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Elite [Dominance] Theory and the Revolt of the Elite
(Silent Coup, or Revolt of the Rich under Neoliberalism)

News Principal-agent problem Recommended Books Recommended Links The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Deep State Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura
Audacioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust The Pareto Law Amorality of neoliberal elite Moral degradation of the US elite  Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Two Party System as polyarchy
Factional struggle within the elite Corporatism Neo-fascism National Security State New American Militarism  Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Pluralism as a myth
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 Lesser evil trick of legitimizing disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections The Rise of the New Global Elite The importance of controlling the narrative New American Caste System Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich
Wrecking Crew: Notes on Republican Economic Policy Real war on reality  Media-Military-Industrial Complex Groupthink Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Introduction


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 [1] (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:

  1. To what extent democracy as a political organization is a utopian ideal?  Or smoke screen for [often brutal] elite rule. Elite theory stands in opposition to pluralism in suggesting that democracy is a utopian ideal. It also stands in opposition to state autonomy theory. It provokes serious rethinking about the real meaning of the term "democracy" in any modern society (as in "democracy for whom?"). And to what extent it serves as just as "opium for masses" then a recipe for the society organization and recruitment of elite. It also rases an important question about the role of money in politics.
  2. What is proper level of upward mobility/forced rotation of the elite in the given society? Stagnation and degeneration of the elite is a problem which contributed to the collapse of the USSR and now is continuing to the collapse of the neoliberalism in the USA. And what are mechanisms that ensure that? There can be some institutional measures (like no more then two consecutive terms for the US president) that help.
  3. How to keep the elite greed (and first of all greed of financial elite) in check. The brief historical period after WWII when the USSR existence kept the USA elite from appropriating the lion share of profits is now gone and no other countervailing forces are seen on the horizon...
  4. Is the modern transnational elite really interested in the stability and well-being of a given society, or it represents a parasitic element which can eventually destroy the host.
  5. To what extent the elite, especially the US elite, include a special class on individuals called sociopaths.
  6. How to prevent degeneration of the elite (Epstein, Madoff, Bill Clinton and company) and ensure the rotation of the elite)
  7. How internal struggle within the ruling elite destabilizes the society (Russiagate is one revealing examplee repalted to the USA elte, when one faction wasted to kick neoliberal can down the road, while another wanted some changes and destruction of the neoliberal status qui, especially its globalization aspect)
  8. To what extent powerful intelligence agencies (with the top brass which are the part of the elite) try to control the elite. It is clear that they systematically seek "kompromat" on politically powerful individuals and in certain cases try to satisfy their most low desires to obtain it (Epstein connection to intelligence agencies; they also served as "kingmakers" in 2016 election helping to derail Sanders and thus ensuring Trump victory)

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."

Classic Elite theory

  “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.”

-- George Gavlin

Classic Elite [Dominance] Theory is based on several ideas:

  1. Power lies in the positions of authority in key economic and political institutions.  
  2. The Iron Law of Oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his book 1915 Political Parties. Michels was an anarcho-syndicalist at the time he formulated the Law. He later became an important ideologue of Mussolini's fascist regime in Italy. The simplest formulation of the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy': "Who says organization, says oligarchy." In essence Iron law of oligarchy postulate that any complex organization self-generate its own elite, an oligarchy that has disproportional influence on the decisions made in the organization and is pretty autonomous from "rank-and-file" members and is little affected by elections. As such Iron law of oligarchy stands in stark opposition to pluralism and suggests that "participatory democracy" is a utopian ideal and that democracy is always limited to very narrow strata of existing oligarchy (top 0.01% in the USA). It also stands in opposition to state autonomy theory. 
  3. Pareto principle is related to the original observation was in connection concentration of the wealth in top 20% of the population. Pareto noticed that 80% of Italy's land was owned by 20% of the population. He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied. Due to the scale-invariant nature of the power law relationship, the relationship applies also to subsets of the income range. Even if we take the ten wealthiest individuals in the world, we see that the top three (Carlos Slim Helú, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates) own as much as the next seven put together. A chart that gave the inequality a very visible and comprehensible form, the so-called 'champagne glass' effect, was contained in the 1992 United Nations Development Program Report, which showed the distribution of global income to be very uneven, with the richest 20% of the world's population controlling 82.7% of the world's income.
    Distribution of world GDP, 1989[8]
    Quintile of population Income
    Richest 20% 82.70%
    Second 20% 11.75%
    Third 20% 2.30%
    Fourth 20% 1.85%
    Poorest 20% 1.40%

    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. 

  4. The psychological difference that sets elites apart is that they have personal resources, for instance intelligence and skills, money, and a vested interest in the government; while the rest are relatively incompetent and do not have the capabilities of governing themselves and are deprived of money. That means that once in power the elite are resourceful and will strive to sustain its rule. 
  5. The elite have the most to lose if government or state failed as Russian elite discovered twice in the last century. So there are some natural limits of plundering of the state by the elite. 
  6. The simple plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system also called  winner-takes-all or  first-past-the-post. The latter term is an analogy to horse racing, where the winner of the race is the first to pass a particular point (the "post") on the track, after which all other runners automatically lose. Elections in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada belong to this category. In this voting there is no requirement that the winner gain an absolute majority of votes. Duverger's law is a principle which asserts that any plurality voting system elections naturally impose a two-party system  That means that single-winner voting system essentially hand all the power to the elite as it is elite that controls the electability of candidates from both parties. The discovery of this tendency is attributed to Maurice Duverger, a French sociologist who observed the effect and recorded it in several papers published in the 1950s and 1960s. In the course of further research, other political scientists began calling the effect a "law" or principle. Duverger's law suggests a nexus or synthesis between a party system and an electoral system: a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster party development while a plurality system marginalizes smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.

The top twelve classical elite theorists include

  1. Karl Marx  is typically cited, along with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science. Although the key postulate of Marxism about liberating role of proletariat proved wrong, Marxism made a tremendous contribution into understanding of power structure of the society, pointing that all power is concentrated directly or indirectly in owners of capital hands: a sociological theory of class domination. Marxism teaches that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class which controls production and a lower class which produces the labor for goods. He called the current socio-economic form of society (capitalism) "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" that is run by the wealthy elite purely for own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions within different faction of the elite. He first understood that political class represents a powerful force that is somewhat independent from economic foundations, especially if it is organized as a political party (and state can even be dominated by a fervent ideological network like USSR, China, Saudi Arabia,  Iran since 1979).  and that the current political elite is vary to redistribute this power with other factions of the elite even if relative balance of power within various factions changed.  What Marx give to the world is the understanding is that of Western history from the disintegration of Roman Empire was about the deadly conflict between rising factions of economic elite (industrial, landed, banking, etc) and existing political elite, with an occasional and temporary coalitions with peasants or artisans who tried to take advantage of the divisions in elite circles. So what Marx incorrectly called class struggle was actually a deadly struggle between economic and political elites within a society. In the 17th and 18th centuries it begins to make sense to describe the state -- paraphrasing Marx -- as an executive committee for managing the common affairs of the elite.  Generally speaking, Marx overstated the importance of industrial capitalists as compared to landed elites within the ruling circles of the 19th century, and of urban workers as compared to other urban dwellers and peasants (Hamilton, 1991). 
  2. Thorstein Veblen combined sociology with economics in his masterpiece The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) where he argued that there was a basic distinction between the productiveness of "industry", run by engineers manufacturing goods, vis-à-vis the parasitism of "business" that exists only to make profits for elite that he called  a leisure class. The chief activity of the elite was "conspicuous consumption", and their economic contribution is "waste," activity that contributes nothing to productivity. The American economy was thereby made inefficient and corrupt though Veblen never made that claim explicit. He believed that technological advances were the driving force behind cultural change, but, unlike many contemporaries, refused to connect change with progress. Although Veblen was sympathetic to state ownership of industry, he had a low opinion of workers and the labor movement. He pointed out that the new industrial processes created a conflict between businessmen and engineers, with businessmen representing the older order and engineers as the innovators of new ways of doing things. In combination with the tendencies described in The Theory of the Leisure Class, this conflict resulted in waste and “predation” that served to enhance the social status of those who could benefit from predatory claims to goods and services. 
  3. Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto emphasized the psychological and intellectual superiority that the Elites obtained, he believed that the elites were the highest accomplishers in any field and he discussed how there were two types of Elites
    1. governing elites
    2. non-governing elites

    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. 

  4. Gaetano Mosca. Mosca emphasized the sociological and personal characteristics of elites. He said elites are an organized minority and that the masses are an unorganized majority. The ruling class is composed of the ruling elite and the sub-elites. He divides the world into two groups:
    1. ruling class
    2. class that is ruled

    Mosca asserts that elites have intellectual, moral, and material superiority and/or other qualities that is highly esteemed and influential. 

  5. Robert Michels.  German sociologist Robert Michels developed The Iron Law of Oligarchy in his book  Political Parties published in 1915.  The Iron Law of Oligarchy  asserts that social and political organizations are run by few individuals, and social organization and labor division are the key. He believed that all organizations are elitist and that existence of elites is based on several factors that come into play in the bureaucratic structure of any large political organization:
    1. Need for leaders, as well as for specialized staff and facilities.
    2. The relative scarcity of the people with the psychological attributes of the leaders
    3. Natural monopolization of the their position by elected leaders within any sizable organization and related subversion of the democratic process even in organizations devoted to the promotion of democracy.

    Michels stressed several factors that underlie the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy'.

    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.  

  6. C. Wright Mills. Mills published his book The Power Elite in 1956, which provided a new sociological perspective on structure of power in the United States. He identified a triumvirate of power groups - political, economic and military - which form a distinguishable, although not unified, power-wielding body in the United States. This theory later was enhanced by Michael Mann who proposed that the power structures within Western civilization, and probably other civilizations, too, are best understood by determining the intertwining and relative importance at any given time of the organizations based in four "overlapping and intersecting sociospatial networks of power" (Mann, 1986, p. 1). These networks are ideological, economic, military, and political. This view is called "The IEMP model".  Simultaneous crisis in several of those networks, the phenomenon we observe now in the USA and previously in the USSR represent a social crisis.

    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. 

  7. Floyd Hunter. The elite theory analysis of power was also applied on the micro scale in community power studies such as that by Floyd Hunter (1953). Hunter examined in detail the power relationships evident in his "Regional City" looking for the "real" holders of power rather than those in obvious official positions. He posited a structural-functional approach which mapped the hierarchies and webs of interconnection operating within the city – mapping relationships of power between businessmen, politicians, clergy etc.

    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. 

  8. G. William Domhoff. In his book Who Rules America?, G. William Domhoff researched local and national decision making process networks in order to illustrate the power structure in the United States. He asserts, much like Hunter, that an elite class that owns and manages large income-producing properties (like banks and corporations) dominate the American power structure politically and economically.  
  9. James Burnham. Burnham’s early work The Managerial Revolution sought to express the movement of all functional power into the hands of appointed managers rather than the owners – separating ownership and control. Many of these ideas were adapted by paleoconservatives Samuel T. Francis and Paul Gottfried in their theories of the managerial state. Burnham's thoughts on Elite Theory were elucidated more specifically in his book The Machiavellians which discusses the thoughts of, among others, Pareto, Mosca, and Michels; in it he attempts to analyze of both elites and politics generally from his background as a former Trotskyite. 
  10. John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) proposed the term technostructure in his book "The New Industrial State" (1967) to describe the group of managers within an enterprise (or an administrative body) with considerable political influence (especially true for financial brass) and the level of control on nation's economy. It usually refers to so called managerial capitalism where top managers, scientists, or lawyers acquire more power and influence than the shareholders in the corporation. They are the de-facto the owners of the corporation, while shareholders (outside a few large one) are generally powerless to influence the way the corporation develops and do business. 
  11. Robert D. Putnam

    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.[7]

    "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."

  12. Thomas R. Dye. Dye in his book Top Down Policymaking, argues that U.S. public policy does not result from the "demands of the people," but from quite opposite phenomenon -- the Elite consensus found in Washington. It is a consensus between key non-profit foundations, think tanks, special-interest groups, and prominent lobbyists and law firms. Dye's thesis is further expanded upon in his works: The Irony of Democracy, Politics in America, Understanding Public Policy, and Who's Running America?

The idea of "The Revolt of the Elites" and "The Quiet Coup" by Financial Oligarchy

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." 

"The Revolt of the Elites" by Christoper Lasch

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.

The Quiet Coup of Financial Oligarchy by Simon Johnson

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnson also wrote a piece in the Atlantic Magazine titled The Quiet Coup. It may be worth re-reading.
Here is the introduction to this in The Fall of the American Republic: The Quiet Coup d'Etat in August 2010.
"I am not so optimistic that this reform is possible, because there has in fact been a soft coup d'etat in the US, which now exists in a state of crony corporatism that wields enormous influence over the media and within the government.

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

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.

Revolt of the Rich by Mike Lofgren

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.

Neo-classical economics smoke screen in Yves Smith’s Econned

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:

  1. Excessive dependence or even open prostitution to the financial oligarchy. It's deplorable but probably unavoidable as the grip of financial community of economic profession does not requires any additional commentary. Also there are always exceptions to the rule.
  2. Mathematical masturbation instead of science. When, for example, a paper that propose even a linear equation (or God forbid differential equation) does not provide any estimate of errors of input data such a paper in a narrow sense can be called mathematical masturbation. Classic example here would be any paper that has inflation as an input variable. In a more broad sense this occurs when research paper contains results or mathematical model which rely on idealized, with little connections to reality postulates about the structure of economic activities. Many supply/demand models belong to this category as they rely on existence of equilibrium between supply and demand and/or are ignoring Minsky instability hypothesis. Most neo-classical economics can be called a theory in a desperate search for suitable reality.
  3. Relying on discredited and openly anti-scientific assumptions or hypothesis. Examples include, but not limited to "supply side voodoo", "monetarism", "Taylor rule", "permanent equilibrium fallacy", "invisible hand" (both as a postulate about absence of manipulation of the markets and the idea that "free markets lead to efficient outcomes" disregarding the role of government and almost permanent government intervention as well as issues of economic rent and taxation of participants to support an aristocracy or oligarchy).

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). 

Econned

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

kievite:

 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.

Amorality and psychopathic tendencies

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:

Shaming the poor as a new sport for the transnational elites and subservient politicians

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.

To what extent new transnational elite is monolithic ?

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 problem of degeneration of 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.


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Old News ;-)

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

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

anne , September 15, 2019 at 11:33 AM

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

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

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

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

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

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

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

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

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

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

Branko Milanovic‏ @BrankoMilan

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

* Contradiction

4:59 AM - 15 Sep 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

@1 steven t johnson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rise of Neo-Feudalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The role of the Clerisy

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

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

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

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

The new geography of feudalism

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

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

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

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

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

Undermining the Third Estate

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

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

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

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

The Clerisy's War on the Middle Class

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

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

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

Political implications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

[Sep 13, 2019] Me First and the Loss of Compassion by Volker Franke

Neoliberalism explicitly denies the value of compassion. It considers "wolf eats wolf" type of competition as the key component of human society that the moral value in itself.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

One of the crucial lessons we often fail to impart to our children is that life is not a zero-sum game; that is, the success of another child is not a corresponding failure for me. Children ought to learn how to help one another so they can take joy in crossing the finish line together, building closeness instead of separation, segregation and adversarialism.

And the incessant use of digital media often exacerbates this development.

In a society where we are rewarded for thinking about ourselves first, we disconnect from one another. Just go to the mall and look for shopping carts and trash strewn across the parking lot, oversized trucks and SUVs parked across multiple parking spots, non-handicap vehicles in handicap spots and cars parked in dedicated motorcycle spaces. No consideration for others.

Gone are the days of compassionate conservatism. "America first" finds a ready breeding ground in this "me first" mentality. It is finally time to catch up for those left behind by social progress made in the name of equality. After all, they too are better than others, better than those abroad and better than those from abroad. The new aMEricaFIRST echoes that sentiment, segregates American society and separates us from friends and allies around the world.

How can we get our compassion back? How can we reconnect with each other and engage with the world? At the personal level, take small steps and start a conversation with someone different from you, expose yourself to the diversity that makes this country so unique–and involve your children in that exposure to pluralism, normalizing it, modeling it. Put yourself in the shoes of someone less fortunate and find the "things that unite."

