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The Iron Law of Oligarchy

"Who says organization, says oligarchy"

Version 1.4 (July 19, 2018)

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Books Recommended Links Two Party System as polyarchy The Deep State Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura
Bureaucracies Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Corporatism The Pareto Law  Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Inverted Totalitarism
New American Caste System  American Exceptionalism Amorality of neoliberal elite Neo-fascism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Pluralism as a myth What's the Matter with Kansas
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump The importance of controlling the narrative Do the US intelligence agencies influence the US Presidential elections? US and British media are servants of security apparatus National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You
The Power Elite Machiavellism In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Groupthink Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Introduction

The Iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his book 1915 Political Parties. The book is now freely available as copyright expired,  and is well worth reading:

Robert Michels was a Professor of Political Economy and Statistics, University of Basle. He was an anarcho-syndicalist at the time he formulated the Iron Law of Oligarchy. He later became an important ideologue of Mussolini's fascist regime in Italy.

Drawing on his own disillusioning as a member and supporter of a social democratic party in early 20th century Germany, Michels described an interesting and convincing dynamics of large organizations such as political parties: as organization grows and get older there is a strong trend toward crystallization its own "party nomenklatura"  -- unaccountable to rank-and-file members party elite. He called this unaccountable part of political party leadership an oligarchy.   The current term "nomenklatura" is derived from the USSR  history. If was actual, semi-official term used to define unaccountable party elite.

We see this phenomenon quite clearly in DNC and Podesta emails leaks.  In essence Sanders was illegitimately deprives of the possibility to represent Democratic Party in the most recent Presidential elections by the oligarchy of the Democratic Party (party Nomenklatura.)  Color revolution against Trump is another, but more modern and subtle, demonstration of the validity of the Iron Law of Oligarchy.  Here we see slow motion coup d'état against the leader that does nor "fit" onto ruling neoliberal elite (we leave the judgment or whether Trump should or should not be removed to the readers).   In other words, on state level the term "Deep State" describes essentially the same phenomenon as the "Iron rule of oligarchy." The only (and important) difference is that includes members of intelligence services into it.

Although Trump won election and being a billionaire belongs to the ruling class, he was not accepted by neoliberal oligarchy as a legitimate POTUS because he strayed during the election from fundamental postulates of neoliberalism (such a neoliberal globalization, offshoring of manufacturing and dropping of standard living of common Americans, permanent war for expansion and maintaining global neoliberal empire led from Washington, etc). That's why a color revolution (Russiagate, or Purple revolution)  was launched to depose him. It took just three months -- till April-May, 2017 for plotters to emasculate him. This is yet another demonstration of power of the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

The process of crystallization in "nomenklatura" in large organizations and states is an objective self-reinforcing process. It inevitably starts  even within the most democratically-oriented leadership of the political organizations. As the party grows, members very soon  become divided into an elite (or more correctly a set of elites, or party oligarchs, with their own set of distinctive and private interests) and the rank and file members, whose labor and resources are exploited by the elite. 

That does mean that rank-and-file members can't revolt against Party elite as we saw with Sanders followers within the Democratic Party and Trump followers within the Republican Party in 2016 presidential elections. But such revolts are rare and usually successfully squashed.  Even if successful, the deviation from the law is temporary in nature, and  the process just repeats itself on a new level as new elite becomes more and more detached from rank-and-file members  who secured its ascendance to political Olymp.

The first condition precipitating the drift to such an oligarchical system is, ironically, success in recruiting new members to the organization’s cause. As organizations grow, the ability of members to participate equally in organizational decisions decline, both because it is hard to find a place and time for all members to assemble and because decision-making is significantly slowed -- not infrequently to a standstill -- as the number of decision-makers increases. The usual response is to such problems is creation of "leadership"  -- delegation of responsibility to a relatively small subset of members for formulating and recommending lines of action and policies. This is the first and enviable step of creation "native" oligarchy within the political organization.  The second step is "bureaucratization" of the organization.  At this point leadership no longer represents the interests of the rank-and-file party members. 

Although some members can see the writing on the wall and may attempt to maintain democratic control (for example, via limits on the terms in the office), a number of forces weaken any attempts to reverse this process. For example, effective administration requires both hard-to-gain, specialized knowledge of these aspects of the organization (Michels referred to this as “administrative secrets”), as well as scarce organizing talents, such as the ability to manage interpersonal relations, suppress dissent,  and to conduct logistical planning. Those talents provide leverage, which limits the ability of rank-and-file members to challenge leaders’ recommendations or decisions, and to replace the current leadership. Who gradually escape the control of rank-and-file members and start controlling them (tail is wagging the dog).

So power in large organizations based on democratic principle, including the lection of the leadership, such as parties, trade unions gradually tend to concentrated at the top. Moreover, once elected leaders are likely to acquire vested interests in maintaining their positions within the organization, especially due to the fact that with growing number of members the complexity leads to the creation of full-time administrative positions.  But as times passes the current elite ages, stagnate, lost the grip with reality,  and other faction of the party elite can depose them and seize the power.  Nothing is permanent under the Sun.  In any case the rue of single person is limited by human longevity and rarely exceed 40 years (assuming that a particular person came to power at 35 and lasted till 75.)

Crystallization of organization bureaucracy and emergence of hierarchical structure

Organization arise from the need of weak to fight the strong, to fight for their  right. And there is strength in numbers.  But the mere growth of organization changes organizational dynamics and requires new method of governance. That creates need for "management professionals" who devote all their time to solving organizational problems. Those people no matter how idealistic in the beginning by the weight of their position and acquired power gradually start abusing it detaching from the need of rank-and-file members. If organization survives and prosper they later inevitably turn into organizational oligarchy. As Michels noted

" ...Be the claims economic or be they political, organization appears the only means for the creation of a collective will. Organization, based as it is upon the principle of least effort, that is to say, upon the greatest possible economy of energy, is the weapon of the weak in their struggle with the strong.

The chances of success in any struggle will depend upon the degree to which this struggle is carried out upon a basis of solidarity between individuals whose interests are identical. In objecting, therefore, to the theories of the individualist anarchists that nothing could please the employers better than the dispersion and disaggregation of the forces of the workers, the socialists, the most fanatical of all 'the partisans of the idea of organization, enunciate an argument which harmonizes well with the results of scientific study of the nature of parties.'

Iron law postulates that the process of "crystallization" of large organization bureaucracy starts spontaneously and at the end lead to uncontrolled oligarchy at the top of the organization. Such bureaucracy initially consists only of elected members, but later it is enhanced by unelected members. On state level the most important unelected members proved to be members of intelligence agencies.

Such members can and often do ally with the "elected oligarchy" and form a clique to protect their interests.  And this often happens: for this "newly minted" elite holding the office becomes the way of making living,  which makes it likely that the leaders recognize their common interests in maintaining their positions within the organization, and develop a sense of solidarity with one another (becoming, in Marxist terminology, something like a privileged class, local aristocracy).

As such, they are inclined to act cohesively in fending off criticisms and warding off displacement efforts by the membership. If serious challenges are not readily suppressed, the leaders may resort to cooptation of individual rank-and-file members who challenge the status quo, thus effectively hobbling lower-level resistance.

In other words growth of the organization alone tend to lead to crystallization of oligarchy with this it. That means that the simplest (and oversimplified) formulation of the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' can be slogan-like: "Who says organization, says oligarchy."  The inevitability of oligarchy in political parties, trade unions, and other "democratic" organizations impose severe limited in the realization of democratic principles with in the organization,/ Essentially democracy is gradually suppresses and subverted, only illusion of it is preserved (as, for example in any two party system of governance) and serves to legitimize the ruling oligarchy.

This idea of Michel has been strikingly confirmed since the publication of the book.  So now the "iron law of oligarchy" is as close to a social law as one can get. 

In essence, Iron law of oligarchy simply postulate that growth of any political (or simply complex) organization requires creation of hierarchy which in turn  self-generate its own elite, an oligarchy that has a disproportional influence on the decisions made in the organization. Once created, such an elite becomes  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 the "ideal of  Liberal democracy". It 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.

At the very basic level strength (both physical and the character), intellect and cunning are three qualities which typically set leaders apart from the masses of the led. Authority -- the right to lead -- is always gained through some type of intra-party/intra-group competition that implicitly or explicitly tests these qualities. In small groups in the past (and in high school even today) its can be even an actual fight. The desire to dominate, and the expectation of the rewards that accompany domination, presumably are what motivate certain individuals to enter this competition and fight to win.

The suggested mechanism of self-selection of  the elite  has something in common with the neoliberal doctrine (which we all know now is a false social doctrine, similar to Trotskyism), which also claims that the competition for preeminence is the primary characteristic of human societies. It extrapolates the concept of alpha male in primates to human societies.

Still on  the level of particular political organization, it is probably undisputable, that the possession of some characteristic highly valued in political sphere, can, with some luck, elevate an individual to the elite status. We saw such upward mobility in the USA in the past: several US Presidents were from low middle class (for example Harry Truman, Bill Clinton, Barak Obama). That means that those individual that have the most of the qualities we would like to have ourselves can advance into elite, given persistence  and luck or initial affiliation with the "deep state". 

The elite as a minority set off from the masses by the possession of some prized quality

So we can assume ( nepotism notwithstanding) that political elites are those who are able to discern political trends better then other and as a result are able to accumulate by various means political power. This is essentially Gaetano Mosca's definition of the elite -- a minority set off from the masses by the possession of some prized quality.

The elite -- a minority set off from the masses by the possession of some prized quality.

Although leadership by elites and the moral justification for it no doubt predated written human history, the philosophical origins of the Western tradition of elitism lies with the Greeks, ironically also the authors of democracy. For example, Plato put forth an unabashed apology for political rule by intellectual elites.

Speaking still of elites in general, rather than political elites specifically, we can point out three main characteristics of elites: exclusivity, superiority, and domination.

Suzanne Keller also pointed out that while there is a ruling class, at least in industrial societies, it is not homogenous like Marxists assume.  Industrial societies are so differentiated, and there are so many areas of human activity, that no one particular social group can dominate every aspect. So different parts of the "elite" exist is different "pockets", which might overlap. There is also hierarchy within the elites with the political and financial elites (aka financial oligarchy) being at the top of the pecking order.  Especially under  neoliberalism, which, in a way, was the counter-revolution of financial elite -- a successful attempt of restoration of the power that financial elite has had before the New Deal.

Of cause with highly compartmentalized life typical for modern societies and advances in technology,  the new "sub-élites" are formed in in places that iether did not exist before or were not that important. For example military industrial complex now represent a formidable political force (as President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address to he nation) , as are some other  "strategically placed" strata of elites (Silicon Valley billionaires from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, CISCO and similar tech giants; Hollywood and  media elite;  etc) that dominate different areas of life in modern societies and delegate their members into upper level of elite hierarchy. 

A political elite, then, is a group that dominates the political life of a society (and that means the society as a whole), which at least in the past (degeneration of elite is a real problem) was superior in political skills (keeping in mind that the types of skills valuable for politics vary and can include duplicity and murderousness as well as rhetorical skill and persuasiveness).

According to iron law of oligarchy they are by-and-large insulated from everyday contact with the larger society (including their electorate; as in "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go" ) and are unaccountable to voters.

A considerable literature exists around the problem of defining the boundaries of the political elite, how it is composed within a given society (C. Wright Mills classic The Power Elite was written in 1956), drawing the line between the elite and sub-elites, as well as social mobility issues.

Moderating influence of forming of the oligarchy

Because the elite continued existence is linked to the survival of the organizations, leaders of initially radical organizations with time tend to adopt more conservative, conciliatory positions in order to minimize chances of suppression of the organization by the state (digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu).  For example, the leaders of large gangs try to establish links with law enforcement and bribe politicians to ensure their survival.

This is the second important effect observed in the context of the "iron law": not only hieratical structure spontaneously emerges, the elite itself gradually, with time became more moderate and more corrupt.  As Britannica article of the subject states (Britannica.com):

Michels insisted that the chasm separating elite leaders from rank-and-file members would also steer organizations toward strategic moderation, as key organizational decisions would ultimately be taken more in accordance with leaders’ self-serving priorities of organizational survival and stability than with members’ preferences and demands.

As it became entranced in power, the elite or any large organization has things to lose and thus tend to avoid excessive risks, especially risks that put in danger the existence of the organization. Do no matter how radical the organization is, as some as it is "oligarchazed" it becomes much less radical. This trend was reflected in the old European saying "Social democrat who became a minister is  not a social-democratic minister".

The same trend up to the total betrayal of the interests of rant and file members is observable in the US trade union movement.

And the most radical example is the compete betrayal of "Communist ideals" by the USSR elite (nomenklatura), who from radical left wing sect in 70 years turned into bunch of corrupt neoliberals (essentially turncoats)  ready to fleece the country and sell its industry, natural resources and infrastructure for pennies on the dollar as long as at least one penny ends in their own pocket.  With some leaders of Young Communist League turned into ganister-style capitalists in no time (Khodorkovsky)

Iron law of oligarchy as a powerful argument
against the possibility of  "permanent stability"  in human societies

"Iron law of oligarchy" represents a powerful argument against possibility of  "permanent stability"  in human societies. As Minsky told us "stability is destabilizing" and that observation  looks even more pertinent in view of "Iron law of oligarchy".  As the elite which got power degrades and becomes more corrupt, newcomers want to displace it. But due to entrenchment of existing elite (which, of cause, tried to make their rule permanent and practices nepotism) such a "regime change" often is possible only by violent means. That's why the institutionalized mechanisms for "rotation of elite" are so important. 

Every solidly constructed organization, whether it be a democratic state, a political party, or a league of proletarians for the resistance of economic oppression, presents a soil eminently favorable for the differentiation of organs and of functions. The more extended and the more ramified the official apparatus of the organization, the greater the number of its members, the fuller its treasury, and the more widely circulated its press, the less efficient becomes the direct control exercised by the rank and file, and the more is this control replaced by the increasing
power of committees.

Into all parties there insinuates itself that indirect electoral system which in public life the democratic parties fight against with all possible vigor. Yet in party life the influence of this system must be more disastrous than in the far more extensive life of the state. Even in the party congresses, which represent the party-life seven times sifted, we find that it becomes more and more general to refer all important questions to committees which debate in camera.

At the same time any revolution, at the end, is just a change on the top layer of elite. Which means that they seldom achieve stated goals, especially if such goals include equality and social justice. The fundamental distinction between the elite and rank-and-file members is always preserved and, paradoxically, often enhanced.  So the net result is in unforgettable words of Russian Prime minister Chernomyrdin  "“Everybody wanted improvements, but the net result we got is the same old, the same old..."  (in the Economist translation “We wanted the best, but it turned out like always.”
―  Viktor Chernomyrdin - Wikiquote)

As Michels noted in his book Political Parties

...society cannot exist without a …dominant… or… political class, and that the ruling class, while its elements are subject to frequent partial renewal, nevertheless constitutes the only factor of sufficiently durable efficacy in the history of human development. [The government, or, … the state, cannot be anything other than the organization of a minority. It is the aim of this minority to impose upon the rest of society a “legal order” which is the outcome of the exigencies of dominion and of the exploitation of the mass …

Even when the discontent of the masses culminates in a successful attempt to deprive the bourgeoisie of power, this is … effected only in appearance; always and necessarily there springs from the masses a new organized minority which raises itself to the rank of a governing class…” (pp. 353-354).

Elite is an organized minority, which always outmaneuver and outsmart the rank-and-file members

The key here is that elite (oligarchy) on any complex organization always holds the lion share of  political power and that this power is independent of any democratic elections or revolutions:

The practical ideal of democracy consists in the self-government of the masses in conformity with the decisions of popular assemblies. But while this system limits the extension of the principle of delegation, it fails to provide any guarantee against the formation of an oligarchical camarilla. Undoubtedly it deprives the natural leaders of their quality as functionaries, for this quality is transferred to the people themselves. The crowd, however, is always subject to suggestion, being readily influenced by the eloquence of great popular orators ; moreover, direct government by the people, admitting of no serious discussions or thoughtful deliberations, greatly facilitates coups de main of all kinds by men who are exceptionally bold, energetic, and adroit;

It is easier to dominate a large crowd than a small audience. The adhesion of the crowd is tumultuous, summary, and unconditional. Once the suggestions have taken effect, the crowd does
not readily tolerate contradiction from a small minority, and still less from isolated individuals. A great multitude assembled within a small area is unquestionably more accessible to panic

... ... ...

The sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions. The impotence of direct democracy, like the power of indirect democracy, is a direct outcome
of the influence of number. In a polemic against Proudhon (1849), Louis Blanc asks whether it is possible for thirty-four millions of human beings (the population of France at that time) to carry on their affairs without accepting what the pettiest man of business finds necessary, the intermediation of representatives.

... ... ...

Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every organization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency manifests itself very clearly. The mechanism of the organization, while conferring a solidity of structure, induces serious changes in the organized mass, completely inverting the respective position of the leaders and the led. As a result of organization, every party or professional union becomes divided into a minority of directors and a majority of directed.

...It has been remarked that in the lower stages of civilization tyranny is dominant. Democracy cannot come into existence until there is attained a subsequent and more highly developed stage of social life. Freedoms and privileges, and among these latter the privilege of taking part in the direction of public a change in the relationship between the leaders and the mass. For the comradely leadership of local committees with all its undeniable defects there is substituted the professional leadership of the trade-union officials.

Initiative and capacity for decision thus become what may be called a professional speciality, whilst for the rank and file is left the passive virtue of discipline. There can be no doubt that this seamy side of officialism involves serious dangers for the party. The latest innovation in this direction, in the German social democratic party, is the appointment of salaried secretaries to the local branches. Unless the rank and file of the party keep very much on the alert, unless they are careful that these secretaries shall be restricted to purely executive functions, the secretaries will come to be regarded as the natural and sole depositaries of all power of initiative, and  as the exclusive leaders of local party life.

In the socialist party, however, by the nature of things, by the very character of the political struggle, narrower limits are imposed upon bureaucracy than in the case of the trade unions. In these latter, the technical specialization of the wage-struggle (the need, for example, for the drafting of complicated sliding scales and  the like) often leads the chiefs to deny that the mass of organized workers can possess "a general view of the economic life of the country as a whole," and to deny, therefore, their capacity of judgment in such matters.

The most typical outcome of this conception is afforded by the argument  with which the leaders are accustomed to forbid all theoretical criticism of the prospects and possibilities of practical trade-unionism, asserting that such criticism involves a danger for the spirit of organization. This reasoning starts from the assumption that the workers can be won for organization  and can be induced to remain faithful to their trade-unions only by a blind and artless belief in the saving efficacy of the trade-union struggle ' ' (Rosa Luxemburg, Massenstreih, Partei u. GewerTcschaften, Erdmann Dubber,  Hamburg, 1906, p. 61).

Elite is an organized minority which always outmaneuver and outsmart the rank-and-file of the particular organization ("unorganized majority").

 Elite is an organized minority which always outmaneuver and outsmart the rank-and-file of the particular organization ("unorganized majority").

It is important to understand that there is a hierarchy within the elites too: it is composed of the "the top guns"  and the sub-elites.

Robert Michels observations were based on the fact that the socialist parties of Europe, despite their democratic ideology and provisions for mass participation, were completely and irrevocably dominated by their leaders (often with the elements of the "cult of personality"), just as the traditional conservative parties. Generalizing this phenomena he stated that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic or autocratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably evolve into oligarchies.

It is indisputable that the oligarchical and bureaucratic tendency of party organization is a matter of technical and practical necessity. It is the inevitable product of the very principle of organization.

For technical and administrative reasons, no less than for tactical reasons, a strong organization needs an equally strong leadership.

... ... ...

To represent, in this sense, comes to mean that the purely individual desire masquerades and is accepted as the will of the mass. In certain isolated cases, where the questions involved are extremely simple, and where the delegated authority is of brief duration, representation is possible. But permanent representation will always be tantamount to the exercise of dominion by the representatives over the represented.

... ... ....

Louis XIV understood the art of government as have few princes either before or since, and this was the case above all in the first half of his reign, when his spirit was still young and fresh. In his memoirs of the year 1666, he lays down for every branch of the administration, and more especially for the conduct of military affairs, the following essential rules: "que les resolutions doivent etre promptes, la discipline exact, les commandements absolus, I'obeissance ponctuelle."^ The essentials thus enumerated by Lous (promptness of decision, unity of command, and strictness of discipline) are equally applicable, mutaiis mutandis, to the various aggregates of modern political life, for these are in a perpetual condition of latent warfare.

The modern party is a fighting organization in the political sense of the term, and must as such conform to the laws of tactics. Now the first article of these laws is facility of mobilization. Ferdinand Lassalle, the founder of a revolutionary labour party, recognized this long ago, contending that the dictatorship which existed in fact in the society over which he presided was as thoroughly justified in theory as it was indispensable in practice. The rank and file, he said, must follow their chief blindly, and the whole organization must be like a hammer in the hands of its president.

... ... ...

In the daily struggle, nothing but a certain degree of csesarism will ensure the rapid transmission and the precise execution of orders. The Dutch socialist. Van Kol, frankly declares that true democracy cannot be installed until the fight is over.

The elite can be quite hostile to the society (or organization) at large and behave more like an occupation force

The elite actually can be quite hostile to the society (or organization) at large and behave more like an occupation force then the  "best representatives".  This detachment of elite from the interests of underling organization or society and the immanent tendency to pursue their own, narrowly understood political and economic interests is the major source of instability in the society.  

The detachment of elite from the interests of underling organization or society and the immanent tendency to pursue their own, narrowly understood political and economic interests is the major source of instability in the society

In this sense the "iron law of oligarchy" can be viewed as a "backdoor" way of introduction of the idea of class society, where upper class suppress and exploit lower classes creating instability that lead to social cataclysms such as social revolutions, uprising and such. 

It is especially noticeable on the level of countries not on the level of single political parties or other organization.  Iron law of oligarchy, in a way, can be viewed as a "backdoor" way of introduction of the idea of class society, where upper class suppress and exploit lower classes.

Prominent examples here are Bolsheviks, national socialists as well as neoliberal elite, especially neocons. The latter should be understood as lobbyists of military industrial complex and the level of detachment of the USA foreign policy from the need of the USA lower 90% of population is staggering  and in the past was achieved only in some absolutists regimes.

The elite actually can be quite hostile to the society (or organization) at large and behave more like an occupation force then the "best representatives". This detachment of elite from the interests of underling organization or society and  the immanent tendency to pursue their own, narrowly understood political and economic interests is the major source of instability in the society.

This gap between policies of the elite and desire of "masses" is not always negative. But it can be like in case of, say, US neocons, who from the very beginning was a reactionary, destructive force in the US society, driving up the influence of military industrial complex and serving as MIC lobbyists par excellence.  But typically the dynamics is more complex and the changes hatched by  elite can sometimes improve the life of "masses", while initially those "masses" oppose them.

Common people, "masses" should not be idealized iether

Such an idealization, in the  form of uncritical idealization of workers (the proletariat") is an immanent part of Marxism, which make it somewhat similar to a secular religion.

In reality, common people, "masses" should not be idealized iether. There is the whole set of issues with mass psychology including but not limited to of issues related to ConformismGroupthink and the psychology of crowds. Typically "organizational rank and file" display high level of "groupthink", which makes possible such  phenomenon as McCarthyism -- a witch hunt unleashed the the elite which desire to increase the cohesion of the organization and eliminate any and all opposition.  

Not only they tend to create the "cult of personality" within the particular organization. They often do not understand and resent the ideas/policies of the leaders which at the end are the most beneficiary for them personally and adhere to supporting self-destructing policies (this effect is called "What's the matter with Kansas" as it was describes in the book with the same title)

 Most people are altogether devoid of understanding of the actions and reactions between that organism we call the state and their private interests, their prosperity, and their life. As de Tocqueville expresses it, they regard it as far more important to consider "s'il faut faire passer un chemin au bout de leur domaine"^ than to interest themselves in the general work of public administration. The majority is content, with Stirner, to call out to the state, "Get away from between me and the sun!"

Stirner makes fun of all those who, in accordance vsdth the views of Kant, preach it to humanity as a  ' sacred duty ' ' to take an interest in public affairs. ' ' Let those persons who have a personal interest in political changes concern themselves with these. Neither now nor at any future time will 'sacred duty' lead people to trouble themselves about the
 

Key Findings

By studying the political parties of his time Michels came to the conclusion that the problem is connected with the very nature of organizations. Development of the modern democracy allowed the formation of organization like political parties. Paradoxically, any such organization, when growing in complexity, gradually become  less and less democratic. And this process is immanent, objective and does not depend  of quality of leaders or nature of the organization. Michels outlines several important factors which serve as a foundation of the "Iron Law of Oligarchy":

In other words rule by an elite (aka "oligarchy") is inevitable within any large organization because the set of  objectively existing  "tactical and technical necessities" immanent to complex organizations.  Moreover, intellectuals within such political organizations tend to become oligarchs. The history of the USSR is a very  sobering example of this trend. Michels particularly addressed the interaction of this law with the idea of  democracy and found the latter illusionary. He 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."

The organizational characteristics that promote oligarchy are reinforced by certain characteristics of both leaders and members of organizations. People achieve leadership positions precisely because they have political talent; they are adept at getting their way and persuading others of the correctness of their views.

Once they hold high office, their power and prestige is further increased and "lock-in" quickly happens.  Leaders have access to, and control over, information and facilities that are not available to the rank-and-file. They control the information that flows down the channels of communication. Leaders are also strongly motivated to persuade the organization of the rightness of their views, and they use all of their skills, power and authority to do so.[3]

By design of any complex organization as a hierarchical structure, rank and file are less informed than their "superiors." Finally, from birth, people are taught to obey those in positions of authority. Therefore the rank and file tend to look to leaders for policy directives and are generally prepared to allow leaders to exercise their judgment on most matters even to detriment of their own interests.

Leaders also control and have the ability to apply very powerful negative and positive sanctions to promote the behavior of rank-and-file members that they desire. Classic example is patriotic fervor during wars even if the was in clearly has offensive nor defensive character like it was with the Iraq was. 

The leaders have the power to control communication,  grant or deny raises, assign workloads, fire, demote and — that most gratifying of all sanctions — the power to promote. There is now  doubt that they tend to promote junior officials who share their opinions and can be counted on being loyal, with the result that the oligarchy becomes more and more entrenched and self-perpetuating. Therefore the very nature of large-scale organization makes oligarchy within these organizations inevitable. Bureaucracy, by design, promotes the centralization of power and concentration it at the very top of the organization.

Democratic Parties typically are not that democratic

While the US Democratic Party now is glaring example of internal (clan) wars (with Clinton clan clinging for power after humiliating defeat), this is is not a new phenomenon. As Robert Michels observed (p 50)

In the life of modern democratic parties we may observe signs of similar indifference. It is only a minority which participates in party decisions, and sometimes that minority is ludicrously small. The most important resolutions taken by the most democratic of all parties, the socialist party, always emanate from a handful of the members. It is true that the renouncement of  the exercise of democratic rights is voluntary; except in those cases, which are common enough, where the active participation of the organized mass in party life is prevented by geographical or topographical conditions.

Speaking generally, it is the urban part of the organization which decides everything; the duties of the members living in country districts and in remote provincial towns are greatly restricted ; they are expected to pay their subscriptions and to vote during elections in favour of the candidates selected by the organization of the great town.

There is here at work the influence of tactical considerations as well as that of local conditions. The preponderance of the townsmen over the scattered country members corresponds to the necessity of promptness in decision and speed in action to which allusion was made in an earlier chapter.

... ... ...

It may be added that the regular attendants at public meetings and committees are by no means always proletarians — especially where the smaller centres are concerned. When his work is finished, the proletarian can think only of rest, and of getting to bed in good time. His place at meetings is taken by petty bourgeois, by those who come to sell newspapers and picture-postcards, by clerks, by young intellectuals who have not yet got a position in their own circle, people who are all glad to hear themselves spoken of as authentic proletarians and to be glorified as the class of the future.*

The same thing happens in party life as happens in the state. In both, the demand for monetary supplies is upon a coercive foundation, but the electoral system has no established sanction. An electoral right exists, but no electoral duty. Until this duty is superimposed upon the right, it appears probable that a small minority only will continue to avail itself of the right which the majority voluntarily renounces, and that the minority will always dictate laws for the indifferent and apathetic mass.

