps forward to help a whistle blower.
Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding.
Explained the constitution of Equador was the most complex constitution on planet its due process rights solid due process safeguard, has a very high threshold but. Morales decision was arbitrary to strip Mr. Assange of his asylum. Said HK angry at Germany over two whistle blowers
Snowden then speaks .. excellent talk..
1st point.. progress in science has been unprecedented, especially nuclear science, but the nation states are using that new knowledge to make nuclear weapons.. called the progress an "Atomic Moment" in Science evolution. .
said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit.
2nd point Platforms and Algorithms are being used by those in power to "shift our behaviors" accomplished covertly by user contracts people are required to sign when joining something on line (<=he said no one reads these things, but they are dangerous
Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government
Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance.
said the legal means to spy on the populations existed long before 9/11, but it could not find daylight to be adopted until 9/11. Basically the government and massive in size corporations have all of the data on every single person on the earth because they gather it everywhere all of the time. discussed warrant_less wire tap, explained why whistle blower fair trial in he USA not likely, Said everything single call or electronic communication made by citizens is captured suggested monitoring calls was a felony many corporations committed before the FISA Act was enacted to protect the listener.
Mentioned Signal by Open Whisper <= for encryption??
Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition.
But the big thing I got out of it, was how website contract agreements are not innocent. Such agreements prey on human desire to [interact, connect, share and cooperate] these desires have been modelled into a platform that allows government or private commercial enterprises to manipulate, exploit and prey-on any human "interacting with a such websites.
Questions and answers.
May 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Comments on official response to the release of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers RobinsonMembers of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media
- 1 Introduction
- 2 OPCW's response to the release of the document
- 3 Government responses to an alleged chlorine attack on 19 May
- 4 Comparison of the Engineering Assessment with the published Final Report
This post comments on the response to our release of the Executive Summary of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders on 13 May 2018. All emphases in quoted passages are added by us. After OPCW had confirmed the document to be genuine, the story was covered extensively by Russian media.
An informed commentary by Professor Hiroyuki Aoyama in Tokyo has been published on Yahoo News's Japanese site. The only coverage in western corporate media has been by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday , Robert Fisk in the Independent and Tucker Carlson on Fox .
Other journalists who have been in touch with us have told us that their stories were spiked by editors. As expected, the story has reached much larger numbers through websites and videos that have disseminated it.
2 OPCW's response to the release of the document
2.1 Official response
In an email dated 11 May and shown to us, Deepti Choubey, the head of OPCW Public Affairs, wrote:
Thank you for reaching out to us. It is exclusively through the Fact-Finding Mission, set up in 2014, that the OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW has issued its final and only valid official report, signed by the Director-General, regarding the incident that took place in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM .
A subsequent email on 16 May stated:
The OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic through the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which was set up in 2014. The OPCW Technical Secretariat reaffirms that the FFM complies with established methodologies and practices to ensure the integrity of its findings. The FFM takes into account all available, relevant, and reliable information and analysis within the scope of its mandate to determine its findings. Per standard practice, the FFM draws expertise from different divisions across the Technical Secretariat as needed. All information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW issued its final report on this incident, signed by the Director-General.
Per OPCW rules and regulations, and in order to ensure the privacy, safety, and security of personnel, the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat. Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question. At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate requests for interviews.
This was taken as confirmation that the document was genuine.2.2 Unofficial briefings
Following OPCW's confirmation on 16 May that the document we had released was genuine, two individuals in the UK whose communications have supported UK government policy on Syria favoring regime change – Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University, and the former Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker – began reporting that they had inside information on how the Engineering Assessment had been excluded from the Final Report.2.2.1 Lucas
On 16 May Lucas reported that:
Henderson was writing what was, in effect, a dissenting assessment from that of most of the OPCW's team and consultant experts. His findings were considered but were a minority opinion as final report was written.
He followed this with a remarkably indiscreet tweet asserting that "I know how OPCW review process was conducted and what place Henderson's assessment had in it." When challenged to explain his connection to OPCW, Lucas did not answer. Hitchens reported on 24 May that OPCW Public Affairs had refused to comment on whether Lucas was receiving authorised briefings from OPCW.
Whitaker was at first more circumspect about his sources, reporting on 16 May that:
One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM.
Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat extended Whitaker's version with:
This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I'm hearing . Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.