At the social level, we – including our children – must recognize that the rights and freedoms we cherish and enjoy also come with responsibilities. Success in America has focused on maximizing individual freedoms limited only when their exercise encroaches on the freedoms of others. Today, we need to reconnect and rebuild our communities by focusing on the needs of others. To achieve this, let's reconsider the idea of mandatory public service: citizens serving others in need. A public service requirement between the end of high school and the beginning of college – fulfilled in many ways, including such service opportunities as AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, Meals on Wheels or other freely helpful initiatives – brings those in service in contact with those from whom they have been disconnected, both at home and abroad. Only through connection will we regain compassion and only then will we be able to make America great again. More articles by: Volker Franke

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

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

As Breitbart reports,

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

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

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

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

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

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

hedgeless_horseman

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

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

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


knukles

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

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

jcaz

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

Manthong

"The truth about the conflict with Russia"

Aw c'mon..

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

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

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

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

ThanksChump

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

It's sad.

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

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

ThanksChump

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

It's sad.

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

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

JustObserving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

[Sep 10, 2019] How Deep Is the Rot in America s Institutions by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
The question why the USA intelligence agencies were "unaware" about Epstein activities is an interesting one. Similar question can be asked about Hillary "activities" related to "Clinton cash".
Actually the way the USA elite deal with scandals is to ostracize any whistleblower and silence any media that tryt to dig the story. Open repression including physical elimination is seldom used those days as indirect methods are quite effective.
Notable quotes:
"... Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. ..."
"... If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken." ..."
"... America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy. ..."
"... Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America's key public and private institutions? It's difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken."

If this all strikes you as evidence that America's security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that's above reproach, then 1) you're a well-paid shill who's protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America's ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who've exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.

Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.

The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.

... ... ...

Here are America's media, law enforcement/security agencies and "leadership" class: they speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil, in the misguided belief that their misdirection, self-service and protection of the guilty will make us buy the narrative that America's ruling elite and all the core institutions they manage aren't rotten to the foundations.

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

[Sep 04, 2019] 737 MAX - Boeing Insults International Safety Regulators As New Problems Cause Longer Grounding

The 80286 Intel processors: The Intel 80286[3] (also marketed as the iAPX 286[4] and often called Intel 286) is a 16-bit microprocessor that was introduced on February 1, 1982. The 80286 was employed for the IBM PC/AT, introduced in 1984, and then widely used in most PC/AT compatible computers until the early 1990s.
Notable quotes:
"... The fate of Boeing's civil aircraft business hangs on the re-certification of the 737 MAX. The regulators convened an international meeting to get their questions answered and Boeing arrogantly showed up without having done its homework. The regulators saw that as an insult. Boeing was sent back to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: provide details and analysis that prove the safety of its planes. ..."
"... In recent weeks, Boeing and the FAA identified another potential flight-control computer risk requiring additional software changes and testing, according to two of the government and pilot officials. ..."
"... Any additional software changes will make the issue even more complicated. The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity. All the extras procedures Boeing now will add to them may well exceed the system's capabilities. ..."
"... The old architecture was possible because the plane could still be flown without any computer. It was expected that the pilots would detect a computer error and would be able to intervene. The FAA did not require a high design assurance level (DAL) for the system. The MCAS accidents showed that a software or hardware problem can now indeed crash a 737 MAX plane. That changes the level of scrutiny the system will have to undergo. ..."
"... Flight safety regulators know of these complexities. That is why they need to take a deep look into such systems. That Boeing's management was not prepared to answer their questions shows that the company has not learned from its failure. Its culture is still one of finance orientated arrogance. ..."
"... I also want to add that Boeing's focus on profit over safety is not restricted to the 737 Max but undoubtedly permeates the manufacture of spare parts for the rest of the their plane line and all else they make.....I have no intention of ever flying in another Boeing airplane, given the attitude shown by Boeing leadership. ..."
"... So again, Boeing mgmt. mirrors its Neoliberal government officials when it comes to arrogance and impudence. ..."
"... Arrogance? When the money keeps flowing in anyway, it comes naturally. ..."
"... In the neoliberal world order governments, regulators and the public are secondary to corporate profits. ..."
"... I am surprised that none of the coverage has mentioned the fact that, if China's CAAC does not sign off on the mods, it will cripple, if not doom the MAX. ..."
"... I am equally surprised that we continue to sabotage China's export leader, as the WSJ reports today: "China's Huawei Technologies Co. accused the U.S. of "using every tool at its disposal" to disrupt its business, including launching cyberattacks on its networks and instructing law enforcement to "menace" its employees. ..."
"... Boeing is backstopped by the Murkan MIC, which is to say the US taxpayer. ..."
"... Military Industrial Complex welfare programs, including wars in Syria and Yemen, are slowly winding down. We are about to get a massive bill from the financiers who already own everything in this sector, because what they have left now is completely unsustainable, with or without a Third World War. ..."
"... In my mind, the fact that Boeing transferred its head office from Seattle (where the main manufacturing and presumable the main design and engineering functions are based) to Chicago (centre of the neoliberal economic universe with the University of Chicago being its central shrine of worship, not to mention supply of future managers and administrators) in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance. ..."
"... For many amerikans, a good "offensive" is far preferable than a good defense even if that only involves an apology. Remember what ALL US presidents say.. We will never apologize.. ..."
"... Actually can you show me a single place in the US where ethics are considered a bastion of governorship? ..."
"... You got to be daft or bribed to use intel cpu's in embedded systems. Going from a motorolla cpu, the intel chips were dinosaurs in every way. ..."
"... Initially I thought it was just the new over-sized engines they retro-fitted. A situation that would surely have been easier to get around by just going back to the original engines -- any inefficiencies being less $costly than the time the planes have been grounded. But this post makes the whole rabbit warren 10 miles deeper. ..."
"... That is because the price is propped up by $9 billion share buyback per year . Share buyback is an effective scheme to airlift all the cash out of a company towards the major shareholders. I mean, who wants to develop reliable airplanes if you can funnel the cash into your pockets? ..."
"... If Boeing had invested some of this money that it blew on share buybacks to design a new modern plane from ground up to replace the ancient 737 airframe, these tragedies could have been prevented, and Boeing wouldn't have this nightmare on its hands. But the corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers, rather than real engineers, had the final word. ..."
"... Markets don't care about any of this. They don't care about real engineers either. They love corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers. They want share buybacks, and if something bad happens, they'll overlook the $5 billion to pay for the fallout because it's just a "one-time item." ..."
"... Overall, Boeing buy-backs exceeded 40 billion dollars, one could guess that half or quarter of that would suffice to build a plane that logically combines the latest technologies. E.g. the entire frame design to fit together with engines, processors proper for the information processing load, hydraulics for steering that satisfy force requirements in almost all circumstances etc. New technologies also fail because they are not completely understood, but when the overall design is logical with margins of safety, the faults can be eliminated. ..."
"... Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics. ..."
"... The problem is not new, and it is well understood. What computer modelling is is cheap, and easy to fudge, and that is why it is popular with people who care about money a lot. Much of what is called "AI" is very similar in its limitations, a complicated way to fudge up the results you want, or something close enough for casual examination. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

United Airline and American Airlines further prolonged the grounding of their Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. They now schedule the plane's return to the flight line in December. But it is likely that the grounding will continue well into the next year.

After Boeing's shabby design and lack of safety analysis of its Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) led to the death of 347 people, the grounding of the type and billions of losses, one would expect the company to show some decency and humility. Unfortunately Boeing behavior demonstrates none.

There is still little detailed information on how Boeing will fix MCAS. Nothing was said by Boeing about the manual trim system of the 737 MAX that does not work when it is needed . The unprotected rudder cables of the plane do not meet safety guidelines but were still certified. The planes flight control computers can be overwhelmed by bad data and a fix will be difficult to implement. Boeing continues to say nothing about these issues.

International flight safety regulators no longer trust the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which failed to uncover those problems when it originally certified the new type. The FAA was also the last regulator to ground the plane after two 737 MAX had crashed. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) asked Boeing to explain and correct five major issues it identified. Other regulators asked additional questions.

Boeing needs to regain the trust of the airlines, pilots and passengers to be able to again sell those planes. Only full and detailed information can achieve that. But the company does not provide any.

As Boeing sells some 80% of its airplanes abroad it needs the good will of the international regulators to get the 737 MAX back into the air. This makes the arrogance it displayed in a meeting with those regulators inexplicable:

Friction between Boeing Co. and international air-safety authorities threatens a new delay in bringing the grounded 737 MAX fleet back into service, according to government and pilot union officials briefed on the matter.

The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers.

The fate of Boeing's civil aircraft business hangs on the re-certification of the 737 MAX. The regulators convened an international meeting to get their questions answered and Boeing arrogantly showed up without having done its homework. The regulators saw that as an insult. Boeing was sent back to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: provide details and analysis that prove the safety of its planes.

What did the Boeing managers think those regulatory agencies are? Hapless lapdogs like the FAA managers`who signed off on Boeing 'features' even after their engineers told them that these were not safe?

Buried in the Wall Street Journal piece quoted above is another little shocker:

In recent weeks, Boeing and the FAA identified another potential flight-control computer risk requiring additional software changes and testing, according to two of the government and pilot officials.

The new issue must be going beyond the flight control computer (FCC) issues the FAA identified in June .

Boeing's original plan to fix the uncontrolled activation of MCAS was to have both FCCs active at the same time and to switch MCAS off when the two computers disagree. That was already a huge change in the general architecture which so far consisted of one active and one passive FCC system that could be switched over when a failure occurred.

Any additional software changes will make the issue even more complicated. The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity. All the extras procedures Boeing now will add to them may well exceed the system's capabilities.

Changing software in a delicate environment like a flight control computer is extremely difficult. There will always be surprising side effects or regressions where already corrected errors unexpectedly reappear.

The old architecture was possible because the plane could still be flown without any computer. It was expected that the pilots would detect a computer error and would be able to intervene. The FAA did not require a high design assurance level (DAL) for the system. The MCAS accidents showed that a software or hardware problem can now indeed crash a 737 MAX plane. That changes the level of scrutiny the system will have to undergo.

All procedures and functions of the software will have to be tested in all thinkable combinations to ensure that they will not block or otherwise influence each other. This will take months and there is a high chance that new issues will appear during these tests. They will require more software changes and more testing.

Flight safety regulators know of these complexities. That is why they need to take a deep look into such systems. That Boeing's management was not prepared to answer their questions shows that the company has not learned from its failure. Its culture is still one of finance orientated arrogance.

Building safe airplanes requires engineers who know that they may make mistakes and who have the humility to allow others to check and correct their work. It requires open communication about such issues. Boeing's say-nothing strategy will prolong the grounding of its planes. It will increases the damage to Boeing's financial situation and reputation.

--- Previous Moon of Alabama posts on Boeing 737 MAX issues:

Posted by b on September 3, 2019 at 18:05 UTC | Permalink


Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 3 2019 18:15 utc | 1

"The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity." You must be joking, right? If this is the case, the problem is unfixable: you can't find two competent software engineers who can program these dinosaur 16-bit processors.
b , Sep 3 2019 18:22 utc | 2
You must be joking, right? If this is the case, the problem is unfixable: you can't find two competent software engineers who can program these dinosaur 16-bit processors.

One of the two is writing this.

Half-joking aside. The 737 MAX FCC runs on 80286 processors. There are ten thousands of programmers available who can program them though not all are qualified to write real-time systems. That resource is not a problem. The processors inherent limits are one.

Meshpal , Sep 3 2019 18:24 utc | 3
Thanks b for the fine 737 max update. Others news sources seem to have dropped coverage. It is a very big deal that this grounding has lasted this long. Things are going to get real bad for Boeing if this bird does not get back in the air soon. In any case their credibility is tarnished if not down right trashed.
BraveNewWorld , Sep 3 2019 18:35 utc | 4
@1 Choderlos de Laclos

What ever software language these are programmed in (my guess is C) the compilers still exist for it and do the translation from the human readable code to the machine code for you. Of course the code could be assembler but writing assembly code for a 286 is far easier than writing it for say an i9 becuase the CPU is so much simpler and has a far smaller set of instructions to work with.

Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 3 2019 18:52 utc | 5
@b: It was a hyperbole. I might be another one, but left them behind as fast as I could. The last time I had to deal with it was an embedded system in 1998-ish. But I am also retiring, and so are thousands of others. The problems with support of a legacy system are a legend.
psychohistorian , Sep 3 2019 18:56 utc | 6
Thanks for the demise of Boeing update b

I commented when you first started writing about this that it would take Boeing down and still believe that to be true. To the extent that Boeing is stonewalling the international safety regulators says to me that upper management and big stock holders are being given time to minimize their exposure before the axe falls.

I also want to add that Boeing's focus on profit over safety is not restricted to the 737 Max but undoubtedly permeates the manufacture of spare parts for the rest of the their plane line and all else they make.....I have no intention of ever flying in another Boeing airplane, given the attitude shown by Boeing leadership.

This is how private financialization works in the Western world. Their bottom line is profit, not service to the flying public. It is in line with the recent public statement by the CEO's from the Business Roundtable that said that they were going to focus more on customer satisfaction over profit but their actions continue to say profit is their primary motive.

The God of Mammon private finance religion can not end soon enough for humanity's sake. It is not like we all have to become China but their core public finance example is well worth following.

karlof1 , Sep 3 2019 19:13 utc | 7
So again, Boeing mgmt. mirrors its Neoliberal government officials when it comes to arrogance and impudence. IMO, Boeing shareholders's hair ought to be on fire given their BoD's behavior and getting ready to litigate.

As b notes, Boeing's international credibility's hanging by a very thin thread. A year from now, Boeing could very well see its share price deeply dive into the Penny Stock category--its current P/E is 41.5:1 which is massively overpriced. Boeing Bombs might come to mean something vastly different from its initial meaning.

bjd , Sep 3 2019 19:22 utc | 8
Arrogance? When the money keeps flowing in anyway, it comes naturally.
What did I just read , Sep 3 2019 19:49 utc | 10
Such seemingly archaic processors are the norm in aerospace. If the planes flight characteristics had been properly engineered from the start the processor wouldn't be an issue. You can't just spray perfume on a garbage pile and call it a rose.
VietnamVet , Sep 3 2019 20:31 utc | 12
In the neoliberal world order governments, regulators and the public are secondary to corporate profits. This is the same belief system that is suspending the British Parliament to guarantee the chaos of a no deal Brexit. The irony is that globalist, Joe Biden's restart the Cold War and nationalist Donald Trump's Trade Wars both assure that foreign regulators will closely scrutinize the safety of the 737 Max. Even if ignored by corporate media and cleared by the FAA to fly in the USA, Boeing and Wall Street's Dow Jones average are cooked gooses with only 20% of the market. Taking the risk of flying the 737 Max on their family vacation or to their next business trip might even get the credentialed class to realize that their subservient service to corrupt Plutocrats is deadly in the long term.
jared , Sep 3 2019 20:55 utc | 14
It doesn't get any TBTF'er than Boing. Bail-out is only phone-call away. With down-turn looming, the line is forming.
Piotr Berman , Sep 3 2019 21:11 utc | 15
"The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing BA, -2.66% briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers."

It seems to me that Boeing had no intention to insult anybody, but it has an impossible task. After decades of applying duct tape and baling wire with much success, they finally designed an unfixable plane, and they can either abandon this line of business (narrow bodied airliners) or start working on a new design grounded in 21st century technologies.

Ken Murray , Sep 3 2019 21:12 utc | 16
Boeing's military sales are so much more significant and important to them, they are just ignoring/down-playing their commercial problem with the 737 MAX. Follow the real money.
Arata , Sep 3 2019 21:57 utc | 17
That is unblievable FLight Control comptuer is based on 80286! A control system needs Real Time operation, at least some pre-emptive task operation, in terms of milisecond or microsecond. What ever way you program 80286 you can not achieve RT operation on 80286. I do not think that is the case. My be 80286 is doing some pripherial work, other than control.
Bemildred , Sep 3 2019 22:11 utc | 18
It is quite likely (IMHO) that they are no longer able to provide the requested information, but of course they cannot say that.