New view on the modern history

From this point of view the XXth century revolutions in Russia and China, it was not "workers and peasants" revolutions, as Marxists try to present. They were coups d'état of a narrow circle of intellectuals representing interests of lower middle class and organized as a radical political party with the explicit goal to depose existing elite and became a new elite themselves:

In Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook, military historian Edward Luttwak states that "[a] coup consists of the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder."

Those revolutions gave the birth of the world first totalitarian regimes which raised the level of detachment and hostility of the elite to the rank-and-file members of society to a new historical level (now dutifully reproduced by the US neoliberal elite)

Similarly, the disintegration of the USSR was not so much due to the growth of democratic tendencies of the population. Even such factors as  inefficiency of the socialist mode of production and PC computers and Internet revolution that made state control of information more difficult, were not decisive.  All those factors were present, but the key factor was that the growth of globalism,  increased neoliberal tendencies of the USSR elite (including first of all KGB elite, which produced several high raking defectors to the USA including at least one general).

The latter decided to privatize the country and join the club or Western neoliberal elites in short and swift neoliberal Coup d'état, essentially structured as a color revolution.  This integration of the new xUSSR elite with Western Elites for which Soviet nomenklarura stived so hard, did happened, but on West (aka vassal) terms, as nobody eliminated hierarchy with in the global elite. So this romance, which flourished during Yeltsin years (which were years of economic rape of Russia by he West and local, mostly Jewish oligarchs) partially came to an end with the election of President Putin. Some "neoliberal oligarchs", who resisted the change ended in exile, and one even managed to get into jail.  

In general any successful national-liberation and socialist movement which run under populist and democratic slogans in reality tend to have the same "elite displacement" property, when old elite is replaced or supplemented by a new one. Which can be more cruel toward population then the previous one. 

In this sense Machiavelli idea that there is nothing more dangerous then to institute a social change has new, pretty  menacing meaning.  Please look at EuroMaidan at the most recent example of the elite change and what it brought to rank-and-file Ukrainians.  The standard of living dropped at least by half from 2014 to 2016.

Democracy as a utopian ideal

The Iron law of oligarchy is generally recognized to be one of the most devastating propositions in all social sciences as it undermines a cornerstone both liberal-democratic and Marxist theories -- the viability of democracy as direct rule of people.

The Iron law of oligarchy also suggests that competition for power in "Western democracies" is far from "perfect" and is limited to competition with the elite (approximately top 0.01% of the population). Institutions which provide for minority rights, checks and balances are just sweet political coatings over bitter socio-economic pills. 

They also serve as the pressure valves for channeling discontent into more palatable forms, but are little more then that.  Looks like Marxists were right that without greater economic equality democracy is completely impossible (but economic equality is impossible in its own right, at least within current civilizational framework -- oil age). But, at the same time,  they were wrong that an economically egalitarian society is viable, as self-generation of elites in any society and elite grabbing the society resources  can't be stopped.  The history of the USSR is an interesting demonstration of a viability of iron law of oligarchy even in the context of  by-and-large theocratic society.  At the end Bolsheviks elite changed (paradoxically with KGB elite in the forefront of this betrayal)  sides and adopted neoliberal model plunging the population into chaos and several times lowering achieved (not that high) standard of living of Soviet people. Including confiscation of all saving and devaluing of currency, which put pensioners on real starvation/survival mode.

In the USSR oligarchy (aka nomenklatura) self-emerged in less then 10 years from the  revolution and ruled for all the short USSR history. It is well described in Michael Voslensky book Nomenklatura The Soviet Ruling Class . Actually Politburo of CPSU became a gravitational center of the new "soviet" oligarchy (which like old aristocracy was hereditary) . In comparison with the USSR with its rigid one-party system, the USA employs more sophisticated system  of two party rule, which actually proved to be less brutal, but, at the same time, more efficient in sustaining of the rule of oligarchy (Two Party System as Polyarchy).

Recently this system started to advance "false flag candidates" (Obama, Trump, candidates specifically selected due to lack of their political experince and as such capable to promise "change we can believe in", performing brutal "bait and  switch" maneuver after the election.

Indirectly the "iron rule of oligarchy" also badly reflects on the US foreign policy, making "promotion of democracy" to look like a smoke screen behind which naked economic and imperial interests hide. For example, the recent Hillary Clinton stance of Libya and Syria looks like hypocritical nonsense that masks geopolitical and economic energy security considerations. It is just a  "regime change" in which a different, more friendly to US interests part of national oligarchy, comes to power.  

The Iron Law of Oligarchy also makes clear that the current ruling regime in the USA has very little to do with the democracy and a lot with the defense of the interests of top one (or more correctly 0.01%) of population.  

Still, improvement in socio-economic welfare matters as it does increase economic sovereignty of individuals and limit the number of degrees of freedom that oligarchy enjoys. The poorer (and less economically secure) are the people, the easier they are manipulated. So egalitarian ideal still has distinct democratic and general social value. 

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.

According to the "iron law," democracy and large-scale organizations are incompatible. In this sense democracy is and always will be a utopian ideal. 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.  But the "degree of separation" and attachment of the elite to larger society goals can vary greatly. For example during the period of existence of the USSR, the US elite was forced to hide their cannibalistic tendencies and produced the period in the US history that was truly "gold age" for the US middle class.  This period ended with the accent of neoliberalism in 1970th and culminated with the election of President Reagan. 

Iron law of oligarchy and the process of stratification of society

The degree of inequality in a given asset (e. g., income) depends, of course, on its dispersion or concentration of wealth across the individuals in the population. Although many scholars seek to characterize the overall level of societal inequality with a single parameter, such attempts will obviously be compromised insofar as some types of assets are distributed more equally than others.

This complexity clearly arises in the case of modern stratification systems, for instance, the recent emergence of "social rights" suggests that civil goods are now more equally dispersed across all citizens, whereas economic and political goods continue to be disproportionately controlled by a relatively small elite -- financial oligarchy.  And under neoliberalism this level of concentration of ownership of economic assets  and corresponding level of inequality gradually rises puting the stability of the society at risk.  From the point of view of iron law if oligarchy neoliberalism is inherently unstable, doomed social system.

In nearly all models of advanced industrial society, education is the principal mechanism by which individuals are sorted into such classes; in a way educational institutions serve to "license" human capital (if we use this neoliberal term) and convert it to cultural currency.

Emergence of global elite, financial oligarchy

One of the most recent social phenomenon is the emergence of global elite. It is represented by-and-large by parts of nations financial oligarchy with some additions of employees of international organization (World Bank, IMF, etc), high-tech companies and transnational corporations.  Here the iron law of oligarchy which previously was limited to state borders started to operate on new transnational level with the  self-organizing Politburo world (with membership concentrated on top echelons of elites of  G7 countries) and vassals, subservient elites which in effect are not so different from a regular party members on the international scheme.  In other words some parts of the elite and first of all financial oligarchy concentrated at the West converted themselves into super elite.

Financial oligarchy proved to be different from other types of oligarchy: from the very beginning it is transnational and as such is inclined to the betray the interests of home country population.  Also unlike other parts of oligarchy in the particular county, financial elite it is more parasitic and exists mainly as additional tax layer for the population. Despite the claims made by paid cheerleaders of megabanks, too big to fail banks extract huge taxpayer subsidies. This capture of the countries by a parasitic transnational financial elite is a new development and it changes the applicability of the law of oligarchy in a very unexpected way: the emerging clique of super-rich financial moguls are practically becoming their own nation, buying houses and keeping assets outside their country of primary residence. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s this transnational oligarchy is increasingly looks like a virtual "super nation".  Those “Supercitizens” are by-and-large above law,  unless the crime is committed against another supercitizen.

Also within a single country we are now seeing  not a single economy, but rather two fundamentally different and separate types of economy. This growing gap between the rich and non-rich has been evident for years. In a 2005 report to investors, for instance, three analysts at Citigroup advised that “the World is dividing into two blocs—the Plutonomy and the rest”:

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

Unlike previous oligarchies, members of the global elite generally stick to a globalist perspective and do not contribute to the economic growth of their home countries. They are becoming a transnational community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen. Ordinary people find themselves living in a globalized plutocracy, in which the superrich display acute indifference to the interest of "natives", and openly pursue narrow self-interest with callous indifference to anyone outside their own rarefied economic kingdom.

Financial elite of international financial organization such as IMF and World Bank is an interesting special case: 

"Christine Lagarde, the IMF boss who caused international outrage after she suggested in an interview with the Guardian on Friday that beleaguered Greeks might do well to pay their taxes, pays no taxes, it has emerged.

As an official of an international institution, her salary of $467,940 (£298,675) a year plus $83,760 additional allowance a year is not subject to any taxes.

The former French finance minister took over as managing director of the IMF last year when she succeeded her disgraced compatriot Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to resign after he faced charges – later dropped – of sexually attacking a New York hotel maid.

Lagarde, 56, receives a pay and benefits package worth more than American president Barack Obama earns from the United States government, and he pays taxes on it.

The same applies to nearly all United Nations employees – article 34 of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations of 1961, which has been signed by 187 states, declares: "A diplomatic agent shall be exempt from all dues and taxes, personal or real, national, regional or municipal."

According to Lagarde's contract she is also entitled to a pay rise on 1 July every year during her five-year contract.

Base salaries range from $46,000 to $80,521. Senior salaries range between $95,394 and $123,033 but these are topped up with adjustments for the cost of living in different countries. A UN worker based in Geneva, for example, will see their base salary increased by 106%, in Bonn by 50.6%, Paris 62% and Peshawar 38.6%. Even in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, one of the poorest areas of the world, a UN employee's salary will be increased by 53.2%.

Other benefits include rent subsidies, dependency allowances for spouses and children, education grants for school-age children and travel and shipping expenses, as well as subsidized medical insurance.

For many years critics have complained that IMF, World Bank, and United Nations employees are able to live large at international taxpayers' expense.

During the 1944 economic conference at Bretton Woods, where the IMF was created, American and British politicians disagreed over salaries for the bureaucrats. British delegates, including the economist John Maynard Keynes, considered the American proposals for salaries to be "monstrous", but lost the argument.

Officials from the various organizations have long maintained that the high salaries are a way of attracting talent from the private sector. In fact, most senior employees are recruited from government posts."

As Jesse wrote in his blog Jesse's Café Américain

Politicians from both sides of the aisle will swear pious oaths to protect and foster the well being of the middle class. They will say that their policies and proposals are all designed for its betterment. And yet the state of the middle class continues to dwindle into despair and disrepair. Why is this?

It is not because of the predominance of a right or left ideology, of taxation and deficits and austerity. It is not because of the re-emergence of a perversion of the gospel, in the predestination of prosperity. We have seen all this before. It is not because in our comfort we have lost the sense of the imperative of common cause.

It is because of the overwhelming corruption of power, and of the cynical amorality of thoroughly modern political managers who worship power and personal wealth as ends unto themselves. They distract the people with artificially divisive social issues and crises, while robbing them blind.

It is driven by the allure of the cartels, monopolies, and monied interests, and their corrupt political bargains. It is a child of the subornation of perjury on a massive scale. It is the unscrupulous servility to power of those who have sworn to uphold and protect the law. What is truth? Whatever suits us, whatever we say it is, by whoever has the power and the craft to define 'we.' It is not the triumph of evil so much as the absence of any sense of the good, of honor, honesty, and of simple common decency.

And it is marked by the daily subverting of the law as a matter of convenience and comfort to the insatiable few, and the cravenness of their enablers, driven by personal ambition, ignorance, and fear. It is the will to power, the elevation of the ascendant self and the system that supports it, above all else. Greed is good. Whatever works. And the enemy is all that is not the self, which is the other.

And where there is nothing sacred, the people perish.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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Old News ;-)

[May 19, 2019] Some Shocking Facts on the Concentration of Ownership of the US Economy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction. ..."
"... In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). ..."
"... In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies. ..."
"... A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2). ..."
"... Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4). ..."
May 19, 2019 | russia-insider.com

A close-knit oligarchy controls all major corporations. Monopolization of ownership in US economy fast approaching Soviet levels

Starting with Ronald Reagan's presidency, the US government willingly decided to ignore the anti-trust laws so that corporations would have free rein to set up monopolies. With each successive president the monopolistic concentration of business and shareholding in America has grown precipitously eventually to reach the monstrous levels of the present day.

Today's level of monopolistic concentration is of such unprecedented levels that we may without hesitation designate the US economy as a giant oligopoly. From economic power follows political power, therefore the economic oligopoly translates into a political oligarchy. (It seems, though, that the transformation has rather gone the other way around, a ferocious set of oligarchs have consolidated their economic and political power beginning from the turn of the twentieth century). The conclusion that the US is an oligarchy finds support in a 2014 by a Princeton University study.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has not seen these levels of concentration of ownership. The Soviet Union did not die because of apparent ideological reasons but due to economic bankruptcy caused by its uncompetitive monopolistic economy. Our verdict is that the US is heading in the same direction.

In a later report, we will demonstrate how all sectors of the US economy have fallen prey to monopolization and how the corporate oligopoly has been set up across the country. This post essentially serves as an appendix to that future report by providing the shocking details of the concentration of corporate ownership.

Apart from illustrating the monopolization at the level of shareholding of the major investors and corporations, we will in a follow-up post take a somewhat closer look at one particularly fatal aspect of this phenomenon, namely the consolidation of media (posted simultaneously with the present one) in the hands of absurdly few oligarch corporations. In there, we will discuss the monopolies of the tech giants and their ownership concentration together with the traditional media because they rightfully belong to the same category directly restricting speech and the distribution of opinions in society.

In a future instalment of this report, we will show that the oligarchization of America – the placing it under the rule of the One Percent (or perhaps more accurately the 0.1%, if not 0.01%) - has been a deliberate ideologically driven long-term project to establish absolute economic power over the US and its political system and further extend that to involve an absolute global hegemony (the latter project thankfully thwarted by China and Russia). To achieve these goals, it has been crucial for the oligarchs to control and direct the narrative on economy and war, on all public discourse on social affairs. By seizing the media, the oligarchs have created a monstrous propaganda machine, which controls the opinions of the majority of the US population.

We use the words 'monopoly,' 'monopolies,' and 'monopolization' in a broad sense and subsume under these concepts all kinds of market dominance be it by one company or two or a small number of companies, that is, oligopolies. At the end of the analysis, it is not of great importance how many corporations share in the market dominance, rather what counts is the death of competition and the position enabling market abuse, either through absolute dominance, collusion, or by a de facto extinction of normal market competition. Therefore we use the term 'monopolization' to describe the process of reaching a critical level of non-competition on a market. Correspondingly, we may denote 'monopoly companies' two corporations of a duopoly or several of an oligopoly.

Horizontal shareholding – the cementation of the oligarchy

One especially perfidious aspect of this concentration of ownership is that the same few institutional investors have acquired undisputable control of the leading corporations in practically all the most important sectors of industry. The situation when one or several investors own controlling or significant shares of the top corporations in a given industry (business sector) is referred to as horizontal shareholding . (*1). In present-day United States a few major investors – equity funds or private capital - are as a rule cross-owned by each other, forming investor oligopolies, which in turn own the business oligopolies.

A study has shown that among a sample of the 1,500 largest US firms (S&P 1500), the probability of one major shareholder holding significant shares in two competing firms had jumped to 90% in 2014, while having been just 16% in 1999. (*2).

Institutional investors like BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and JP Morgan, now own 80% of all stock in S&P 500 listed companies. The Big Three investors - BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – alone constitute the largest shareholder in 88% of S&P 500 firms, which roughly correspond to America's 500 largest corporations. (*3). Both BlackRock and Vanguard are among the top five shareholders of almost 70% of America's largest 2,000 publicly traded corporations. (*4).

Blackrock had as of 2016 $6.2 trillion worth of assets under management, Vanguard $5.1 trillion, whereas State Street has dropped to a distant third with only $1 trillion in assets. This compares with a total market capitalization of US stocks according to Russell 3000 of $30 trillion at end of 2017 (From 2016 to 2017, the Big Three has of course also put on assets).Blackrock and Vanguard would then alone own more than one-third of all US publicly listed shares.

From an expanded sample that includes the 3,000 largest publicly listed corporations (Russell 3000 index), institutions owned (2016) about 78% of the equity .

The speed of concentration the US economy in the hands of institutions has been incredible. Still back in 1950s, their share of the equity was 10%, by 1980 it was 30% after which the concentration has rapidly grown to the present day approximately 80%. (*5). Another study puts the present (2016) stock market capitalization held by institutional investors at 70%. (*6). (The slight difference can possibly be explained by variations in the samples of companies included).

As a result of taking into account the common ownership at investor level, it emerges that the US economy is yet much more monopolized than it was previously thought when the focus had been on the operational business corporation alone detached from their owners. (*7).

The Oligarch owners assert their control

Apologists for monopolies have argued that the institutional investors who manage passive capital are passive in their own conduct as shareholders as well. (*8). Even if that would be true it would come with vastly detrimental consequences for the economy as that would mean that in effect there would be no shareholder control at all and the corporate executives would manage the companies exclusively with their own short-term benefits in mind, inevitably leading to corruption and the loss of the common benefits businesses on a normally functioning competitive market would bring.

In fact, there seems to have been a period in the US economy – before the rapid monopolization of the last decade -when such passive investors had relinquished control to the executives. (*9). But with the emergence of the Big Three investors and the astonishing concentration of ownership that does not seem to hold water any longer. (*10). In fact, there need not be any speculation about the matter as the monopolist owners are quite candid about their ways. For example, BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink sends out an annual guiding letter to his subject, practically to all the largest firms of the US and increasingly also Europe and the rest of the West. In his pastoral, the CEO shares his view of the global conditions affecting business prospects and calls for companies to adjust their strategies accordingly.

The investor will eventually review the management's strategic plans for compliance with the guidelines. Effectively, the BlackRock CEO has in this way assumed the role of a giant central planner, rather like the Gosplan, the central planning agency of the Soviet command economy.

The 2019 letter (referenced above) contains this striking passage, which should quell all doubts about the extent to which BlackRock exercises its powers:

"As we seek to build long-term value for our clients through engagement, our aim is not to micromanage a company's operations. Instead, our primary focus is to ensure board accountability for creating long-term value. However, a long-term approach should not be confused with an infinitely patient one. When BlackRock does not see progress despite ongoing engagement, or companies are insufficiently responsive to our efforts to protect our clients' long-term economic interests, we do not hesitate to exercise our right to vote against incumbent directors or misaligned executive compensation."

Considering the striking facts rendered above, we should bear in mind that the establishment of this virtually absolute oligarch ownership over all the largest corporations of the United States is a relatively new phenomenon. We should therefore expect that the centralized control and centralized planning will rapidly grow in extent as the power is asserted and methods are refined.

Most of the capital of those institutional investors consists of so-called passive capital, that is, such cases of investments where the investor has no intention of trying to achieve any kind of control of the companies it invests in, the only motivation being to achieve as high as possible a yield. In the overwhelming majority of the cases the funds flow into the major institutional investors, which invest the money at their will in any corporations. The original investors do not retain any control of the institutional investors, and do not expect it either. Technically the institutional investors like BlackRock and Vanguard act as fiduciary asset managers. But here's the rub, while the people who commit their assets to the funds may be considered as passive investors, the institutional investors who employ those funds are most certainly not.

Cross-ownership of oligarch corporations

To make matters yet worse, it must be kept in mind that the oligopolistic investors in turn are frequently cross-owned by each other. (*11). In fact, there is no transparent way of discovering who in fact controls the major institutional investors.

One of the major institutional investors, Vanguard is ghost owned insofar as it does not have any owners at all in the traditional sense of the concept. The company claims that it is owned by the multiple funds that it has itself set up and which it manages. This is how the company puts it on their home page : "At Vanguard, there are no outside owners, and therefore, no conflicting loyalties. The company is owned by its funds, which in turn are owned by their shareholders -- including you, if you're a Vanguard fund investor." At the end of the analysis, it would then seem that Vanguard is owned by Vanguard itself, certainly nobody should swallow the charade that those funds stuffed with passive investor money would exercise any ownership control over the superstructure Vanguard. We therefore assume that there is some group of people (other than the company directors) that have retained the actual control of Vanguard behind the scenes (perhaps through one or a few of the funds). In fact, we believe that all three (BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard) are tightly controlled by a group of US oligarchs (or more widely transatlantic oligarchs), who prefer not to brandish their power. It is beyond the scope of this study and our means to investigate this hypothesis, but whatever, it is bad enough that as a proven fact these three investor corporations wield this control over most of the American economy. We also know that the three act in concert wherever they hold shares. (*12).

Now, let's see who are the formal owners of these institutional investors

In considering these ownership charts, please, bear in mind that we have not consistently examined to what degree the real control of one or another company has been arranged through a scheme of issuing different classes of shares, where a special class of shares give vastly more voting rights than the ordinary shares. One source asserts that 355 of the companies in the Russell index consisting of the 3000 largest corporations employ such a dual voting-class structure, or 11.8% of all major corporations.

We have mostly relied on www.stockzoa.com for the shareholder data. However, this and other sources tend to list only the so-called institutional investors while omitting corporate insiders and other individuals. (We have no idea why such strange practice is employed

[Apr 28, 2019] People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths

Notable quotes:
"... The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality. ..."
"... Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

michael , April 22, 2019 at 07:06

"People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths." I think it is a deeper phenomenon than repetition of lies (which have been legal since 2014 with the 'modernization' of Smith-Mundt, our anti-propaganda law).

The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality.

There is an inability to accept the fact that people in DC and NYC and Boston and San Francisco and other Financial/ MIC-driven areas were doing well relative to the bulk of Americans and life was wonderful until the 2016 Election. For these people "America Has Never Stopped Being Great!" (Similar to the "I've got mine, Jack! " attitude of Great Britain, as their labor unions lost unity with rest of the working class.)

Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together.

[Apr 26, 2019] For The Thinking Class, Blowback Is A Harsh Mistress

Notable quotes:
"... Working in tech and consulting to a wide range of educated people in finance and pharma, I have to agree. Getting an advanced degree does not indicate anything more than persistence. ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

In this universe of paradox, inequity, ironies, and fake-outs one strange actuality stands above the rest these days: that the much-reviled President Trump was on the right side of RussiaGate, and the enormous mob of America's Thinking Class was on the wrong side -- and by such a shocking margin of error that they remain in a horrified fugue of outrage and reprisal, apparently unaware that consequences await.

Granted, there's a lot to not like about Mr. Trump: his life of maximum privilege in a bubble of grifticious wealth; his shady career in the sub-swamp of New York real estate; his rough, garbled, and childlike manner of speech; his disdain of political decorum, his lumbering bellicosity, his apparently near-total lack of education, and, of course, the mystifying hair-doo. His unbelievable luck in winning the 2016 election can only be explained by the intervention of some malign cosmic force -- a role assigned to the Russians. At least that's how Mr. Trump's antagonists engineered The Narrative that they have now quadrupled down on.

To make matters worse, this odious President happens to be on the right side of several other political quarrels of the day, at least in terms of principle, however awkwardly he presents it.

The Resistance, which is to say the same Thinking Class groomed in the Ivy League and apprenticed in official leadership, has dug in on the idiotic policy position of a de facto open border with Mexico, and embellished that foolish idea with such accessory stupidities as sanctuary cities and free college tuition for non-citizens. Their arguments justifying these positions are wholly sentimental -- they're stuffing little children in cages ! -- masking a deep undercurrent of dishonesty and cynical opportunism -- not to mention putting themselves at odds with the rule-of-law itself.

During the 2016 election campaign, Mr. Trump often averred to forging better relations with Russia. The previous administration had meddled grotesquely in Ukrainian politics, among other things, and scuttled the chance to make common cause with Russia in areas of shared self-interest, for instance, in opposing worldwide Islamic terrorism. This was apparently too much for the US War Lobby, who needed a Russian boogeyman to keep the gravy train of weaponry and profitable interventionist operations chugging along, even if it meant arming Islamic State warriors who were blowing up US troops. Being falsely persecuted from before day one of his term for "collusion with Russia," Mr. Trump apparently found it necessary to go along with antagonizing Russia via sanctions and bluster, as if to demonstrate he never was "Putin's Puppet."

Meanwhile, by some strange process of psychological alchemy, the Thinking Class assigned Islamic radicals to their roster of sacred victims of oppression -- so that now it's verboten to mention them in news reports whenever some new slaughter of innocents is carried out around the world, or to complain about their hostility to Western Civ as a general proposition. Two decades after the obscene 9/11 attacks, the new Democratic Party controlled congress has apparently decided that it's better to make common cause with Islamic Radicalism than with a Russia that is, in actuality, no longer the Soviet Union but rather just another European nation trying to make it through the endgame of the industrial age, like everybody else.

The Thinking Class behind the bad faith Resistance is about to be beaten within an inch of its place in history with an ugly-stick of reality as The Narrative finally comes to be fairly adjudicated. The Mueller Report was much more than just disappointing; it was a comically inept performance insofar as it managed to overlook the only incidence of collusion that actually took place: namely, the disinfo operation sponsored by the Hillary Clinton campaign in concert with the highest officials of the FBI, the Department of Justice, State Department personnel, the various Intel agencies, and the Obama White house for the purpose of interfering in the 2016 election. It will turn out that the Mueller Investigation was just an extension of that felonious op, and Mr. Mueller himself may well be subject to prosecution for destroying evidence and, yes, obstruction of justice.

John F. Kennedy once observed that "life is unfair." It is unfair, perhaps, that a TV Reality Show huckster, clown, and rank outsider beat a highly credentialed veteran of the political establishment and that he flaunts his lack of decorum in the Oval Office. But it happens that he was on the side of the truth in the RussiaGate farrago and that happens to place him in a position of advantage going forward. Tags Politics

Show 98 Comments

Gobble D. Goop , 15 minutes ago link

Thinking class? You mean those folks that cheated/bribed/slept/blew/affirmatve actioned thier way to an education credential? That thinking class?

Understandable.

freedommusic , 25 minutes ago link

and the enormous mob of America's Thinking Class was on the wrong side

America's Thinking Class are NOT a bunch of narcissistic blowhards screaming in front of TV News cameras wearing makeup, espousing and pontificating their mental illness from compromised perspectives of the world. America's Thinking Class are actually - thinking - living in the REAL world outside of DC, disseminating the available information, connecting the dots with logic, reason, incredulity, critical thinking, and a great deal of skepticism viewed through a jaundiced eye. This thinking class is coming to somewhat obvious yet VERY DIFFERENT conclusions from the print and news media propagandists and are on the right side of the facts and truth.

WE ARE THE NEWS

NeverDemRino , 2 hours ago link

Jame Howard Kunstler is under the false impression that the Rule of Law will be restored in the Banana Repubic.

Jessica6 , 2 hours ago link

"Thinking class" implies that they think - as in there are analytical processes that go in inside their skulls. I'm not certain Generation ReTweet exhibit enough individual consciousness to pass a Turing Test.

prcat3vet , 2 hours ago link

"masking a deep undercurrent of dishonesty and cynical opportunism -- not to mention putting themselves at odds with the rule-of-law itself."

The Rule of Law doesn't apply to the "thinking class", or didn't you know that.

Ace006 , 3 hours ago link

Said highly-credentialed veteran of the political establishment (like I care) chortled after Gaddafi had been dispatched by our unconstitutional and illegal attack on Libya. "We came. We saw. He died." If that doesn't strike you as a serious deficiency in the decorum department I'll pass on what decorum you think it is that Trump lacks in the Oval Office. God SAVE us from the fools and grifters that the Establishment (spit) excretes who have all kinds of credentials and are masters of the graceful stilleto.

That smooth pansy of a president we just saw the end of never spent a Saturday tinkering with his ride while listening to some tunes and sucking down a brewski. And we paid a high price for that twink's efforts to fundamentally change America. Our so-called political elite are as useless as **** on a 200-lb. lesbian.

Zappalives , 3 hours ago link

"The thinking class"......................thinking what ??????????????

Thinking that everyone was going to buy into their ill-conceived, ill-executed coup of a duly elected POTUS was going to stand ?????????????????

Their hubris will be their downfall.

Dem/progs/repubs from E and W coast have brought our republic ever closer to Civil war 2.0.

Withdraw your consent to be governed is the first step.

Go from there.