In an article posted on 24 May, Whitaker was more explicit in reporting the spin of "an informed source" on the Engineering Assessment.
an informed source has now shed some light on it. The key point here is the FFM's terms of reference. Its basic role was to establish facts about the alleged attack, and it was not allowed to apportion blame -- that is the job of the OPCW's newly-created Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Although the FFM determined that the cylinders were probably dropped from the air, the published report (in line with its mandate) omitted any mention of the obvious implication that they had been dropped by regime aircraft. According to the informed source, when Henderson's assessment was reviewed there were concerns that it came too close to attributing responsibility, and thus fell outside the scope of the FFM's mandate. Whether or not that was the right decision, there was no doubt that Henderson's assessment did fall within the mandate of the new Investigation and Identification Team. For that reason, according to the source, he was advised to pass it to the IIT instead -- and he did so.
Unless this account was entirely fabricated, it could only have come from someone with close knowledge of how the Final Report had been prepared. A subsequent tweet from Whitaker on 25 May, presumably channelling the same source, confirmed that "Henderson and others" had been in Douma:2.3 What the channelling of off-the-record briefings tells us
Henderson and others did go to Douma to provide temporary support to the FFM, but they were not official members of the FFM.
It is likely that (at least on this occasion) Lucas and Whitaker are telling the truth, and that they have been briefed by someone with close knowledge of how the FFM Final Report was prepared. If these briefings had not been authorised, OPCW Public Affairs could easily have responded to Hitchens's question with a standard statement reiterating that "there is no further public information on this matter" and that this extended to off-the-record briefings. We would expect OPCW press officers to be reluctant to issue further statements that could subsequently be shown to be false.
Like cellular biologists who perturb a complex system and measure its outputs, we can infer from these observations the existence of a pathway. This pathway connects the production of OPCW reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria with a network of communicators in the UK who in different ways have promoted the cause of regime change in Syria since 2012. It is evident that Lucas and Whitaker are output nodes of this pathway. From August 2012, Whitaker as the Guardian's Middle East editor promoted Higgins from obscure beginnings as a blogger to become a widely-cited source on the Syrian conflict. Whitaker was the first journalist to devote an article to attacking the Working Group, in February 2018 when its only collective output had been a brief blog post.
It is of course possible that OPCW management for some procedural reason was unable to provide further information on the record, and sought to disseminate an accurate version of events via off-the-record briefings. But the choice of such highly partisan commentators as Lucas and Whitaker as channels inevitably calls into question the good faith of whoever provided these briefings, and undermines any remaining pretence to impartiality on the part of OPCW management.
2.4 Discrepancies between versions of OPCW's response
An established method in investigative journalism is to compare official versions and to infer from discrepancies what they are trying to hide. On 11 May OPCW Public Affairs stated that "The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM". After we pointed out that these two statements were provably false – the external collaboration on the engineering assessment of the Douma cylinders must have been authorised by OPCW, and Henderson could hardly have been in Damascus on a tourist visa – they were not repeated on the record. By 16 May OPCW Public Affairs had formulated a new policy: "Per OPCW rules and regulations the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat." A more subtle version of Henderson's role was then channelled through Lucas and Whitaker: "minority opinion", "on the sidelines" and elaborated by Higgins as "disgruntled OPCW employee"'. Between 16 May and 25 May the story channelled through Whitaker changed from "Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM." to admitting that "Henderson and others" were in Douma "to provide temporary support to the FFM".
On 24 May Whitaker's informed source admits that "Henderson's assessment was reviewed" for the Final Report, no longer attempting to maintain that the Engineering Assessment was not part of the FFM's process. If we strip away the flannel from this latest story, it appears to be accurate. The "informed source" tells us that the Engineering Assessment was excluded from the Final Report not because its technical analysis had been rebutted, but because the conclusion that the cylinders had been placed in position rather than dropped from the air would necessarily have attributed responsibility for the incident to the opposition .
The argument that the mandate of the FFM prevented it from endorsing the Engineering Assessment's conclusion is easily refuted as a matter of logic. Announcing the release of the Final Report, OPCW stated that "The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria." In Douma this could be reduced to deciding between two alternatives: (1) the gas cylinders were dropped from the air, implying that they were used as chemical weapons; (2) the cylinders were placed in position, implying that the incident was staged and that no chemical attack had occurred. Although to conclude that alternative (2) was correct would implicate the opposition, this would not be attribution of blame for a chemical attack but rather a determination that chemical weapons had not been used.