I once wrote a keyboard driver for an 80286, part of an editor, in assembler, on my first PC type computer, I still have it around here somewhere I think, the keyboard driver, but I would be rusty like the Titanic when it comes to writing code. I wrote some things in DEC assembler too, on VAXen.

Peter AU 1 , Sep 3 2019 22:14 utc | 19
Arata 16

The spoiler system is fly by wire.

Bemildred , Sep 3 2019 22:17 utc | 20
arata @16: 80286 does interrupts just fine, but you have to grok asynchronous operation, and most coders don't really, I see that every day in Linux and my browser. I wish I could get that box back, it had DOS, you could program on the bare wires, but God it was slow.
Tod , Sep 3 2019 22:28 utc | 21
Boeing will just need to press the TURBO button on the 286 processor. Problem solved.
karlof1 , Sep 3 2019 22:43 utc | 23
Ken Murray @15--

Boeing recently lost a $6+Billion weapons contract thanks to its similar Q&A in that realm of its business. Its annual earnings are due out in October. Plan to short-sell soon!

Godfree Roberts , Sep 3 2019 22:56 utc | 24
I am surprised that none of the coverage has mentioned the fact that, if China's CAAC does not sign off on the mods, it will cripple, if not doom the MAX.

I am equally surprised that we continue to sabotage China's export leader, as the WSJ reports today: "China's Huawei Technologies Co. accused the U.S. of "using every tool at its disposal" to disrupt its business, including launching cyberattacks on its networks and instructing law enforcement to "menace" its employees.

The telecommunications giant also said law enforcement in the U.S. have searched, detained and arrested Huawei employees and its business partners, and have sent FBI agents to the homes of its workers to pressure them to collect information on behalf of the U.S."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/huawei-accuses-the-u-s-of-cyberattacks-threatening-its-employees-11567500484?mod=hp_lead_pos2

Arioch , Sep 3 2019 23:18 utc | 25
I wonder how much blind trust in Boeing is intertwined into the fabric of civic aviation all around the world.

I mean something like this: Boeing publishes some research into failure statistics, solid materials aging or something. One that is really hard and expensive to proceed with. Everything take the results for granted without trying to independently reproduce and verify, because The Boeing!

Some later "derived" researches being made, upon the foundation of some prior works *including* that old Boeing research. Then FAA and similar company institutions around the world make some official regulations and guidelines deriving from the research which was in part derived form original Boeing work. Then insurance companies calculate their tarifs and rate plans, basing their estimation upon those "government standards", and when governments determine taxation levels they use that data too. Then airline companies and airliner leasing companies make their business plans, take huge loans in the banks (and banks do make their own plans expecting those loans to finally be paid back), and so on and so forth, building the cards-deck house, layer after layer.

And among the very many of the cornerstones - there would be dust covered and god-forgotten research made by Boeing 10 or maybe 20 years ago when no one even in drunk delirium could ever imagine questioning Boeing's verdicts upon engineering and scientific matters.

Now, the longevity of that trust is slowly unraveled. Like, the so universally trusted 737NG generation turned out to be inherently unsafe, and while only pilots knew it before, and even of them - only most curious and pedantic pilots, today it becomes public knowledge that 737NG are tainted.

Now, when did this corruption started? Wheat should be some deadline cast into the past, that since the day every other technical data coming from Boeing should be considered unreliable unless passing full-fledged independent verification? Should that day be somewhere in 2000-s? 1990-s? Maybe even 1970-s?

And ALL THE BODY of civic aviation industry knowledge that was accumulated since that date can NO MORE BE TRUSTED and should be almost scrapped and re-researched new! ALL THE tacit INPUT that can be traced back to Boeing and ALL THE DERIVED KNOWLEDGE now has to be verified in its entirety.

Miss Lacy , Sep 3 2019 23:19 utc | 26
Boeing is backstopped by the Murkan MIC, which is to say the US taxpayer. Until the lawsuits become too enormous. I wonder how much that will cost. And speaking of rigged markets - why do ya suppose that Trumpilator et al have been so keen to make huge sales to the Saudis, etc. etc. ? Ya don't suppose they had an inkling of trouble in the wind do ya? Speaking of insiders, how many million billions do ya suppose is being made in the Wall Street "trade war" roller coaster by peeps, munchkins not muppets, who have access to the Tweeter-in-Chief?
C I eh? , Sep 3 2019 23:25 utc | 27
@6 psychohistorian
I commented when you first started writing about this that it would take Boeing down and still believe that to be true. To the extent that Boeing is stonewalling the international safety regulators says to me that upper management and big stock holders are being given time to minimize their exposure before the axe falls.

Have you considered the costs of restructuring versus breaking apart Boeing and selling it into little pieces; to the owners specifically?

The MIC is restructuring itself - by first creating the political conditions to make the transformation highly profitable. It can only be made highly profitable by forcing the public to pay the associated costs of Rape and Pillage Incorporated.

Military Industrial Complex welfare programs, including wars in Syria and Yemen, are slowly winding down. We are about to get a massive bill from the financiers who already own everything in this sector, because what they have left now is completely unsustainable, with or without a Third World War.

It is fine that you won't fly Boeing but that is not the point. You may not ever fly again since air transit is subsidized at every level and the US dollar will no longer be available to fund the world's air travel infrastructure.

You will instead be paying for the replacement of Boeing and seeing what google is planning it may not be for the renewal of the airline business but rather for dedicated ground transportation, self driving cars and perhaps 'aerospace' defense forces, thank you Russia for setting the trend.

Lochearn , Sep 3 2019 23:45 utc | 30
As readers may remember I made a case study of Boeing for a fairly recent PHD. The examiners insisted that this case study be taken out because it was "speculative." I had forecast serious problems with the 787 and the 737 MAX back in 2012. I still believe the 787 is seriously flawed and will go the way of the MAX. I came to admire this once brilliant company whose work culminated in the superb 777.

America really did make some excellent products in the 20th century - with the exception of cars. Big money piled into GM from the early 1920s, especially the ultra greedy, quasi fascist Du Pont brothers, with the result that GM failed to innovate. It produced beautiful cars but technically they were almost identical to previous models.

The only real innovation over 40 years was automatic transmission. Does this sound reminiscent of the 737 MAX? What glued together GM for more than thirty years was the brilliance of CEO Alfred Sloan who managed to keep the Du Ponts (and J P Morgan) more or less happy while delegating total responsibility for production to divisional managers responsible for the different GM brands. When Sloan went the company started falling apart and the memoirs of bad boy John DeLorean testify to the complete disfunctionality of senior management.

At Ford the situation was perhaps even worse in the 1960s and 1970s. Management was at war with the workers, faulty transmissions were knowingly installed. All this is documented in an excellent book by ex-Ford supervisor Robert Dewar in his book "A Savage Factory."

dus7 , Sep 3 2019 23:53 utc | 32
Well, the first thing that came to mind upon reading about Boeing's apparent arrogance overseas - silly, I know - was that Boeing may be counting on some weird Trump sanctions for anyone not cooperating with the big important USian corporation! The U.S. has influence on European and many other countries, but it can only be stretched so far, and I would guess messing with Euro/internation airline regulators, especially in view of the very real fatal accidents with the 737MAX, would be too far.
david , Sep 4 2019 0:09 utc | 34
Please read the following article to get further info about how the 5 big Funds that hold 67% of Boeing stocks are working hard with the big banks to keep the stock high. Meanwhile Boeing is also trying its best to blackmail US taxpayers through Pentagon, for example, by pretending to walk away from a competitive bidding contract because it wants the Air Force to provide better cost formula.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/despite-devastating-737-crashes-boeing-stocks-fly-high/

So basically, Boeing is being kept afloat by US taxpayers because it is "too big to fail" and an important component of Dow. Please tell. Who is the biggest suckers here?

chu teh , Sep 4 2019 0:13 utc | 36
re Piotr Berman | Sep 3 2019 21:11 utc [I have a tiny bit of standing in this matter based on experience with an amazingly similar situation that has not heretofore been mentioned. More at end. Thus I offer my opinion.] Indeed, an impossible task to design a workable answer and still maintain the fiction that 737MAX is a hi-profit-margin upgrade requiring minimal training of already-trained 737-series pilots , either male or female. Turning-off autopilot to bypass runaway stabilizer necessitates : [1]

the earlier 737-series "rollercoaster" procedure to overcome too-high aerodynamic forces must be taught and demonstrated as a memory item to all pilots.

The procedure was designed for early Model 737-series, not the 737MAX which has uniquely different center-of-gravity and pitch-up problem requiring MCAS to auto-correct, especially on take-off. [2] but the "rollercoaster" procedure does not work at all altitudes.

It causes aircraft to lose some altitude and, therefore, requires at least [about] 7,000-feet above-ground clearance to avoid ground contact. [This altitude loss consumed by the procedure is based on alleged reports of simulator demonstrations. There seems to be no known agreement on the actual amount of loss]. [3] The physical requirements to perform the "rollercoaster" procedure were established at a time when female pilots were rare.

Any 737MAX pilots, male or female, will have to pass new physical requirements demonstrating actual conditions on newly-designed flight simulators that mimic the higher load requirements of the 737MAX . Such new standards will also have to compensate for left vs right-handed pilots because the manual-trim wheel is located between the .pilot/copilot seats.

================

Now where/when has a similar situation occurred? I.e., wherein a Federal regulator agency [FAA] allowed a vendor [Boeing] to claim that a modified product did not need full inspection/review to get agency certification of performance [airworthiness]. As you may know, 2 working, nuclear, power plants were forced to shut down and be decommissioned when, in 2011, 2 newly-installed, critical components in each plant were discovered to be defective, beyond repair and not replaceable. These power plants were each producing over 1,000 megawatts of power for over 20 years. In short, the failed components were modifications of the original, successful design that claimed to need only a low-level of Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight and approval. The mods were, in fact, new and untried and yet only tested by computer modeling and theoretical estimations based on experience with smaller/different designs.

<<< The NRC had not given full inspection/oversight to the new units because of manufacturer/operator claims that the changes were not significant. The NRC did not verify the veracity of those claims. >>>

All 4 components [2 required in each plant] were essentially heat-exchangers weighing 640 tons each, having 10,000 tubes carrying radioactive water surrounded by [transferring their heat to] a separate flow of "clean" water. The tubes were progressively damaged and began leaking. The new design failed. It can not be fixed. Thus, both plants of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are now a complete loss and await dismantling [as the courts will decide who pays for the fiasco].

Jen , Sep 4 2019 0:20 utc | 37
In my mind, the fact that Boeing transferred its head office from Seattle (where the main manufacturing and presumable the main design and engineering functions are based) to Chicago (centre of the neoliberal economic universe with the University of Chicago being its central shrine of worship, not to mention supply of future managers and administrators) in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance.

Phew! I barely took a breath there! :-)

Lochearn , Sep 4 2019 0:22 utc | 38
@ 32 david

Good article. Boeing is, or used to be, America's biggest manufacturing export. So you are right it cannot be allowed to fail. Boeing is also a manufacturer of military aircraft. The fact that it is now in such a pitiful state is symptomatic of America's decline and decadence and its takeover by financial predators.

jo6pac , Sep 4 2019 0:39 utc | 40
Posted by: Jen | Sep 4 2019 0:20 utc | 35

Nailed, moved to city of dead but not for gotten uncle Milton Frieman friend of aynn rand.

vk , Sep 4 2019 0:53 utc | 41
I don't think Boeing was arrogant. I think the 737 is simply unfixable and that they know that -- hence they went to the meeting with empty hands.
C I eh? , Sep 4 2019 1:14 utc | 42
They did the same with Nortel, whose share value exceeded 300 billion not long before it was scrapped. Insiders took everything while pension funds were wiped out of existence.

It is so very helpful to understand everything you read is corporate/intel propaganda, and you are always being setup to pay for the next great scam. The murder of 300+ people by boeing was yet another tragedy our sadistic elites could not let go to waste.

Walter , Sep 4 2019 3:10 utc | 43

...And to the idea that Boeing is being kept afloat by financial agencies.

Willow , Sep 4 2019 3:16 utc | 44
Aljazerra has a series of excellent investigative documentaries they did on Boeing. Here is one from 2014. https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/boeing787/
Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:17 utc | 45
For many amerikans, a good "offensive" is far preferable than a good defense even if that only involves an apology. Remember what ALL US presidents say.. We will never apologize.. For the extermination of natives, for shooting down civilian airliners, for blowing up mosques full of worshipers, for bombing hospitals.. for reducing many countries to the stone age and using biological and chemical and nuclear weapons against the planet.. For supporting terrorists who plague the planet now. For basically being able to be unaccountable to anyone including themselves as a peculiar race of feces. So it is not the least surprising that amerikan corporations also follow the same bad manners as those they put into and pre-elect to rule them.
Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:26 utc | 46
People talk about Seattle as if its a bastion of integrity.. Its the same place Microsoft screwed up countless companies to become the largest OS maker? The same place where Amazon fashions how to screw its own employees to work longer and cheaper? There are enough examples that Seattle is not Toronto.. and will never be a bastion of ethics..

Actually can you show me a single place in the US where ethics are considered a bastion of governorship? Other than the libraries of content written about ethics, rarely do amerikans ever follow it. Yet expect others to do so.. This is getting so perverse that other cultures are now beginning to emulate it. Because its everywhere..

Remember Dallas? I watched people who saw in fascination how business can function like that. Well they cant in the long run but throw enough money and resources and it works wonders in the short term because it destroys the competition. But yea around 1998 when they got rid of the laws on making money by magic, most every thing has gone to hell.. because now there are no constraints but making money.. anywhich way.. Thats all that matters..

Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:54 utc | 47
You got to be daft or bribed to use intel cpu's in embedded systems. Going from a motorolla cpu, the intel chips were dinosaurs in every way. Requiring the cpu to be almost twice as fast to get the same thing done.. Also its interrupt control was not upto par. A simple example was how the commodore amiga could read from the disk and not stutter or slow down anything else you were doing. I never seen this fixed.. In fact going from 8Mhz to 4GHz seems to have fixed it by brute force. Yes the 8Mhz motorolla cpu worked wonders when you had music, video, IO all going at the same time. Its not just the CPU but the support chips which don't lock up the bus. Why would anyone use Intel? When there are so many specific embedded controllers designed for such specific things.
imo , Sep 4 2019 4:00 utc | 48
Initially I thought it was just the new over-sized engines they retro-fitted. A situation that would surely have been easier to get around by just going back to the original engines -- any inefficiencies being less $costly than the time the planes have been grounded. But this post makes the whole rabbit warren 10 miles deeper.

I do not travel much these days and find the cattle-class seating on these planes a major disincentive. Becoming aware of all these added technical issues I will now positively select for alternatives to 737 and bear the cost.

Joost , Sep 4 2019 4:25 utc | 50
I'm surprised Boeing stock still haven't taken nose dive

Posted by: Bob burger | Sep 3 2019 19:27 utc | 9

That is because the price is propped up by $9 billion share buyback per year . Share buyback is an effective scheme to airlift all the cash out of a company towards the major shareholders. I mean, who wants to develop reliable airplanes if you can funnel the cash into your pockets?

Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics.

Henkie , Sep 4 2019 7:04 utc | 53
Hi , I am new here in writing but not in reading.. About the 80286 , where is the coprocessor the 80287? How can the 80286 make IEEE math calculations? So how can it fly a controlled flight when it can not calculate its accuracy...... How is it possible that this system is certified? It should have at least a 80386 DX not SX!!!!
snake , Sep 4 2019 7:35 utc | 54
moved to Chicago in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance.

Jen @ 35 < ==

yes, the morally of the companies and their exclusive hold on a complicit or controlled government always defaults the government to support, enforce and encourage the principles of economic Zionism.