DocJackson , 2 hours ago link

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I figured it out. They're not the "thinking" class as in cognitive function, but of opinion: "I think this is the way things are supposed to be." So it's not the "thinking class," but "the opinionated class, those who spout **** in the conspicuous absence of supporting factual evidence, or even in conspicuous contradiction to same." ;-)

Utopia Planitia , 3 hours ago link

Your so-called "thinking class" does nothing of the kind. In fact they do everything they can to inhibit and prevent any "thinking". TDS does not have to be fatal, but will be if sufferers do not seek and accept treatment. (they are also fun to watch, especially when it gets to the stage where they are frothing at the mouth.)

Herp and Derp , 3 hours ago link

Working in tech and consulting to a wide range of educated people in finance and pharma, I have to agree. Getting an advanced degree does not indicate anything more than persistence. Most people are sleep walking idiots no matter how 'smart' they are perceived in society.

[Apr 21, 2019] John Brennan's Police State USA

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers. ..."
"... Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer. ..."
"... The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway. ..."
"... No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way ..."
"... " ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people." ..."
"... All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests. ..."
"... A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops. ..."
"... The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter. ..."
"... "The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result " ..."
"... But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world. ..."
"... I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter! ..."
"... Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them. ..."
"... The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself. ..."
"... Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. ..."
"... That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era. ..."
"... The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it. ..."
"... [The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. ..."
"... Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran. ..."
"... Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington. ..."
"... Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say. ..."
"... Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse. ..."
"... Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.) ..."
"... Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress? ..."
"... Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies. ..."
Oct 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Fran Macadam , October 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

A credible reading of the diverse facts, Mike.
Kirk Elarbee , October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT
Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/everyone-hacked-everyone-hacked-everyone-spy-spin-fuels-anti-kaspersky-campaign.html

utu , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT
Again Mike Whitney does not get it. Though in the first part of the article I thought he would. He was almost getting there. The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope.

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer.

Pamela Geller: Thank You, Larry David

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/10/19/pamela-geller-thank-larry-david/

anon , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT
OK.

The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway.

No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way

The one thing I am not positive about. If the elite really believe that Russia is a threat, then Americans have done psych ops on themselves.

The US was only interested in Ukraine because it was there. Next in line on a map. The rather shocking disinterest in investing money -- on both sides -- is inexplicable if it was really important. Most of it would be a waste -- but still. The US stupidly spent $5 billion on something -- getting duped by politicians and got theoretical regime change, but it was hell to pry even $1 billion for real economic aid.

ThereisaGod , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
" ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people."

All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests.

jilles dykstra , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT
I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA, 1492 to the Present. A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops.
Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT
@jilles dykstra

You should be aware that Zinn's book is not, IMO, an honest attempt at writing history. It is conscious propaganda intended to make Americans believe exactly what you are taking from it.

DESERT FOX , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT
The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter.

Until that fact changes Americans will continue to fight and die for Israel.

TG , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm GMT
"The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result "

But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world.

I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter!

Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them.

Anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT
Whitney is another author who declares the "Russians did it" narrative a psyop. He then devotes entire columns to the psyop, "naww Russia didn't do it". There could be plenty to write about – recent laws that do undercut liberty, but no, the Washington Post needs fake opposition to its fake news so you have guys like Whitney in the less-mainstream fake news media.

So Brennan wanted revenge? Well that's simple enough to understand, without being too stupid. But Whitney's whopper of a lie is what you're supposed to unquestionably believe. The US has "rival political parties". Did you miss it?

Jake , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
The US is doing nothing more than acting as the British Empire 2.0. WASP culture was born of a Judaizing heresy: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. That meant that the WASP Elites of every are pro-Jewish, especially in order to wage war, physical and/or cultural, against the vast majority of white Christians they rule.

By the early 19th century, The Brit Empire's Elites also had a strong, and growing, dose of pro-Arabic/pro-Islamic philoSemitism. Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

So, by the time of Victoria's high reign, the Brit WASP Elites were a strange brew of hardcoree pro-Jewish and hardcore pro-Arabic/islamic. The US foreign policy of today is an attempt to put those two together and force it on everyone and make it work.

The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself.

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

Fair enough. I didn't know that about the foreword. If accurate, that's a reasonable approach for a book.

Here's the problem.

Back when O. Cromwell was the dictator of England, he retained an artist to paint him. The custom of the time was for artists to "clean up" their subjects, in a primitive form of photoshopping.

OC being a religious fanatic, he informed the artist he wished to be portrayed as God had made him, "warts and all." (Ollie had a bunch of unattractive facial warts.) Or the artist wouldn't be paid.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/08/cromwell-portraitist-samuel-cooper-exhibition

Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so.

All I am asking is that American (and other) history be written "warts and all." The triumphalist version is true, largely, and so is the Zinn version. Gone With the Wind and Roots both portray certain aspects of the pre-war south fairly accurately..

America has been, and is, both evil and good. As is/was true of every human institution and government in history. Personally, I believe America, net/net, has been one of the greatest forces for human good ever. But nobody will realize that if only the negative side of American history is taught.

Wally , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Hasbarist 'Kenny', you said:

"There must be something really dirty in Russigate that hasn't yet come out to generate this level of panic."

You continue to claim what you cannot prove.

But then you are a Jews First Zionist.

Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark
Russia-gate has jumped the shark with laughable new claims about a tiny number of "Russia-linked" social media ads, but the US mainstream media is determined to keep a straight face

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/10/robert-parry/jumping-the-shark/

Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

+ review of other frauds

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Jake

Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

Thanks for the laugh. During the 19th century, the Sauds were toothless, dirt-poor hicks from the deep desert of zero importance on the world stage.

The Brits were not Saudi proponents, in fact promoting the Husseins of Hejaz, the guys Lawrence of Arabia worked with. The Husseins, the Sharifs of Mecca and rulers of Hejaz, were the hereditary enemies of the Sauds of Nejd.

After WWI, the Brits installed Husseins as rulers of both Transjordan and Iraq, which with the Hejaz meant the Sauds were pretty much surrounded. The Sauds conquered the Hejaz in 1924, despite lukewarm British support for the Hejaz.

Nobody in the world cared much about the Saudis one way or another until massive oil fields were discovered, by Americans not Brits, starting in 1938. There was no reason they should. Prior to that Saudi prominence in world affairs was about equal to that of Chad today, and for much the same reason. Chad (and Saudi Arabia) had nothing anybody else wanted.

Grandpa Charlie , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

'Putin stopped talking about the "Lisbon to Vladivostok" free trade area long ago" -- Michael Kenney

Putin was simply trying to sell Russia's application for EU membership with the catch-phrase "Lisbon to Vladivostok". He continued that until the issue was triply mooted (1) by implosion of EU growth and boosterism, (2) by NATO's aggressive stance, in effect taken by NATO in Ukraine events and in the Baltics, and, (3) Russia's alliance with China.

It is surely still true that Russians think of themselves, categorically, as Europeans. OTOH, we can easily imagine that Russians in Vladivostok look at things differently than do Russians in St. Petersburg. Then again, Vladivostok only goes back about a century and a half.

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm GMT
@utu

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration.

I generally agree with your comment, but that part strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. While relations with Russia certainly haven't improved, how have they really worsened? The second round of sanctions that Trump reluctantly approved have yet to be implemented by Europe, which was the goal. And apart from that, what of substance has changed?

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era.

Ludwig Watzal , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
It's not surprising that 57 percent of the American people believe in Russian meddling. Didn't two-thirds of the same crowd believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, too? The American public is being brainwashed 24 hours a day all year long.

The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it.

This disinformation campaign might be the prelude to an upcoming war.
Right now, the US is run by jerks and idiots. Watch the video.

anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
Only dumb people does not know that TRUMP IS NETANYAHU'S PUPPET.

The fifth column zionist jews are running the albino stooge and foreign policy in the Middle East to expand Israel's interest against American interest that is TREASON. One of these FIFTH COLUMNISTS is Jared Kushner. He should be arrested.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/donald-trumps-likudist-campaign-against-iran/5614264

[The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.

Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be "terminated" if there was any renegotiation, according to Politico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he'd been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump's shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu's and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu's campaigns. He was Trump's main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson's real interest has been in supporting Israel's interests in Washington -- especially with regard to Iran.]

Miro23 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
A great article with some excellent points:

Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.

American dominance is very much tied to the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency, and the rest of the world no longer want to fund this bankrupt, warlike state – particularly the Chinese.

First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington's proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.

The CIA run US/Israeli/ISIS alliance.

Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say.

They are given the political line and they broadcast it.

The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.

At some point Americans are going to get a "War on Domestic Terror" cheered along by the media. More or less the arrest and incarceration of any opposition following the Soviet Bolshevik model.

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT
@utu

On the plus side, everyone now knows that the Anglo-US media from the NY Times to the Economist, from WaPo to the Gruniard, and from the BBC to CNN, the CBC and Weinstein's Hollywood are a worthless bunch of depraved lying bastards.

Thales the Milesian , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
Brennan did this, CIA did that .

So what are you going to do about all this?

Continue to whine?

Continue to keep your head stuck in your ass?

So then continue with your blah, blah, blah, and eat sh*t.

You, disgusting self-elected democratic people/institutions!!!

AB_Anonymous , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse.

The thing is, no matter how thick the mental cages are, and how carefully they are maintained by the daily massive injections of "certified" truth (via MSM), along with neutralizing or compromising of "troublemakers", the presence of multiple alternative sources in the age of Internet makes people to slip out of these cages one by one, and as the last events show – with acceleration.

It means that there's a fast approaching tipping point after which it'd be impossible for those in power both to keep a nice "civilized" face and to control the "cage-free" population. So, no matter how the next war will be called, it will be the war against the free Internet and free people. That's probably why N. Korean leader has no fear to start one.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
An aside:

All government secrecy is a curse on mankind. Trump is releasing the JFK murder files to the public. Kudos! Let us hope he will follow up with a full 9/11 investigation.

Think Peace -- Art

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
@utu

The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Good point. That was probably one of the objectives (and from the point of view of the deep-state, perhaps the most important objective) of the "Russia hacked our democracy" narrative, in addition to the general deligitimization of the Trump administration.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm GMT
And, keep in mind, Washington's Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained.

Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.)

Are committees of six congressman and six senators, who meet in secret, just avoiding the grave constitutional questions of war? We the People cannot even interrogate these politicians. (These politicians make big money in the secrecy swamp when they leave office.)

Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress?

Spying is one thing – covert action is another – covert is wrong – it goes against world order. Every year after 9/11 they say things are worse – give them more money more power and they will make things safe. That is BS!

9/11 has opened the flood gates to the US government attacking at will, the various peoples of this Earth. That is NOT our prerogative.

We are being exceptionally arrogant.

Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies.

Think Peace -- Art

Rurik , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Ben10

right at 1:47

when he says 'we can't move on as a country'

his butt hurt is so ruefully obvious, that I couldn't help notice a wry smile on my face

that bitch spent millions on the war sow, and now all that mullah won't even wipe his butt hurt

when I see ((guys)) like this raging their inner crybaby angst, I feel really, really good about President Trump

MAGA bitches!

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA

A Peoples History of the USA? Which Peoples?

Tradecraft46 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
I am SAIS 70 so know the drill and the article is on point.

Here is the dealio. Most reporters are dim and have no experience, and it is real easy to lead them by the nose with promises of better in the future.

[Apr 14, 2019] The social groups that support neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... These are the forms of White traditional British oriented American traitors, not racial or ethnic groups with historic envy, hatreds of our people. ..."
May 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

2) Trucklers – (LBJ) lower class White Americans who gain wealth and power by championing non White, minority causes just because it's a path to power, pleasing the elites who would otherwise dismiss them as hicks.

3) Pussyfooters (Bush Sr. Country Club Conservatives) White Americans who prefer their own safe life, don't hate their own people but rarely defend them – they don't like trouble, they're pussies. Alt Right has given them a new word "Cuckservatives".

4) Old Believers (Ron Paul, Pat Robertson) Sincere old guys who wish things could go back to the way things used to be when some systems supposedly worked for us when we were 90% White European American, before the Great Society, New Deal, feminism, etc

5) Proditors – (John Brown, Jane Fonda, SDS)

These are the forms of White traditional British oriented American traitors, not racial or ethnic groups with historic envy, hatreds of our people.

Do you have links to other Wilmot Robertson sites?

Svigor , December 2, 2016 at 3:19 am GMT
I really can't emphasize #2 strongly enough. The term "fog of war" is an apt one. People in a war generally don't know much at all about what's going on, at the time. They're lucky if they ever do. But in every single orthodox eye-witness account I've ever read, the storytellers know exactly what was going on, and why . Even when they shouldn't. They set off my skeptic alarms left and right.

Read some of the accounts critically, and see for yourself. They're mostly "everybody knows," "it is known," type stuff. Not credible at all. These are the bricks the orthodox narrative is made of.

[Apr 14, 2019] A Veblen Moment: Thorstein Veblen's Lessons from the First Gilded Age Even More Relevant Today

Apr 12, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on April 12, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. Karl Marx and Friedrich Englels, who documented the abuses of the early Industrial Revolution, are well remembered today, not just as activists but also as journalists. Oddly, Thorstein Veblen, who identified many of the pathologies of the rich of the Gilded Age, is vastly less well known. Was it because the robber barons of his age had amassed so much wealth and power that they were better able to create a veneer of legitimacy than Victorian era factory owners?

This post picks up some Veblen themes that are particularly germane today, such as the notion that businessmen often operate as rentiers and predators.

By Ann Jones, who is at work on a book about social democracy in Scandinavia (and its absence in the United States) and is the author of several books, including most recently They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars -- the Untold Stor y , a Dispatch Books original. Originally published at TomDispatch

Distracted daily by the bloviating POTUS? Here, then, is a small suggestion. Focus your mind for a moment on one simple (yet deeply complex) truth: we are living in a Veblen Moment.

That's Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of (or forgot). His working life -- from 1890 to 1923 -- coincided with America's first Gilded Age, so named by Mark Twain, whose novel of that title lampooned the greedy corruption of the country's most illustrious gentlemen. Veblen had a similarly dark, sardonic sense of humor.

Now, in America's second (bigger and better) Gilded Age, in a world of staggering inequality , believe me, it helps to read him again.

In his student days at Johns Hopkins, Yale, and finally Cornell, already a master of many languages, he studied anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and political economy (the old fashioned term for what's now called economics). That was back when economists were concerned with the real-life conditions of human beings, and wouldn't have settled for data from an illusory "free market."

Veblen got his initial job, teaching political economy at a salary of $520 a year, in 1890 when the University of Chicago first opened its doors. Back in the days before SATs and admissions scandals , that school was founded and funded by John D. Rockefeller, the classic robber baron of Standard Oil. (Think of him as the Mark Zuckerberg of his day.) Even half a century before the free-market economist Milton Friedman captured Chicago's economics department with dogma that serves the ruling class, Rockefeller called the university "the best investment" he ever made. Still, from the beginning, Thorstein Veblen was there, prepared to focus his mind on Rockefeller and his cronies, the cream of the upper class and the most ruthless profiteers behind that Gilded Age.

He was already asking questions that deserve to be raised again in the 1% world of 2019. How had such a conspicuous lordly class developed in America? What purpose did it serve? What did the members of the leisure class actually do with their time and money? And why did so many of the ruthlessly over-worked, under-paid lower classes tolerate such a peculiar, lopsided social arrangement in which they were so clearly the losers?

Veblen addressed those questions in his first and still best-known book, The Theory of the Leisure Class , published in 1899. The influential literary critic and novelist William Dean Howells, the "dean of American letters," perfectly captured the effect of Veblen's gleeful, poker-faced scientific style in an awestruck review. "In the passionless calm with which the author pursues his investigation," Howells wrote, "there is apparently no animus for or against a leisure class. It is his affair simply to find out how and why and what it is. If the result is to leave the reader with a feeling which the author never shows, that seems to be solely the effect of the facts."

The book made a big splash. It left smug, witless readers of the leisure class amused. But readers already in revolt, in what came to be known as the Progressive Era, came away with contempt for the filthy rich (a feeling that today, with a smug, witless plutocrat in the White House, should be a lot more common than it is).

What Veblen Saw

The now commonplace phrase "leisure class" was Veblen's invention and he was careful to define it: "The term 'leisure,' as here used, does not connote indolence or quiescence. What it connotes is non-productive consumption of time. Time is consumed non-productively (1) from a sense of the unworthiness of productive work, and (2) as an evidence of pecuniary ability to afford a life of idleness."

Veblen observed a world in which that leisure class, looking down its collective nose at the laboring masses, was all around him, but he saw evidence of something else as well. His anthropological studies revealed earlier cooperative, peaceable cultures that had supported no such idle class at all. In them, men and women had labored together, motivated by an instinctive pride in workmanship, a natural desire to emulate the best workers, and a deep parental concern -- a parental bent he called it -- for the welfare of future generations. As the child of Norwegian immigrants, Veblen himself had grown up on a Minnesota farm in the midst of a close-knit Norwegian-speaking community. He knew what just such a cooperative culture was like and what was possible, even in a gilded (and deeply impoverished) world.

But anthropology also recorded all too many class-ridden societies that saved upper-class men for the "honourable employments": governance, warfare, priestly office, or sports. Veblen noted that such arrangements elicited aggressive, dominant behavior that, over time, caused societies to change for the worse. Indeed, those aggressive upper-class men soon discovered the special pleasure that lay in taking whatever they wanted by "seizure," as Veblen termed it. Such an aggressive way of living and acting, in turn, became the definition of manly "prowess," admired even by the working class subjected by it. By contrast, actual work -- the laborious production of the goods needed by society -- was devalued. As Veblen put it, "The obtaining [of goods] by other methods than seizure comes to be accounted unworthy of man in his best estate." It seems that more than a century ago, the dominant men of the previous Gilded Age were, like our president, already spinning their own publicity.

A scientific Darwinian, Veblen saw that such changes developed gradually from alterations in the material circumstances of life. New technology, he understood, sped up industrialization, which in turn attracted those men of the leisure class, always on the lookout for the next thing of value to seize and make their own. When "industrial methods have been developed to such a degree of efficiency as to leave a margin worth fighting for," Veblen wrote, the watchful men struck like birds of prey.

Such constant "predation," he suggested, soon became the "habitual, conventional resource" of the parasitical class. In this way, a more peaceable, communal existence had evolved into the grim, combative industrial age in which he found himself: an age shadowed by predators seeking only profits and power, and putting down any workers who tried to stand up for themselves. To Veblen this change was not merely "mechanical." It was a spiritual transformation.

The Conspicuous Class

Classical economists from Adam Smith on typically depicted economic man as a rational creature, acting circumspectly in his own self-interest. In Veblen's work, however, the only men -- and they were all men then -- acting that way were those robber barons, admired for their "prowess" by the very working-class guys they preyed upon. (Think of President Trump and his besotted MAGA-hatted followers.) Veblen's lowly workers still seemed to be impelled by the "instinct for emulation." They didn't want to overthrow the leisure class. They wanted to climb up into it.

For their part, the leisured gents asserted their superiority by making a public show of their leisure or, as Veblen put it, their "conspicuous abstention from labour." To play golf, for example, as The Donald has spent much of his presidency doing, became at once "the conventional mark of superior pecuniary achievement" and "the conventional index of reputability." After all, he wrote, "the pervading principle and abiding test of good breeding is the requirement of a substantial and patent waste of time." In Donald Trump's version of the same, he displayed his penchant for "conspicuous consumption" by making himself the owner of a global chain of golf courses where he performs his "conspicuous leisure" by cheating up a storm and carrying what Veblen called a "conspicuous abstention from labour" to particularly enviable heights.

Veblen devoted 14 chapters of The Theory of the Leisure Class to analyzing every aspect of the life of the plutocrat living in a gilded world and the woman who accompanied him on his conspicuous outings, elaborately packaged in constricting clothing, crippling high heels, and "excessively long hair," to indicate just how unfit she was for work and how much she was "still the man's chattel." Such women, he wrote, were "servants to whom, in the differentiation of economic functions, has been delegated the office of putting in evidence their master's ability to pay." (Think POTUS again and whomever he once displayed with a certain possessive pride only to pay hush money to thereafter.)

And all of that's only from chapter seven, "Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture." Today, each of those now-century-old chapters remains a still-applicable little masterpiece of observation, insight, and audacity, though it was probably the 14th and last chapter that got him fired from Rockefeller's university: "The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture." How timely is that?

The (Re)tardiness of Conservatives

As both an evolutionary and an institutional economist (two fields he originated), Veblen contended that our habits of thought and our institutions must necessarily "change with changing circumstances." Unfortunately, they often seem anchored in place instead, bound by the social and psychological inertia of conservatism. But why should that be so?

Veblen had a simple answer. The leisure class is so sheltered from inevitable changes going on in the rest of society that it will adapt its views, if at all, "tardily." Comfortably clueless (or calculating), the wealthy leisure class drags its heels (or digs them in) to retard economic and social forces that make for change. Hence the name "conservatives." That (re)tardiness -- that time lag imposed by conservative complacency -- stalls and stifles the lives of everyone else and the timely economic development of the nation. (Think of our neglected infrastructure, education, housing, health care, public transport -- you know the lengthening list today.)

Accepting and adjusting to social or economic change, unfortunately, requires prolonged "mental effort," from which the leisured conservative mind quite automatically recoils. But so, too, Veblen said, do the minds of the "abjectly poor, and all those persons whose energies are entirely absorbed by the struggle for daily sustenance." The lower classes were -- and this seems a familiar reality in the age of Trump -- as conservative as the upper class simply because the poor "cannot afford the effort of taking thought for the day after tomorrow," while "the highly prosperous are conservative because they have small occasion to be discontented with the situation as it stands." It was, of course, a situation from which they, unlike the poor, made a bundle in an age (both Veblen's and ours) in which money flows only uphill to the 1%.

Veblen gave this analytic screw one more turn. Called a "savage" economist, in his meticulous and deceptively neutral prose, he described in the passage that follows a truly savage and deliberate process:

"It follows that the institution of a leisure class acts to make the lower classes conservative by withdrawing from them as much as it may of the means of sustenance and so reducing their consumption, and consequently their available energy, to such a point as to make them incapable of the effort required for the learning and adoption of new habits of thought. The accumulation of wealth at the upper end of the pecuniary scale implies privation at the lower end of the scale."

And privation always stands as an obstacle to innovation and change. In this way, the industrial, technological, and social progress of the whole society is retarded or perhaps even thrown into reverse. Such are the self-perpetuating effects of the unequal distribution of wealth. And reader take note: the leisure class brings about these results on purpose.

The Demolition of Democracy

But how, at the turn of the nineteenth century, had America's great experiment in democracy come to this? In his 1904 book The Theory of Business Enterprise , Veblen zoomed in for a close up of America's most influential man: "the Business Man." To classical economists, this enterprising fellow was a generator of economic progress. To Veblen, he was "the Predator" personified: the man who invests in industry, any industry, simply to extract profits from it. Veblen saw that such predators created nothing, produced nothing, and did nothing of economic significance but seize profits.

Of course, Veblen, who could build a house with his own hands, imagined a working world free of such predators. He envisioned an innovative industrial world in which the labor of producing goods would be performed by machines tended by technicians and engineers. In the advanced factories of his mind's eye, there was no role, no place at all, for the predatory Business Man. Yet Veblen also knew that the natural-born predator of Gilded Age America was already creating a kind of scaffolding of financial transactions above and beyond the factory floor -- a lattice of loans, credits, capitalizations, and the like -- so that he could then take advantage of the "disruptions" of production caused by such encumbrances to seize yet more profits. In a pinch, the predator was, as Veblen saw it, always ready to go further, to throw a wrench into the works, to move into the role of outright "Saboteur."

Here Veblen's image of the predatory characters who dominated his Gilded Age runs up against the far glossier, more gilded image of the entrepreneurial executive hailed by most economists and business boosters of his time and ours. Yet in book after book, he continued to strip the gilded cloaks from America's tycoons, leaving them naked on the factory floor, with one hand jamming the machinery of American life and the other in the till.

Today, in our Second Even-Glitzier Gilded Age, with a Veblen Moment come round again, his conclusions seem self-evident. In fact, his predators pale beside a single image that he himself might have found incredible, the image of three hallowed multi-billionaires of our own Veblen Moment who hold more wealth than the bottom 160 million Americans.

The Rise of the Predatory State

Why, then, when Veblen saw America's plutocratic bent so clearly, is he now neglected? Better to ask, who among America's moguls wouldn't want to suppress such a clear-eyed genius? Economist James K. Galbraith suggests that Veblen was eclipsed by the Cold War, which offered only two alternatives, communism or capitalism -- with America's largely unfettered capitalist system presenting itself as a "conservative" norm and not what it actually was and remains: the extreme and cruel antithesis of communism.

When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, it left only one alternative: the triumphant fantasy of the "free market." What survived, in other words, was only the post-Veblen economics of John D. Rockefeller's university: the "free market" doctrines of Milton Friedman, founder of the brand of economics popular among conservatives and businessmen and known as the Chicago School.

Ever since, America has once again been gripped by the heavy hands of the predators and of the legislators they buy . Veblen's leisure class is now eclipsed by those even richer than rich, the top 1% of the 1%, a celestial crew even more remote from the productive labor of working men and women than were those nineteenth-century robber barons. For decades now, from the ascendancy of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to Bill Clinton's New Democrats in the 1990s to the militarized world of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to the self-proclaimed billionaire con man now in the Oval Office, the plutocrats have continued to shower their dark money on the legislative process. Their only frustration: that the left-over reforms of Veblen's own "Progressive Era" and those of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal still somehow stand (though for how long no one knows).

As Galbraith pointed out in his 2008 book The Predator State , the frustrated predators of the twenty-first century sneakily changed tactics: they aimed to capture the government themselves, to become the state. And so they have. In the Trump era, they have created a government in which current regulators are former lobbyists for the very predators they are supposed to restrain. Similarly, the members of Trump's cabinet are now the saboteurs: shrinking the State Department, starving public schools, feeding big Pharma with Medicare funds, handing over national parks and public lands to "developers," and denying science and climate change altogether, just to start down a long list. Meanwhile, our Predator President, when not golfing , leaps about the deconstruction site, waving his hands and hurling abuse, a baron of distraction, commanding attention while the backroom boys (and girls) demolish the institutions of law and democracy.

Later in life, Veblen, the evolutionary who believed that no one could foresee the future, nonetheless felt sure that the American capitalist system, as it was, could not last. He thought it would eventually fall apart. He went on teaching at Stanford, the University of Missouri, and then the New School for Social Research, and writing a raft of brilliant articles and eight more books. Among them, The Vested Interests and the Common Man (1920) may be the best summation of his once astonishing and now essential views. He died at the age of 72 in August 1929. Two months later, the financial scaffolding collapsed and the whole predatory system came crashing down.

To the end, Veblen had hoped that one day the Predators would be driven from the marketplace and the workers would find their way to socialism. Yet a century ago, it seemed to him more likely that the Predators and Saboteurs, collaborating as they did even then with politicians and government lackeys, would increasingly amass more profits, more power, more adulation from the men of the working class, until one day, when those very plutocrats actually captured the government and owned the state, a Gilded Business Man would arise to become a kind of primitive Warlord and Dictator. He would then preside over a new and more powerful regime and the triumph in America of a system we would eventually recognize and call by its modern name: fascism.


St Jacques , April 12, 2019 at 1:46 am

Thankyou for bringing up one of my all time favourite authors. Why is he neglected? Because he saw and wrote too clearly and he mocked the use of mathematical models, and the silly assumptions underlying them – oh so unscientifically unsound.

Anarcissie , April 12, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I think Veblen may be neglected because his observations do not comport well with what many others observe. For instance, in the quoted or paraphrased material in the article, he asserts that the upper classes are idly conservative. But if we have observed the development of cooperative agrarian societies into, first, instances of industrial capitalism, and later imperial-liberal or finance-capitalist warfare-welfare states, it is the capitalists who were the radical progressives, who shook things up, who 'moved fast and broke things', and the agrarian cooperators who were the conservatives or reactionaries. And Uncle Karl agrees with me, at least as of the Communist Manifesto : 'The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society .. All that is solid melts into air .' and so on.