Clearly a verdict that the alleged chemical attack had been staged would have been unacceptable to the French government, which had joined in the US-led missile attack on 14 April 2018. We can surmise that the Chief of Cabinet of OPCW, Sébastien Braha, who (according to his Linkedin profile ) is still in post as a French diplomat, would have been in a difficult position if he had allowed the FFM to release a report that reached this conclusion. He would be in an even more difficult position if he were to allow the newly-established Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which also reports to him, to overturn the conclusions of the Final Report and report that the alleged chemical attack was staged. Even if Braha's failure to update his online profile with the date of leaving his diplomatic post is an oversight, this would still be a conflict of interest based on the OECD definition of what "a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts, would conclude". As we have noted, OPCW appears to have no arrangements for managing conflicts of interest. Until the governance and working practices of OPCW are radically reformed, it is hard to see how neutral observers can have confidence in the impartiality of the FFM or the IIT.
3 Government responses to an alleged chlorine attack on 19 May 3.1 Reports of the alleged attack
Possible allusions to the release of the Engineering Assessment on 13 May can be discerned in government responses to a report of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib on 19 May. The earliest report , mentioning three missiles or shells loaded with chlorine was from an Arabic-language website named
ebaa.newsat 11.01 am Syrian time. The location was given as Kubina Hill in Kabbana village, on the border with Lattakia. At 12.46 am Syrian time Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HdBG) tweeted
Appears to be a chlorine attack from Regime artillery shells in Jose Al Shugour village - 4 casualties being evacuated for treatment
"Jose Al Shugour village" is presumably the town of Jisr Al-Shughour. Rami Abdulrahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on 22 May that four fighters were treated in hospital after they "suffocated in the intense and violent shelling by the regime forces, within caves and trenches" but did not endorse the claims of a chlorine attack, noting that the source of this story was "the Media platform of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham". The story was elaborated in a Fox News report on 23 May that quoted a "Dr Ahmad" from Idlib, who reported that he had treated the casualties. Fox News also quoted Nidal Shikhani of the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS).
A possible match for the identity of "Dr Ahmad" is Dr Ahmad al-Dbis, quoted by Reuters on 4 May 2019 as Safety and Security Manager for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), describing airstrikes on Idlib and northern Hama. Since 2016 both HdBG and the CBRN Task Force that he set up in 2013 have been affiliated to UOSSM. A report from 2014 quotes a "Dr Ahmad" described as a medic trained by HdBG for the CBRN Task Force. CVDCS is an NGO that has worked closely with the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission since 2015 to provide purported eyewitnesses for interview in Syria, originally established in 2012 as the Office of Documentation of the Chemical File in Syria , and later registered in Brussels as a non-profit company named Same Justice. This company never complied with the legal requirement to file accounts, and went into liquidation on 27 February 2019.
ebaa.newssite appears to be closely linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), frequently quoting HTS spokesmen and sometimes reporting exclusive stories obtained from HTS. On 31 May 2018 HTS was designated by the US Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism noted that this designation "serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa'ida affiliate's attempt to rebrand itself." In conclusion, the provenance of this story of a chemical attack on 19 May is dubious, and the extent to which the sources are independent of one another is not clear.
3.2 UK response
On 22 May John Woodcock MP asked at Prime Minister's Questions :
British experts are this morning investigating a suspected chlorine attack by al-Assad in Idlib. If it is proved, will she lead the international response against the return of this indiscriminate evil?
As expected, the Prime Minister gave a bellicose answer, but made no reference to OPCW.
We of course acted in Syria, with France and the United States, when we saw chemical weapons being used there. We are in close contact with the United States and are monitoring the situation closely, and if any use of chemical weapons is confirmed, we will respond appropriately.
Woodcock's "British experts" appear to have included HdBG, who had suggested in a tweet the day before that Woodcock should ask the Prime Minister about Idlib, though not about a chemical attack. In a subsequent tweet Woodcock stated that his experts were "on the ground in Syria".
3.3 French response
The daily press from the French foreign ministry on 22 May responded to a question on the alleged chemical attack on 19 May with:3.4 US response
We have noted with concern these allegations which must be investigated. We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons .
A press statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on 21 May dealt with the alleged chemical attack two days earlier:
Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019. We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.