But it is more than just the corporate culture => the corporate fat cats 1. use the rule-making powers of the government to make law for them. Such laws create high valued assets from the pockets of the masses. The most well know of those corporate uses of government is involved with the intangible property laws (copyright, patent, and government franchise). The government generated copyright, franchise and Patent laws are monopolies. So when government subsidizes a successful outcome R&D project its findings are packaged up into a set of monopolies [copyrights, privatized government franchises which means instead of 50 companies or more competing for the next increment in technology, one gains the full advantage of that government research only one can use or abuse it. and the patented and copyrighted technology is used to extract untold billions, in small increments from the pockets of the public. 2. use of the judicial power of governments and their courts in both domestic and international settings, to police the use and to impose fake values in intangible property monopolies. Government-rule made privately owned monopoly rights (intangible property rights) generated from the pockets of the masses, do two things: they exclude, deny and prevent would be competition and their make value in a hidden revenue tax that passes to the privately held monopolist with each sale of a copyrighted, government franchised, or patented service or product. . Please note the one two nature of the "use of government law making powers to generate intangible private monopoly property rights"

Canthama , Sep 4 2019 10:37 utc | 56
There is no doubt Boeing has committed crimes on the 737MAX, its arrogance & greedy should be severely punished by the international commitment as an example to other global Corporations. It represents what is the worst of Corporate America that places profits in front of lives.
Christian J Chuba , Sep 4 2019 11:55 utc | 59
How the U.S. is keeping Russia out of the international market?

Iran and other sanctioned countries are a potential captive market and they have growth opportunities in what we sometimes call the non-aligned, emerging markets countries (Turkey, Africa, SE Asia, India, ...).

One thing I have learned is that the U.S. always games the system, we never play fair. So what did we do. Do their manufacturers use 1% U.S. made parts and they need that for international certification?

BM , Sep 4 2019 12:48 utc | 60
Ultimately all of the issues in the news these days are the same one and the same issue - as the US gets closer and closer to the brink of catastrophic collapse they get ever more desperate. As they get more and more desperate they descend into what comes most naturally to the US - throughout its entire history - frenzied violence, total absence of morality, war, murder, genocide, and everything else that the US is so well known for (by those who are not blinded by exceptionalist propaganda).

The Hong Kong violence is a perfect example - it is impossible that a self-respecting nation state could allow itself to be seen to degenerate into such idiotic degeneracy, and so grossly flaunt the most basic human decency. Ergo , the US is not a self-respecting nation state. It is a failed state.

I am certain the arrogance of Boeing reflects two things: (a) an assurance from the US government that the government will back them to the hilt, come what may, to make sure that the 737Max flies again; and (b) a threat that if Boeing fails to get the 737Max in the air despite that support, the entire top level management and board of directors will be jailed. Boeing know very well they cannot deliver. But just as the US government is desperate to avoid the inevitable collapse of the US, the Boeing top management are desperate to avoid jail. It is a charade.

It is time for international regulators to withdraw certification totally - after the problems are all fixed (I don't believe they ever will be), the plane needs complete new certification of every detail from the bottom up, at Boeing's expense, and with total openness from Boeing. The current Boeing management are not going to cooperate with that, therefore the international regulators need to demand a complete replacement of the management and board of directors as a condition for working with them.

Piotr Berman , Sep 4 2019 13:23 utc | 61
From ZeroHedge link:

If Boeing had invested some of this money that it blew on share buybacks to design a new modern plane from ground up to replace the ancient 737 airframe, these tragedies could have been prevented, and Boeing wouldn't have this nightmare on its hands. But the corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers, rather than real engineers, had the final word.

Markets don't care about any of this. They don't care about real engineers either. They love corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers. They want share buybacks, and if something bad happens, they'll overlook the $5 billion to pay for the fallout because it's just a "one-time item."

And now Boeing still has this plane, instead of a modern plane, and the history of this plane is now tainted, as is its brand, and by extension, that of Boeing. But markets blow that off too. Nothing matters.

Companies are getting away each with their own thing. There are companies that are losing a ton of money and are burning tons of cash, with no indications that they will ever make money. And market valuations are just ludicrous.

======

Thus Boeing issue is part of a much larger picture. Something systemic had to make "markets" less rational. And who is this "market"? In large part, fund managers wracking their brains how to create "decent return" while the cost of borrowing and returns on lending are super low. What remains are forms of real estate and stocks.

Overall, Boeing buy-backs exceeded 40 billion dollars, one could guess that half or quarter of that would suffice to build a plane that logically combines the latest technologies. E.g. the entire frame design to fit together with engines, processors proper for the information processing load, hydraulics for steering that satisfy force requirements in almost all circumstances etc. New technologies also fail because they are not completely understood, but when the overall design is logical with margins of safety, the faults can be eliminated.

Instead, 737 was slowly modified toward failure, eliminating safety margins one by one.

morongobill , Sep 4 2019 14:08 utc | 63

Regarding the 80286 and the 737, don't forget that the air traffic control system and the ICBM system uses old technology as well.

Seems our big systems have feet of old silicon.

Allan Bowman , Sep 4 2019 15:15 utc | 66
Boeing has apparently either never heard of, or ignores a procedure that is mandatory in satellite design and design reviews. This is FMEA or Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. This requires design engineers to document the impact of every potential failure and combination of failures thereby highlighting everthing from catastrophic effects to just annoyances. Clearly BOEING has done none of these and their troubles are a direct result. It can be assumed that their arrogant and incompetent management has not yet understood just how serious their behavior is to the future of the company.
fx , Sep 4 2019 16:08 utc | 69
Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics.

Posted by: Joost | Sep 4 2019 4:25 utc | 50

Well put!

Bemildred , Sep 4 2019 16:11 utc | 70
Computer modelling is what they are talking about in the cliche "Garbage in, garbage out".

The problem is not new, and it is well understood. What computer modelling is is cheap, and easy to fudge, and that is why it is popular with people who care about money a lot. Much of what is called "AI" is very similar in its limitations, a complicated way to fudge up the results you want, or something close enough for casual examination.

In particular cases where you have a well-defined and well-mathematized theory, then you can get some useful results with models. Like in Physics, Chemistry.

And they can be useful for "realistic" training situations, like aircraft simulators. The old story about wargame failures against Iran is another such situation. A lot of video games are big simulations in essence. But that is not reality, it's fake reality.

Trond , Sep 4 2019 17:01 utc | 79
@ SteveK9 71 "By the way, the problem was caused by Mitsubishi, who designed the heat exchangers."

Ahh. The furriners...

I once made the "mistake" of pointing out (in a comment under an article in Salon) that the reactors that exploded at Fukushima was made by GE and that GE people was still in charge of the reactors of American quality when they exploded. (The amerikans got out on one of the first planes out of the country).

I have never seen so many angry replies to one of my comments. I even got e-mails for several weeks from angry Americans.

c1ue , Sep 4 2019 19:44 utc | 80
@Henkie #53 You need floating point for scientific calculations, but I really doubt the 737 is doing any scientific research. Also, a regular CPU can do mathematical calculations. It just isn't as fast nor has the same capacity as a dedicated FPU. Another common use for FPUs is in live action shooter games - the neo-physics portions utilize scientific-like calculations to create lifelike actions. I sold computer systems in the 1990s while in school - Doom was a significant driver for newer systems (as well as hedge fund types). Again, don't see why an airplane needs this.

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

Sep 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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

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

And he has struggled to get enough to eat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Clear Need

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

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

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

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

As seniors ration food, programs ration services.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Slow Killer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Murky Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Sep 02, 2019] A Question of [Neoliberal] Character

"It's almost as though the disreputable younger sons of the Establishment, sent off to make money in Hong Kong after some scandal, had all returned to run the country"
Notable quotes:
"... I hate to say this, as a lifelong Socialist from a very modest background, but the British system worked in the past because it was pretty homogeneous. I don't mean literally everyone came from the same background (they let me in, after all) but rather there was a cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century. (It had its analogue in the ethos of the honest tradesman, which we've lost as well). This culture was never universal , of course, but it was very powerful, and it coped quite well with the social changes after 1945, as more women and people from much more diverse backgrounds entered the public sphere. ..."
"... You can mock the old High Seriousness of the public sphere if you like (too white! too male!) but the fact is that it wouldn't have got us in the mess we are in today, because it had both the scruples and the competence to avoid it. Now, it's open season. I remember thinking how bitterly ironic it was that the government which got the country into the worst peacetime crisis in modern history was also the most inclusive, and led by a woman at that. ..."
"... The "greed is good" ethos took hold in the 1980s. I don't think Reagan was so much a cause as a symptom, but it's clearly visible in how US healthcare costs diverge from the rest of the world, as shown by Hans Rösling's famous chart . ..."
"... per Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal ascendancy: "There is no society " ..."
Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

This post is certain to do short shrift to the topic of individual character and cultural values. As you'll see in due course, a long-standing friend, Professor Amar Bhide, sent me an encomium for a mentor of his, John McArthur, who among other things, was the Dean of Harvard Business School from 1980 to 1995.

What is striking about Amar's description isn't simply how rare it is for America to produce someone who was deeply engaged with the people around him, yet was also a first-class mind with wide-ranging interest, but that we no longer seem to aspire to produce people (outside immediate families) whose attentiveness and concern can and often does have a fundamental, positive impact on those around them. Amar points out that McArthur knew the names of all of the service staff in every restaurant and club he frequented. Now that I am in the South, one thing that really is different is that most people are courteous almost out of habit. Some of it can be a bit tricky, like men who seem overly eager to behave chivalrously, particularly in public spots like restaurants. But the behavior isn't a regional variant to the grating "Have a nice day" that too many hotel and restaurant managers require employees to say (and it shows). Even if the attention is fleeting, the desire to make contact is genuine.

Admittedly, few are in the sort of career or societal role to have the impact that McArthur did. But there doesn't seem to be much societal interest in producing elder statesmen or rabbis or pastors or skilled counselors, or individuals who could sometimes play pieces of those roles in narrower circumstances. Instead, too many people simply want to get theirs and devil take the hindmost.

And the costs when this posture become acceptable, as opposed to marginal, are significant. As David put it in our latest post on Brexit :

I hate to say this, as a lifelong Socialist from a very modest background, but the British system worked in the past because it was pretty homogeneous. I don't mean literally everyone came from the same background (they let me in, after all) but rather there was a cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century. (It had its analogue in the ethos of the honest tradesman, which we've lost as well). This culture was never universal , of course, but it was very powerful, and it coped quite well with the social changes after 1945, as more women and people from much more diverse backgrounds entered the public sphere.

It changed not because the origin of its members was different (May and Johnson both came from Oxford, as did Blair, and for that matter Thatcher) but because their ethos came from elsewhere. It came from the City, from Management Consultancy, and from that part of the British Establishment which was always more interested in Making Money than in Doing Things. It's almost as though the disreputable younger sons of the Establishment, sent off to make money in Hong Kong after some scandal, had all returned to run the country. You can mock the old High Seriousness of the public sphere if you like (too white! too male!) but the fact is that it wouldn't have got us in the mess we are in today, because it had both the scruples and the competence to avoid it. Now, it's open season. I remember thinking how bitterly ironic it was that the government which got the country into the worst peacetime crisis in modern history was also the most inclusive, and led by a woman at that.

I'm not sure the end of homogeneity was the driver of diminished respect for what was once called character. In the US, I hazard that a bigger factor was the widespread acceptance of libertarian/neoliberal values. As we've documented, that world view was marketed aggressively and very successfully by a loosely coordinated but well funded right wing campaign, whose seminal document was the Powell Memo of 1971 which laid out the vision and many of the tactics for their war on the New Deal and the community values that supported it. For instance, it would have been well-nigh impossible for a Mike Milken, who'd gone to prison for securities law violations (and was widely believed to have engaged in considerably more questionable conduct) to have rehabilitated himself to the degree he did.

From Amar:

John McArthur, in memoriam

He was one of a kind -- and his kindness and empathy (a much used word I know) was unbounded. It touched all from dining and custodial staff to taxi drivers. My parents apart, few other people have had such an influence on me. (And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

He was also astute, ruthless and got things done. His mind was extraordinary and his reading voracious and eclectic -- although you would never guess it from his aw shucks manner and country bumpkin style.

I first actually talked to him in my second year as assistant professor. We had a long long lunch at his corner table in the faculty club. We talked about everything -- except why we were having lunch. At the end he said, "Perhaps you'd like to know why i asked you to lunch. Well I've been reading your stuff and I wanted to put a face to the writing, to know who this person was who was writing this stuff."

A few days later a copy of Knight's Risk Uncertainty and Profit arrived in interoffice mail with one of John's classic handwritten notes, which went something along the following lines. "I think this will suit the way you think of the world."

I had never encountered the book in my doctoral studies, and it was revelatory.

We had lunches, lasting 2-3 hours nearly every year for the last 20 years after I left HBS. Always at the Charles ("If we ate at HBS there would be someone stopping by every minute" he said. At the Charles it was only every 10 minutes. And of course he knew every single waiter and waitress by name).

The stories he told at the lunches.. Such a pity he did not put his wisdom into a memoir. But that was not his way.

John, RIP.


ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:34 am

The benefits of a "classical" education. One of the main supports of the 'civilized' social interactions that you observe here 'Down South' is a stubborn refusal to put a price on everything. It is not universal, but it lingers in pockets of calm salted among the storms of modern living. Welcome to the South.

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 10:04 am

I have some neighbors who are the opposite of me politically (in fact most of my neighbors) but are wonderfully nice people on a personal level. Some of us who grew up here have had the opposite experience of Yves and lived for awhile in the North where all that politeness is dismissed as a false front.

Which in many cases it is, but the usefulness of all that unthinking social glue should not be dismissed out of hand. After decades of elites in thrall to Ayn Rand the country may be in need a few of those social norms that beatnik rebels in the 1950s found so stultifying. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Epstein was how all those rich people around him thought that his three teenager a day habit was perfectly acceptable.

bassmule , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I don't know anything about anything, but after living in the Northeast for my whole life I spent 10 years in North Carolina. After a decade, I realized that I was never going to stop being a Yankee, and that I detested "Southern courtesy" which mostly involved people telling me to "Have a Blessed Day!"

I take part of this back: My favorite item of Southern Courtesy is that you can slander anyone as long as you end the sentence with " bless his heart!"

Seriously, it's a different culture, and not one that I was ever comfortable with.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 11:49 am

There is a great scene in the film "Terms of Endearment" where John Lithgow's character is in a check out line at a grocery store. He encounters a rude cashier and remarks; "[She] must be from New York." The whole scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF8AZ-t2_Aw

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

The "blessed day" kick seems to have faded–haven't heard it in awhile. But you are certainly right about the different cultures, although lots of people from up north are moving down here so it's not as separated as it once was. Given that–per this blog–Wall Street culture is driving the country into the ground all that polite Southern conservatism may begin to seem less bad by comparison. There is certainly a religious context and a xenophobic context given Southerners' general support for the military.

Fazal Majid , August 31, 2019 at 3:33 am

The "greed is good" ethos took hold in the 1980s. I don't think Reagan was so much a cause as a symptom, but it's clearly visible in how US healthcare costs diverge from the rest of the world, as shown by Hans Rösling's famous chart .

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 31, 2019 at 3:59 am

Mohammed Ali wrote a poem about this that Guiness says is the world's shortest: "I; we". That civicness is what we've lost. To me the downward trajectory steepened with Reagan/ Gordon Gecko/Greed is good. Then was amplified and cemented by Bush: you're with us or against us; and the policy to fling bombs at any nation or actor "anytime we feel like it" with absolutely no regard for any notion of common (global, societal, collective) good. And thats the opposite of "civilization". Toss in a little post-meta-narcissism and the cocktail is for the law of the jungle. When JFK was killed Hunter Thompson wrote that "the scum have murdered the myth of American decency". Writ large now, across the world

Jessica , August 31, 2019 at 5:15 am

Our elites became historically obsolete around the 1960s. The counter-attack on the attempted cultural revolution that was The Sixties had no moral basis. It had and has nothing to fight for . It only had There Is No Alternative and I'm Sorry, You Must Have Mistaken Me for Someone Who Gives a Sh_t. The moral decay of such elites is unavoidable. The only solution is for them to no longer be the elites.

Further, we have reached a point in human development where no new elite of the previous type can fully unleash the capacities that we have developed. This is part of why the wannabe replacements in the top 10% themselves are so easily corrupted.

The good news is that we don't need any of them. Convincing each other of that will be quite helpful.

JOHN HACKER , August 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

i remember reading a computer guy's victory article over the hippies. Ken Burns story of Woodstock shed some interesting perspectives on those days. It was a real crack in the American veneer of "dirty hippies". The elders of the time had bought into the military industrial complex idea that Ike had warned.

beth , August 31, 2019 at 9:53 pm

Wops. I can't let that Eisenhower quote pass uncommented on. In reading lots of history in my retirement, I have read several books on the CIA. It seems that Ike didn't like wars, so he gave Allen Dulles full rein. Iran remembers.