Would that the rich were idle! But they are not. They labor ceaselessly to destroy the Earth, to turn it into nothing more than numbers written on a tablet. It is a mistake to underestimate and deride such people, even if their personalities are socially deficient.

Anthony Wikrent , April 12, 2019 at 1:05 pm

I think you need to look at the crucial distinction Veblen made between industry and business, which I find has much more analytical and prescriptive power than Marx.

Anarcissie , April 12, 2019 at 4:09 pm

I was thinking of the combination of business and industry, industry being the work of changing the material world to produce desired things, experiences, and circumstances, and business being the political organization of that work, which has evolved in various ways into contemporary capitalism. The large-scale practice of modern industry apparently requires a lot of political organization. In my observation and personal experience, business, so defined, is also hard work, since one is not dealing with inanimate things, but with human beings, who are often as unpredictable, crafty, greedy and treacherous as oneself. Hence not many actually want to or are able to do it. This poses an obvious problem for those who want to establish a more cooperative and egalitarian social order above the local or familial level, much less a sustainable economy. The rich are anything but idle, and they always want more.

WheresOurTeddy , April 12, 2019 at 1:30 pm

as a friend of mine likes to say, "America never had a ruling class disinterested in ruling or an intelligentsia that was truly intelligent."

Thomas P , April 12, 2019 at 3:07 am

The book is also available for free at project Gutenberg:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/833
The leisure class hasn't been able to expand copyright to infinity yet.

johnf , April 12, 2019 at 3:42 am

They are trying. Project Gutenberg is presently blocking all German IP addresses after a publisher asserted copyright on 18 works from 1903–1920. I must content myself with reading H.L. Mencken's iconoclastic essay, "Professor Veblen".

diptherio , April 12, 2019 at 9:45 am

The Opera browser has a build-in VPN just sayin' ;-)

GramSci , April 12, 2019 at 9:58 am

Ah, yes! H.L. Mencken, social darwinist and proto-nazi, as was Veblen's first professor at Yale, William Graham Sumner, Phi Beta Kappa and Bonesman, who brought the teachings of Herbert Spencer to Yale and America as the new Science of "Sociology". Of course we no longer call such sociology "social darwinism" or "nazism". "Meritocracy" is a more polite term. Veblen would still call it "predatory".

James , April 12, 2019 at 7:20 am

Amazing post! As clear and succinct political manifesto and call to arms as any I've read. Looks like I've got some more essential reading to do now.

Eclair , April 12, 2019 at 7:58 am

Wow! I am reading this while sitting in the cafeteria of UPMC Presbyterian Hospital (where my husband's cousin, the farmer of whom I have written here before, hovers between life and death.) Pittsburgh, home of the planet's largest gothic phallus, the gargoyled tower at Carnegie Mellon U. Even the First Baptist Church is a mini-Notre Dame.

Walking the mile up to the hospital this morning, along the row of gracious mansions, now a designated Historic District, built from the blood and sweat of the Polish and Czech and Italian coal miners and steel workers, I wondered if their tenements had been declared an Historic District.

DJG , April 12, 2019 at 9:14 am

Eclair: All the best to you. Your posts here have evoked him so well–a life of hard work and care for the land.

Eclair , April 12, 2019 at 11:29 am

DJG, I wrote a think you post to you, with additional comments but it either got lost or delayed or my fat fingers consigned it to Oblivion. Typing on my phone is dangerous.

Trent , April 12, 2019 at 10:07 am

Upmc, the future of predatory healthcare. My great grandfather raised his family of eight Italians in one of those row houses in Oakland. Now it's probably rented out by a slumlord to college kids racking up debt.

Trent , April 12, 2019 at 10:54 am

Also the cathedral of learning is university of Pittsburgh

Alfred , April 12, 2019 at 11:16 am

Yes. Pittsburgh was once the real 'metropolis of tomorrow', and the Cathedral of Learning was the ultimate proof both of the city's arrival in the future and of just how conservative that future was going to look. One of the key American buildings of its time, it's a tenth 'malic mould' embodying not only the so-called 'skyward trend of thought' by which the predatory businessmen of the 1920s imagined themselves transported to 'impossible heights' but also -- inside -- a showcase of international culture that foreshadowed today's globalization. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Learning

a different chris , April 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm

My dad, and I assume most of the other Pitt graduates of at least that era, called it "The Tower Of Ignorance".

We aren't all suckers, even if we sit at desks and wear ties.

Eclair , April 12, 2019 at 11:17 am

Oops, you are correct, Trent! I don't know why I associated it with C-M. And it really is almost more beaux arts than gothic. But it is still an example of 'mine is much much bigger than yours.'

Trent , April 12, 2019 at 11:24 am

No worries, I'm a throwback that takes a bit of pride in the area my family has resided the past few hundred years. If you get bored you should read about the Mellon's. Very big players in the gilded age.

Eclair , April 12, 2019 at 11:24 am

So, not a designated 'Historic District,' I will bet. My grandparents raised their kids in brick mill housing, still standing. But not 'Historic.'. Just haunted by the ghosts of the still-born babies and tubercular adolescents.

Trent , April 12, 2019 at 11:28 am

It's only historic until someone can make a profit from it!

Mike , April 12, 2019 at 11:54 am

My condolences upon your presence in the Pittsburgh of capitalism and scalping. If you wish to see the contradictory nature of "historicism", Pittsburgh is THE place to follow.

Case in point: In the close-by tiny mill town of Millvale (aptly named, no?) sits the St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, where once a Croatian artist named Maxo Vanka was allowed to paint beautiful murals upon its walls and ceilings, all of which commemorated and encapsulated the horrific struggles of mine and mill workers of the region. They are akin to, and in some ways exceed, the murals of Diego Rivera – passionately and class-reverently done.

The contradiction? Besides the religious basis for this socialist art, the current foundation trying to preserve and defend these paintings is begging for corporate donations and having $1000+ benefits (wine, cheese, hubris) so some retouching and repainting can occur under an umbrella of the threat to the art and the church posed by those selfsame corporations who would love to topple the structure and put up office space. Oh, to be able to say "Sic semper tyrannus "

Eclair , April 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm

So, Mike, I should make a pilgrimage to visit this church soon, before it is scraped, yeah?

Mike , April 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Fear not – the church still stands, and the professional class are scurrying about, waxing poetic and oozing dollars, so it will be there for you for at least as long as the fund-raisers do their work.

I would go soon, though, just to see how years of neglect can harm mural art, because the difference between the undone and finished restoration is something to note.

P.S.- easier to drive there if you have wheels. Public transport suffers by scarcity and slowness.

Mike , April 12, 2019 at 4:07 pm

P.P.S. – my best wishes to your cousin, as well.

Arizona Slim , April 12, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Sotte voce: When I lived in Pittsburgh, the planet's largest gothic phallus was called the Catheter of Learning. (It's real name is the Cathedral of Learning.)

You're soaking in it! , April 12, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Ok, but geez. Shouldn't there be a meet-up in here somewhere?

Norb , April 12, 2019 at 8:08 am

If the human condition is viewed as an endless spiritual crisis seeking out resolution, then everyones collective efforts begin to make more sense. Spiritual connections must be made in order to survive and this choice sets into motion a chain of events that approximate the future. Everyone must choose what life they want to live. They must choose what spirit they will follow. A passive choice supports the status quo/conservatives, while an active choice drives change in society.

How the current spiritual crisis is handled will determine our collective future. It is no coincidence that true, honest spirituality has also been corrupted by the predator class. Spiritual subversion is the essence of TINA. Education and spiritual growth are the foundations upon which a free and productive society rest- without that, as the author notes, society evolves into fascism. Fascism becomes the spirituality of the predator class. Fascism is freedom disguised.

If this is true, then it becomes imperative for all freedom loving people to do everything in their power to subvert such exploitation and purposeful suffering. The spirit must be without freedom for all there is, in reality, freedom for none. Society must be based on reducing suffering, not creating or perpetuating it.

At root, that is what civil disobedience is all about. Civil disobedience takes on many forms, including actively building parallel social structures to negate the damaging social conditions brought about by a predator class. The saboteurs are themselves subject to sabotage. This inevitable dynamic explains why foreigners and domestic dissenters are treated as enemies and terrorists by the ruling elite. Foreign and domestic enemies must be eliminated. When this dynamic becomes an issue, it proves all by itself that the ruling elite no longer hold their citizens to any regard, regardless of the propaganda they employ to prove otherwise. The society becomes more polarized and violent.

The follow up to this essay is to explore the people and communities that took Veblen insights to heart and acted accordingly. That would provide examples upon which to build and restore.

diptherio , April 12, 2019 at 10:03 am

Society must be based on reducing suffering, not creating or perpetuating it.

and yet, in the present arrangement of things, most of us can't even get around in the place where we live without someone, somewhere, drilling oil, and transporting it, and refining it, and transporting it some more using this computer required someone, somewhere to mine metal ore, and refine and process and transport it

The great tragedy of our situation is that we often choose to do things we know to be harmful in order to protect and provide for those we love. "I'd give up my car, but I need it for my job. I'd quit the job, but I've got kids to think about and plus, what happens if my kid gets hurt and needs to get to the hospital fast? So I can't give up the car, even though I know it's contributing to larger scale problems that will effect everyone negatively, and already effect some people extremely negatively."

Sound of the Suburbs , April 12, 2019 at 8:39 am

You feel you are doing well when you are doing better than your peers.

I've only got a Boeing 747, and he's got an Airbus A380.

His one is bigger than mine.

Mummy!

Sound of the Suburbs , April 12, 2019 at 8:45 am

The biggest threat to progress in the forwards direction is those that like progress in the reverse direction.

The Magna Carta was the first step in moving forwards from when wealth and power were concentrated with one person, the Absolute Monarch.

Progress is always a battle between those below and those at the top, who want to keep wealth and power as concentrated as it is now, or to move backwards to when it was more concentrated.

Royalty spent centuries trying to regain the power they lost with the Magna Carta and get back to where they were before.

It is a constant battle and many nations slide back to the beginning with dictators, where wealth and power are concentrated with one person, and where that wealth and power is inherited.

To progress from the Magna Carta to universal suffrage took 700 years. Within another 50 years those at the top looked to move backwards to when they had more wealth and power.

They sought to regain the economic freedom they used to have and roll back the welfare state.

They set the wheels in motion.

In 1947, Albert Hunold, a senior Credit Suisse official looked for a group of right wing thinkers to form the Mont Pelerin Society and neoliberalism started to take shape.

"Why Nations Fail" is a good book on this subject.

DSB , April 12, 2019 at 8:55 am

"In the passionless calm with which the author pursues his investigation," Howells wrote, "there is apparently no animus for or against a leisure class. It is his affair simply to find out how and why and what it is. If the result is to leave the reader with a feeling which the author never shows, that seems to be solely the effect of the facts."

If only this author had such a deft hand as Veblen. Aspiration.

Sound of the Suburbs , April 12, 2019 at 8:56 am

The University of Chicago forgot what they used to know.

Henry Simons was at the University of Chicago as he was a firm believer in free markets, but he had learned the lessons of the 1920s and 1930s.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Irving Fisher 1929.

Irving Fisher was a neoclassical economist that believed in free markets and he knew this was a stable equilibrium.

He became a laughing stock and worked out where he had gone wrong.

What goes wrong with free markets?

Henry Simons and Irving Fisher supported the Chicago Plan to take away the bankers ability to create money, so that free market valuations could have some meaning.

The real world and free market, neoclassical economics would then tie up.

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

1929 – Inflating the US stock market with debt (margin lending)
2008 – Inflating the US real estate market with debt (mortgage lending)

Bankers inflating asset prices with the money they create from loans.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

Sound of the Suburbs , April 12, 2019 at 9:08 am

Real science is evolutionary and new knowledge builds on past knowledge in a way that is self-correcting and improves over time. The old knowledge remains and anything that is wrong gets changed.

Thorstein Veblen recognised economics wasn't like that and this is why they keep forgetting stuff.

We had a new, scientific economics for globalisation.

Oh dear.

JBird4049 , April 12, 2019 at 3:54 pm

This explains why Milton Friedman is better known than Thorstein Veblen

I would not necessarily call something scientific even if it builds on previous knowledge. The key is the real effort at studying and understanding a subject.

"Economics," especially its propagandistic version Neoliberalism, is not at all scientific or even an attempt to study something. It is an effort to make opaque, not an attempt to clarify.

Political economy, like philosophy, metaphysics, psychology and sociology are themselves not "hard"science, but they were created, built upon, and maintain as usually honest attempts at understanding; Neoliberal Economics is as to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations in Political Economy as Social Darwinism is to Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is in evolutionary biology.

Sound of the Suburbs , April 13, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Take 1920s neoclassical economics and stick some more complex maths on top.

Voila.

A new, scientific economics.

ewmayer , April 12, 2019 at 7:07 pm

There is an underappreciated consumer-credit-boom-and-bust aspect to the Great Crash / Great Depression era – people often point out the contradictions in blaming margin lending for eveything, IMO it is the consumer-credit aspect that helps fill in the rest. Briefly, the 1920s saw the first great boom in consumer credit, as wage-suppressed workers saw the fabulous boom in wealth of the rentier and stock-speculator class and were misled to go into hock by the overall optimism thus engendered. The boom in installment-plan buying was the 1920s analog of the the late great mortgage-finance bubble. Here is a link, much more out there for those willig to look for it:

http://econc10.bu.edu/Ec341_money/Papers/Carroll_paper.htm

DJG , April 12, 2019 at 9:13 am

An interesting question:

Why, then, when Veblen saw America's plutocratic bent so clearly, is he now neglected? Better to ask, who among America's moguls wouldn't want to suppress such a clear-eyed genius? Economist James K. Galbraith suggests that Veblen was eclipsed by the Cold War, which offered only two alternatives, communism or capitalism -- with America's largely unfettered capitalist system presenting itself as a "conservative" norm and not what it actually was and remains: the extreme and cruel antithesis of communism.

I have a feeling that the rejection was going on earlier. I am reminded that Sinclair Lewis's career started with his first important novel in 1914–fifteen years after Theory of the Leisure Class, yet still before the shattering effects of World War I. Yet Sinclair Lewis has also been in decline, and his stories are the novelist's way of dealing with Veblen's ideas–especially the novel Dodsworth.

I have a feeling that something deeper in the culture pushes aside the observations that Americans are avaricious, conformist, and not particularly happy. It is so much chirpier to repeat Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And it may be that the fear of falling in U.S. culture–dropping economically with the possible implication of turning black racially–means that the unproductivity of the upper classes is what Americans are fixated on and aspire to.

nycTerrierist , April 12, 2019 at 10:49 am

Very good to mention Sinclair Lewis here.
Highly recommended literary counterpart to Veblen, though Veblen was no slouch
as a stylist, among his many strengths.
Not only Dodsworth, but I would say all of Lewis' oeuvre exposes the predation, corruption
and injustice of various good ole 'murkan institutions: Elmer Gantry (venal ministers), Arrowsmith (careerism in medicine), Main Street (oppressive 'normality'), Gideon Parrish (the 'uplift' racket), Ann Vickers (womens prisons), The Job (women in the workplace) etc etc.
Lewis is hilarious and a truly prescient progressive.
Highly recommended!

Carolinian , April 12, 2019 at 11:13 am

Sinclair Lewis probably faded because the self satisfied American world he described took a nose dive in the great depression and satire became both superfluous and universal (any 1930s Hollywood depiction of the rich–i.e. A Night at the Opera).

In any case thanks for the good article above. It does lay on the Trump hate a little thick given that our Veblen moment has been going on at least since Reagan.

BlueMoose , April 12, 2019 at 11:42 am

Yes the trump hate was a bit thick.

Tony Wright , April 12, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Not really. Trump is the current and shameless torchbearer, even though he hypocritically purports to be the saviour of the "deplorables" callously abandoned by Hilary & Co.

nycTerrierist , April 12, 2019 at 11:32 am

Lewis was a gleeful unmasker of hypocrisy.

Makes some people uncomfortable!

jfleni , April 12, 2019 at 9:19 am

RE: Should we break up big tech?

Absolutely, start with ooindoze; years ago a Finn Linus Torwald
wrote a FREE replacement for Unix, cutting ATT off at the Internet; all he got for his trouble was the runaway monopoly of ooindoze. Now ooindoze is worth billions (ten plus at last count) .
The difference is BS and propaganda and the sleaziest possible merchandizing, YAHOO
MOUNTAIN DEW!!

diptherio , April 12, 2019 at 9:34 am

The irony of linking to a Veblen book on Amazon is well, it's a thing ironic anyway it's still early, you get what I'm saying. Here's a free version, as Thorstein would have wanted it:

http://elegant-technology.com/resource/Vested_Interests.pdf

human , April 12, 2019 at 10:41 am

Or a discount version from a small, out-of-copyright, publisher: https://doverpublications.ecomm-search.com/m?formSubmitted=true&keywords=Veblen&x=22&y=24

Gary , April 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Thanks, Diptherio, but, and I don't know why so many people forget about this, you could just go to your nearest public library. They'd be delighted to find it for you

diptherio , April 12, 2019 at 9:38 am

I think NC should adopt a quote from Theory of Business Enterprise as it's official (or unofficial) motto:

A definition by enumeration will often sound like a fault-finding.

That's from memory, so maybe not exactly verbatim, but close. Sounds like a pretty good description of every day on NC!

johnf , April 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

Thanks for the tip. In 1919, Mencken worked through all of Veblen's published works. Following his recommendation, I found copies of the two Mencken thought most essential: "What I found myself aware of, coming to the end, was that practically the whole system of Prof. Veblen was in his first book and his last [as of 1919] – that is, in "The Theory of the Leisure Class" and "The Higher Learning in America". I pass on the news to literary archeologists. Read these two, and you won't have to read the others. And if even two daunt you, then read the first. Once through it, though you will have have missed many a pearl and many a pain, you will have an excellent grasp of the gifted metaphysician's ideas." [Prejudices, First Series (1919), pp. 59-83]

GramSci , April 12, 2019 at 10:12 am

Umm, as I noted above, Mencken was hardly a fan of Veblen. See e.g. this link , vectored through a fan of Mencken, Tyler Cowen . . .

johnf , April 12, 2019 at 2:04 pm

My very modest knowledge of Veblen is through secondary sources, one of which is Mencken, who I never thought was a Veblen adulator. It is probably now a duty to read some of the primary sources.

ChrisAtRU , April 12, 2019 at 10:03 am

What a wonderful article with which to start my day!

Today's #MustRead IMO

Thank you!

chuck roast , April 12, 2019 at 10:11 am

Back in the day I bought one of those little Penguin Classics of Theory out of the university bookstore for a buck. The fact that it was still in print was sufficient testimony that curiosity continued to exist about the long dead discipline of Political Economics. I read a portion of it, but never came close to finishing it. That always bothered me. What happened to the little Penguin over the years I cannot say.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I had the public library exhume a copy for me out of their warehouse. Immediately upon reading it I recalled with great disappointment why I never finish the Penguin the prose style was both turgid and tortured. So, I guess you could say that I have always been pleased to read about Veblen and depressed with the actual reading.

My recommendation would be that a good translator translate Theory of the Leisure Class into say French or Italian and then another translator translate it back into English. Doubtless much of the drole and tongue planted firmly in cheek would be lost in the translation, but perhaps a much more readable book would ensue.

GramSci , April 12, 2019 at 10:16 am

Once one understands how censored publications were in that day ( plus ça change . . .) and one discovers the sarcasm veiled behind all that "turgid prose", The Theory of the Leisure Class becomes a joy to read.

ChiGal in Carolina , April 14, 2019 at 12:13 am

We read it in high school and I remember it being very witty, and hence enjoyable.

RenoRich , April 12, 2019 at 10:17 am

Am I a member of the leisure class if I like to read articles & comments on this site?

I have downloaded and started reading "The Theory of the Leisure Class". Perhaps I can answer my own question after reading several chapters

Phil in KC , April 12, 2019 at 10:26 am

My thanks as well for this post, which (ahem, everyone) deserves a wider audience. Sadly, my own college edjumacation glided over Veblen. This was in the early 70's, when Friedman and Co. Economists, Inc. were taking over economics. Suddenly, he's relevant again!

Now, we just need a Teddy Roosevelt progressive to initiate some reforms and a Franklin Roosevelt to make the right kind of enemies.

Mike , April 12, 2019 at 11:02 am

The Theory of the Leisure Class was my introduction to economics, reading it right after the Kennedy assassination, thus turning me from a right-wing parrot into a critical and still learning skeptic of all cheerleading about "our" government, "our" city on the hill. My father, a union founder and organizer as well as a solid drinker, would often go off on me about my "nazi" ideas before this turn, then wondered at the abrupt wheel. Ahhhh, once an outlier, always

The sad part is I (we?) are more "outliers" than ever before, thanks to the freedom exercised by many of our co-citizens to conform and obey to any media/government/corporate message with knee-jerk speed. Expected of the professional caste and their sponsors within the banking and corporate elite, it is sad to see its reach into levels of the working class, where it displays its total dysfunction.

nycTerrierist , April 12, 2019 at 11:04 am

Small quibble with this outstanding post.

In her quick gloss of our Predator-Enablers in Chief, from Reagan to Trump,
Teflon Obama gets a pass he does not deserve:

"For decades now, from the ascendancy of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to Bill Clinton's New Democrats in the 1990s to the militarized world of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to the self-proclaimed billionaire con man now in the Oval Office, the plutocrats have continued to shower their dark money on the legislative process. Their only frustration: that the left-over reforms of Veblen's own "Progressive Era" and those of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal still somehow stand (though for how long no one knows) ..

Similarly, the members of Trump's cabinet are now the saboteurs: shrinking the State Department, starving public schools, feeding big Pharma with Medicare funds, handing over national parks and public lands to "developers," and denying science and climate change altogether, just to start down a long list. Meanwhile, our Predator President, when not golfing, leaps about the deconstruction site, waving his hands and hurling abuse, a baron of distraction, commanding attention while the backroom boys (and girls) demolish the institutions of law and democracy."

NotTimothyGeithner , April 12, 2019 at 12:13 pm

I think Obama's legacy is dismantling more lefty organizing venues and directing energy towards wasteful infighting as people who conned themselves into liking him hold onto bizarre beliefs to justify Obama's third and fourth Shrub terms such as how Obama "inherited" problems despite choosing to run for President. Ben Bernanke, Bob Gates, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner (or insert whatever monster you wish) were just the associates of the previous administrations at various levels. Though Obama may not have been from the "leisure class" but the higher level staff, he approached the Presidency as a luxury pursuit. Yes, Michelle opted for lesser known designers, but the people who mattered cut their teeth in the previous four administrations. Outsiders were not brought in. Liz Warren jumps out as an exception, and even now her Presidential run, she is almost completely separate from Obama despite her time in the administration creating her star.

Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity.[3] As a Coolidge biographer wrote: "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength".[4]

Scholars have ranked Coolidge in the lower half of those presidents that they have assessed. He is praised by advocates of smaller government and laissez-faire economics, while supporters of an active central government generally view him less favorably, though most praise his stalwart support of racial equality.[5] This is from the wiki on Calvin Coolidge. Does it sound like someone?

Except for Silent Cal stories and being an advocate of "white collies" (puppies that were often drowned because it was believed they were blind), he was a continuation of more of the same and has largely disappeared from the discourse outside of memorizing the Presidents. He was President until March 1929, and Hoover gets a lot of flak. The economic crisis came from somewhere.

Trump is particularly predatory and being current merits mention as the old leisure class not merely taking control of the government but turning it into their leisure pursuit. Obama much like his "soaring rhetoric" is almost entirely forgettable.

CarlH , April 12, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Thank you for mentioning this. The omission of Obama from that list jumped out at me as well. When I think of a "Banker's President" Obama is the first to come to mind.

Susan the other` , April 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm

Thank you for an introduction to Ann Jones. She is a beautiful writer and her subject is wonderful. No argument there. I enjoyed her jabs at Trump too. But in his behalf I'd just like to say it was refreshing to see him crash the gates for the sole reason that he shook up our very complacent Congress and they almost seem awake now. Trump is not an ideologue. He's a self promoter. So we can't expect him to have a vision. That's the big problem with him. He's got no compass. It isn't that he impulsively and inanely talks about things like "beautiful wonderful new health care" and other crap – it's that he doesn't have a clue about how to achieve anything. Except cooking books and money shuffling. And Jones' example of his cheating at golf – urban legend already – is his character in a nutshell. But that said, I blame malicious obstructionists like Pelosi and the very dreadful Mitch for preventing the progress we are dying for. Congress is MIA. Why do we even bother to elect it?

flora , April 12, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Great post. Thanks so much.

mauisurfer , April 12, 2019 at 2:42 pm

So, was Einstein a member of the "leisure class"?
At Princeton, he would take his little sailboat out on the lake when there was so little wind
that no other boats were out there with him.
He would get his boat just barely moving slowly steadily calmly.
And that is where he thought his deepest thoughts.
Personally, my deepest thoughts come in a leisurely hot bath.

Aloha , April 12, 2019 at 4:32 pm

A most enjoyable essay and it brings me full circle with what I have been researching this past week. The Counsel on Foreign Relations and what their many spinoff non profit organizations claim to do, and their membership list. Membership is by invitation only and there is enough history now to see who has been running the country since its inception in 1919. I could write a book on all of the corruption of each member on a global scale. Just pull up any 3 or 4 of the current members (no need to research all of the U.S. presidents, and yes they are all members, because we already know what they have done) and you will see how corrupt they all are. The members at the top are all white, male, .01%'s with international power. It seems really obvious to me that we lost the last of our rights on 9/11 and that we are now living in a communist country actually being run fairly quietly for now by the Chinese government. We have been taught to hate and kill anyone considered to be communist (Russia is in MSM all of the time) but where is the hatred for China in the media? Why has China been permitted to but up so much real estate here? I could to on and on but the bottom line is that I think that the international leaders of the world are all communists and that is why we have no democracy left. Before you disagree and call me crazy please do your research! That is all I ask.

berit , April 13, 2019 at 7:05 am

Thank you Excellent, comments included!! My copy of Thorstein Veblens Theory of the Leisure Class was lost somewhere along the way. I dutifully, as a fellow Norwegian, read it 50 years ago, working in New York, trying to like and acclimatize to an American way of life. This I saw first hand at the top, as part of staff of one of the richest, most famous banking families, then from the opposite level, clerk at Bell Telephone System in lower Manhattan. I've downloaded a free copy of Veblen, thanks, and shall reread it, as Norway seems to be on a trajectory not unlike the US, seemingly seeking the seat left open after UK's Tony Blair as US poodle one. NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg the successor, I think – most regretfully.

Phil King , April 13, 2019 at 7:32 pm

No comment needed:

"It is also a matter of common notoriety and byword that in offenses which result in a large accession of property to the offender he does not ordinarily incur the extreme penalty or the extreme obloquy with which his offenses would be visited on the ground of the naive moral code alone. The thief or swindler who has gained great wealth by his delinquency has a better chance than the small thief of escaping the rigorous penalty of the law and some good repute accrues to him from his increased wealth and from his spending the irregularly acquired possessions in a seemly manner. A well-bred expenditure of his booty especially appeals with great effect to persons of a cultivated sense of the proprieties, and goes far to mitigate the sense of moral turpitude with which his dereliction is viewed by them. It may be noted also -- and it is more immediately to the point -- that we are all inclined to condone an offense against property in the case of a man whose motive is the worthy one of providing the means of a "decent" manner of life for his wife and children. If it is added that the wife has been "nurtured in the lap of luxury," that is accepted as an additional extenuating circumstance. "

[Apr 13, 2019] Justice under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Daniel Rich , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT

@annamaria

Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option.

[Apr 02, 2019] Russiagate as a smoke screen for the struggle between two powerful groups of the US elite

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 1, 2019 5:14:39 PM | 93 ">link

@ bevin #90

But that doesn't bother Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and their mob. They think quarter by quarter. Immediate gratification is the name of their game. They know that "in the long run we are all dead". And they don't care what happens then.

Your viewpoint is the same as that of Jonathon Cook. He says "Russiagate" was a faction fight between two groups of the Power Elites.

One wanted to keep 'putting the lipstick on the pig' which is predatory Capitalism, and the other wants to let it all hang out and rape the planet NOW.

Just as there was a clueless "liberal" cheering group for Mueller, the Looters have a fan club among the "right". Both sets of the applauding groups are just puppets. And of course neither has recognized their true role in the unfolding dramas.