She mentioned a " continuing disinformation campaign " to "create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting". The following day Mr James Jeffrey, the State Department's special representative to Syria, testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "So far we cannot confirm [the reports of chemical weapons use] but we're watching it". The New York Times reported this to be a "carefully worded recalibration" of the announcement by Morgan Ortagus the day before, and that American military officials had "expressed surprise over the State Department's strong statement". 4 Comparison of the Engineering Assessment with the published Final Report
A comparison of the Engineering Assessment and the Final Report have been reported in outline form by McIntyre . As Larson has noted , there are indications in the Final Report that whoever drafted it had access to an earlier version of the Engineering Assessment (the released version dated 27 February 2019 is marked Rev 1) and was attempting to rebut it without overtly mentioning it. For instance the Engineering Assessment lists five points supporting the opinion of experts that the crater at location 2 had been created by a the explosion of a mortar round or artillery rocket rather than an impact from a falling object. These points included:
"an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls"
"(whilst it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling."
The Final Report states falsely that a fragmentation pattern, visible in open-source images, was absent:
The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.
This is followed by a paragraph that notes the blackening of the ceiling and attributes it to the fire set in the room. The Final Report's allusion to the possibility of an explosive device, with mention of fragmentation pattern and the setting of a fire in the room appears to be an attempt to explain away the argument made in the Engineering Assessment.
We note that several of the key findings of the Engineering Assessment are based only on examination of the cylinders. For instance the Engineering Assessment reports that the cylinder at Location 2 bears no markings that would be consistent with the frame with fins (lying on the balcony) ever having been attached to it, let alone the markings that would be expected if the frame had been stripped off by impact. The Final Report records that the Syrian government insisted on retaining custody of the cylinders for criminal investigation purposes. Accordingly:
On 4 June, FFM team members tagged and sealed the cylinders from Locations 2 and 4, and documented the procedure.
A useful way to take forward the investigation of the Douma incident would now be for the Syrian government to invite an international team of neutral experts to examine the cylinders, to assess whether the observations support the findings of the Engineering Assessment or the conclusions of the published FFM Final Report, and to publish their findings in a form that allows peer review and reproducibility of results from data. The next step would be a criminal investigation of this incident, focusing on where, how and by whom were the 35 victims seen in images at Location 2 killed.
Posted at 02:37 AM in government , History , Syria , The Military Art , weapons | Permalink
Castellio , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PMPaul McKeigue , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM
Thank you for pursuing this issue in depth and with rigour.
If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones.
Yesterday OPCW released its official response (dated 21 May) to Russian criticisms (dated 26 April) of the Final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident. In this response OPCW made, officially and on the record, the same argument as that made by Whitaker's "informed source: that to assess how the cylinders arrived in their positions was outside the mandate of the FFM.
Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position.
Peter Hitchens is on the case, and has listed these contradictions and requested an explanation from OPCW.
May 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.orgben , May 29, 2019 10:45:47 PM | 2
SteveK9 , May 29, 2019 6:54:20 PM | 0Whatever you may think of Trump, the people who set out to 'get him' are the scum of the Earth. I recommend listening to the two-part interview of George Papadopoulos with Mark Steyn, where he describes the convoluted plot to use him to bring down Trump.As I stated on the open thread, to paraphrase Muller;
What they did to this guy is truly disgusting. Brennan belongs in a prison cell, and he should be sharing it with Mueller. Papadopoulos also has written a book about his experiences called 'Deep State Target, How I got caught in the crosshairs of the plot to bring down President Trump.
And, a final comment. Hillary Clinton proved beyond all doubt that she and not Trump was not fit to be President. To engage in this scheme and then to raise tensions through the roof with a nuclear superpower, which can destroy this country, is about as low and selfish as it is possible to be.
I don't give a s###. figure it out yourself, Im f***ing outta' here.
The whole point of impeachment, is to have a show trial, not actually impeach. If the thing is on TV, the American people may watch it, and that would be interesting.
Not to worry though, Pelosi and Schumer won't let that happen. Appeasing their donors,is all they care about.
psycho @ 2 quoting C. Johnston stated;
"All political analysis which favors either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is inherently worthless, because both parties are made of swamp and exist in service of the swamp. If you can't see that the entire system is one unified block of corruption and that ordinary people need to come together and unite against it, then you really don't understand what you're looking at."
That, my friends, is the clearest truth of all..