Mucho , August 31, 2019 at 6:33 am

Principles used be valuable. Nowadays, they are just costly.

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:44 am

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we seek at the first ourselves to deceive"

. "For when thou hast been false to thine own self, thou canst not be true to any man"

Principles can be valuable in that I will still do business and have a discussion with a man that I strongly disagree with, but I will have nothing to do with the unprincipled. My experience is that the unprincipled are simply animals and nothing good but aggravation can come of it.

john ashley , August 31, 2019 at 7:24 am

"The good news is that we don't need any of them. Convincing each other of that will be quite helpful."

This sums up the decay of any pretense of "common" decency in my opinion. Sadly , you have it to a science.

flora , August 31, 2019 at 8:11 am

Thanks for this post.

But there doesn't seem to be much societal interest in producing elder statesmen or rabbis or pastors or skilled counselors, or individuals who could .

per Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal ascendancy: "There is no society "

There's active discouragement of recognizing the essential equality of people no matter what their station in life; this absolute discounting of "less important" people is a new thing in the last 20 – 30 years or so, imo. At first I though it was simple snobbery, but it's too wide spread for that to be the explanation, imo.

dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 10:27 am

It's worth googling to see what Thatcher actually said.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])
Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

New Wafer Army , August 31, 2019 at 2:26 pm

"They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." – in an interview in Women's Own in 1987

flora , August 31, 2019 at 6:53 pm

And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first.

Oh, the subtle slyness of that formulation; it suggests first that democratic govt is the servant of the will of the whole of the people, or society, and in the next breath suggests there is no whole of the will of the people or unity or society. It suggests what is truly important are atomized individuals and 'greed is good' and 'look out for number one' – the antithesis of society and unity and democratic govt.

Hamnet , September 1, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for this quotation. It appears to me to be classic case of pretzel logic. " It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." And who are "our neighbours"? They are society – of which there is, according to Thatcher, "no such thing".

Once again, form totally swamps substance and leaves us treading water in a sea of nonsense. Have we always allowed our leaders this much leeway with logic? Of course next to the statements of the current US President, this statement appears perfectly logical.

ewmayer , August 31, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Have you considered that perhaps the simplified "There is no society" rendering of what Ms. Thatcher said has become the de facto standard because it captures the toxic antisocial policies she actually practiced?

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 8:20 am

If someone would lie to themselves in order to be able to lie to others, then why should I respect them? There is a large difference between respect and fear, just like there is a difference between jealousy and anger. You know I have observed all of this among my C-level acquaintances ( 50 to 150 million ..)

Bob , August 31, 2019 at 8:38 am

Perhaps there is something to be said for leaving the Big Apple. And yes folks can seem to be more polite in the fly over country.

I'd guess that the real divider is that the politeness is driven in part by the realization that we need each other to a greater degree more in smaller communities.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I disagree about small communities. Plenty are subservient to a powerful interest with no scruples. It's always been about accountability. Scale and speed have reduced the ability to hold bad actors accountableif they are elite. The homogenized British civil service would naturally hold bad actors accountable if not through legal means then exclusion.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Ostracism and other forms of social control were ruthlessly used by the in-group to keep its members' behavior within a narrow range. Is it the methods of social control that have changed or the range of behavior deemed acceptable to the dominant group?

As Lord Boothby's life illustrates, if certain behavior was deemed helpful to the state or otherwise within bounds, then all sorts of behavior offensive to a common dustman's definition of "middle class morality" would be tolerated. That suggests a parallel with the arc of Jeffrey Epstein's career.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Compare Epstein and his associate's behaviour with that of the English aristocracy during the Edwardian era. I'll posit that this range of behaviours is class mediated, not era or milieu mediated.
With this as the 'face' of the 'ruling class,' is it any wonder that movements such as Calvinism and Puritanism gained such popular support?

EoH , September 1, 2019 at 9:27 am

One suspects that Wilde's Dorian Gray struck a chord among the upper classes, the scions of which must have remembered more than bad food and cold showers at their elite boarding schools. Indoctrination always begins with the young.

KLG , August 31, 2019 at 9:49 am

I got my first full-time job in science in 1975. I was 19 and had to make a living while going to school. The head of my lab, which was a leader in our field, and his colleagues in the department were very serious about their work, but not about themselves. Most, but certainly not all, of them took their roles as exemplars of how science should be very seriously, and it showed. Their mentorship has extended into the future, which is now, but more on that later. My boss at the time is 93 and not in particularly good health. Earlier this month I sent him a video of a talk in which our work was mentioned, as the close brush with a later Nobel Prize that it was. None of that particular group is still in the field, but he was happy to see, again, how far reaching our work has been. In a subsequent email I listed the 15 or so people I overlapped with in my 15 years in that smallish lab, and the list is replete with very successful men and women. We were taught well.

My time there didn't end particularly well, though. There is one fundamental reason for that: The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. By the late-1980's our research had been completely co-opted by the desire to build a "start-up" using our science as the foundation. This quite naturally attracted a gaggle of half-assed "entrepreneurs" whose only thought was "how fast how much money?" The science suffered, those who knew how to make it work as an important technology were ignored, and the whole apparatus collapsed in a heap of squandered money taken from people who couldn't afford to lose it and recriminations that have still not abated, much. My boss retired in the aftermath. He was a good scientist and a good person, but he was unable to see where he was headed. I got axed, basically for not "liking" the lead half-assed entrepreneur, to which I responded, "I like him just fine, but I don't trust him as far as I can throw him, and you shouldn't either." Q.E.D.

Now, 40+ years later the molecular and biomedical sciences are in crisis. Discoveries that will make a difference are left undiscovered while "entrepreneurs" collect multiple research grants from NIH and NSF but never, really, seem to get anywhere. Data from NIH show that the law of diminishing returns sets in as soon as an academic scientist gets his or her second grant. There is no room for the next generation to begin, while they have energy and vision (though older scientists have as much of both, if there were a future in it, and the experience to get something done while mentoring the next generations).

Anyway, there is an important book to be written by someone who reads naked capitalism about the deleterious effects of the neoliberal infestation of basic biomedical research that began with the Bayh-Dole Act; hmm what else happened in 1980? I cannot see any prospect of recovery of the good will, good science, and ethos of discovery that existed before, but until biomedical scientists understand what has happened to their world, there is really no hope. They will continue to scrape for scraps, act in ways that should be foreign to them, and soon forget why they became scientists in the first place. It has been my experience that "scientists" as a group pay little attention to politics, and view that as a mark of distinction. Pity. It is said that Trotsky IIRC wrote (paraphrase), "You may not be interested in politics, but politics is certainly interested in you." Yes, indeed.

Wikipedia search term: "Bayh-Dole Act"

kiwi , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Yes, everything now is about greed and speed.

And I think the speed part of the equation may have a lot to do with the way we no longer value integrity in people or in processes.

Yves cites the Powell memo as a cause, but I have to wonder if speed is the major cause of overall decline. After all, humans were largely agrarian. One must be patient to grow things and get your reward from that process on a regular yearly basis. In your field, painstaking research was the norm.

Now, so much is instant, and I think speed has caused much breakdown in human relations.

New Wafer Army , August 31, 2019 at 2:31 pm

That is an amazing anecdote. Thank you very much for taking the time to post. Would you consider writing an article on the topic? I am sure that Naked Capitalism would publish it. It is very important to get this stuff documented for the record. Hope to hear more from you.

oaf , August 31, 2019 at 10:01 am

"I; we".

Us .!!!

them.

Lsuoma , August 31, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Everybody needs somebody

Wukchumni , August 31, 2019 at 10:10 am

Anytime i'm hit with the "have a nice day" comment, I always tell them with a cheerful smile, "thanks, but I had other plans".

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:02 pm

I will occasionally tell a cashier or greeter/security person who gives me the canned "have a blessed day" spiel that; "I'm not from around here. You can tell me to have a rotten day. I won't complain." Sadly, only about one in ten gets the joke and responds accordingly.
My best response to this gambit was from an older, "Traditionalist Evangelical" style woman at the gates of the local WalMart. "That's okay. You are leaving this store. Your bad luck for the day is now over."

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 10:14 am

I have mentioned before how Stephen Covey – author of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" – did a study of American self-help books for his doctoral dissertation. He found that until about the 1920s, most American self-help books were about developing your character and Ben Franklin's books were typical of these. However, about the 1920s on, there was a very noticeable shift in the emphasis of these books. Now it was all about image and putting on a front. Books like "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie and "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill are typical here. So if you wanted to identify an inflexion point for the importance of character in our culture, you would have to say that it started about a century ago.

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 11:09 am

Booster, or Wise Guy, choose one.

Michael Fiorillo , August 31, 2019 at 11:37 am

Or Bruce Barton's "The Man Nobody Knows," which in the late 20's comforted the comfortable by explaining that Jesus was the first Big Businessman.

Always be Closing, baby, Always Be Closing

Fiery Hunt , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

"About a century ago".

A time we are desperately re-creating to the benefit of none but a few.

Anarcissie , August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

This seems like the contrasts noted in David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd between the 'tradition-directed', 'inner-directed', and 'other-directed' character types. But are these fashions, or a reflection of cultural needs driven by the movement from a largely agricultural society to an industrial one? Can the poor afford good character? The yeoman on his plot can perhaps defy his society for a long time, whereas the industrial worker or manager needs his job every day and must get along to keep it.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

The rise of Madison Avenue, during and post-First World War, thanks much to Sigmund Freud's son-in-law, Edward Bernays.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , August 31, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Showtimes new show, On becoming a God in Central Florida, skewers the Self Help genre.

Kirsten Dunst is terrific!

DJG , August 31, 2019 at 11:25 am

Thank you, Yves Smith. David's comment about his own rise caught my eye the other day, and I have been thinking about it, too. I don't know David's exact circumstances in the U.K, but I was as scholarship boy in high school and college in the U S of A. So here I am, with an "influential" job in publishing, which still can be very Waspy. (And that includes the women.)

The current issue in some respects is not that the homogeneity produced such perfect results (for instance, we should not forget longstanding problems like discrimination against Jews in academia and the CIA as a kind of Waspy adventure-fantasyland). Our current moral dilemma is that no one talks about character. In that "homogeneous" time, one could get rid of a troublesome man by noting that he wasn't a serious man. Not being a "serious man" was a major impediment. Now, we think that everyone is serious, with serious opinions, which we may not judge. Marianne Moore reputedly "did not suffer fools gladly." Now she would be considered an uptight collaborator with patriarchy.

The language for assessing character is no longer used: Probity. Thrift. Reliability. Consistency. Taking the long view. Equanimity. Justice (without qualifiers like "social"). Discernment. Good judgment. Think about how little one sees these words used these days in discussing chararcter. Instead, we get hagiographies of John McCain, a spoiled child, blowhard veteran, and lousy politician. We get Madeleine Albright discoursing on special places in hell where any woman with her own point of view can be consigned.

Many of the agreements that held U.S. society together had to be dismantled: That is part of what the New Deal was for. FDR knew that the discrimination against its own citizens wasn't going to last and that the economic collapse made it all worse. And yet even he couldn't eliminate racial discrimation.

Nevertheless, we are a long way from FDR, a man of character, and Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman revered for her character, when we now pretend that celebrities like McCain and Hillary Clinton are worthy of leading us, let alone respect.

Lambert Strether , August 31, 2019 at 4:36 pm

> FDR knew that the discrimination against its own citizens wasn't going to last and that the economic collapse made it all worse. And yet even he couldn't eliminate racial discrimation.

I have read that FDR tried to break with the Southern Democrats in 1937, but I need to hunt down the reference. If so, good for him.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 31, 2019 at 9:02 pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9490446-roosevelt-s-purge

I can't find easy to access articles, but I seem to remember this book, "Roosevelt's Purge."

The influence of the South on the Democratic caucus was known and complained about. LBJ's pitch in the 1956 convention was that he could control the South if need be.

Joe Well , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Didn't that wonderfully collegial bunch include the Best and Brightest who killed over 3 million Southeast Asians and some 10000s of Americans in the 1960s-1970s? Or is this a later age cohort? New Deal/Great Society liberalism's strategic interventions killed more people than neoliberalism's endless wars, lest we forget.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Overseas, in the countries affected by both series of conflicts, the millions of dead would disagree with you.

Anon , August 31, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Not certain the purpose of the comparison, but the Colonists, the Revolutionaries, and Blue and Grey federalist armies, the MIC, etc. have been eliminating "others" since forever.

Cat Burglar , August 31, 2019 at 11:46 am

The dictionary definition of character is "the mental and moral qualities distinctive of an individual."

I associate the term with a kind of neo-Victorian anglophile section of the US political right who put it around starting in the 1980s as a kind of synonym for social conformity and obedience to authority. I hate to admit it, but I have never really been able to figure out what it means, and have regarded it as hot air.

The dictionary definition suggests it could just be equal to the word individual , since the qualities of an individual are equal to an individual. In this case, as Mark Twain put it, "Why write 'metropolis' when you get the same pay for 'city?"

If the word is meant to draw attention to the qualities of a person as separate from their individuality, then it gets a little more interesting. Then you get to identify and name the qualities and what they mean, and you get to find out who has the power to do that. I remember our neo-Victorians were big on using very conventional abstract universals to corral social behavior. One of my current favorites is "personal responsibility," which is often employed by congress persons as a rationale for policies in support of debt peonage and medical bankruptcy, but not applied to their own role in mass murders.

The colloquial meaning of character seems to be the only one that carries a meaning that goes beyond any synonym. There are plenty of real characters out there, still. (One of my favorites was the subject of the film Dirtbag .)

This article takes the word in a direction I haven't seen before: that full engagement with others is a quality necessary to full individuality. That seems like a much less dubious use of the word.

ewmayer , August 31, 2019 at 5:19 pm

"I associate the term with a kind of neo-Victorian anglophile section of the US political right who put it around starting in the 1980s as a kind of synonym for social conformity and obedience to authority."

Were he still around, the late Martin Luther King Jr. might take issue with that, pardon the pun, characterization. Which is not to say that, as with any other word, it is not subject to misuse by those of ill intent.

Cat Burglar , August 31, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Right. The "content of their character." I forgot about that one.

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 10:03 pm

Damn. I wish that I had remembered that great MLK quote.

rob , September 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

I often think that the quote of MLK about the "content of their character" is such a good example of how we are living in a bizarro world when people talk about Obama .
Talk about a person whose only good quality is the color of his skin.
A "black" man became president. Which is a good thing that broke one tradition .. but that "man" was in no way possessing of any "good" character.
Like a carnival trick . a major schmuck was promoted in the cultural ethos as having been good, merely because he is black . but without any thought as to the POOR quality of his character.
In a reasonable world, no one would allow obama to be proclaimed in any way , as an example of MLK's vision of a man being judged by "the content of his character, and not the color of his skin."

MichaelSF , August 31, 2019 at 11:52 am

(And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

Shouldn't that be "reading everything I wrote:"?

Yves Smith Post author , August 31, 2019 at 10:44 pm

No, because Amar is an academic, so unless one said otherwise, "read everything I wrote" would mean published work only. Reading every draft is extraordinary.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Some years ago, the president of a small liberal arts college began to get to know his new home. His predecessors normally did this at faculty teas, president's dinners for donors, the odd picnic with students, and informal gatherings among staff. In a world before deanlets, assistant assistants, and chiefs of staff, that was a small world.

But this new president inverted the pyramid. His first gathering was with the custodial and kitchen staffs, groundskeepers, and the like, whom he eventually got to know on a first name basis. They took note, as did the faculty, who still ran the place.

Fast forward a few decades. Another new president's first task – backed by a like-minded board – was to outsource all those jobs. In a small college town, losing its other large employers to shutdowns and consolidations, scores more people were thrown out of work, adding to town-and-gown tensions.

An alternative for staff tossed out of work and with few options was to become a local hire for the out-of-town outsourced employer. That meant doing the same job for less pay, without benefits, with no union or worker protections, and without a relationship with their absentee employer. Profits left the local economy as fast as those employer-employee relations at the college. But the new president checked a box on his CEO-like resume.