[Apr 02, 2019] Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Notable quotes:
"... When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Apr 1, 2019 1:27:52 PM | link

mourning dove

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.

[Mar 29, 2019] Trumps billionaire coup détat: Donald Trump is about to break the record of withdrawing his promises faster than any other US president in history

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump is about to break the record of withdrawing his promises faster than any other US president in history. It's not only the fact that his administration has been literally taken over by Goldman Sachs, the top vampire-bank of the Wall Street mafia. ..."
"... The 'anti-establishment Trump' joke has already collapsed and the US middle class is about be eliminated by the syndicate of the united billionaires under Trump administration. ..."
"... Paul Singer whose nickname is "the vulture", he didn't get that nickname because he is a sweet an honest businessman. This is the guy who closed the Delphi auto plants in Ohio and sent them to China and also to Monterrey-Mexico. Donald Trump as a candidate, excoriated the billionaires who sent Delphi auto parts company down to Mexico ..."
"... Paul Singer has two concerns: one of them is that we eliminate the banking regulations known as Dodd–Frank. He is called 'the vulture' cause he eats companies that died. He has invested heavily in banks that died. He makes his billions from government bail-outs, he has never made a product in his life, it's all money and billions made from your money, out of the US treasury ..."
"... The Mercers are the real big money behind Donald Trump. When Trump was in trouble in the general election he was out of money and he was out of ideas and he was losing. It was the Mercers, Robert, who is the principal at the Renaissance Technologies, basically investment banking sharks, that's all they are. They are market gamblers and banking sharks, and that's how he made his billions, he hasn't created a single job as Donald Trump himself like to mention. ..."
"... Both the vulture and the Mercers, they don't pay the same taxes as the rest. They don't pay regular income taxes. They have a special billionaires loophole called 'carried interest'. ..."
"... They were two candidates who said that they would close that loophole: one was Bernie Sanders and the other, believe it or not, was Donald Trump, it was part of his populist movie, he said ' These Wall Street sharks, they don't build anything, they don't create a single job, when they lose we pay, when they win, they get a tax-break called carried interest. I will close that loophole. ' Has he said a word about that loophole? It passed away. ..."
Mar 22, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Donald Trump is about to break the record of withdrawing his promises faster than any other US president in history. It's not only the fact that his administration has been literally taken over by Goldman Sachs, the top vampire-bank of the Wall Street mafia.

Recently, Trump announced another big alliance with the vulture billionaire, Paul Singer, who, initially, was supposedly against him. It looks like the Trump big show continues.

The 'anti-establishment Trump' joke has already collapsed and the US middle class is about be eliminated by the syndicate of the united billionaires under Trump administration.

As Greg Palast told to Thom Hartmann:

Paul Singer whose nickname is "the vulture", he didn't get that nickname because he is a sweet an honest businessman. This is the guy who closed the Delphi auto plants in Ohio and sent them to China and also to Monterrey-Mexico. Donald Trump as a candidate, excoriated the billionaires who sent Delphi auto parts company down to Mexico.

Paul Singer has two concerns: one of them is that we eliminate the banking regulations known as Dodd–Frank. He is called 'the vulture' cause he eats companies that died. He has invested heavily in banks that died. He makes his billions from government bail-outs, he has never made a product in his life, it's all money and billions made from your money, out of the US treasury.

He is against what Obama created, which is a system under Dodd–Frank, called 'living wills', where if a bank starts going bankrupt, they don't call the US treasury for bail-out. These banks go out of business and they are broken up so we don't have to pay for the bail-out. Singer wants to restore the system of bailouts because that's where he makes his money.

The Mercers are the real big money behind Donald Trump. When Trump was in trouble in the general election he was out of money and he was out of ideas and he was losing. It was the Mercers, Robert, who is the principal at the Renaissance Technologies, basically investment banking sharks, that's all they are. They are market gamblers and banking sharks, and that's how he made his billions, he hasn't created a single job as Donald Trump himself like to mention.

Both the vulture and the Mercers, they don't pay the same taxes as the rest. They don't pay regular income taxes. They have a special billionaires loophole called 'carried interest'.

They were two candidates who said that they would close that loophole: one was Bernie Sanders and the other, believe it or not, was Donald Trump, it was part of his populist movie, he said ' These Wall Street sharks, they don't build anything, they don't create a single job, when they lose we pay, when they win, they get a tax-break called carried interest. I will close that loophole. ' Has he said a word about that loophole? It passed away.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/z-q5R4k_3rE

Take a taste of Paul Singer from Wikipedia :

His political activities include funding the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and he has written against raising taxes for the 1% and aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act. Singer is active in Republican Party politics and collectively, Singer and others affiliated with Elliott Management are "the top source of contributions" to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

A number of sources have branded him a "vulture capitalist", largely on account of his role at EMC, which has been called a vulture fund. Elliott was termed by The Independent as "a pioneer in the business of buying up sovereign bonds on the cheap, and then going after countries for unpaid debts", and in 1996, Singer began using the strategy of purchasing sovereign debt from nations in or near default-such as Argentina, ]- through his NML Capital Limited and Congo-Brazzaville through Kensington International Inc. Singer's business model of purchasing distressed debt from companies and sovereign states and pursuing full payment through the courts has led to criticism, while Singer and EMC defend their model as "a fight against charlatans who refuse to play by the market's rules."

In 1996, Elliott bought defaulted Peruvian debt for $11.4 million. Elliott won a $58 million judgment when the ruling was overturned in 2000, and Peru had to repay the sum in full under the pari passu rule. When former president of Peru Alberto Fujimori was attempting to flee the country due to facing legal proceedings over human rights abuses and corruption, Singer ordered the confiscation of his jet and offered to let him leave the country in exchange for the $58 million payment from the treasury, an offer which Fujimori accepted. A subsequent 2002 investigation by the Government of Peru into the incident and subsequent congressional report, uncovered instances of corruption since Elliott was not legally authorized to purchase the Peruvian debt from Swiss Bank Corporation without the prior approval of the Peruvian government, and thus the purchase had occurred in breach of contract. At the same time, Elliott's representative, Jaime Pinto, had been formerly employed by the Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finance and had contact with senior officials. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Peruvian government paid Elliott $56 million to settle the case.

After Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2002, the Elliott-owned company NML Capital Limited refused to accept the Argentine offer to pay less than 30 cents per dollar of debt. With a face value of $630 million, the bonds were reportedly bought by NML for $48 million, with Elliott assessing the bonds as worth $2.3 billion with accrued interest. Elliott sued Argentina for the debt's value, and the lower UK courts found that Argentina had state immunity. Elliott successfully appealed the case to the UK Supreme Court, which ruled that Elliott had the right to attempt to seize Argentine property in the United Kingdom. Alternatively, before 2011, US courts ruled against allowing creditors to seize Argentine state assets in the United States. On October 2, 2012 Singer arranged for a Ghanaian Court order to detain the Argentine naval training vessel ARA Libertad in a Ghanaian port, with the vessel to be used as collateral in an effort to force Argentina to pay the debt. Refusing to pay, Argentina shortly thereafter regained control of the ship after its seizure was deemed illegal by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Alleging the incident lost Tema Harbour $7.6 million in lost revenue and unpaid docking fees, Ghana in 2012 was reportedly considering legal action against NML for the amount.

His firm... is so influential that fear of its tactics helped shape the current 2012 Greek debt restructuring." Elliott was termed by The Independent as "a pioneer in the business of buying up sovereign bonds on the cheap, and then going after countries for unpaid debts", and in 1996, Singer began using the strategy of purchasing sovereign debt from nations in or near default-such as Argentina, Peru-through his NML Capital Limited and Congo-Brazzaville through Kensington International Inc. In 2004, then first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund Anne Osborn Krueger denounced the strategy, alleging that it has "undermined the entire structure of sovereign finance."

we wrote that " Trump's rhetoric is concentrated around a racist delirium. He avoids to take direct position on social matters, issues about inequality, etc. Of course he does, he is a billionaire! Trump will follow the pro-establishment agenda of protecting Wall Street and big businesses. And here is the fundamental difference with Bernie Sanders. Bernie says no more war and he means it. He says more taxes for the super-rich and he means it. Free healthcare and education for all the Americans, and he means it. In case that Bernie manage to beat Hillary, the establishment will definitely turn to Trump who will be supported by all means until the US presidency. "

Yet, we would never expect that Trump would verify us, that fast.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

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

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

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

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A brief history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaker King

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

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

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

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

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

Maxwell and Mossad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

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

Growing power of secret state

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sexed up – and missed out

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

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

Mar 18, 2019 | theduran.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via Zerohedge


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

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

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

But he did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, we are neither moral or religious.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

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

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

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

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

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

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

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

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

[Mar 17, 2019] Bezos Admits His Fortune Is Due to Public Infrastructure....Even as He Fought Paying a Homeless Tax in Seattle, Shakes Down Cities for Subsidies

Mar 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bezos : I've witnessed this incredible thing happen on the internet over the last two decades. I started Amazon in my garage 24 years ago -- drove packages to the post office myself. Today we have 600,000-plus people, millions and millions of customers, a very large company.

How did that happen in such a short period of time? It happened because we didn't have to do any of the heavy lifting. All of the heavy-lifting infrastructure was already in place for it. There was already a telecommunication network, which became the backbone of the internet. There was already a payment system -- it was called the credit card. There was already a transportation network called the US Postal Service, and Royal Mail, and Deutsche Post, all over the world, that could deliver our packages. We didn't have to build any of that heavy infrastructure.

An even more stark example is Facebook. Here's a guy who literally, in his dorm room, started a company -- Mark Zuckerberg started a company in his dorm room, which is now worth half a trillion dollars -- less than two decades ago.

NY Geezer , March 1, 2019 at 9:04 am

Jeff Bezos strikes me as an incredibly pompous hustler who is so much into himself that he has begun to believe that he is GOD. Before trying to hustle others into traveling to Mars, or any other space destination, he should show us that it is feasible by PERSONALLY going first, surviving 18 months of space travel (9 months each way to Mars) including a landing on and take off from Mars.

flora , March 1, 2019 at 7:27 am

Jeff reveals how he made his fortune using public infrastructure (read govt spending) and tax breaks. Now he's aiming for Pentagon riches.

In addition to Amazon's much-panned withdrawal from a "second headquarters" deal in New York City -- which had the New York Post comparing Bezos to ex-Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray for his inability to "take the kind of pressure New York can dish out" -- the Pez-headed tech giant's dreams of Pentagon riches are suddenly being thwarted.

The blow involves a surprise delay in the award of the so-called JEDI contract, a $10 billion (or more) prize for Pentagon cloud management that once seemed gift-wrapped for Amazon.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/trump-bezos-war-799928/

Ape , March 1, 2019 at 7:48 am

Hmm, the internet already existed. In fact the WWW existed. He must know that -- so he's lying to minimize the amount of infrastructure he inherited. By 1994, everything was already there.

William Hunter Duncan , March 1, 2019 at 9:10 am

I am growing so very tired of the Cult of Bezos. That line about his garage is like an incantation to put his acolytes and sycophants into zombie mode. That argument that there can be no space Zuckerbergs sounds like subliminal messaging 'divert more public resources to ME! Only I can lead you to the stars!' He has zero intention of building his own space infrastructure. He wants us to build it for Him, our demigod, Bezos!

[Mar 17, 2019] As Hemingway replied to Scott Fitzgerald assertion The rich are different than you and me : yes, they have more money.

Highly recommended!
Human society is way to complex for alpha males to succeed unconditionally... Quite a different set of traits is often needed.
Notable quotes:
"... Superficially, Hemingway was correct. But on a deeper level, he missed the reality of the heightened sense of entitlement that the very rich possess, as well as the deference that so many people automatically show to them. ..."
"... Hemingway is saying: take away all that money and the behavior would change as well. It's the money (or the power in your example) that makes the difference. ..."
"... I feel Fitzgerald got the basic idea right ..."
"... Apparently Fitzgerald was referring specifically to the attitudes of those who are born rich, attitudes that Fitzgerald thought remained unaltered by events, including the loss of economic status. ..."
"... "They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different." ..."
"... "He thought they were a special glamorous race and when he found they weren't it wrecked him as much as any other thing that wrecked him." ..."
Dec 31, 2015 | nakedcapitalism.com

Carolinian December 29, 2015

As Hemingway replied to that alum: "yes, they have more money."

Vatch December 29, 2015 at 11:25 am

Superficially, Hemingway was correct. But on a deeper level, he missed the reality of the heightened sense of entitlement that the very rich possess, as well as the deference that so many people automatically show to them. The rich shouldn't be different in this way, but they are. In some other societies, such entitlement and deference would accrue to senior party members, senior clergymen, or hereditary nobility (who might not have much money at all).

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 29, 2015 at 11:45 am

"Go with the winner." That is how it works for the alpha male (a chimp, an ape, or a gorilla) for most followers anyway. Some will challenge. If victorious, followers will line up (more go-with-the-winner). If defeated, an outcast.

Carolinian December 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Without a doubt Hemingway had a rather catty attitude toward his literary rival, but in this instance I think the debunking is merited. It's quite possible that rich people act the way we would act if we were rich, and that Fitzgerald's tiresome obsession with rich people didn't cut very deep. Hemingway is saying: take away all that money and the behavior would change as well. It's the money (or the power in your example) that makes the difference.

Massinissa December 29, 2015 at 1:58 pm

In my opinion, the fact that if they had less money would change the way they think, does not change the fact that, while they have more money, they think differently, and different rules apply to them.

Massinissa December 29, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Addendum: The fact that an Alpha Chimp would act differently if someone else was the Alpha Chimp does not change the fact that an Alpha Chimp has fundamentally different behavior than the rest of the group.

Carolinian December 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Sounds like you are saying the behavior of the rich is different -- not what F. Scott Fitzgerald said.

Massinissa December 29, 2015 at 2:29 pm

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:F._Scott_Fitzgerald

"Hemingway is responsible for a famous misquotation of Fitzgerald's. According to Hemingway, a conversation between him and Fitzgerald went:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

This never actually happened; it is a retelling of an actual encounter between Hemingway and Mary Colum, which went as follows:

Hemingway: I am getting to know the rich.

Colum: I think you'll find the only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money."

Just want to point out that that quote of Hemingways wasn't about Fitzgerald and wasn't even by Hemingway. Anyway I was more attacking the "rich have more money" thing than I was trying to defend Fitzgerald, but I feel Fitzgerald got the basic idea right

craazyman December 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I read somewhere, maybe a biography of one of them when I read books like that, that Hemingway actually said it and only said that F. Scott said it.

There are no heroes among famous men. I said that!

giantsquid December 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Here's an interesting take on this reputed exchange between Fitzgerald and Hemingway:

"The rich are different" The real story behind the famed "exchange" between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2009/11/rich-are-different-famous-quote.html

Apparently Fitzgerald was referring specifically to the attitudes of those who are born rich, attitudes that Fitzgerald thought remained unaltered by events, including the loss of economic status.

"They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."

Hemingway suggested that Fitzgerald had once been especially enamored of the rich, seeing them as a "special glamorous race" but ultimately became disillusioned.

"He thought they were a special glamorous race and when he found they weren't it wrecked him as much as any other thing that wrecked him."

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

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

Guillotine Watch

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

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

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

Indeed:

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

Class Warfare

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

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

[Mar 09, 2019] The 1% vs the 0.1%

Mar 03, 2019 | stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com

Many of you might react to the FT's story about the "squeezed 1%" by getting out the world's smallest violin. I think this is a mistake. It reminds us that the damage done by inequality extends beyond the general social and economic harm. It hurts even those who are a long way up the income ladder.

First, some statistical context. Someone at the bottom of the top percentile of incomes is on about £120,000 a year. The top 0.1%, however, gets over £500,000. A very well-paid head-teacher, professor or NHS consultant might just get into the top 1%, but the top 0.1% comprises bankers, very successful entrepreneurs or bosses of big firms. As the IFS's Paul Johnson says , "someone 'only' at the top 1% is much more like the average person than they are like someone at top 0.1%."

This gulf between the 1% and 0.1% hurts the 1% in three ways.

One is simply that they are aware of it. For the poor, the rich are out of sight, out of mind: in fact, they grossly under -estimate just how much the rich make. The 1%, however, see it more clearly. We compare ourselves to people like us. And the 1% benchmark themselves against the 0.1%. They are often university contemporaries, so one might resent why the no-mark who was no smarter than him is earning five times as much. Or they might compare social utilities. A doctor covered in blood will wonder why he is paid so much less for saving somebody's life than a banker is paid for – well, what? And of course the 1% sees the 0.1% close up. Just as no man is a hero to his valet, so nobody in the 0.1% is a hero to his underling. Middle-managers have a lively awareness of the short-comings of senior managers, as professors do of the foibles of vice-chancellors.

All this naturally breeds resentment. Experiments (pdf) by Philip Grossman and Mana Komai have confirmed this. They split subjects into rich and poor groups and gave everybody the option of destroying another's wealth. They found that predations by the poor upon the rich were only a minority of attacks. Instead they found that the rich attacked other rich. This is consistent with reference group theory: we compare ourselves to those like us:

We find strong evidence of within class envy: the rich targeting the rich and the poor targeting the poor. Within the rich community, the target of envy is usually a wealthier subject whose wealth is close to that of the attacker; the attacker may possibly be trying to improve his/her relative ranking.

A second effect of the gap between the 0.1% and 1% is the subject of the FT's article. The very rich price the reasonably rich out of houses and schools: top private school fees have soared in recent years because they market themselves to the global rich. As Rick wrote :

The painful fact for many people is that their jobs no longer pay enough for them to enjoy what they had been brought up to think of as a middle-class lifestyle. They can't afford to live in the sort of house in the sort of street where they grew up. They can't afford to send their children to the schools they went to. And those nice leafy hospitals their parents used to go to, forget it. The super-rich can still afford these things, though, so the prices keep going up, well beyond the reach of the old middle-classes.

The difference between the 1% and the 0.1% doesn't, however, lie merely in what they can afford. There is perhaps an even bigger difference. A man (it's usually a man) on £500,000 can reasonably look forward to quitting work or downshifting unless he has arranged his affairs especially badly. Somebody on a low six-figure salary, however, cannot. Instead, they often face years of stress – exacerbated by managerialism's deprofessionalization of erstwhile professional jobs and to the fact that their inability to afford homes in central London condemns them to long and stressful commutes .

You will of course object here that this is also true for millions of workers far outside the 1%. You'd be bang right. And that's the point. Class is not merely another yet another identity. It is an objective fact about your relationship to the means of production – about whether this puts you in a position (pdf) of subordination or domination. In many cases – not all but many – even those on six-figure salaries are in subordinate and stressful positions. They are objectively working class, however posh they might fancy themselves to be.

Which is why we need class politics. Whereas identity politics risks splitting us into mutually hostile ghettos, proper class politics has the potential to unite us – well most of us. One of the great marvels of capitalism is that we are so incapable of seeing this.

March 03, 2019 | Permalink

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Comments

Scratch , March 03, 2019 at 04:55 PM

"They split subjects into rich and poor groups and gave everybody the option of destroying another's wealth. They found that predations by the poor upon the rich were only a minority of attacks. Instead they found that the rich attacked other rich. This is consistent with reference group theory:"

Heh. One presumes reference group theory has not been updated for the last 40-odd years.

Laurent GUERBY , March 03, 2019 at 05:42 PM
Looks like something for this blog about managerialism:

https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1db3jy3201d38/The-MBA-Myth-and-the-Cult-of-the-CEO

e , March 03, 2019 at 06:42 PM
Great post. Why we showcase any known instance of less than genteel behaviour (thought or deed) among a rank and file while also screeching about a middle class running the shop...you know, divide and rule.

Matthew Turner , March 03, 2019 at 08:52 PM
Are we sure (upper) middle class living has got more expensive? I'm sceptical about holidays (cited in that post you link to) and probably housing (I just don't see how the rich, even inc foreigners, could have bought so many). I suspect a lot of this is people being s bit lower down the distribution that their parents..

Toby , March 03, 2019 at 09:05 PM
Another terrific post. But I'm left with two questions:

1. Is the tension you cite between 1% and 0.1% not the same as between the 0.1% and the 0.01%?

2. Could you expand on why having the 1% identified as working class would help?

The class distinction serves to divide, and is recasting the boundary at the 0.1% level an effort to unite a greater proportion of the population (really very nearly everyone) different from saying that the idea of class politics is not useful after all? Or is it to just form a tougher coalition against the top 0.1%?

KevinCarson1 , March 03, 2019 at 09:21 PM
No sympathy at all. Most of the bottom nine-tenths of the top 1% are doing bullshit jobs -- bean-counting, guard labor, gatekeeping -- for the top tenth that wouldn't exist in a rational, egalitarian society. And the managerial stratum, as a whole, is an enormous suck on production workers' wages, whether or not its total income actually equals that of rentiers; simply returning managerial/supervisory salaries to the same share of total labor compensation they received in the '70s would alone raise production workers' pay by a quarter or more. The plantation overseers may not be as rich as the planters, but they're still parasites.

Brian , March 03, 2019 at 09:31 PM
Conversations I've overheard in the last couple of years:

"We're both barristers and we can't even afford a flat in Tooting".
"I went to Heathfield and my husband went to Eton. But no chance we can afford private schools for our children".
"Rich foreigners have bought up the houses in Kensington we should have been living in."

My friend, an accountant, says there has always been social churn. But this seems different to me. And at some point the foremen for the billionaire class, I hope, will say sod this for a game of checkers.

Scratch , March 03, 2019 at 10:15 PM
The one that shocks me is the professoriate. Casualising and impoverishing one's core ideological cadre strikes me as a little hubristic.

Then again they seem to be almost without exception devoted to feral liberalism which is presumably testament to the accuracy of the 0/1%'s analysis.

Matthew Turner , March 04, 2019 at 08:09 AM
"We're both barristers and we can't even afford a flat in Tooting".

So who is living in Tooting then?

georgesdelatour , March 04, 2019 at 10:34 AM
The 0.1% hurt the rest of us mainly because they're able to get governments to enact their policy preferences, not because their individual spending decisions heavily skew markets and strain public services. Ultimately there just aren't enough of them to make that much difference, except in highly localised areas; and anyway, they probably use "the commons" (public transport, state schools, the NHS) far less than the median citizen does.

For instance, the 0.1% may cause property bubbles in certain specific locations (Malibu, Manhattan, San Jose, Chelsea etc). But their individual property purchases aren't the main driver of the broader property/housing crisis. We're currently adding around a million people to the UK population every three years. That's 20 times more people than the entire 0.1%. It's got to have more of an effect on the elevated demand for homes, the elevated congestion on London's commuter trains and tubes, and the elevated demand for school places and NHS treatments; even if some of these new Britons come to work in construction, transport, education or health.

Adrian , March 04, 2019 at 11:02 AM
Or we are deep into a structural demographic pattern where an expanded and entitled 'Elite' are in serious competition for the lifestyles they are 'entitled' to.

This situation in history has created some of the most severe political crisis in the history of the west from civil war to bloody revolution, and there is no good reason to suspect that the continuing competition between the established and seeking elites, will ferment even further political and civil strife.

Brexit, an example of a punch up between these elite factions, is already causing severe political strife as the state attempts to reconcile and buy of these competing factions, by hollowing out the classes below to pay for the exercise.

The attempt by the French government to make the non-elite classes pay for the downside of elite supporting policies is not going well, and were is not for the endlessly phlegmatic English constitution and the appeal to ingrained xenophobia, that the non elite classes would be already violently engaged on the streets.

The only way - history says - to escape the effect of this structural position, aside from civil war or revolution to winnow the elite class, the predominate cause of this situation, is through lethal pandemic. Unlikely with modern medicine.

We are at the active beginning of this process, the main crisis is yet to unfold.

georgesdelatour , March 05, 2019 at 09:24 AM
@Adrian

Are you alluding to Peter Turchin's theory of "Elite Overproduction"? I think he's on to something.

Adrian , March 05, 2019 at 10:23 AM
@georgesdelatour

Absolutely. Structural Demographics in lockstep with serious crisis. We're in the middle, or at the serious start? The question is going to have to be, will the Elites roll over and allow taxation and redistribution to winnow the wealth, or refuse to budge and see violent breakdown?

Given that it's hard to defuse the crisis through the traditional weapon of inter-state war, because of nuclear weapons, that some form of new highly redistributive social contract will be the only way to avoid serious social dislocation.

However, the unfailing position of the elites to see themselves as the answer and not the problem, mitigates against a non-violent accord?

Given that historically the only way to defuse these crisis is to reduce the overpopulation issue in fairly short order, I can't see any easy way out.

But perhaps climate collapse and the affect on food supply and production might do that anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 26, 2019] That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 26, 2019 | www.amazon.com

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 26, 2019] Neoliberalism by Julie Wilson

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

skeptic on October 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Feb 11, 2019] I would hardly call Europe's [neoliberal] elite liberals

Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

IstvanIN , says: February 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT

anarchyst says:
February 3, 2019 at 2:24 pm GMT • 300 Words
The debasement of European societies is deliberate. The elites want destruction, period they want their "New World Order"

Very true.

The intent of this article is to blame [neo]Liberals. I would hardly call Europe's [neoliberal] elite liberals. A liberal would defend freedom of expression and thought. A liberal would defend the right of an individual or group to express viewpoints that are unpopular.

Western Europe is hardly liberal. It is ... repressive when it comes to dissent, mildly totalitarian. Political leaders who advocate for the rights of indigenous Europeans in Europe are persecuted and imprisoned. Political parties are banned or bankrupted.

[Jan 20, 2019] Buzzfeed, Question Time the purpose of Fake News by Kit Knightly

Notable quotes:
"... The point of this practice is to propagate lies into the public consciousness. It's a method that can be used to distract and disseminate and divide. The accuracy of the statement is immaterial. ..."
"... The point is, once it has been said it cannot be unsaid. There are countless examples: "Assange was working for Russia", "Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress", "Russia hacked the US election", "Donald Trump worked for the KGB", "Assad gassed his own people", "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite". The list goes on and on and on. None these have been proven. All were asserted without evidence, fiercely defended as facts, and then discretely qualified. ..."
"... The lie was told, the audience laughed, the reality was created. "Labour are behind in the polls, anybody who says otherwise is a laughingstock" . The lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. That's why fake news is so important to them, and so dangerous us. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

... ... ...

Trump has been a disappointment to his base and is yet to implement half the policies he discussed on the campaign trail, but he's not fully and totally being controlled by the warhawking Deep State yet, either. His policy of peace with North Korea and decisions to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan show that there is a tug-of-war ongoing inside the administration. It's probably no coincidence that this latest of many "bombshells" comes so quickly on the heels of Trump's announcement of the Syria withdrawal. Careful "leaks", planted stories and social media witch-hunts remind Trump how precarious his position is, whilst simultaneously distracting the public – both pro-Trump and anti-Trump – from real issues.

The case-specific "why?" doesn't matter so much as the general aim of this type of manipulation. The important question is: Why does the media tell lies if they know they will be revealed as such? Clearly, the lies serve a purpose, regardless of their retraction or qualification. Telling a lie loudly and then taking it back quietly is an old propaganda trick – it allows the paper to maintain a facade of "accountability".

The point of this practice is to propagate lies into the public consciousness. It's a method that can be used to distract and disseminate and divide. The accuracy of the statement is immaterial.

The point is, once it has been said it cannot be unsaid. There are countless examples: "Assange was working for Russia", "Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress", "Russia hacked the US election", "Donald Trump worked for the KGB", "Assad gassed his own people", "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite". The list goes on and on and on. None these have been proven. All were asserted without evidence, fiercely defended as facts, and then discretely qualified.

That is the purpose of "fake news", to forge the Empire's "created reality" , and force us all to live in it. These are world-shaping, policy-informing, news-dominating narratives and are nothing but feathers in the wind .

A perfect exemplar of this occurred just two days ago on the BBC's flagship Political debate show Question Time : me title= The (notionally impartial) host not only sided with right-wing author Isabel Oakeshott in criticising Labour's polling, but then joined in mocking the Labour MP Diane Abbott for attempting to correct the record. Both Oakeshott and Fiona Bruce, the host, were factually incorrect – as shown a hundred times over since. But that doesn't matter.