A modest example, it captures several of neoliberalism's core objectives: imposing business priorities and methods on cultural institutions, outsourcing, union busting, and aggregating revenue and profits in a handful of distant locations.

The same work got done, often by the same people, but the culture was irrevocably weakened. All for a few dollars more, fewer than were paid to the plethora of new staff and their myriad of business plans, intended to make faculty and students responsible for nothing but themselves.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:09 pm

And, sadly, the only people utilizing "direct action" remedies for these systemic maladies are lone nutter types.
Imagine America with a well organized and militant underground movement.
The present day 'Masters of the Universe' are building up their organs of opression to combat such an eventuality. This will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anarcissie , August 31, 2019 at 12:49 pm

There is a sort of world underground, as noted in this very publication ('Add Oil', a few days ago). It seems to be 'open source' as 'Add Oil' says, and constantly evolving. Random other examples: Gilets Jaunes, Occupy Wall Street, Tahrir. As the system of the Ruling Class weakens and casts more people off, they become available for this sort of activity.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Agreed. As my dear old Dad was wont to say after a few beers, "The Fourth International finds work for idle hands."

KLG , September 1, 2019 at 7:10 am

Your final paragraph explains every college and university.

Barry Fay , August 31, 2019 at 12:21 pm

What character is, is wanting and trying to have character – we all know what that means and know it is a tough row to hoe! So it was gotten rid of by those unwilling to make the effort – sort of like "memorising" was gotten rid of with clever attacks on its "efficacy". Katy, bar the door!

orange cats , August 31, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Civility and character are often aligned but when civility is chiefly a cultural pose it says next to nothing about how repressed, angry, selfish or incompetent someone is. The following is a synopsis of Marilynne Robinson's remarkable book "Mother Country" published in the 1999 (Britain has a minimum wage now).

'So asks a book-within-the-book where Robinson looks to the past, even unto Poor Law of the 14th Century, for the secrets of national character. What does she find? That beneath the famous civility the British have always wasted lives and credited the idea of human surplus; that there have in the past been policies of depopulation. That there is a lack "of positive, substantive personal and political rights." That industrial illness and accident are common and customary. That there has never been a minimum wage. That many factors, including the Official Secrets Act, restrict the flow of information. That the (non-elected) Permanent Civil Service is professional and very powerful. That bumbling amateurism is still respectable, with chilling ramifications–an inability to gather meaningful statistics, for instance, or to keep track of such crucial documents as half the mortality data on workers at Windscale. That the citizenry is passive. That it is hard to locate responsibility, and that profit is motive and justification enough for almost anything.'

JEHR , August 31, 2019 at 12:57 pm

So I am here wondering where I obtained my sense of "morality" and "ethical" behaviour. My mother emphasized that truthfulness and honesty were imperative. I rarely lied to her or stole from her. My primary teachers emphasized working hard and finishing work to the point that it was the best I could do (one teacher especially said that I should work to my best abilities and I tried to do that). My secondary teachers taught me how to study for tests, how to memorize poetry and what was worth learning (via the curriculum). My university professors talked about analyzing works of literature and how such analysis helped us understand life as lived by all of us. My marriage taught me how to put others' physical and emotional needs ahead of my own. My old age revealed to me that knowing oneself was a most frightful thing to engage in.

I never thought that I would have to learn about how greed works in the banking system; how false prophets are everywhere; how great wealth pollutes the character as well as the environment; that pornography is considered entertainment; that politics has its very own pollutants that taint our shared world; and so on. I think it is well past time to leave.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 3:40 pm

I'd love to join you in exploring that 'Great Void' but I have too many responsibilities left here in the 'Realm of Maya.'
That's the lesson I did not expect to learn in my middle age; that there is always going to be some responsibility needing one's attention and effort.
I am relearning with a vengeance the marriage lesson you mention.
As for knowing myself, well, the older I get, the more I realize that I know nothing.
Keep the faith!

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Very nice eulogy. It makes me remember people with that inner strength in my life. There have been quite a few. The difference between an ordinary good character and a great one is energy, imo. People who have the energy to share their good thinking and the patience to listen are the best. They just operate on a slightly higher frequency. McArthur may have been one in a million, but he influenced millions. So it consoles me to think that there are enough people of good character in this world to turn things around. Just because I wasn't personally acquainted with them, doesn't mean I wasn't influenced by them. The very function of society.

lyman alpha blob , August 31, 2019 at 1:56 pm

When I was hired for a non-management position several years ago, the CEO of my company came up to me on my first day and addressed me by name to welcome me to the job. I was rather shocked that she even knew I'd been hired. She was a 30+ year employee of the company who had worked her way up from being a freelance writer. Many of my coworkers then had been with the company for decades too.

She retired a few years into my tenure and the place really hasn't been the same since she left – the kind of neoliberal MBA mentality well known to NC readers has come to the forefront. Pretty sure I'm not the only one who misses her leadership and character.

chuckw , August 31, 2019 at 2:12 pm

I'm all in favor of gentlemanly manners and am trying to teach them to my son. On the other hand, there have been a lot of people who could be flawed in their personal dealings but dedicated to the greatest good. And many slave owners who were courtly and thoughtful, especially regarding the opposite sex.
I'm sure that Mr. McArthur was a great guy. But what was the HBS up to while he was dean and what did that say about his deeper values? This is from a Newsweek story from a couple years ago about the evolution of shareholder primacy:

" the new belief that the shareholder was supreme, absolving managers of responsibility to any "stakeholder" -- employees, communities, society itself -- except shareholders. The bottom line was all that mattered.
John McArthur, then dean of HBS, liked Jensen's message and invited him to HBS as a visiting professor in 1984. In a 1999 vanity project about McArthur's tenure, The Intellectual Venture Capitalist, HBS trotted out a rationale for hiring him: "Jensen had been interested in testing his unorthodox ideas against the experiences of practitioners and had agreed to come to HBS on a temporary basis to get increased access to high-level decision makers in business." Hogwash. "Theory of the Firm" was testable only in the sense that Keynesian economics is testable, or a theory of whether a hurricane might sweep beachfront houses out to sea is testable -- you can debate the issues until you're blue in the face, but at some point, you just have to see what happens.A course grounded in agency theory that Jensen developed at HBS -- The Coordination and Control of Markets and Organizations -- was designed to make students more "tough-minded" and shift them from the "stakeholder model" of organizational purpose. It became one of the most popular electives at the school. Agency theory wasn't new, but Jensen's resurrected form of it provided academic justification for the takeover movement, and HBS provided its revolutionary soldiers."

David in Santa Cruz , August 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Yves, this post and Jerri-Lynn's companion post of Bill Black on corruption, are important discussions of our dishonorable libertarian zeitgeist.

Ironically, I think that the origins of modern neoliberal libertarianism can be traced back to Woodstock and its evil double Altamont. It can be no coincidence that Trump was played off the convention stage by a recording of the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want .

I think that George Monbiot describes it well:

It is a pitiless, one-sided, mechanical view of the world, which elevates the rights of property over everything else, meaning that those who possess the most property end up with great power over others. Dressed up as freedom, it is a formula for oppression and bondage. It does nothing to address inequality, hardship or social exclusion. A transparently self-serving vision, it seeks to justify the greedy and selfish behaviour of those with wealth and power.

George Monbiot,
Why Libertarians Must Deny Climate Change
The Guardian, January 6, 2012

barry fay , September 1, 2019 at 8:14 am

Just because something is counterintuitive does not mean it´s insightful – mostly it means that it is just plain wrong! In this case, trotting out Woodstock as the root of neoliberal anything is absurd. The anti-corporation, anti-war, anti-empire feelings were palpable (I was there – you can hear them paging my twin brother "Alan Fay" on the album). The sense of community and brotherly love was REAL – as was the incipient reactionary response. Can´t have those kinds of ideas gaining traction in a capitalist society!

Bazarov , August 31, 2019 at 4:18 pm

I travel to Georgia frequently. I've seen that state's rural and urban and in between. While I did encounter some of the "southern hospitality" people so often cite, it was usually present in an upper-class milieu and did not leave much of an impression on me, as it felt "church-smile" inflected.

What did leave an impression on me was the homelessness and vagrancy, especially in Atlanta, where on my way back to the airport, I had a man practically beg me to let him carry my luggage so as to have a reason to give him alms. I had, on that same trip and on subsequent trips to the state, many similar encounters. These people were rather pushy–it was disturbing to me in that their hustle was driven by obvious desperation.

I currently live in Indiana, in a relatively affluent town, though I'm working class and reside in a modest apartment. Until recently, I did not own a car. I would walk to the grocery store a couple times a week. On one such walk, a homeless man asked if I had a light for his cigarette. I didn't, but we walked together for about twenty minutes. During our walk, I asked him about his life.

According to this man, the homeless in our town live in a tent settlement in the woods, which is the only place the police will tolerate such a gathering because it's out of sight (and therefore out of mind for the people that matter). He explained to me that, whatever the hardships for the homeless in our town, it was nothing compared to Atlanta, where he lived prior. He described the city as having the "hardest" streets he'd ever experienced. I should probably mention that this man was likely in his late 40s or early 50s, meaning he'd experienced a lot! It was so terrifying, he had to flee north.

That's what comes vividly to mind when I think of the "South". The politeness stuff hardly rates in comparison.

anon y'mouse , August 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm

as a total outsider, i feel that the veneer of the "southern hospitality" is intentionally to paper over and ignore the continuation of unjust systems.

this kind of "treating people with basic human decency" can and does very easily morph into "be quiet and say nothing while your social betters ride roughshod over everyone because you have no standing yourself to oppose them and it is considered impolite for YOU to point out these discrepancies".

i am torn between enjoying the image of sociability and detesting it. i know for a fact that most of it is a front, and that many people are talked badly about behind closed doors and over back fences, and that many people are shut out through these "kindnesses" (you can't complain as long as they didn't spit in your face). a lot of it is about maintaining pecking order. is -that- character? i think not.
but what do i know?

Yves Smith Post author , August 31, 2019 at 10:54 pm

Alabama doesn't have that many homeless because housing (particularly trailers) are cheap. Not saying those homeless are treated well, but there are shelters and services.

Atlanta is also an Old South city whereas Birmingham grew up after the Civil War.

https://abc3340.com/news/abc-3340-news-iteam/many-of-them-are-essentially-broken-homeless-population-tops-1000-in-central-al

Hayek's Heelbiter , August 31, 2019 at 4:21 pm

As a Southern exile of Faulkner's second type, now living in the UK, I respectfully disagree slightly with the statement:

.cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century.

I think it goes much deeper than that back to a perhaps medieval sense of noblesse oblige .

You see this most starkly in the difference between Kate Middleton, who appears all over the place at the most mundane functions, allowing herself to be photographed with all and sundry, and Meghan Markle, who jets about in private planes on vacations and demands an entire section for herself at Wimbledon, asking guards to stop people photographing her.

Like so many of the 1%, I think her attitude could best be summed up as noblesse oublier .

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

I've been under the impression that character was quite valuable to those who assume to be my superiors, particularly at work. "Builds character" they'd say. After about 30 years of that bullshit, I finally had the gall to ask the CEO about why he doesn't he build his *own* character, as opposed to building everyone elses.

They love building character, as long as it's someone elses.
Nope, don't work there anymore.

David , August 31, 2019 at 10:29 pm

I have always wondered why there are so many shootings today. The AR-15 came out in the 60s and I felt no fear going through a public high school in the late 70s. Now, it's "gun control/do something" vs improving the character of our country's citizens. Yeah, I know – trying to improve the character of our citizens is not very hash tag-able/ would be extremely difficult to do. But gun control is made for hashtags. We are doomed.

New Wafer Army , September 1, 2019 at 4:20 am

This book by Mark Ames should be elucidating:

Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond .

David , September 1, 2019 at 8:19 pm

Yep – We are doomed.

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epstein by Mr. Barr's father? Or of the father's own Establishment background?

I hope to be wrong, but my own hunch is that these investigations, like the parallel investigations of the RussiaGate hoax, will leave the elite unscathed. I also hope that in the meantime we see more rigorous columns here than this one.

Miro23 , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

...Also, subsequently, it should have been a top priority to arrest Ghislaine Maxwell but the government, justice and media lack interest . Apparently, they don't know where she is, and they're not making any special efforts to find out.

Sick of Orcs , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein had no "dead man's switch" which would release what he knew to media? C'mon! This is basic Villainy 101.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 25, 2019 | off-guardian.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Aug 25, 2019] Thatcher's mantra TINA (There Is No Alternative)

Notable quotes:
"... The ideal modern subject is the 'consumer/spectator' who exercises their anti-capitalism by consuming a more ethical brand of product. In which way: capitalism subsumes its anti-capitalist antithesis TINA. If you have a new idealism: you have to market it and so it becomes just another brand of capitalism. It becomes a new consumerism. That's capitalist realism. TINA. ..."
"... That which we are when we turn away – and ultimately turn off – the consumer spectacle. We are not rational self-maximisers seeking maximum market access only for ourselves. Our idolatry of greed will not provide a Kantian *summum bonum* of objective market values of welfare and wellbeing for all. That is a mendacious lie only a utopian 'capitalist realist' could believe. We have to seek the alternative. Now: while we are already crossing the event horizon of yet another crisis of capitalism entering the black hole at the heart of overfinancialisation and debt deflation. We have yet to admit that it is entropy dragging us in. It's gonna have to more than a "beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending" story. It's gonna have to be real world relevant and credible too. ..."
"... Capitalism does not work as a culturally conditioned psychology; an ecology; or even as an economy. Each time it fails: it is restarted by a massive, never before known, transference of wealth from the poor to rich ..."
"... Only utopian capitalist realists can ever believe that any of this pseudo-wealth will trickle down in any meaningful way. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | off-guardian.org

BigB

... ... ..

Ed nails it: everyone gets the Debordian Spectacle angle. I, for one, need no more convincing of the true nature of capitalism. Which brings me back to Pfaller's meaningless usage of the term 'Postmodernism'. We had this discussion last week: so I will only re-iterate this. The blanket use of the term says nothing useful at all. For 'progressive neoliberalism': I propose Mark Fisher's term – "Capitalist Realism". Mainly because it does supply valuable conceptual and semantic framing of sense and meaning.

As given most succinctly in the book's (it's an essay really) subtitle and Thatcher's mantra – TINA (There Is No Alternative). Capitalism has totally colonised culture – in roughly the same timescale Pfaller is indicating (perhaps a bit earlier) – and shaped contemporary consciousness by commodifying and consumerising it.

The ideal modern subject is the 'consumer/spectator' who exercises their anti-capitalism by consuming a more ethical brand of product. In which way: capitalism subsumes its anti-capitalist antithesis TINA. If you have a new idealism: you have to market it and so it becomes just another brand of capitalism. It becomes a new consumerism. That's capitalist realism. TINA.

This double-bind situationism speaks more eloquently to me than the pseudo-label 'PoMo' – which can mean anything to anyone – and therefore means nothing to everyone. Which brings me back to the point, as I see it, that Ed is making. We need a new alternative. Bauman, Pfaller, Zizek, Giddens, etc can argue to the cows come home about when 'high modernity' became 'postmodernity' or did it just continue as 'liquid modernity' (to which I would concur) if not that these damn meaningless terms offer little of a counterculture or liberational praxis. One that defies consumerisation.

I give you us as the answer. That which we are when we turn away – and ultimately turn off – the consumer spectacle. We are not rational self-maximisers seeking maximum market access only for ourselves. Our idolatry of greed will not provide a Kantian *summum bonum* of objective market values of welfare and wellbeing for all. That is a mendacious lie only a utopian 'capitalist realist' could believe. We have to seek the alternative. Now: while we are already crossing the event horizon of yet another crisis of capitalism entering the black hole at the heart of overfinancialisation and debt deflation. We have yet to admit that it is entropy dragging us in. It's gonna have to more than a "beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending" story. It's gonna have to be real world relevant and credible too.

Capitalism does not work as a culturally conditioned psychology; an ecology; or even as an economy. Each time it fails: it is restarted by a massive, never before known, transference of wealth from the poor to rich. These are waves and cycles of 'primitive accumulation' and 'accumulation by dispossession'.

Only utopian capitalist realists can ever believe that any of this pseudo-wealth will trickle down in any meaningful way. How can it ever be meaningful if it is essentially a meaningless inescapable void of exponential and entropic debt deflation? Capitalism is the biggest anti-utopian social engineering project in history. One that offers only a soulless, submissive Void for the consumer/spectator – TINA. That's capitalist realism.

Nothing else matters other than avoiding this Void of capitalist realist nihilisation of humanity. Nothing. Jeffrey who?

[Aug 24, 2019] Russian trolls exiled from Guardian find home for their hate

Aug 24, 2019 | off-guardian.org

George The use of the word "hate" has become another thought-stopper. It's like calling something "Evil" without further explanation. I first realised this when I found the following article which is specifically about Off-Guardian:

https://www.stopfake.org/en/russian-trolls-exiled-from-guardian-find-home-for-their-hate/

The title is in the URL itself but it's worth emphasising since it headlines the article:
"Russian trolls exiled from Guardian find home for their hate"

And there it is – the simple assertion "hate". It's so crass. It's like cartoon propaganda – which may well be the most effective kind. And it echoes that old staple, "They just hate us!", "They are haters!" and, best of all, "Hatred of the good for being good." That last one is a masterstroke since it absolves one side of investigation while shoving all blame onto the other side. Best of all, the more "they" hate us, the more "good" we must be! 19 0 Reply Aug 22, 2019 5:25 PM Reader


Ramdan

F*** . am I russian now? ..and where can we pick our passports??
Capricornia Man
The article you provide a link to offers the following wisdom:
'In line with the Kremlin's goals, OffGuardian seeks to undermine trust in the "mainstream media".'
Capricornia Man
Wanted to finish my above post by observing that, for anyone capable of a moderate level of independent thought, the "mainstream media" have done a brilliant job of forfeiting trust all by themselves.
Elementor
LOL – my favorite bit of that article is where they cite Kit's use of the internet-4Chan meme "accidentally the " as evidence English isn't his first language!!!!

ROFL I literally nearly fell of my chair laughing.

This lady is revealed as either truly ancient, a cultural hermit or or herself a non-native English speaker.

Also she lies her ancient ass off about Ukraine.

Roland Spansky
That is fricken priceless
Rhys Jaggar
The real difficulty with all 'hate crime' stuff is proving that a hating state of mind exists. The key point here is that those offended by statements or those victimised may assume hate to be present when it may be hatred of an individual, not their sex, religion, sexual orientation etc.

Here are few hard questions:

1. If I state, correctly, that several leaders of Russian mob families are- or have been Jewish, does that make me antisemitic?

I say absolutely it does not. I would back that up by saying that several other crime overlords profess to have Christian ancestry. So not all mob capos are Jewish ..and being Jewish does not make you more likely to lead a life of crime .

2. So what about if I killed a Jewish mobster because his hoods sexually abused my daughter? Does that make me antisemitic??

Absolutely not. I would kill any mob capo whose vermin attacked my daughter. Jewishness does not come into it. I certainly hated the mobster, but I did not hate his Jewishness .

3. What about if I say that the Israeli Secret Service, the Mossad, is a terrorist organisation?

Here we are talking about the official Intelligence Service of the Jewish State. Those folks are going to be Jews, representing Jewry. Is that anti-semitic?

Why?? Being a terrorist basically means you have either a very violent religion or you do not uphold the principles of a less violent one. I would point to the known terrorism in the histories of MI6, the CIA, the OSS and several others to prove that it is not Jewishness that drives the terror, rather the precepts under which Intelligence agencies are run.

4. What if I say that Jews are over-represented amongst the Western media and banking elites? Is that anti-semitic??

Well, firstly the data suggests I am being factual, namely that the actual number of Jews in such positions is far higher than might be expected on a population-based pro rata outcome. Secondly, have I said it is either good or bad? I think I am suggesting that society might discuss why that has come about, whether any consequences have ensued and whether the majority in a society consider those consequences to be appropriate. It is not anti-semitic to ask if a small minority holding inordinate influence/power is aggreable to the majority of the citizenry. After all, we are continually suggesting that white, public-school-educated male graduates of Oxbridge should not dominate UK society in this day and age .

5. What if I say that a small minority of Jews proclaim the Jewish people to be superior to all goyim? Is that factual or anti-semitic??

What if I say to hold such a view makes that subset of Jews to be racist?

My view again is that that is factually accurate. It does not imply all Jews think like that, does it? It is like saying in the 1970s that the National Front was racist: said nothing about the majority of British people, did I?

I would really dare some Jewish people to challenge those arguments.

Not by smearing, scaremongering, bursting into tears or any other melodrama.

Nor by power plays, threats, blackmail or libel.

By cool, reasoned argument .

OffG
Can we try to keep at least one thread free from discussing the antisemitism issue.

If you want to debate that subject there is an ongoing and currently civilised discussion between Mark and Mandy Miller on one of the Epstein threads. Feel free to re-post this comment there.

This article is about the media manipulation of the concept of 'hate'.

wardropper
I share Norman Finkelstein's view that the appropriate response, both by us and by the Labour Party, for example, is to funnel any such accusations to a small unit which will answer any serious charges in detail, leaving the rest of us to state quite clearly, "It's over. We're not having our wide political and global interests forced into an endless, energy-sapping and time-wasting series of protests against ridiculous charges. We are not answering them any more. Take them to the relevant unit, and leave our free speech alone."
That said, Rhys does a great job of making his point, and perhaps the concept of "hate" is not so irrelevant to that point.
Martin Usher
Antisemitism is not what's being discussed, its just a well known example of 'hate' that we can all more or less agree on. Its a tricky subject to discuss because its the closest thing that we have to Thoughtcrime in contemporary society so we need some sort of ground state we can work from.

The example of Jewish mob bosses is useful but we could have chosen American ones rather than Russian ones -- the Jewish 'mob' was preeminent in US cities before being displaced by the Italians/Sicilians. What I think is important, though, isn't stated and that's the idea that tribal identity has gradually been made important with our identity is inextricably bound up with our tribe, a tribe differentiated by religion, race or orientation but not notably by our economic class. The question shouldn't be to argue among ourselves about details and crumbs but to ask why allowing ourselves to sliced and diced into potentially warring groups. The media is full of it (literally and metaphorically) -- if its not race or gender then its the latest millennial versus baby boomer BS. To me the answer is obvious -- you don't want people uniting around common goals and expectations, you need to have them at each other's throats, fighting for those crumbs.

Incidentally, having to put up with racist jerks is the unfortunate side effect of espousing free speech. There's no easy way to winnow the good from the bad and you just know that if you let Big Brother decide for you then sooner rather than later it will be *you* that they'll be coming for.

flaxgirl
Oh for goodness sake. It's all faked and they tell us it's faked loud and clear. I have a webpage on how they tell us clearly.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/they-tell-us-clearly.html

Obviously, it must be a legality because these events are so full of obvious holes they have to be deliberate and in some cases what happens is virtually impossible such as in the event that happened in my own city last week. Mert Ney brandishes a knife in the middle of an amazingly empty Clarence St with BROWN EYES but when we see him pinned ludicrously under the milk crate he has BLUE EYES, a change in eye-colour obviously effected with blue-tinted contact lenses. Does anyone seriously believe that a dextrous Mert pulled out and inserted these contact lenses between his knife-brandishing and being pinned?

Brown eyes
https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/accused-sydney-stabber-mert-ney-suffering-in-jail-after-leg-surgery/news-story/e522f3ce939d1af835c8301897e55b8e

Blue eyes
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/loners-ideology-of-death-revealed/news-story/2be3afe37ee71f54d48e4ea701855ad4#&gid=null&pid=1

Scrutinise the media stories. Notice all the contradictions in the various versions of the story. Notice all the misspellings, the inappropriate tone and register of language. The phony loved ones and witnesses. The nauseating heroes pimping their employer on morning TV. The complete absence of any sense of reality to these highly improbable crimes. What will it take for the recognition of these events to catch on? I simply do not understand.

Here is the word "Staged" inserted incongruously into this text. "Must have been a hell of a drug bender "?????? How much clearer do they have to make it?
Sydney stabbing LIVE: NSW Police confirm body found in Clarence Street unit linked to attack
BREAKING: We can confirm the death of the woman in the Clarence Street unit in Sydney's CBD is linked to the stabbing on the street below. Staged Must have been a hell of a drug bender

https://headtopics.com/au/highest-order-heroes-the-men-who-took-down-an-alleged-sydney-knifeman-7520445?fbclid=IwAR0leTJjIpqgFp1VtFTGwJ5_z0qNJCLrKEuYW6tlKDD9m-Kl71h7-AHanys

And then we have the Philly cops spraying blood.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcGRq80InQU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

OffG
The blue/brown eyes thing is a non-issue, it can be created simply by changes in lighting levels or resolution. We pointed this out to you once already.

If you genuinely want to engage people and are not – as many claim – a troll please take some advice:

Add the words 'I think' or 'could be' occasionally.

Don't comport like a missionary trying to convert unbelievers.

Put forward suggestions rather than pronouncements of dogma.

That way your posts might provoke some genuine discussion. If you ignore these suggestions and continue with these repeat-posted manifestos of certitude it's going to start looking as if the claims of trollery are not misplaced.

PS – this commenter below is inviting discussion of potential hoax shootings – why not engage with him ?

PPS – The link you added to the alleged contact lenses is broken, so we're removing it. Add another below and we'll add it to this post of yours

flaxgirl

The blue/brown eyes thing is a non-issue, it can be created simply by changes in lighting levels or resolution. We pointed this out to you once already.

Apologies, I do not remember seeing that, however, I'm not sure your assertion is valid – you'd have to show an example that matches mine. When you say the link didn't work I wonder if you copied the entire link or just clicked because obviously the link wasn't underlined for its entirety and for it to work you needed to copy and paste it. In any case I found a better link – see below.

If you scroll down on this page you will see a ring around Ney's eyes which clearly indicates a contact lens.
https://pressfrom.info/au/news/australia/-141427-sydney-stabbing-accused-mert-ney-reportedly-saw-michaela-dunn-and-other-sex-workers-before-alleged-attacks.html

In this photo of a tinted contact lens you will see a similar-looking ring.
https://eyecandys.com/collections/colored-contacts/products/eyecandys-opal-grey-colour-contacts

As usual, OffG, you select one item only – which you don't manage to debunk in any case. There are so very many things wrong with the stabbing incident story. Unsurprisingly, you fail to make a comment on the word "Staged" appearing incongruously for example. Please, I beg you, OffG, what is your explanation for the word "Staged" appearing incongruously in the middle of a paragraph on this story and are you going to tell me that it is just sloppy journalism to say " must have been a hell of a drug-bender" when a woman has just been knifed to death and another woman injured? Are you going to tell me, "sloppy journalism"?

You seem unable to confront evidence, OffG. I have the feeling that you believe it is more scientific to reserve judgement, that one must always sit on the fence about evidence. This is a fallacy. When all the evidence points in a certain direction and none points in any other direction, the scientific thing to do is to call it. It is sitting on the fence that is unscientific.

I wonder what you actually call. Do you think that it might have been 19 terrorists armed with boxcutters responsible for 9/11 after all? Perhaps you do.

INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT
No one, despite the offer to choose your own judge, has responded to my 10-point Occam's Razor challenge for 5 separate events nor has anyone come up with even a single point. The fact that that to you is insignificant means you do not know how to judge logic and evidence. I have put my money where my mouth is but, OffG, you never, ever do that.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

different frank
Just because there are uniforms, it does not mean they are cops.
flaxgirl
No, but I think they often are because these events are really drills pushed out as real and response agencies are key players. In this video, the very observant Woodrow Wobbles identifies training going on. He notices one guy hanging around the milk crate who looks like a guy at an event in Melbourne and he identifies the words, "Lock it, lock it, lock it Let go," suggesting the police are being trained.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/82YmcYaaU-k?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Maggie
I am in agreement with you Flax. Definitely looks like a training drill.
Doctortrinate
Flaxgirl: I looked at the Philly cop video you posted – very interesting, as am also unsure of it's authenticity – though perhaps not for the same reason as yourself .as to myself , the drops/drips and dribbles themselves seem to be counterfeit, possibly edited into the film – and detectable by slowly (frame by frame) playing through it revealing some unusual and seemingly unfeasible characteristics ..of couse, would still be fakery , but with a twist – Media created even.
Elementor
Agree. It looks at first glance as if those dots just appear, which leads to thinking the cop "sprays" them or something similar, but on close analysis it looks wrong. I suspect it's been faked, a honeypot for the unwary hoax-buff.
Doctortrinate
precisely Elementor – well seen and put " a honeypot for the unwary hoax-buff"

quite possibly.

Cheers.

Seamus Padraig
'Hate crimes' are just thought-crimes , pure and simple. They are now criminalizing political points of view. The Constitution is dead.

even though the once-revered ACLU does not oppose the Second Amendment.

Of course the American Civil Liberties Union doesn't oppose the Second Amendment–it's a civil liberty! That being said, with things going the way they're going, I wouldn't be at all surprised in the ACLU eventually does turn against the Second Amendment. Once upon a time, not so many years ago, they were free speech absolutists as well–does anyone else here remember the infamous Skokie Nazis? The ACLU actually argued their case pro bono! But in more recent times, they have succumbed to the logic of the campus 'hate speech' craze.

Many legal scholars would respond that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment already provides all American citizens with the guaranteed right to equal protection under the law

And they would, too, if only the US government still followed its own constitution.

Harry Stotle
"Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay" – unless they are neocons in which case they can kill with impunity under the usual rubrics – 'liberal intervention', 'bringing democracy' or 'humanitarian aid'.

Hell, we can even stage pop-festivals and invite grotesque figures like Sir Richard to belt out 'Imagine' while the local militia tool up with CIA hardware before wreaking havoc on unarmed civilians.

If western audiences become slightly sceptical the MSM will do its usual job of reassuring them that mass murder is an inconvenient externality when it comes to building a brighter future.

Elementor

Why should the American public trust the MSM for what may have already been determined to be a 'hate' crime without providing evidence of the hate

Terrific point. Where do we draw the line on skepticism about official narratives? How much do we really know about these shootings, the identities of the shooters, even the reality of the crimes?

I don't want to get into full "it's a hoax" mode, but surely it's only intelligent to recall there are documented cases of fake events and therefore being prepared to allow the possibility any event may be fake is objectively the only rational response. What stops us? Nothing more than the same kneejerk rejection that makes other people refuse to consider 9/11 may have been an inside job or JFK may not have been shot by LHO.

It's not per se crazy to entertain the possibility, or per se offensive either. Fakery happens, we are constantly being manipulated, being aware of all possibilities is our only defense.

The same intelligence entities that coined the phrase "conspiracy theory" have also closed down any Youtube channels that dare to question, even in the most restrained and respectful way, the reality of any mass shooting. But sites like this condone that censorship, not seeing the connection.

Is it possible to have a non-binary, rational, fact-based discussion about the possibility some mass shootings may be fake?

I invite thoughts

John Thatcher
The old adage,"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" comes immediately to mind,and that particularly applies to government and government action.As you rightly point out,there have been too many examples of fake events and official lies for anybody to be complacent.Treat all with caution and judge on the weight and quality of the evidence.If the evidence is not conclusive in any direction maintain a sceptical state of mind.
Elementor
So very true. And yet so many of the enlightened are unwilling to assimilate this into their thinking. You can call it laziness maybe. It's tempting to simply replace the received wisdom of the mainstream media with the received wisdoms of the alternative media. But in this case what are we doing? More is needed of us, as you so rightly say.

How many are prepared for the continuous effort of questioning and skepticism required in order to be a truly independent and responsible human being?

The lack of responses so far here is not a good sign.

Hey there OffG columnists Phil Roddis, Ed Curtin, CJ Hopkins, Eric Zuesse, Renee Parsons, and hey there BigB, Jen, Maggie, Antonym, Mark, and other "stars" of this forum. People actually come here to read what you guys have to say. This question of fakery is a major subject impinging on our future freedom.

Who of you dares to address it?

edited by Admin at author's request to correct typo

Elementor
So no one wants to have a serious non-kerazee debate about the potential for fake shootings? Too far outside the Overton Window? How disappointing. It's bizarre, even flaxgirl would rather troll the admins that just have a sensible debate with someone who'd like to talk to her.
Anna
Very good and valid question Elementor.