The lie was told, the audience laughed, the reality was created. "Labour are behind in the polls, anybody who says otherwise is a laughingstock" . The lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. That's why fake news is so important to them, and so dangerous us.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

[Jan 20, 2019] Dear [neoliberal] elites

Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Brad F January 18, 2019 at 10:26 am

Dear Elites

We appreciate that you have built a successful career and/or business under the prevailing laws, and that changing these laws would cause the destruction and/or appropriation of much of your wealth (while costing us little).

Nonetheless we've had a vote and decided that we will indeed go ahead and make these changes. Sorry about your luck. What? You don't agree! Don't you believe in democracy? You hypocrite you!

[Jan 20, 2019] In fact, we don't have a real democracy anymore. We have a Potemkin Village democracy.

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, Trump is a pretend President. He doesn't control his own government. Hell, a single judge anywhere in the hinterlands evidently has the power to veto pretty much whatever the Trumpster does. It's clear that the real power resides in the hands of the Ruling Class, most of whom are unelected and unaccountable. Judges. Bureaucrats. Regulators. The Deep State. They now run the show. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gerard January 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Great article and right on target. In fact, we don't have a real democracy anymore. We have a Potemkin Village democracy. Our national legislature is paralyzed and impotent. And honestly, that's the way its membership likes it. Pretend to govern. Hold tight to the seats of privilege and status.

In addition, Trump is a pretend President. He doesn't control his own government. Hell, a single judge anywhere in the hinterlands evidently has the power to veto pretty much whatever the Trumpster does. It's clear that the real power resides in the hands of the Ruling Class, most of whom are unelected and unaccountable. Judges. Bureaucrats. Regulators. The Deep State. They now run the show.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media plays the role of Orwell's Squealer the Pig from Animal Farm. Propagandists. Purveyors of fake news and fake truth. This is not going to end well. The only question is how and when the ending comes.

[Jan 19, 2019] The central political question in all Western societies is -- how far will the masses be able to control the naturally-abusive tendencies of the elite?

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Henderson [ Email him ] ..."
"... is a retired civil servant living in London and consequently old enough to remember what life was like before political correctness. He runs the Living In A Madhouse and England Calling blogs. ..."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

So what is really happening -- in the U.K. and the U.S.?

The Deep State is often portrayed as a conspiracy. In fact, it is better thought of as a blind sociological event. There is no group of conscious conspirators, simply people being groomed to have the same opinions or at least saying they do.

Link Bookmark What has happened in the UK (and the rest for the West to varying degrees) is the success of the long march through the institutions . That is what ultimately has given the UK an elite ( politicians , mediafolk , teachers etc) who are overwhelmingly Politically Correct internationalists. And it's those people who are at the forefront of the attempts to sabotage Brexit.

How did it come about? A German student leader of the 1960s Rudi Dutschke, echoing the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci , put forward the idea whereby societies could be subverted from within by those of an internationalist bent who would patiently work to gain positions of power and influence. Eventually there would be enough of such people to change the policies of Western societies from national to internationalist ones. That point was reached in the UK at least 50 years ago and the Politically Correct stranglehold on our society is now complete.

The capture of Western societies by internationalists has allowed them to permit and even overtly encourage mass immigration of people from different cultures, denigrate their own societies, traduce the West and its native populations generally and introduce gradually the pernicious Totalitarian creed of Cultural Marxism which has "anti-racism" (in reality anti-white racism) at its heart. The last brick in the Politically Correct building is the increasingly draconian treatment of anyone who refuses to toe the line -- increasingly including the use of the criminal law and imprisonment.

That is why Western politics until recently has been so ideologically monotone. Brexit was a revolt against that mentality.

Most MPs overtly or tacitly supported the idea of the referendum and its result by promising it in election manifestos, in Parliament and through their passage by large majorities of the legislation needed to both set up the referendum and make provision for its implementation.

But by doing so, MPs forfeited their right to do anything other honour the result of the referendum. That applies just as much to Remainer MPs as Leaver MPs.

Sadly, the behaviour of the most committed Remainers with power and influence (including many MPs and peers in the House of Lords) has shattered utterly the idea that the UK is a fully functioning democracy. Rather, it is an elective oligarchy whereby the electorate are offered an opportunity every few years to choose between competing parts of the elite -- an elite in the UK whose general political ideas are largely held in common and go against the interests and wishes of most of the electorate.

None of this should be a surprise. The sad truth: the central political question in all Western societies is -- how far will the masses be able to control the naturally-abusive tendencies of the elite?

Robert Henderson [ Email him ] is a retired civil servant living in London and consequently old enough to remember what life was like before political correctness. He runs the Living In A Madhouse and England Calling blogs.

[Jan 19, 2019] The Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rurik , says: April 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

the Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be."

-David Graham Phillips, Cosmopolitan magazine, February 1906

and to think that was over a hundred years ago

... ... ...

[Jan 19, 2019] The Mockingbird Media lies and equivocates about everything. Insofar as the deep state spider's web of hegemony spreads all over the world and becomes more odious, the lies become more copious and more predictable, and their acceptance more and more relies upon the lever of public credulity and Neoliberal Newspeak

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: April 10, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT

A great man once wrote that the "big lie" had a force of credulity among the broad masses, as the latter were wont to engage in lying about minor quotidian matters of little or no significance while the big lies were engaged in by the mainstream press, dominated by the usual tribal suspects.

It was the case with blaming General Ludendorff for Germany's defeat, and it is the same case today, 100 years after the fact.

The Mockingbird Media lies and equivocates about everything. Insofar as the deep state spider's web of hegemony spreads all over the world and becomes more odious, the lies become more copious and more predictable, and their acceptance relies upon the lever of public credulity and kosher Newspeak.

What the unconditional and incorrigible Trumpetistas do not realize is that those of us- a very large plurality of of Trump supporters- voted for him because he was not Hillary Clinton and had pledged to keep us out of foreign wars. We will neither support, nor abet, foreign wars for the sake of Israel, whether they are started by Trump or anyone else. Intervention in Syria against the Assad regime is a no go. Trump cannot hope to compare himself to Assad, since the latter has formed a real and effective alliance against the Christian hating head choppers with Russia and Iran. Trump is totally clueless with respect to geopolitics. He is a rank amateur.

Jon Baptist , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:27 am GMT
It makes complete sense if one simply looks at the British Establishment's prior behavior of intentionally starting world wars at the order of the Society of the Elect. It's all in the CFR's archives. Their guilt in starting WW1 is emphatically admitted and documented in roughly the first 200 pages of the following book. http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/Tragedy_and_Hope.pdf

Who is in the Society of the Elect? Read the back pages of http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/The_Anglo-American_Establishment.pdf

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:33 am GMT
It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

This is worrying. Nobody is that stupid so it's more like they don't care about credibility going forward. Like it won't matter.

annamaria , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
"In 2016 an official British government inquiry determined that Bush and Blair had indeed together rushed to war. The Global Establishment has nevertheless rewarded Tony Blair for his loyalty with Clintonesque generosity. He has enjoyed a number of well-paid sinecures and is now worth in excess of $100 million."

-- The character of Blair and the Establishment is well established: Blair is a major war criminal supported by the major war profiteers. His children and grandchildren are a progeny of a horrible criminal.

What is truly amazing is the complacency of the Roman Catholic Church that still has not excommunicated and anathematized the mass murderer. Blair should be haunted and hunted for his crimes against humanity.

With age, Blair's face has become expressively evil. His wife Theresa Cara "Cherie" Blair shows the same acute ugliness coming from her rotten soul of a war profiteer.

Blanco Watts , says: April 10, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
The UK is governed by the same Neo-liberal psychotic cabal that runs the US, Israel and France.
quasi_verbatim , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:01 am GMT
The Skripals are to be disappeared. Their home, the pub and the restaurant are to be demolished. This is a Tarantino cleanup. Move on
JR , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:06 am GMT
Keep in mind how long ago all this is:
Skripal was recruited around 1990 and arrested in 2004. Guess that the Russian attitude towards Skripal took the chaos of the 90's as mitigating circumstances into account.
Skripal served his sentence of only 13 years till 2010 when he was pardoned and given the option to leave. Russia did not revoke Skripal's citizenship. The UK issued Skripal a passport too. On arrival in the UK Skripak was extensively debriefed by UK intelligence services. Skripal has lived for 8 years in the UK now.

And now out of the blue this incident nicely dovetailing with May ratcheted up anti Russia language only a few months before this false flag incident and the rapidly failing traction of the Steele/Orbis/MI6 instigated Russia collusion story on the basis of that fake Trump Dossier. By the way Orbis affiliated Steele and Miller have been among Skripal's handlers.

Realist , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:49 am GMT
Why anyone would believe anything Western governments say is beyond me.
animalogic , says: April 10, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
Good article.
The Skipnal affair has been an utter disgrace from day one. May & Boris are a shame on the UK fully reminesent of that utter dog, Blair.
The fact that the msm still babbles on about Russia & Skipnal is indicative of their monumental contempt for the public & factual balanced reporting .well what's new, I guess ?
Ronald Thomas West , says: Website April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am GMT
From the Steele dossier lies falling apart to the Skripal lies falling apart to the 'Assad did it' lies falling apart:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

^

Paul Craig Roberts is correct when quoting The Saker:

"The Russian view is simple: the West is ruled by a gang of thugs supported by an infinitely lying and hypocritical media while the general public in the West has been hopelessly zombified." -- The Saker

I expect that makes the Russians right

OMG , says: April 10, 2018 at 10:35 am GMT
These ridiculous, suicidal gas attacks by Assad seem to coincide not only with battleground victories against the head-choppers, but co-incidentally with Israel's murderous attacks on unarmed Palestinians "throwing stones".

What nobody seems to have picked up is the emphasis – and red lines – on Gas; gas, gas attacks. Why is gas so much worse than being dismembered, disembowelled, and mutilated by high explosives? Certainly I would favour unconsciousness and death by gas before being smashed to pieces by depleted uranium.

These relentlessly repeated claims are an exercise with the dual purpose of providing a subliminal message about the greatest tragedy in human history, repeated ad nauseam. The massive 'gassing' of European Jews some 65 years ago. Lest we forget.

Anonymous [249] Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
What makes you think the Skripals are still alive? The entire British charade stinks to high heaven.
Escher , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:06 am GMT
What is surprising is how the MSM is able to lead along so many supposedly educated people, with at least some critical thinking skills.
All we like sheep , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:13 am GMT
Compared with the Litvinenko umbrella attack with its tip having been dipped in an Amazonian Indians' style curare variant of Polonium the intelligence level of the MI6 & CIA seems to have hit the ground with the twofold miracle of the dead being raised. Now the miracles are posing a big problem for the demonizers of Russia & President Putin: how to spirit these two living & talking people away, who have returned from the dead, where they were supposed to be so safe and well for all truth-loving investigators. This whole story seems to unfold like a Jesus Christ Superstar sequel with James Bond appetizers having been added. At present the roles have been reversed: the Russians being the champions of free will and the Western intelligence services being the Joker.
Greg Bacon , says: Website April 10, 2018 at 11:14 am GMT
Until some kind of sanity returns to this planet and war mongering gangsters like the Bush and Clinton Mobs, Blair, Obama and a host of Pentagon generals, along with their boot-licking MSM are indicted, tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes, found guilty and sentences carried out, there will be no peace on Earth, just an endless series of False Flags, hysterical reactions by the ones who were behind the False Flags and more wars.
Simon in London , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:25 am GMT
It does look rather like those Syrian chemical weapon attacks that happen whenever the rebels are about to be defeated.

I am pretty sure that it was not ordered within the British government and that most of the British government don't know where it came from, but are willing to believe it was Russia.

While the CIA does have plenty of form on assassinations, the risk if they were found to be assassinating in Britain seems quite high due to the close CIA links with the UK intelligence sector. But CIA agents could have paid someone else to do it.

Mossad is the one group that can act freely in the UK, has a record of assassinating scientists, engineers etc here, and unlike CIA, can take the risk of being caught. So it's a possibility – OTOH Israel has shown a lot less anti-Russian hatred than the US Deep State has.

Normally I'd assume it was indeed Russia – I thought there was plenty of evidence the Polonium poisoning was Russia – and it still seems possible, but US or Mossad must be at least equally likely in this case. It's just possible it could have been British initiated but I doubt it.

I do think it's most likely the person who actually poisoned them was not an employee of any agency.

Jake , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
Theresa May as more evil than Bill Clinton? That will sound odd to some, but I think it is true. Hillary is the pure evil half of the Clinton marriage. Bill is simply charming and filled with a desire to amass enough power to have a group adore him as he finds new panties to explore.

May is English, and she has the very long line of Brit Empire secret service evil at her disposal. And her move is a bold one. What it means is that she is signaling that at least if she is PM, the UK could replace the US as Fearless Leader of the actual New World Order, which is the WASP Empire with Israel and worldwide Jewry as Junior Partner #1 and Saudi Arabia elevated to Junior Partner #2 in an insane attempt to make Israel secure forever.

The English have never been happy that the lowly Americans leaped them as A-#1 of the WASP Empire, and being English they have no permanent alliances, no permanent allies, not even kin (perhaps especially kin – which type and degree of ruthlessness impresses all Semites).

This alliance was sealed by none other than the very epitome of WASP culture: Mr. Archetypal WASP himself, Oliver Cromwell. The Anglo-Saxon alliance with Jews precisely to wage wars against non-WASP white Christians was the logical (and inevitable if WASP culture were to acquire large scale political power) .

By the Victorian era, virtually all Elite Brit WASPs were knowing philoSemites. The new twist was that a growing number of them were becoming obsessed with Arabs and/or Islam. decades before the Balfour Declaration, the Brit WASP Elites were wrangling among themselves over how best to use the largest and wealthiest Empire in world history to express its philoSemtism.

The solution recently agreed upon was to elevate the Saudis. The assumption is that as the Saudis control the actual land of Mohammed, if they are elevated to suzerainty over not merely all Arabs but the entire Islamic Middle East, then the entire Islamic world can be controlled, including to allow Israel to exist in 'peace.'

And that means all that oil is under the indirect, but very firm, control of the WASP Empire, or as The Saker calls it: the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Of course, the Saudi royal family is the most amorally vicious power party in the Middle East. They would slaughter half the Sunni Arabs in order to become unrivaled suzerain over the entire Islamic world. Such monstrousness makes the House of Saud exactly the type partner that those who control the WASP Empire want as partners.

The Russians are in the way of that beautiful plan of world domination. Russians have common sense and, much worse, they express it, even publicly. Russians know that Sunni Islam is a much worse threat to the world than is Shiite Islam. The Russians know that the Iranians are much more honorable and moral than are the Saudis. The Russians know that as bad as the Turks are, they are more honorable and trustworthy than the Saudis.

And the Russians also know that the Anglo-Zionist Empire would be tickled pink to make all non-WASP Elite whites – all in the world – a permanent serf class, treated the way Cromwell treated the Irish, the way the Israelis treat the Palestinians.

Randal , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:48 am GMT
@Corvinus Corvinus, George Galloway has a message addressed directly to you:

It's harsh, but one has to concede it is also a fair assessment.

Giuseppe , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm GMT
I challenge anyone to name a modern war prosecuted by the US government and its allies that did not involve at its root the direct fabrication of blatant lies on enormous levels, both as a casus belli and also to manipulate public opinion in favor of hostilities.

The clandestine activity represented by these *provocations* isn't even good spycraft. The Skripal case and the latest use of chlorine gas in Syria are risible, clumsy, amateur attempts to wangle the empire into war that the callowest rube could see through. And yet, it's working its magic on the media. The politicians, suborned by the war machine, give unanimous bipartisan assent.

What the hell is going on?

JoaoAlfaiate , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:35 pm GMT
@Giuseppe Saddam's WMD, Gulf of Tonkin, etc., etc. And now a ridiculous false flag attack in Syria. Did it take place at all? But the narrative is all. The press in the USA is more effectively controlled and conformist than in Germany in the late 1930s and nobody goes around beating up journalists or sending them to a KZ. The Syrian Gov't is winning the civil war, things are going well but what Assad really needs is to have the crap bombed out of his military by Uncle Sam. What transparent bullshit.
tjm , says: April 10, 2018 at 1:08 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Agreed to all you said, but I would include the assassination of JFK and his brother, and likely Martin Luther King Jr.

And each time they took out a great American, they used that assassination to push a destructive narrative: With the killing of MLK they pinned the killing on a white southern man, thus pushing their white hate narrative.

With 9/11 is was all about stoking hate of Muslims

These creatures lie as easily as breath, and they have all the money in the world to push their lies.

JoaoAlfaiate , says: April 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm GMT
@jacques sheete The intent of my post was to show that the MSM here is conformist and doesn't like to stray far from what the USG is claiming and what other journalists are writing. Rather than explore the topics you raise, as worthy of exploration as they might be, I thought I'd offer what newspapers around the USA were saying about Saddam's WMD after Powell's UNSC speech; seems a bit more germane.

The Powell evidence will be persuasive to anyone who is still persuadable.

The Wall Street Journal

Piling fact upon fact, photo upon photo Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell methodically demonstrated why Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein remains dangerous to his own people, Iraq's neighbors

The Los Angeles Times

On Wednesday, America's most reluctant warrior, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, presented succinct and damning evidence of Saddam's enormous threat to world peace.

Arizona Republic

Saddam Hussein's illicit arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, as well as the equally illicit means that he possesses to deliver them, poses a tangible and urgent danger to U.S. and world security. Millions of innocent lives are at risk.

Dallas Morning News

At some point, the world chooses to believe President George W. Bush and Secretary Powell or the international community chooses to side with Saddam Hussein and those who broadcast his lies to the world. Powell has painstakingly presented a strong case against Iraq.

Greenville News/South Carolina

Iraq is busted. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell laid out the case clearly. No one hearing Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council could doubt Iraq's actions and intentions.

Jacksonville Times-Union/Florida

The threat is real and at our door. Sept. 11, 2001, stripped away the belief that the United States can peacefully coexist with evil. Prove it, they said. Powell has.

Charleston Daily Mail/West Virginia

We are a country always loath to fight unless provoked. The reluctance of Americans to initiate a war needlessly does the nation credit. But this is not a needless war, nor is it unprovoked. Powell laid out the need, and explained the provocation, in step-by-step fashion that cannot be refuted without resorting to fantasy.

Chicago Sun-Times

The Dispatch repeatedly has called on the Bush administration to make a compelling case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction and hiding these efforts from U.N. inspectors. Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell made that case before the Security Council.

Columbus Dispatch

Powell has methodically proved Iraq's failure to comply with U.N. mandates. With each passing day, Iraq's own choices move it closer to a war that full compliance would prevent.

Indianapolis Star

Secretary of State Colin Powell's 90-minute presentation to the U.N. Security Council, buttressed with surveillance photographs and recorded phone conversations, should remove all doubt that Iraq's Saddam Hussein has developed and hides weapons of mass destruction, in violation of U.N. resolutions.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council presented not just one 'smoking gun' but a battery of them, more than sufficient to dispel any lingering doubt about the threat the Iraqi dictator poses.

Denver Post

The United States has made a compelling case that Iraq has failed to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction. This failure violates the U.N. Security Council resolution of late last year which ordered Iraq to disarm. As a consequence and it is a grave one, the Security Council must act now to disarm Iraq by force.

Salt Lake City Tribune

Powell has connected enough dots to tie Iraq to al-Qaeda and show that this alliance is a threat to all of Europe as well as the United States.

Manchester Union Leader

In fact, the speech provided proof that Saddam continues to refuse to obey U.N. resolutions. Any amount of time he has now to comply fully and openly with U.N. demands should be measured in days or a few weeks – and no longer.

Portland Press-Herald/Maine

[Jan 19, 2019] Oh, nothing new; extortion, perjury, forty per cent, face-grinding.

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mike Sylwester says: Website April 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT The Moon of Alabama website has been doing great work criticizing the Skripal yarn.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/the-best-explanation-for-the-skripal-drama-is-food-poisoning.html#more

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm GMT

@Giuseppe

What the hell is going on?

Nothing new. Same ol same ol.

But how are things going up here? what is Athens about?

Phi. Oh, nothing new; extortion, perjury, forty per cent, face-grinding.

-Lucian of Samosata, MENIPPUS, A NECROMANTIC EXPERIMENT, ~150 AD
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/wl1/wl176.htm

[Jan 19, 2019] According to Wolin, domestic and foreign affairs goals are each important and on parallel tracks

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination. ..."
"... The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, therefore making it less likely they will become politically active and thus helping maintain the first dynamic. ..."
"... By using managerial methods and developing management of elections, the democracy of the United States has become sanitized of political participation, therefore managed democracy is "a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control". ..."
"... Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies. ..."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jan 15, 2019 9:31:08 PM | lin k

karlof1

According to Wolin, domestic and foreign affairs goals are each important and on parallel tracks, as summarized at Wikipedia, the United States has two main totalizing dynamics:

The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination.

The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, therefore making it less likely they will become politically active and thus helping maintain the first dynamic.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Wolin's Inverted Totalitarianism provides the ground work for my suspicions regarding faux populists Obama and Trump:

By using managerial methods and developing management of elections, the democracy of the United States has become sanitized of political participation, therefore managed democracy is "a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control".

Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies.

[Jan 17, 2019] We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

One of the main power weapons of the elite is the control over the information flows
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Albert Ravey , 29 Nov 2018 10:45

Some highlights from this thread (no names, no pack drill):

Populism is a kickback and correction to the forty years of political correctness where the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites.

Perhaps the reason that "populism" is thriving is that the liberal elites who ruled us in the entire post war period became complacent out of touch with those they were meant to represent.

there are millions of others whose voices have been ignored or silenced by the mainstream news

We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

The MSM has always been biased-

Why is democracy booming the article asks.
Well because the lies and bullshit of the liberal elite are there for all to see.

Take a look at what the MSM refuses to report, or what it deliberately distorts,

You can see the problem. It's like they are all reading from the same limited script which has been handed to them. Given the freedom to express our opinions, we are regurgitating what someone else has told us to say.

Maybe we should not be too pessimistic. The levels of opportunity for expression that the internet and social media have given us might currently have exceeded our ability to think critically about whatever bullshit we are being fed, but future generations may be better. After all, it's only a small step from doubting whatever mainstream thought tells you, to starting to wonder who is telling you to doubt those things and why and then to actually go back and think for yourself about the issues.

TheBorderGuard -> SomlanderBrit , 29 Nov 2018 10:44

... the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves.

Lifted straight from the pages of the Völkischer Beobachter , I suspect.

TheBorderGuard , 29 Nov 2018 10:43
Some people are more attracted to certainties than subtleties -- and I suspect such people are ideologues in general and populists in particular.
DanInTheDesert , 29 Nov 2018 09:46
Sigh.

So Corbyn and Trump are the same because they both have shirts. Well, color me convinced!

Like so many of these articles -- including the long but uninformative 'long read' on the same topic -- there is no mention of the failures of the elites.

Clinton sold us a false bill of goods. The Washington Consensus on economics would make the country richer and, after some 'pain', would benefit the working class. Sure you wouldn't be making cars but after some retraining you would work in tech.

This was a broken promise -- de industrialization has devastated the upper midwest. The goods are made in China and the money goes to Bezos. People are rightly upset.

The Washington Consensus on war sold us a false bill of goods. Instead of peace through strength we have seen a century of endless conflict. We have been caught in state of constant killing since 2001 and we are no safer for it. Indeed the conflicts have created new enemies and the only solution on offer is a hair of the dog solution.

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites. Nowhere are the repeated failures of the elites, the decades of broken promises mentioned in the articles. Instead, those of us who prefer Sanders to Clinton, Corbyn to Blair are mesmerized by emotional appeals and seduced by simplistic appeals to complex problems. And they wonder why we don't accept their analyses . . .

TL;DR -- clickbait didn't get us here. The broken promises of the Washington consensus did.

[Jan 13, 2019] The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time.

Notable quotes:
"... This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations. ..."
"... They are CIA assets who do what they're told. ..."
"... There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true. ..."
"... Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness. ..."
"... I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness. ..."
"... If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants. ..."
"... The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil. ..."
"... Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down. ..."
"... "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics." ..."
"... I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment. ..."
"... "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

lavoisier , says: Website July 23, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@peterAUS

Anyone with an average intelligence can, in two hours trawling of Internet, get how false all that is. And, yet, here we are.
The same people who can spend hours on social media, shopping and entertainment online can't, for SOME reason, figure all that out.

Easy to blame "them" and media/academia/whatever. Maybe it's time to start passing a bit of blame to people in general. Not holding my breath.

I fully agree with this sentiment. The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time. If the sheeple were to take responsibility to inform themselves of what is happening today they would be able to see the lies they are being constantly exposed to as just that -- lies. And then, they could put down the beer and turn off the damn sports channel and get angry at what has happened to their country.

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for ignorant people to remain ignorant.

Giuseppe , says: July 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT

This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations.

They are CIA assets who do what they're told.

Gordon Pratt , says: July 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT
There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true.

This is the perfect environment for the virus of groupthink to spread.

And since our leaders, both on the left and the right, may be ahead of the curve on drug usage the neocons and the politically correct may use antidepressants at greater levels than 10 per cent.

Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness.

I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness.

If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants.

AnonFromTN , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Gordon Pratt I think you are mistaken trying to rationalize the behavior of the political class and their puppet masters. I believe the real driver are not antidepressants, but an obscene greed, which is so blinding that it made MIC profiteers forget that to enjoy the fruits of their thievery they have to be alive.
anonymous [339] Disclaimer , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil.

Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm GMT

"I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment.

Respect , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT
QUOS VULT IUPITER PERDERE DEMENTAT PRIUS

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni

Feel free to attack me.

TDS is a convenient shorthand for this form of disconnect from reality. That said it is absolutely fascinating to see and puzzle over this geopolitical tectonic event. The old narrative is crumbling, with the result that people like Lauri are fighting desperately to preserve their "sanity", dependent as it is on their tribal submission to the old order and its old narrative (its timeworn lies).

"Science advances one funeral at a time."
Max Planck

By which he means that people persist in believing in those "truths" (their belief system) they have held for a lifetime. Only when they die out will a new, revised belief system replaced the old. The same in geopolitics as in science.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Tulips "Malefactors of great wealth."
Simple Pseudonym , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
American dementia is not new. It is current but after the false flags of almost all of our (US) wars going back as far as the Barbary Pirates, Americans have thrived on being the good guys in an evil world. We are SO GOOD, and the world thinks we are perfect and want to be part of US so much, that any other thought is treasonous.

The fact that getting along with Russia is necessary to NOT create armageddon, is irrelevant to the typical citizen because no matter how wrong, we are blessed and perfect in the eyes of the gawd we pretend to believe in.

So, same old same old

[Jan 11, 2019] There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect

Notable quotes:
"... The Travesty of Liberalism ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | www.bradford-delong.com

Possibly the finest thing I have read this year:

Frank Wilhoit : The Travesty of Liberalism :

"There is only conservatism. No other political philosophy actually exists; by the political analogue of Gresham's Law, conservatism has driven every other idea out of circulation. There might be, and should be, anti-conservatism; but it does not yet exist.

What would it be? In order to answer that question, it is necessary and sufficient to characterize conservatism. Fortunately, this can be done very concisely.

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect...

Continue reading "" "

[Dec 29, 2018] Two More Spiegel Employees Out After Fake News Scandal Expands -

Is not "Greed is good" a neoliberal slogan
Dec 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Relotius, meanwhile, has "gone underground," according to the Guardian, returning several awards for his work while being stripped of others, such as CNN's two Journalist of the Year awards. A German publication also stripped the journalist of a similar accolade.

At least 14 articles by Relotius for Der Spiegel were falsified , according to Steffen Klusmann, its editor-in-chief. They include an award-winning piece about a Syrian boy called Mouwiya who believed his anti-government graffiti had triggered the civil war. Relotius alleged he had interviewed the boy via WhatsApp .

The magazine – a prestigious weekly – is investigating if the interview took place and whether the boy exists. Relotius won his fourth German reporter prize this month with a story headlined "Child's Play".