Not so very long ago, I happily dismissed most 'fake shooting' narratives as either merely far-right/lumpen (sorry for such a crass term)-baiting/monetising, conspiracy theories – of the Alex Jones variety.

However, after about two-three years of observing media biases, I find it so much easier to spot where the overriding narratives appear to reside. However the actual events unfold is often less important than their ultimate goal, which is of course mass censorship and getting round that terribly inconvenient Second Amendment. This is I believe, the main agenda of the so-called Hate Crime. Yes, I am aware that this makes me appear to some rather Info-Wars but that's the joy of shedding my own confirmation bias!

I do now assume that there is state or states involvement in all these terror events. They are manipulated/controlled (of sorts), whether the perpetrator knows of it or not. Some may indeed be fake from the onset.

Empty vessels make the most noise and that is I'm afraid the state of corporate 'journalism', who mostly whore themselves for the state/oligarchy narrative. Be very aware of ANY story that is shilled verboten by these hacks, as they are awfully telling in the identification of agendas and the direction of our further enslavement.

axisofoil
Remember this?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/wipVDW3Vc4A?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

MLS
Another level of fakery altogether, faking mind-control!

[Aug 24, 2019] Hate crime, like thought crime, is double-plus ungood

Notable quotes:
"... What term from Orwells dystopia will be popularised next, 'crimethink'? ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Yonatan Hate crime, like thought crime, is double-plus ungood. 4 0 Reply Aug 23, 2019 2:45 PM Reader

Harry Stotle

Yes, irony upon irony – the MSM, presumably inspired by PC now actually communicates in 'newspeak'.

What term from Orwells dystopia will be popularised next, 'crimethink'?

It may sound hyperbolic but are thoughts being restructured to comply with the principles of Ingsoc?
https://33hpwq10j9luq8gl43e62q4e-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1984_-_newspeak_dictionary.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


rahrog , 2 minutes ago link

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

Stupid people lose.

LibertyVibe , 3 minutes ago link

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

#TheDailyNews #DrainTheSwamp

Lord Raglan , 5 minutes ago link

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

TheFQ , 16 minutes ago link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WTF?

FFS...

benb , 12 minutes ago link

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

Because the people doing the indicting are in on it.

enfield0916 , 36 minutes ago link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Don't eat the figs."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actually, we SHOULD believe the worst.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michels 1966, p. 364).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VI- CONCLUSIONS

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

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschênes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschênes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] An interesting take on American Society today by Chris Hedges .

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

J. Gutierrez , says: August 15, 2019 at 7:05 pm GMT

An interesting take on American Society today by Chris Hedges .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Purple is the managing editor of .


Amy Ehlers a day ago • edited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source .

Now Jeffrey Epstein...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sid Finster a day ago
There are two possibilities here:

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

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

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

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

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

And that's what makes me angriest of all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dostoevsky, The Idiot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When some phenomena is statistically insignificant, which 1 in 1,500 cases, is, and when as with many such phenomena there is no normal distribution of the occurrence of such cases - for example, knife crime will tend to be concentrated in particular areas - trying to present any kind of rational analysis based upon personal observation is a mug's game.

Just because the only case of stabbing I have witnessed was more than 50 years ago, does not, and should not lead me to think that knife crime was worse 50 years ago than it is today. The actual data would seem to suggest that cases of anti-Semitism were greater in the LP in previous times than they are currently, contrary to what the media and those with factional motives would have us believe. It is certainly thec ase that anti-Semitism is a bigger problem in the Tory party, and other right-wing organisations than it is in the LP, again not that you would know that from the reporting of it, or from the attitude of certain factional sects, such as the AWL.

Jim Denham said... 5 March 2019 at 11:14

Labour has 'much larger' group of antisemitic members which Corbyn has failed to deal with, Momentum founder warns

By Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor The Independent, Monday 25 February 2019 16:10 |

Labour has "a much larger" group of antisemitic members than it recognises which Jeremy Corbyn has failed to "deal with", Momentum founder Jon Lansman has warned.

The Labour leader's long-standing ally said "conspiracy theorists" had infiltrated the party – a consequence of its huge surge in membership in recent years.

Mr Lansman stopped short of backing the call from Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, for Mr Corbyn to take personal charge of the antisemitism complaints dogging Labour.

But he said: "I do think we have a major problem and it always seems to me that we underestimate the scale of it. I think it is a widespread problem.

"I think it is now obvious that we have a much larger number of people with hardcore antisemitic opinions which, unfortunately, is polluting the atmosphere in a lot of constituency parties and in particular online. We have to deal with these people."

Speedy said... 6 March 2019 at 06:39
Approaching this from another angle...

The apparent level of anti-semitism in Labour is a modern phenomenon turbo-charged and amplified by social media. People have their views reinforced within their bunkers where anti-Israeli memes become anti-Zionist and then become anti-Semitic. It is much easier to send an anonymous email than a letter.

History is very much the tale of new technology transforming the potential of human behaviour and beliefs, and one of the oldest beliefs ("the blood libel") is anti-Semitism.

This is how Labour has changed - ie, the rise of Corbyn has coincided with the ubiquity of this technology. In fact, arguably the rise of Corbyn was aided by it.

Corbyn's nuanced position on Israel/Palestine gives permission to social media extremists.

The rest is history.

Incidentally, this is why you are less likely to confront anti-Semitism in real-life while the internet may be awash with it - there are the real and virtual identities which only occasionally bleed into each other.

Which is true and which is not? We might wonder if technology has evolved ahead of human adaptation - the "real world" filters that govern apparently "real" behaviour missing.

I'm sure even certain posters here are less bananas in "real life" than their online comments might suggest!

Boffy said... 6 March 2019 at 10:42
I wouldn't trust Lansman on this issue, any more than on many others. Lansman abolished democracy, to the extent it existed to begin with, by turning it into his personal fiefdom, reminiscent of the activities of Hyndman and the SDF. His position on anti-Semitism, and fighting the witch-hunt, and of appeasing the Blair-right's as they attacked Corbyn, has been appalling throughout.

Having abolished any democracy in Momentum, which he now runs as its CEO, he also appears to want Corbyn to do the same thing with the Labour Party, abolishing its internal democratic procedures, and putting himself personally in charge of those disciplinary measures. That truly would be the actions of a Bonapartist. That Tom Watson is prepared to do that, as he sets himself up in a situation of dual power, to confront Corbyn is no surprise that anyone who even remotely considers themselves a part of the Left should support should a move is a disgrace. Perhaps no surprise that the AWL supporters of Zionism, and the witch-hunt, appear to be doing so, then.

Its notable that, yesterday, when the Welsh Labour Grass Roots organisation came out to call for Williamson's suspension to be reversed, Kinnock and other Blair-rights immediately called for an investigation into them, and for its Secretary who sits on Labour's NEC to also be suspended, for interfering in an ongoing investigation! So, why did those same Blair-rights not call for the suspension of Watson, who immediately demanded Williamson's suspension, and withdrawal of the whip, before any investigation, or indeed of Hodge and others who on a daily basis go to the media to sally forth about cases that are under investigation, or waiting for investigation.

This truly is reaching into the realms of McCarthyism, where you are found guilty not just of witchcraft, but of consorting with witches, or even having an opinion as to whether an individual charged with witchcraft is guilty, or even the extent to which the number of witches amongst might be exaggerated.

Jim Denham's comment is a case in point. How much more "anti-Semitism" exists? What is the factual basis of the statement, as opposed to click bait headline. Even if the actual extent is 100% more than the data so far presented, that would mean that potentially 1 in 750 LP members might be guilty of some form of anti-Semitism. Its hardly an epidemic, or institutional anti-Semitism, and far less than exists in the Tory Party, which is also infected by Islamaphobia, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia.

In fact, its probably much less than you would find in the BBC, Sky or other establishment institutions. Anti-Semitism exists, and is a problem, but that does not mean it is not being used by Labour's enemies or the proponents of Zionism for their own political ends. The real conspiracy theorists are those that try to present anti-Semitism as a conspiracy based upon infiltration of the LP, the same people who presented the support for Corbyn from 300,000 new members as really just being a case of far left entryism, by Trots.

Jim Denham said... 7 March 2019 at 09:10
This is a meme, taken from Incog Man, a far-right site. It was posted with positive endorsement by a Labour member, Kayla Bibby, a delegate to conference in fact:

Link to the meme:

https://static.timesofisrael.com/jewishndev/uploads/2019/02/ellmann-640x400.jpg

Bibby subsequently received only a formal warning, with Thomas Gardiner of Labour's Governance and Legal Unit (what used to be the Compliance Unit), saying it was only anti-Israel, and not anti-Semitic.

Not only could a Labour member post something obviously anti-Semitic, it was not deemed to be so by the Compliance Unit. I bet we all know people who would agree.

Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 12:36
It's not a factually accurate description of global political realities, because Israel does not control the US, if that is what the image is intended to imply. But, the message, is thereby anti-Israeli state, not anti-Semitic. It could only be considered anti-Semitic, if in fact you are a Zionist and claim that Israel and Jews are are interchangeable terms, which they are not.

In fact, there are probably not an inconsiderable number of Jews, who think that the state of Israel does exercise undue influence over US policy, and certainly it seems to be the case that, in the US, more liberal Jewish groups, seem to think that one reason that the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, in Israel, was so supportive of Trump, and we see the same support for Trump amongst Zionists in Britain, is at least in part due to the fact that Obama had been distancing the US from its historical uncritical support for Israel.

If we replace Zionism with Toryism, and Jew with British, the situation becomes fairly clear. If the we show the British state as being controlled by Tories, who implement their ideology of Toryism, in what way would criticism of the British state, under the control of such Tories, or criticism of Tories be the equivalent of British people as a whole?

Clearly it wouldn't, because there are a majority of British people who oppose Toryism, and thereby oppose the actions of the British state under the control of the Tories. A nationalist, or racist might want to equate the nation state with the whole of its people, but the people who are doing that here, by interpreting criticism of the Israeli state with anti-Semitism, are the Zionists themselves, and their apologists, because they seek thereby to delegitimize any criticism of the state of Israel and Zionism by equating it with anti-Semitism.

That in effect makes the Zionists themselves, and their apologists anti-Semites, because in adopting this equation of Jewishness with being Zionist, and with Israel, they make all Jews thereby responsible for the actions of Zionism and of the state of Israel!

Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 13:47
The problem for the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham, on this issue comes down to this. Until thirty years ago, the organisation, under its previous names, was an ardent defender of the ideas and traditions of Jim Cannon. Cannon's "The Struggle for a Proletarian Party" was required reading for all of its members. Then, in an about face, the organisation overnight collapsed into what Trotsky called "the petit-bourgeois Third Camp", and so became ardent defenders of the enemies of Cannon, the petit-bourgeois Third Camp of Burnham- Shachtman. That kind of wild zig-zag is typical of bureaucratic-centrist organisations, which is what the AWL is.

As part of this collapse into the petit-bourgeois Third Camp, and the moralistic politics it is based upon, the AWL also adopted the ideas of Third Campists like Al Glotzer, in relation to Israel and Zionism, as opposed to the position of Mandel, which represented a continuation of the ideas of Cannon and Trotsky. I set this out in a short blog post 12 years ago Glotzer and the Jews as Special , after the AWL had repeatedly censored it appearing on their website in response to an article setting out Glotzer's position.

Having committed themselves to the reactionary Zionist ideology that essentially underpins Glotzer's stance - the same thing idea of having lost faith in the working-class, and so having to rely on the bourgeois state, or "progressive imperialism" to accomplish the tasks of the working-class, is behind the AWL's support for NATo's war against Serbia, Iraq, Libya etc., but is also behind the politics of other Third Campists such as the SWP, that instead look to other larger forces, such as reactionary "anti-imperialist" states to carry forward its moral agenda - the AWL are left now trying to defend their position of support for the creation of a racist, expansionist state in Israel, as the inevitable consequences of that venture unfold.

For a Marxist, it is not at all difficult to say that the establishment of the state of Israel is one that we should not have supported at the time, because it would lead to the kind of consequences we see today, and yet, to say, 75 years on from the creation of that state, it is an established fact, and trying to unwind history, by calling for the destruction of that state would have even more calamitous consequences for the global working-class. It is quite easy for a Marx to say that the current nature of the Israeli state, as a racist Zionist state, based, like almost no other state in the world on a confessional basis, i.e. of being a Jewish state, a state for Jews in preference to every other ethnic/religious group flows from the ideology, and nature of its creation. But, then to argue that the answer to that is not a destruction of the state of Israel, which could only be done on the bones of millions of Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, but is to wage a working-class based struggle against that racist foundation upon which the state has been founded, and that struggle is one that must unite Jews and Arabs alike. In fact, the position of palestinians today is a mirror image of that of the Jews 75 years ago.

The hope of a Two-State Solution disappeared long ago, and was never credible. It simply allows Zionists to proclaim they are in favour of it, whilst doing everything to make it practically impossible, such as extending West Bank Settlements. The solution must flow from a struggle for democratic rights for Israeli Arabs, and for a right for all Arabs in occupied territories to be extended the same rights as any other Israeli, including the right to vote, and send representatives to the Knesset. As I argued thirty years ago, the longer-term solution is a Federal Republic of Israel and Palestine, guaranteeing democratic rights to all, as part of building a wider Federal Republic of MENA.

Anonymous said... 7 March 2019 at 16:54

Jim Denham: imperialist lackey and sycophant turned Witch hunter in chief

Let us be very clear about what this witch hunt is about, it is about purging from public life any credible and effective opposition to Israel in particular and more generally opposition to the imperialist barbarians of the imperialist core. It is about driving from universities, social media and intellectual life any form of opposition to the interests of the imperialists.

This is nothing but authoritarianism in action, censorship of political opponents and the closing down of any credible definition of free speech.

In other words this is something any leftist worth half an atom would be fighting against with all their energies.

But what do we find, pathetic pro war pro imperialists leftists and post modern liberals joining the witch hunt.

Meanwhile in the real world:

A UN report has concluded that Israel deliberately targeted and killed hundreds of protesting civilians, including children and disabled people and it shot 20,000+ people (yes 20,000+!). The UN says this likely a war crime. Why are the noble defenders of the Palestinian cause in the dock and not notorious Palestinian haters like Jim Denham?

How can anyone on the left get away with supporting and providing ideological cover for Israel How can any leftist allow a socialist movement to be sabotaged by the Israel state and its army of appalling immoral apologists?

These attacks on Corbyn and his supporters, repeated in all of the most aggressive imperialist countries, are simply a proxy attack on the Palestinian people themselves.

Boffy said... 8 March 2019 at 11:15
Jim Denham's comment here illustrates the problem entirely. The picture he has linked to shows an alien symbiote having attached itself to the face of the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty here represents the US. The symbiote has on its back the Israeli Flag, and likewise, thereby represents the state of Israel. The picture therefore, represents the well-worn, and clearly factually wrong meme that Israel controls the US.

But, as a Zionist organisation, the AWL and its members cannot distinguish between the state of Israel and Jews, so they cannot distinguish between criticism of the state of Israel, and criticism if Jews. For them, as for the Zionist ideology of the state of Israel, which is most clearly manifest in the ideology of its current political leadership, in the form of the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, with the recent introduction of blatantly racist laws that discriminate even more openly against not Jewish Israeli citizens, and with his willingness to try to keep his corrupt regime in office by going into coalition with an avowedly Neo-Nazi party that until recent times was considered beyond the pale, even by most Zionists, the term Zionism is synonymous with the term Jew. So, any criticism of Zionism, or of Israel is for them immediately equated with anti-Semitism.

It is what leads such Zionists to then also insist on their right to determine who is a Jew or not. The AWL do that with all those Jews, such as the JVL, who refuse to accept the AWL's definition of anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism. Its like the old saw that the definition of a Scot is someone who wears a kilt, and when asked about Jock McTavish, from Arbroath, who does not wear a kilt, the reply comes back, then he cannot really be a Scot!

The Zionists insists on defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and thereby closing down debate. Jim Denham does that most clearly here, in his refusal to debate the actual substantive points. It is typical of the attitude of the AWL, in general which long since gave up trying to defend its bourgeois liberal, opportunist politics by rational debate, and instead turned to bureaucratic censorship, and ill-tempered invective.