Klusmann admitted the publication still had no idea how many articles were affected. On Thursday it was revealed that parts of an interview with a 95-year-old Nazi resistance fighter in the US were fabricated. - The Guardian

According to Relotius' Der Spiegel colleague Juan Moreno - who busted Relotius after conducting his own research after his bosses failed to listen to his doubts , released a video in which he attempted to describe how Relotius got away with his fabrications.

"He was the superstar of German journalism if one's honest, and if his stories had been true, that would have been fully justified to say so, but they were not," said Moreno. "At the start it was the small mistakes, things that seemed too hard to believe that made me suspicious."

In addition to having several awards stripped from him, the 33-year-old Relotius now faces embezzlement charges for allegedly soliciting donations for Syrian orphans from readers "with any proceeds going to his personal account," according to the BBC . On Thursday, Relotius denied the accusations.

[Dec 22, 2018] Check out the RTL coverage: the "reporter" is standing on a street that is filled shoulder to shoulder as far as the lens can see with yellow vests, and states "there are about 50, maybe a hundred people here..."

Dec 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

NotBob , Dec 22, 2018 2:07:21 PM | link

While not specifically labeled, this look like an open thread. So....

The French MSM (and the BBC) are doing the usual underreporting of the numbers involved in todays GJ activities. If interested, check out the RTL coverage: the "reporter" is standing on a street that is filled shoulder to shoulder as far as the lens can see with yellow vests, and states "there are about 50, maybe a hundred people here..."

The police concentrated their manpower around Versailles, and the GJ are everywhere but there, so no gas, no violence. The infiltrators/casseurs didn't get the memo.

Speaking of the gas, one of the men seen bathing in the stuff these past weekends has put out (FB? Twitter? This is being passed along from my French family members) that he has been diagnosed with cyanide poisoning. I am not a chemist, but I don't think this is a usual component of "tear gas ". Probably the Russians tampering with the gendarmes CS supply.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

[Dec 09, 2018] Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MikeSw , 30 Oct 2018 22:36

Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others.

Minority government? There is no such thing - there is only 'government', and it is supposed to involve all members of parliament in the decision-making process. 'Majority' governments are an anathema to good governance. Every time I hear the likes of Tony Abbott claim they have a mandate to implement ALL their policies, even though they only receive around 35% of the primary vote, I want to throw something at the TV.

Bugger them! Make them work for a living - and make them consider ALL views, not just the ones from their own party.

Bradtheunveiler -> BrianLC , 30 Oct 2018 22:36
Win the ALP will next election. By a huge majority too. Looking forward to neg gearing and CGT discount reform in particular.
Onesimus_Tim -> StuartJJ , 30 Oct 2018 22:35

Preferences are an extremely good feature of our voting system

Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote.

Preferential voting also makes it more possible for the major party duopoly being overturned, allowing people to vote for a good independent without taking the risk of helping a despised major party candidate from winning by default.

[Dec 09, 2018] The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Territorian -> Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:49

"The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry." You are spot on.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Handing out buckets of money to NT Country Liberal Party supporters. Scullion just happened to be a professional fisher before entering parliament.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/indigenous-advancement-funding-redirected-to-cattlemen-and-fishing-groups

Barnaby Joyce: Minister for Agriculture while his Department was too scared to report disgusting conditions in the live sheep export trade.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/agriculture-minister-promises-to-fix-live-export-regulation-after-damning-report

DukeofWoyWoy , 30 Oct 2018 23:48
What a logical and stirring argument you put forward Richard Denniss, and a large majority of the electorate would have to agree.
However there is also a large number of people in the electorate that cannot appear to rise from their nightly slumber without wearing their Blue, Red, Green or Orange tinted glasses before facing the new day.
And because of this, and preferential voting, sneaking in the background is a plethora of the wild mindless sub creatures called politicians who demand their rights to sit in the big white building on Canberra;s Capital Hill, just waiting to spoil not only the electorate's party but also known to prostitute the country's governance to their own advantage.
Richard, we desperately need a follow up stirring article on how to overcome this black menace to our country, for the sake of our country.
Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:38
If you think the public has an appetite for more bureaucrats, more rules and regulations to micromanage people's lives and even more political wheeling and dealing in Canberra, you should get out more.

That the coalition government is on the slide is of no long term consequence. We'll get a Labor government next year and in a few years another coalition government and so on.

What is of long term significance is the loss of public trust in pretty much all of the institutions - including goverment and the various government agencies that would be more powerful under your scenario.

The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry. Perhaps the solution lies in more direct democracy.

The same sex marriage plebiscite demonstrated that we commoners can deliberate on a sensitive issue, and in doing so behave far better than our elected representatives in Parliament. And can make a sensible and progressive decision that our elected representatives could not - both coalition and Labor MPs had opposed same sex marriage when it was raised in th e Parliament.

The internet provides a platform for direct decision making by the citizenry. Perhaps we should try that instead of what you are suggesting.

diggerdigger , 30 Oct 2018 22:12
It's been clear for years that proportional representation has progressively meant death to effective government, and that it forces major parties policy development further to the political fringes to appeal to the fruit loops on the periphery of their respective demographics. Time for a return to simple preferential voting (a-la-house of Reps) in the senate, and an overhaul of what's considered a valid ballot - if you want to only rank 1, 2, 3 or all candidates it should be entirely your choice.

Hung parliaments, with diametrically opposed clumps of "independents" jointly holding the balance of power can only ever deliver legislative stasis and constant political turmoil (as we have experienced since 2010 and Europe and the US have suffered for the last decade).

Oh for the good old days when one or the other of the major parties held a working majority in both houses, and policy was targeted at the 'sensible centre" of the Australian electorate. At worst, they only had to deal with a couple of sensible Democrats, and the odd lunatic fringe-ist like Harradine.

[Dec 09, 2018] People who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes just get mopped up by two major parties who represent thatsame neooliberal sharks who want to devour the voters

Notable quotes:
"... I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonGlaeston , 31 Oct 2018 04:56

Yes, yes! MMP!!

Having spent many years in a New Zealand under a First Past the Post system and then Mixed Member Proportional, I am an enthusiastic supporter of proportional systems.

I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long.

Hettie7-> melbournesam 31 Oct 2018 00:45

Proportional representation makes the most sense. Each party gets the same percentage of seats in the parliament as it received votes in the election. That really is fair.

[Nov 27, 2018] American capitalism could afford to make concessions assiciated with The New Deal because of its economic dominance. The past forty years have been characterized by the continued decline of American capitalism on a world stage relative to its major rivals. The ruling class has responded to this crisis with a neoliberal counterrevolution to claw back all gains won by workers. This policy has been carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations and with the assistance of the trade unions.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The original "New Deal," which included massive public works infrastructure projects, was introduced by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Its purpose was to stave off a socialist revolution in America. It was a response to a militant upsurge of strikes and violent class battles, led by socialists who were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution ..."
"... Since the 2008 crash, first under Bush and Obama, and now Trump, the ruling elites have pursued a single-minded policy of enriching the wealthy, through free credit, corporate bailouts and tax cuts, while slashing spending on social services. ..."
"... To claim as does Ocasio-Cortez that American capitalism can provide a new "New Deal," of a green or any other variety, is to pfile:///F:/Private_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/Historyromote an obvious political fiction." ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star November 26, 2018 at 4:23 pm

As the New deal unravels:

"The original "New Deal," which included massive public works infrastructure projects, was introduced by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Its purpose was to stave off a socialist revolution in America. It was a response to a militant upsurge of strikes and violent class battles, led by socialists who were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution that had occurred less than two decades before.

American capitalism could afford to make such concessions because of its economic dominance. The past forty years have been characterized by the continued decline of American capitalism on a world stage relative to its major rivals. The ruling class has responded to this crisis with a social counterrevolution to claw back all gains won by workers. This has been carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations and with the assistance of the trade unions.

Since the 2008 crash, first under Bush and Obama, and now Trump, the ruling elites have pursued a single-minded policy of enriching the wealthy, through free credit, corporate bailouts and tax cuts, while slashing spending on social services.

To claim as does Ocasio-Cortez that American capitalism can provide a new "New Deal," of a green or any other variety, is to pfile:///F:/Private_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/Historyromote an obvious political fiction."

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/23/cort-n23.html

[Nov 24, 2018] Anonymous Exposes UK-Led Psyop To Battle Russian Propaganda

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Operating on a budget of £1.9 million (US$2.4 million), the secretive Integrity Initiative consists of "clusters" of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics. The team is dedicated to searching for and publishing "evidence" of Russian interference in European affairs , while themselves influencing leadership behind the scenes, the documents claim. ..."
"... The Integrity Initiative "clusters" currently operate out of Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Norway, Lithuania and the netherlands. According to the leak by Anonymous, the Integrity Initiative is working to aggressively expand its sphere of influence throughout eastern Europe, as well as the US, Canada and the MENA region ..."
"... The work done by the Initiative - which claims it is not a government body, is done under "absolute secrecy via concealed contacts embedded throughout British embassies," according to the leak. It does, however, admit to working with unnamed British "government agencies." ..."
Nov 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The hacking collective known as "Anonymous" published a trove of documents on November 5 which it claims exposes a UK-based psyop to create a " large-scale information secret service " in Europe in order to combat "Russian propaganda" - which has been blamed for everything from Brexit to US President Trump winning the 2016 US election.

The primary objective of the " Integrity Initiative " - established in 2015 by the Institute for Statecraft - is "to provide a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare."

And while the notion of Russian disinformation has become the West's favorite new bogeyman to excuse things such as Hillary Clinton's historic loss to Donald Trump, we note that "Anonymous" was called out by WikiLeaks in October 2016 as an FBI cutout, while the report on the Integrity Initiative that Anonymous exposed comes from Russian state-owned network RT - so it's anyone's guess whose 400lb hackers are at work here.

Operating on a budget of £1.9 million (US$2.4 million), the secretive Integrity Initiative consists of "clusters" of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics. The team is dedicated to searching for and publishing "evidence" of Russian interference in European affairs , while themselves influencing leadership behind the scenes, the documents claim.

The UK establishment appears to be conducting the very activities of which it and its allies have long-accused the Kremlin, with little or no corroborating evidence. The program also aims to "change attitudes in Russia itself" as well as influencing Russian speakers in the EU and North America, one of the leaked documents states. - RT

The Integrity Initiative "clusters" currently operate out of Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Norway, Lithuania and the netherlands. According to the leak by Anonymous, the Integrity Initiative is working to aggressively expand its sphere of influence throughout eastern Europe, as well as the US, Canada and the MENA region .

The work done by the Initiative - which claims it is not a government body, is done under "absolute secrecy via concealed contacts embedded throughout British embassies," according to the leak. It does, however, admit to working with unnamed British "government agencies."

The initiative has received £168,000 in funding from HQ NATO Public Diplomacy and £250,000 from the US State Department , the documents allege.

Some of its purported members include British MPs and high-profile " independent" journalists with a penchant for anti-Russian sentiment in their collective online oeuvre, as showcased by a brief glance at their Twitter feeds. - RT

Noted examples of "inedependent" anti-Russia journalists:

Spanish "Op"

In one example of the group's activities, a "Moncloa Campaign" was successfully conducted by the group's Spanish cluster to block the appointment of Colonel Pedro Banos as the director of Spain's Department of Homeland Security. It took just seven-and-a-half hours to accomplish, brags the group in the documents .

"The [Spanish] government is preparing to appoint Colonel Banos, known for his pro-Russian and pro-Putin positions in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts, as Director of the Department of Homeland Security, a key body located at the Moncloa," begins Nacho Torreblanca in a seven-part tweetstorm describing what happened.

Others joined in. Among them – according to the leaks – academic Miguel Ángel Quintana Paz, who wrote that "Mr. Banos is to geopolitics as a homeopath is to medicine." Appointing such a figure would be "a shame." - RT

The operation was reported in Spanish media, while Banos was labeled "pro-Putin" by UK MP Bob Seely.

In short, expect anything counter to predominant "open-border" narratives to be the Kremlin's fault - and not a natural populist reflex to the destruction of borders, language and culture.

[Nov 24, 2018] British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It lists Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council as "partner organisations" ..."
"... "The UK's Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has been scrambling to prevent President Trump from publishing classified materials linked to the Russian election meddling investigation. ... much of the espionage performed on the Trump campaign was conducted on UK soil throughout 2016." ..."
"... "Gregory R. Copley, editor and publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, posited that Sergei Skripal is the unnamed Russian intelligence source in the Steele dossier. ... In Skripal's pseudo-country-gentleman retirement, the ex-GRU-MI6 double agent was selling custom-made "Russian intelligence"; he had fabricated "material" that went into the Steele dossier..." ..."
"... this movement in the west by gov'ts to pay for generating lies, hate and propaganda towards russia is really sick... it is perfect for the military industrial complex corporations though and they seem to be calling the shots in the west, much more so then the voice of the ordinary person who is not interested in war ..."
"... Seems to me that this shows the primacy of the City of London, with its offshore network of illicit capital accumulation, within Britain. It is a state within a state or even a financial empire within a state, which, for deep historical reasons isn't subject to the same laws as the rest of the UK. ..."
"... The UK's pathological obsession with Russia only makes sense to me as the city's insistence on continued 90s style appropriation of Russia's wealth ..."
"... British hypocrisy publicly called out. How this all unravels is one to watch. Extra large popcorn and soda for me ..."
"... It seems to me that the UK has far more to lose from doxxing than Russia does. The interference in sovereign allied states to 'manage' who the UK thinks they should appoint does not bode well for such relations ..."
"... A separate subcluster of so-called journalists names Deborah Haynes, David Aaronovitch of the London Times and Neil Buckley from the FT." Subcluster. Love it. Just how crap do you have to be to fail to make it to membership of a full cluster of smear merchants? ..."
"... I doubt very seriously that the British launched this operation without the CIA's implicit and explicit support. This has all the markings of a John Brennan operation that has been launched stealthily to prevent anyone from knowing its real origins. ..."
"... The Brits don't act alone, and a project of this magnitude did not begin without Langley's explicit approval. ..."
"... Now check out the wording in the above document: "Funding from institutional and national governmental sources in the US has been delayed by internal disputes within the US government, but w.e.f. March 2018 that deadlock seems to have been resolved and funding should now flow." Think about that. What would have blocked the flow of USG support for this project?? Why, the allegations of collusion against Trump, of course. Naturally, the Republicans are not going to provide money to an operation that threatens to destroy the head of their own party. So, there has been no bipartisan agreement on funding for anti-Russia propaganda ..."
"... This mob was created in the autumn of 2015, according to their site. That would have been about the time -- probably just after -- the Russians intervened in Syria. The Brits had plans for an invasion of Syria in 2009, according to their fave Guardian fish wrap. ..."
"... Pat Lang posted a report that strongly implies that charges of Russian influence on Trump are a deliberate falsification ..."
"... It seems quite possible that what is alleged as "Russian meddling" is actually CIA-MI6 meddling ..."
"... As I have said before, MAGA is a POLICY RESPONSE to the challenge from Russia and China. The election of a Republican faux populist was necessary and Trump, despite his many flaws, was the best candidate for the job. ..."
"... The Integrity Initiative's goal is to defend democracy against the truth about Russia. All this is so Orwellian. When will we get the Ministry of Love? ..."
"... They shot at an elephant and failed to kill it. So yes, out of the combo of frustration, resentment, and fear they hate the resurgent Russia and prefer Cold War II, and if necessary WWIII, to peaceful co-existence. Of course the usual corporate imperative (in this case weapons profiteering) reinforces the mass psychological pathology among the elites. ..."
"... The ironic thing is that Putin doesn't prefer to challenge the neoliberal globalist "order" at all, but would happily see Russia take a prominent place within it. It's the US and its UK poodle who are insisting on confrontation. ..."
"... Great article! It reminded me of what I read in George Orwell's novella "1984." He summed it all up brilliantly in nine words: "War is Peace"; "Freedom is Slavery"; "Ignorance is Strength." The three pillars of political power. ..."
"... Since UK has always blocked the "European Intelligence" initiative, on the basis of his pertenence to the "Five Eyes", and as UK is leaving the European Union, where it has always been the Troyan Horse of the US, one would think that all these people belonging to the so called "clusters" should register themselves as "foreign agents" working for UK government. ..."
"... William Browder ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns Steveg , Nov 24, 2018 11:43:44 AM | link

In 2015 the government of Britain launched a secret operation to insert anti-Russia propaganda into the western media stream.

We have already seen many consequences of this and similar programs which are designed to smear anyone who does not follow the anti-Russian government lines. The 'Russian collusion' smear campaign against Donald Trump based on the Steele dossier was also a largely British operation but seems to be part of a different project.

The ' Integrity Initiative ' builds 'cluster' or contact groups of trusted journalists, military personal, academics and lobbyists within foreign countries. These people get alerts via social media to take action when the British center perceives a need.

On June 7 it took the the Spanish cluster only a few hours to derail the appointment of Perto Banos as the Director of the National Security Department in Spain. The cluster determined that he had a too positive view of Russia and launched a coordinated social media smear campaign (pdf) against him.


bigger

The Initiative and its operations were unveiled when someone liberated some of its documents, including its budget applications to the British Foreign Office, and posted them under the 'Anonymous' label at cyberguerrilla.org .

The Initiative is nominally run under the (government financed) non-government-organisation The Institute For Statecraft . Its internal handbook (pdf) describes its purpose:

The Integrity Initiative was set up in autumn 2015 by The Institute for Statecraft in cooperation with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) to bring to the attention of politicians, policy-makers, opinion leaders and other interested parties the threat posed by Russia to democratic institutions in the United Kingdom, across Europe and North America.

It lists Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council as "partner organisations" and promises that:

Cluster members will be sent to educational sessions abroad to improve the technical competence of the cluster to deal with disinformation and strengthen bonds in the cluster community. [...] (Events with DFR Digital Sherlocks, Bellingcat, EuVsDisinfo, Buzzfeed, Irex, Detector Media, Stopfake, LT MOD Stratcom – add more names and propose cluster participants as you desire).

The Initiatives Orwellian slogan is 'Defending Democracy Against Disinformation'. It covers European countries, the UK, the U.S. and Canada and seems to want to expand to the Middle East.

On its About page it claims: "We are not a government body but we do work with government departments and agencies who share our aims." The now published budget plans show that more than 95% of the Initiative's funding is coming directly from the British government, NATO and the U.S. State Department. All the 'contact persons' for creating 'clusters' in foreign countries are British embassy officers. It amounts to a foreign influence campaign by the British government that hides behind a 'civil society' NGO.

The organisation is led by one Chris N. Donnelly who receives (pdf) £8,100 per month for creating the smear campaign network.


Chris Donnelly - Pic via Euromaidanpress

From its 2017/18 budget application (pdf) we learn how the Initiative works:

To counter Russian disinformation and malign influence in Europe by: expanding the knowledge base; harnessing existing expertise, and; establishing a network of networks of experts, opinion formers and policy makers, to educate national audiences in the threat and to help build national capacities to counter it .

The Initiative has a black and white view that is based on a "we are the good ones" illusion. When "we" 'educate the public' it is legitimate work. When others do similar, it its disinformation. That is of course not the reality. The Initiative's existence itself, created to secretly manipulate the public, is proof that such a view is wrong.

If its work were as legit as it wants to be seen, why would the Foreign Office run it from behind the curtain as an NGO? The Initiative is not the only such operation. It's applications seek funding from a larger "Russian Language Strategic Communication Programme" run by the Foreign Office.

The 2017/18 budget application sought FCO funding of £480,635. It received £102,000 in co-funding from NATO and the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense. The 2018/19 budget application shows a planned spending (pdf) of £1,961,000.00. The co-sponsors this year are again NATO and the Lithuanian MoD, but also include (pdf) the U.S. State Department with £250,000 and Facebook with £100,000. The budget lays out a strong cooperation with the local military of each country. It notes that NATO is also generous in financing the local clusters.

One of the liberated papers of the Initiative is a talking points memo labeled Top 3 Deliverable for FCO (pdf):

  • Developing and proving the cluster concept and methodology, setting up clusters in a range of countries with different circumstances
  • Making people (in Government, think tanks, military, journalists) see the big picture, making people acknowledge that we are under concerted, deliberate hybrid attack by Russia
  • Increasing the speed of response, mobilising the network to activism in pursuit of the "golden minute"

Under top 1, setting up clusters, a subitem reads:

- Connects media with academia with policy makers with practitioners in a country to impact on policy and society: ( Jelena Milic silencing pro-kremlin voices on Serbian TV )

Defending Democracy by silencing certain voices on public TV seems to be a self-contradicting concept.

Another subitem notes how the Initiative secretly influences foreign governments:

We engage only very discreetly with governments, based entirely on trusted personal contacts, specifically to ensure that they do not come to see our work as a problem, and to try to influence them gently, as befits an independent NGO operation like ours, viz;
- Germany, via the Zentrum Liberale Moderne to the Chancellor's Office and MOD
- Netherlands, via the HCSS to the MOD
- Poland and Romania, at desk level into their MFAs via their NATO Reps
- Spain, via special advisers, into the MOD and PM's office (NB this may change very soon with the new Government)
- Norway, via personal contacts into the MOD
- HQ NATO, via the Policy Planning Unit into the Sec Gen's office.
We have latent contacts into other governments which we will activate as needs be as the clusters develop.

A look at the 'clusters' set up in U.S. and UK shows some prominent names.


bigger

Members of the Atlantic Council, which has a contract to censor Facebook posts , appear on several cluster lists. The UK core cluster also includes some prominent names like tax fraudster William Browder , the daft Atlantic Council shill Ben Nimmo and the neo-conservative Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. One person of interest is Andrew Wood who handed the Steele 'dirty dossier' to Senator John McCain to smear Donald Trump over alleged relations with Russia. A separate subcluster of so-called journalists names Deborah Haynes, David Aaronovitch of the London Times, Neil Buckley from the FT and Jonathan Marcus of the BBC.


bigger - bigger

A ' Cluster Roundup ' (pdf) from July 2018 details its activities in at least 35 countries. Another file reveals (pdf) the local partnering institutions and individuals involved in the programs.

The Initiatives Guide to Countering Russian Information (pdf) is a rather funny read. It lists the downing of flight MH 17 by a Ukranian BUK missile, the fake chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun and the Skripal Affair as examples for "Russian disinformation". But at least two of these events, Khan Sheikun via the UK run White Helmets and the Skripal affair, are evidently products of British intelligence disinformation operations.

The probably most interesting papers of the whole stash is the 'Project Plan' laid out at pages 7-40 of the 2018 budget application v2 (pdf). Under 'Sustainability' it notes:

The programme is proposed to run until at least March 2019, to ensure that the clusters established in each country have sufficient time to take root, find funding, and demonstrate their effectiveness. FCO funding for Phase 2 will enable the activities to be expanded in scale, reach and scope. As clusters have established themselves, they have begun to access local sources of funding. But this is a slow process and harder in some countries than others. HQ NATO PDD [Public Diplomacy Division] has proved a reliable source of funding for national clusters. The ATA [Atlantic Treaty Association] promises to be the same, giving access to other pots of money within NATO and member nations. Funding from institutional and national governmental sources in the US has been delayed by internal disputes within the US government, but w.e.f. March 2018 that deadlock seems to have been resolved and funding should now flow.

The programme has begun to create a critical mass of individuals from a cross society (think tanks, academia, politics, the media, government and the military) whose work is proving to be mutually reinforcing . Creating the network of networks has given each national group local coherence, credibility and reach, as well as good international access. Together, these conditions, plus the growing awareness within governments of the need for this work, should guarantee the continuity of the work under various auspices and in various forms.

The third part of the budget application (pdf) list the various activities, their output and outcome. The budget plan includes a section that describes 'Risks' to the initiative. These include hacking of the Initiatives IT as well as:

Adverse publicity generated by Russia or by supporters of Russia in target countries, or by political and interest groups affected by the work of the programme, aimed at discrediting the programme or its participants, or to create political embarrassment.

We hope that this piece contributes to such embarrassment.

Posted by b on November 24, 2018 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

Comments Perfidious ALbion!

When will we learn?


pretzelattack , Nov 24, 2018 11:44:00 AM | link

Coincidentally, or not, i just saw this article at the guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/23/robert-mueller-profile-donald-trump-russia-investigation.
Anya , Nov 24, 2018 11:57:00 AM | link
The British government has been running a serious meddling into the US affairs:
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-23/mi6-scrambling-stop-trump-releasing-classified-docs-russia-probe

"The UK's Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has been scrambling to prevent President Trump from publishing classified materials linked to the Russian election meddling investigation. ... much of the espionage performed on the Trump campaign was conducted on UK soil throughout 2016."

A Steele & Skrupal's anti-Russian / anti-Trump saga: https://spectator.org/big-dots-do-they-connect/

"Gregory R. Copley, editor and publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, posited that Sergei Skripal is the unnamed Russian intelligence source in the Steele dossier. ... In Skripal's pseudo-country-gentleman retirement, the ex-GRU-MI6 double agent was selling custom-made "Russian intelligence"; he had fabricated "material" that went into the Steele dossier..."

For M16 to expose this level of stupidity is stunning.

james , Nov 24, 2018 11:58:02 AM | link
thanks b....

this movement in the west by gov'ts to pay for generating lies, hate and propaganda towards russia is really sick... it is perfect for the military industrial complex corporations though and they seem to be calling the shots in the west, much more so then the voice of the ordinary person who is not interested in war.. i guess the idea is to get the ordinary people to think in terms of hating another country based on lies and that this would be a good thing... it is very sad what uk / usa leadership in the past century has come down to here.... i can only hope that info releases like this will hasten it's demise...

Ingrian , Nov 24, 2018 12:03:55 PM | link
Seems to me that this shows the primacy of the City of London, with its offshore network of illicit capital accumulation, within Britain. It is a state within a state or even a financial empire within a state, which, for deep historical reasons isn't subject to the same laws as the rest of the UK.

The UK's pathological obsession with Russia only makes sense to me as the city's insistence on continued 90s style appropriation of Russia's wealth

james , Nov 24, 2018 12:15:31 PM | link
@6 ingrian... things didn't go as planned for the expropriation of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.. it seems the west is still hurting from not being able to exploit Russia fully, as they'd intended...
et Al , Nov 24, 2018 12:20:09 PM | link

Let the Doxx wars begin! Sure, Anonymous is not Russian but it will surely now be targeted and smeared as such which would show that it has hit a nerve. British hypocrisy publicly called out. How this all unravels is one to watch. Extra large popcorn and soda for me.

I think we've all noticed the euro-asslantic press (and friends) on behalf of, willingly and in cooperation with the British intelligence et al 'calling out' numerous Russians as G(R)U/spies/whatever for a while now yet providing less than a shred of credible evidence.

It seems to me that the UK has far more to lose from doxxing than Russia does. The interference in sovereign allied states to 'manage' who the UK thinks they should appoint does not bode well for such relations.

Meanwhile in Brussels they are having their cake and eating it, i.e. bemoaning Europe's 'weak response' to Russian propaganda:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/experts-lament-underfunding-of-eu-task-force-countering-russian-disinformation/

BTW, did anyone read Wired UK's current advertorial (nov 14) by Carl Miller for Brigade 77?

Forthestate , Nov 24, 2018 12:26:09 PM | link
"A separate subcluster of so-called journalists names Deborah Haynes, David Aaronovitch of the London Times and Neil Buckley from the FT." Subcluster. Love it. Just how crap do you have to be to fail to make it to membership of a full cluster of smear merchants?
worldblee , Nov 24, 2018 12:33:05 PM | link
Yet another example of the pot calling the kettle black when in fact the kettle may not be black at all; it's just the pot making up things. "These Russian criminals are using propaganda to show (truths) like the fact the DNC and Clinton campaigns colluded to prevent Sanders from being nominated, so we need to establish a clandestine propaganda network to establish that the Russians are running propaganda!"
psychohistorian , Nov 24, 2018 12:34:32 PM | link

....full cluster of smear merchants". May all the clusters of smear merchants be exposed to the public as the acolytes of evil they are.

plantman , Nov 24, 2018 12:36:48 PM | link
"In 2015 the government of Britain launched a secret operation to insert anti-Russia propaganda into the western media stream."

I doubt very seriously that the British launched this operation without the CIA's implicit and explicit support. This has all the markings of a John Brennan operation that has been launched stealthily to prevent anyone from knowing its real origins.

The Brits don't act alone, and a project of this magnitude did not begin without Langley's explicit approval.

Now check out the wording in the above document: "Funding from institutional and national governmental sources in the US has been delayed by internal disputes within the US government, but w.e.f. March 2018 that deadlock seems to have been resolved and funding should now flow." Think about that. What would have blocked the flow of USG support for this project?? Why, the allegations of collusion against Trump, of course. Naturally, the Republicans are not going to provide money to an operation that threatens to destroy the head of their own party. So, there has been no bipartisan agreement on funding for anti-Russia propaganda

BUT...the author assures us that the "deadlock seems to have been resolved and funding should now flow" Huh?? In other words, the fix is in. Mueller will pardon Trump on collusion charges but the propaganda campaign against Russia will continue...with the full support of both parties. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it...

m , Nov 24, 2018 12:40:07 PM | link
This mob was created in the autumn of 2015, according to their site. That would have been about the time -- probably just after -- the Russians intervened in Syria. The Brits had plans for an invasion of Syria in 2009, according to their fave Guardian fish wrap.

A lot of sour grapes with this so-called 'integrity initiative', IMO. BP was behind a lot of this, I would also think. When Assad pulled the plug on the pipeline through the Levant in 2009, the Brits hacked up a fur ball. It's gone downhill for them ever since. Couldn't happen to a nicer lot. If you can't invade or beat them with proxies, you can at least call them names.

Jackrabbit , Nov 24, 2018 12:40:58 PM | link
Anya

Pat Lang posted a report that strongly implies that charges of Russian influence on Trump are a deliberate falsification: THE CHIMERA OF DONALD TRUMP, RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERER :

If Trump was taking dirty money or engaged in criminal activity with Russians then he was doing it with Felix Sater, who was under the control of the FBI... And who was in charge of the FBI during all of the time that Sater was a signed up FBI snitch? You got it -- Robert Mueller (2001 thru 2013) ...

It seems quite possible that what is alleged as "Russian meddling" is actually CIA-MI6 meddling, including:

Steele dossier: To create suspicion in government, media, and later the public

Leaking of DNC emails to Wikileaks (but calling it a "hack"): To help with election of Trump and link Wikileaks (as agent) to Russian election meddling

Cambridge Analytica: To provide necessary reasoning for Trump's (certain) win of the electoral college.

Note: We later found that dozens of firms had undue access to Facebook data. Why did the campaign turn to a British firm instead of an American firm? Well, it had to be a British firm if MI6 was running the (supposed) Facebook targeting for CIA.

As I have said before, MAGA is a POLICY RESPONSE to the challenge from Russia and China. The election of a Republican faux populist was necessary and Trump, despite his many flaws, was the best candidate for the job.
Cyril , Nov 24, 2018 1:10:13 PM | link
The Integrity Initiative's goal is to defend democracy against the truth about Russia. All this is so Orwellian. When will we get the Ministry of Love?
Russ , Nov 24, 2018 1:16:21 PM | link
Posted by: james | Nov 24, 2018 12:15:31 PM | 7

"things didn't go as planned for the expropriation of russia after the fall of the soviet union.. it seems the west is still hurting from not being able to exploit russia fully, as they'd intended..."

They shot at an elephant and failed to kill it. So yes, out of the combo of frustration, resentment, and fear they hate the resurgent Russia and prefer Cold War II, and if necessary WWIII, to peaceful co-existence. Of course the usual corporate imperative (in this case weapons profiteering) reinforces the mass psychological pathology among the elites.

The ironic thing is that Putin doesn't prefer to challenge the neoliberal globalist "order" at all, but would happily see Russia take a prominent place within it. It's the US and its UK poodle who are insisting on confrontation.

GeorgeV , Nov 24, 2018 1:34:08 PM | link
Great article! It reminded me of what I read in George Orwell's novella "1984." He summed it all up brilliantly in nine words: "War is Peace"; "Freedom is Slavery"; "Ignorance is Strength." The three pillars of political power.
Sasha , Nov 24, 2018 1:38:39 PM | link
Since UK has always blocked the "European Intelligence" initiative, on the basis of his pertenence to the "Five Eyes", and as UK is leaving the European Union, where it has always been the Troyan Horse of the US, one would think that all these people belonging to the so called "clusters" should register themselves as "foreign agents" working for UK government...and in this context, new empowerished sovereign governemts into the EU should consider the possibility expelling these traitors as spies of the UK....

http://www.voltairenet.org/article204051.html

Some of the "clusters" unmasked here....some, like Ignacio Torreblanca in Spain, are related to the CFR....

https://www.rt.com/news/444737-uk-funded-campaign-russia-leaks/

Zanon , Nov 24, 2018 2:12:45 PM | link
Country list of agents of influence according to the leak:
Zanon , Nov 24, 2018 2:13:28 PM | link
cresty , Nov 24, 2018 2:18:30 PM | link
Thank you very much for going through all the files, b. Will share far and wide

[Nov 24, 2018] When you are paid a lot of money to come up with plots psyops, you tend to come up with plots for psyops . The word entrapment comes to mind. Probably self-serving also.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... When you are paid a lot of money to come up with plots "psyops", you tend to come up with plots for "psyops". The word "entrapment" comes to mind. Probably "self-serving" also. ..."
"... Anti-Russian is just a code word for Globalist, Internationalist. ..."
"... This is such BS. Since when does Russia have the resources to pull all this off? They have such a complex program that they need the coordinated efforts of all the resources of the WEST? This is nuts. ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

HowdyDoody , 7 hours ago link

One of the documents lists a series of propaganda weapons to be used against Russia. One is use of the church as a weapon. That has already been started in Ukraine with Poroshenko buying off regligious leader to split Ukraine Orthodoxy from Russian Orthodoxy. It also explicitly states that the Skripal incident is a 'Dirty Trick' against Russia.

activisor , 10 hours ago link

The British political system is on the verge of collapse. BREXIT has finally demonstrated that the Government/ Opposition parties are clearly aligned against the interests of the people. The EU is nothing more than an arm of the Globalist agenda of world domination.

The US has shown its true colours - sanctioning every country that stands for independent sovereignty is not a good foreign policy, and is destined to turn the tide of public opinion firmly against global hegemony, endless wars, and wealth inequity.

The old Empire is in its death throes. A new paradigm awaits which will exclude all those who have exploited the many, in order to sit at the top of the pyramid. They cannot escape Karma.

smacker , 11 hours ago link

The Western world needs to come to terms with the collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath. Today, Russia is led by Putin and he obviously has objectives as any national leader has.

Western "leaders" need to decide whether Putin:

  1. Is trying to create Soviet Union 2.0, to have a 2nd attempt at ruling the world thru communism and to do this by holding the world to ransom over oil/gas supplies. OR
  2. Is wanting Russia to become a member of the family of nations and of a multi-polar world to improve the lives of Russian people, but is being blocked at every twist and turn by manufactured events like Russia-gate and the Skripal affair and now this latest revelation of anti-Russian propaganda campaigns being coordinated and run out of London.

Both of the above cannot be true because there are too many contradictions. Which is it??

Lokiban , 13 hours ago link

Yes because imagine that that we lived in 1940 without any means to inform ourselves and that media was still in control over the information that reaches us. We would already be in a fullblown war with Russia because of it but now with the Internet and information going around freely only a whimpy 10% of we the people stand behind their desperately wanted war. Imagine that, an informed sheople.
Can't have that, they cannot do their usual stuff anymore.... good riddance.

LOL123 , 14 hours ago link

"250,000 from the US State Department , the documents allege."....... Interesting.

"During the third Democratic debate on Saturday night, Hillary Clinton called for a "Manhattan-like project" to break encrypted terrorist communications. The project would "bring the government and the tech communities together" to find a way to give law enforcement access to encrypted messages, she said. It's something that some politicians and intelligence officials have wanted for awhile,"........

***wasn't the Manhatten project a secret venture?????? Hummmmm"

Hillary Clinton has all of our encryption keys, including the FBI's . "Encryption keys" is a general reference to several encryption functions hijacked by Hillary and her surrogate ENTRUST. They include hash functions (used to indicate whether the contents have been altered in transit), PKI public/private key infrastructure, SSL (secure socket layer), TLS (transport layer security), the Dual_EC_DRBG NSA algorithm and certificate authorities.

The convoluted structure managed by the "Federal Common Policy" group has ceded to companies like ENTRUST INC the ability to sublicense their authority to third parties who in turn manage entire other networks in a Gordian knot of relationships clearly designed to fool the public to hide their devilish criminality. All roads lead back to Hillary and the Rose Law Firm."- patriots4truth

artistant , 14 hours ago link

But, but some people keep getting away with it.

hooligan2009 , 15 hours ago link

When you are paid a lot of money to come up with plots "psyops", you tend to come up with plots for "psyops". The word "entrapment" comes to mind. Probably "self-serving" also.

larryriedel , 15 hours ago link

FBI/Anonymous can use this story to support a narrative that social media bots posting memes is a problem for everybody, and it's not a partisan issue. The idea is that fake news and unrestricted social media are inherently dangerous, and both the West and Russia are exploiting that, so governments need to agree to restrict the ability to use those platforms for political speech, especially without using True Names.

Baron Samedi , 15 hours ago link

Oilygawkies in the UK and USSA seem to be letting their spooks have a good-humored (rating here on the absurd transparency of these ops) contest to see who can come up with the most surreal propaganda psy-ops.

But they probably also serve as LHO distractions from something genuinely sleazy.

headless blogger , 15 hours ago link

Anti-Russian is just a code word for Globalist, Internationalist. Anything that is remotely like Nationalism is the true enemy of these Globalist/Internationalists, which is what the Top-Ape Bolshevik promoted: see Vladimir Lenin and his quotes on how he believed fully in "internationalism" for a world without borders. Ironic how they Love the butchers of the Soviet Union but hate Russia. It is ALL ABOUT IDEOLOGY to these people and "the means justify the ends".

They are frightening people.

Push , 15 hours ago link

Basically, if one acquires factual information from an internet source, which leads to overturning the propaganda to which we're all subjected, then it MUST have come from Putin. This is the direction they're headed. Anyone speaking out against the official story is obviously a Russian spy.

Xena fobe , 15 hours ago link

"Instutute for Statecraft"? Seriously?

OverTheHedge , 11 hours ago link

"Substitute for Statecraft"

Fify ;-)

koan , 16 hours ago link

The UK is waging psyop against their own people using the Russians as an excuse to further oppress the population, especially the white population.

FIFY.

East Indian , 16 hours ago link

Never thought Putin would be the symbol of free speech! The totalitarian EU and Deep State can come out of closet and denounce their predecessors.

brewing_it , 17 hours ago link

If you call ******** on the whole Russia cyberscare, you will be labeled a puppet of Putin.

The establishment is afraid of free thinking men and women that can call ******** when they see and hear it.

AriusArmenian , 17 hours ago link

Better to call it the Anti-Integrity Initiative. UK cretins up to their usual dirty tricks - let them choke on their poison. The judgement of history will eventually catch up with them.

Mike Rotsch , 17 hours ago link

A good 'ole economic collapse will give western countries a chance to purge their crazy leaders before they involve us all in a thermonuclear war. Short everything with your entire accounts.

RealistDuJour , 17 hours ago link

This is such BS. Since when does Russia have the resources to pull all this off? They have such a complex program that they need the coordinated efforts of all the resources of the WEST? This is nuts.

Isn't it just as likely someone in the WEST planted this cache, intending Anonymous to find it?

HRClinton , 18 hours ago link

When two sides fight - especially white v white - the hidden 3rd party (((instigator))) wins.

How dumb and mallaleable can these goys be? Pretty dumb and mallaleable, it seems.

J S Bach , 18 hours ago link

Any propaganda coming from the UK or US is strictly zionist. EVERYTHING they put out is to the benefit of Israel and the "lobby". Russia isn't perfect, but if they're an enemy of the latter, then they should NOT be considered a foe to all thinking and conscientious people.

OverTheHedge , 11 hours ago link

Yesterday, the BBC had a thing on Thai workers in Israel, and how they keep dying of accidents, their general level of slavery etc. Very odd to have a negative Israel story, so I wonder who upset whom, and what the ongoing status will be.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-middle-east-46311922/thai-labourers-in-israel-tell-of-harrowing-conditions

Thai labourers in Israel tell of harrowing conditions

A year-long BBC investigation has discovered widespread abuse of Thai nationals living and working in Israel - under a scheme organized by the two governments.

Many are subjected to unsafe working practices and squalid, unsanitary living conditions. Some are overworked, others underpaid and there are dozens of unexplained deaths.

Herdee , 18 hours ago link

England and the U.S. don't like their very poor and rotten social conditions put out for the public to see. Both countries have severely deteriorating problems on their streets because of bankrupt governments printing money for foreign wars.

Quadruple_Rainbow , 18 hours ago link

More of the same fraudulent duality while alleged so called but not money etc continues to flow (everything is criminal) and the cesspool of a hierarchy pretends it's business as usual.

This isn't about maintaining balance in a lie this is about disclosing the truth and agendas (Agenda 21 now Agenda 2030 = The New Age Religion is Never Going To Be Saturnism). The layers of the hierarchy are a lie so unless the alleged so called leaders of those layers are publicly providing testimony and confession then everything that is being spoon fed to the pablum puking public through all sources is a lie.

Herdee , 18 hours ago link

They're afraid of stories like this: https://www.rt.com/news/444737-uk-funded-campaign-russia-leaks/

HRClinton , 17 hours ago link

Operating on a budget of £1.9 million (US$2.4 million), the secretive Integrity Initiative consists of "clusters" of (((local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics))).

The (((team))) is dedicated to searching for and publishing "evidence" of Russian interference in European affairs, while themselves influencing leadership behind the scenes, the documents claim.

gatorengineer , 18 hours ago link

Do Neocons get time and half for Overtime, they sure have been putting in a bunch lately.

[Nov 12, 2018] The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation graveyard of social protest movements, and for good reason

Highly recommended!
The Democrats are politically responsible for the rise of Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump. ..."
"... The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man." ..."
"... This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers. ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Pelosi's deputy in the House, Steny Hoyer, sums up the right-wing policies of the Democrats, declaring: "His [Trump's] objectives are objectives that we share. If he really means that, then there is an opening for us to work together."

So much for the moral imperative of voting for the Democrats to stop Trump! As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump.

The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man."

This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers.

The same process is taking place internationally. While strikes and other expressions of working class opposition are growing and broad masses are moving to the left, the right-wing policies of supposedly "left" establishment parties are enabling far-right and neo-fascist forces to gain influence and power in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Poland to Brazil.

As for Gay's injunction to vote "pragmatically," this is a crude promotion of the bankrupt politics that are brought forward in every election to keep workers tied to the capitalist two-party system. "You have only two choices. That is the reality, whether you like it or not." And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war.

The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation "graveyard of social protest movements," and for good reason. From the Populist movement of the late 19th century, to the semi-insurrectional industrial union movement of the 1930s, to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the mass anti-war protest movements of the 1960s and the eruption of international protests against the Iraq War in the early 2000s -- every movement against the depredations of American capitalism has been aborted and strangled by being channeled behind the Democratic Party.

[Nov 02, 2018] Even Hans Christian Andersen couldn't invent Fairy Tales like that.

Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Terry Lawrence michaelroloff8 months ago

"The perpetrators and their conspiracy is not a theory since it has been proved."

By "proved" I assume you are referring to "proofs" such as the fantastical claim that Mohammed Atta's passport was allegedly and fortuitously "found" when it supposedly survived the 600 mph impact of the 767 he was supposedly piloting with a huge steel and concrete building, survived the huge fireball it was supposedly in the middle of unscorched, and conveniently fluttered to the ground intact to land at the feet of an FBI agent who immediately realized it must have belonged to one of the hijackers!

Even Hans Christian Andersen couldn't invent Fairy Tales like that.

[Oct 08, 2018] The common folk never had control of the Federal Government.

Notable quotes:
"... At the time the eligible voters were males of European descent (MOED), and while not highly educated they were relatively free of propaganda and IQ's were higher than today. After giving women the right to vote and with other minorities voting the MOED became a minority voter. ..."
"... So today with propaganda and education being what it is, not to mention campaign financing laws especially post Citizen United, and MSM under control of 6 companies, the entire voting class is miseducated and easily influenced to vote for candidates chosen by the elites ..."
"... The founders who incited the revolution against British rule were the American Elites (also British citizens) who wanted more. The elites today got everything they want. They have no need for revolution. The common folk are divided, misinformed, unorganized, leaderless and males are emasculated. Incapable of taking control peacefully or otherwise. ..."
"... This was the high-tariff-era and the budget surplus was an issue all through the balance of the 19th Century. So what were the politics about? 1. Stirring stump (Trump) speeches were all about "waving the bloody shirt" ..."
"... In my view of the fundamental dynamic - namely that of history being one unbroken story of the rich exploiting the poor - representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness. ..."
Oct 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Oct 8, 2018 12:11:11 AM | 43 k

The constitution was a creation of the elite at the time, the property class. Its mission was to prevent the common folk from having control. Democracy=mob rule= Bad.

The common folk only had the ability to elect representatives in the house, who in turn would elect Senators. Electors voted for President and they were appointed by a means chosen by the state legislature , which only in modern times has come to mean by the popular vote of the common folk. Starting from 1913 it was decided to let the common folk vote for Senator and give the commonfolk the illusion of Democracy confident they could be controlled with propaganda and taxes (also adopted in 1913 with the Fed)

At the time the eligible voters were males of European descent (MOED), and while not highly educated they were relatively free of propaganda and IQ's were higher than today. After giving women the right to vote and with other minorities voting the MOED became a minority voter.

Bernays science of propaganda took off during WWI, Since MOED's made up the most educated class (relative to minorities and women) up to the 70's this was a big deal for almost 60 years , although not today when miseducation is equal among the different races, sexes and ethnicities.

So today with propaganda and education being what it is, not to mention campaign financing laws especially post Citizen United, and MSM under control of 6 companies, the entire voting class is miseducated and easily influenced to vote for candidates chosen by the elites

So how do the common folk get control over the federal government? That is a pipe dream and will never happen. The founders who incited the revolution against British rule were the American Elites (also British citizens) who wanted more. The elites today got everything they want. They have no need for revolution. The common folk are divided, misinformed, unorganized, leaderless and males are emasculated. Incapable of taking control peacefully or otherwise.

Thats just my opinion

Guerrero , Oct 8, 2018 1:03:57 AM | link

Pft has a point. If there was ever a time for the people to take the republic into its hands, it may have been just after the Civil War when the Dems were discredited and the Repubs had a total control of Congress.

This was the high-tariff-era and the budget surplus was an issue all through the balance of the 19th Century. So what were the politics about? 1. Stirring stump (Trump) speeches were all about "waving the bloody shirt"

All manner of political office-seekers devoted themselves to getting on the government gravy train, somehow. The selling of political offices was notorious and the newspaper editors of the time were ashamed of this.

Then there was the Whiskey Ring. The New York Customs House was a major source of corruption lucre. Then there was vote selling in blocks of as many as 10,000 and the cost of paying those who could do this. Then there were the kickbacks from the awards of railroad concessions which included large parcels of land. If there ever was a Golden Age of the United States it must have been when Franklin Roosevelt was President.

ben , Oct 8, 2018 1:13:04 AM | link

karlof1 @ 34 asked:"My question for several years now: What are us Commonfolk going to do to regain control of the federal government?"

The only thing us "common folk" can do is work within our personal sphere of influence, and engage who you can, when you can, and support with any $ you can spare, to support the sites and any local radio stations that broadcast independent thought. ( if you can find any). Pacifica radio, KPFK in LA is a good example. KPFA in the bay area.

Other than another economic crash, I don't believe anything can rouse the pathetic bovine public. Bread and circuses work...

Grieved , Oct 8, 2018 1:13:32 AM | link
@38 Pft

The division of representative power and stake in the political process back at the birth of the US Constitution was as you say it was. But this wasn't because any existing power had been taken away from anyone. It was simply the state of play back then.

Since that time, we common people have developed a more egalitarian sense of how the representation should be apportioned. We include former slaves, all ethnic groups and both genders. We exclude animals thus far, although we do have some - very modest - protections in place.

I think it has been the rise of the socialist impulse among workers that has expanded this egalitarian view, with trade unions and anti-imperialist revolutions and national struggles. But I'm not a scholar or a historian so I can't add details to my impression.

My point is that since the Framers met, there has been a progressive elevation of our requirements of representative government. I think some of this also came from the Constitution itself, with its embedded Bill of Rights.

I can't say if this expansion has continued to this day or not. History may show there was a pinnacle that we have now passed, and entered a decline. I don't know - it's hard to say how we score the Internet in this balance. It's always hard to score the present age along its timeline. And the future is never here yet, in the present, and can only ever be guessed.

In my view, the dream of popular control of representative government remains entirely possible. I call it an aspiration rather than a pipe dream, and one worth taking up and handing on through the generations. Current global society may survive in relatively unbroken line for millennia to come. There's simply no percentage in calling failure at this time.

It may be that better government comes to the United States from the example of the world nations, over the decades and centuries to come. Maybe the demonstration effect will work on us even when we cannot work on ourselves. We are not the only society of poor people who want a fair life.

In my view of the fundamental dynamic - namely that of history being one unbroken story of the rich exploiting the poor - representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness.

In my opinion.

dh-mtl , Oct 8, 2018 2:34:39 AM | link
Grieved @42 said:

"representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness."

Here, here! I fully agree with you.

In my opinion, representative government was stronger in the U.S. from the 1930's to the 1970's and Europe after WW2. And as a result the western world achieved unprecedented prosperity. Since 1980, the U.S. government has been captured by trans-national elites, who, since the 1990's have also captured much of the political power in the EU.

Both Europe and the U.S. are now effectively dictatorships, run by a trans-national elite. The crumbling of both is the result of this dictatorship.

Prosperity, and peace, will only return when the dictators are removed and representative government is returned.

Krollchem , Oct 8, 2018 2:42:16 AM | link
dh-mtl@44

"Both Europe and the U.S. are now effectively dictatorships, run by a trans-national elite. The crumbling of both is the result of this dictatorship."

Exactly!! I feel like the Swedish knight Antonius Block in the movie the 7th Seal. There does not seem any way out of this evil game by the death dealing rulers.

Anton Worter , Oct 8, 2018 3:06:04 AM | link
@24

Love it. But you fad3d at the end. It was Gingrich, not Rodham, who was behind Contract on America, and GHWBush's Fed Bank group wrote the legislation that would have been Bush's second term 'kinder, gentler' Gramm-Leach-Bliley bayonet up the azs of the American Dream, as passed by a majority of Congress, and by that point Tripp and Lewinski had already pull-dated Wild Bill. God, can you imagine being married to that hag Rodham? The purple people-eating lizards of Georgetown and Alexandria. Uurk.

Anton Worter , Oct 8, 2018 3:34:05 AM | link
40

¿Que tal?

I'm reading a great FDR book, 'Roosevelt and Hopkins', a signed 1st Ed copy by Robert Sherwood, and the only book extant from my late father's excellent political and war library, after his trophy wife dumped the rest of his library off at Goodwill, lol. They could have paid for her next booblift, ha, ha, ha.

Anyway, FDR, in my mind, only passed the populist laws that he did because he needed cannon fodder in good fighting shape for Rothschild's Wars ("3/4ths of WW2 conscripts were medically unfit for duty," the book reports), and because Rothschild's and Queens Bank of London needed the whole sh*taco bailed out afterward, by creating SS wage-withholding 'Trust Fund' (sic) the Fed then tapped into, and creating Lend-Lease which let Rothschilds float credit-debt to even a higher level and across the globe. Has it all been paid off by Germany and Japan yet?

Even Lincoln, jeez, Civil War was never about slavery, it was about finance and taxation and the illegitimate Federal supremacy over the Republic of States, not unlike the EU today. Lincoln only freed the slaves to use them as cannon fodder and as a fifth column.

All of these politicians were purple people-eating lizards, except maybe the Kennedy's, and they got ground and pounded like Conor McGregor, meh?

Guerrero | Oct 8, 2018 10:22:34 AM | 61

@BM | Oct 8, 2018 10:03:12 AM | 60

"representative government is one of the greatest achievements of the poor. If we could only get it to work honestly, and protect it from the predations of the rich. This is a work in progress. It forms just one aspect of millennia of struggle. To give up now would be madness."

Compare to: Sentiments of the Nation:

12º That as the good Law is superior to every man, those dictated by our Congress must be such, that they force constancy and patriotism, moderate opulence and indigence; and in such a way increase the wages of the poor, improve their habits, moving away from ignorance, rapine and theft.

13º That the general laws include everyone, without exception of privileged bodies; and that these are only in the use of the ministry..

14º That in order to dictate a Law, the Meeting of Sages is made, in the possible number, so that it may proceed with more success and exonerate of some charges that may result.

15. That slavery be banished forever, and the distinction of castes, leaving all the same, and only distinguish one American from another by vice and virtue.

16º That our Ports be open to friendly foreign nations, but that they do not enter the nation, no matter how friendly they may be, and there will only be Ports designated for that purpose, prohibiting disembarkation in all others, indicating ten percent.

17º That each one be kept his property, and respect in his House as in a sacred asylum, pointing out penalties to the offenders.

18º That the new legislation does not admit torture.

19º That the Constitutional Law establishes the celebration of December 12th in all Peoples, dedicated to the Patroness of our Liberty, Most Holy Mary of Guadalupe, entrusting to all Peoples the monthly devotion.

20º That the foreign troops, or of another Kingdom, do not step on our soil, and if it were in aid, they will not without the Supreme Junta approval.

21º That expeditions are not made outside the limits of the Kingdom, especially overseas, that they are not of this kind yet rather to spread the faith to our brothers and sisters of the land inside.

22º That the infinity of tributes, breasts and impositions that overwhelm us be removed, and each individual be pointed out a five percent of seeds and other effects or other equally light weight, that does not oppress so much, as the alcabala, the Tobacconist, the Tribute and others; because with this slight contribution, and the good administration of the confiscated goods of the enemy, will be able to take the weight of the War, and pay the fees of employees.

Temple of the Virgen of the Ascencion
Chilpancingo, September 14, 1813.
José Mª Morelos.

23º That also be solemnized on September 16, every year, as the Anniversary day on which the Voice of Independence was raised, and our Holy Freedom began, because on that day it was in which the lips of the Nation were deployed to claim their rights with Sword in hand to be heard: always remembering the merit of the great Hero Mr. Don Miguel Hidalgo and his companion Don Ignacio Allende.

Answers on November 21, 1813. And therefore, these are abolished, always being subject to the opinion of S. [u] A. [alteza] S. [very eminent]

[Sep 29, 2018] Trump Surrenders to the Iron Law of Oligarchy by Dan Sanchez

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's nationalist fans are sick of the globalist wars that America never seems to win. They are hardly against war per se. They are perfectly fine with bombing radical Islamists, even if it means mass innocent casualties. But they have had enough of expending American blood and treasure to overthrow secular Arab dictators to the benefit of Islamists; so, it seemed, was Trump. They also saw no nationalist advantage in the globalists' renewed Cold War against Assad's ally Russian president Vladimir Putin, another enemy of Islamists. ..."
"... The Syrian pivot also seemed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of some antiwar libertarians who had pragmatically supported Trump. For them, acquiescing to the unwelcome planks of Trump's platform was a price worth paying for overthrowing the establishment policies of regime change in the Middle East and hostility toward nuclear Russia. While populism wasn't an unalloyed friend of liberty, these libertarians thought, at least it could be harnessed to sweep away the war-engineering elites. And since war is the health of the state, that could redirect history's momentum in favor of liberty. ..."
"... But then it all evaporated. Shortly after Bannon's ouster from the NSC, in response to an alleged, unverified chemical attack on civilians, Trump bombed one of Assad's airbases (something even globalist Obama had balked at doing when offered the exact same excuse), and regime change in Syria was top priority once again. The establishment media swooned over Trump's newfound willingness to be "presidential." ..."
"... Since then, Trump has reneged on one campaign promise after another. He dropped any principled repeal of Obamacare. He threw cold water on expectations for prompt fulfillment of his signature promise: the construction of a Mexico border wall. And he announced an imminent withdrawal from NAFTA, only to walk that announcement back the very next day. ..."
"... Poor white people, "the forgotten men and women of our country," have been forgotten once again. Their "tribune" seems to be turning out to be just another agent of the power elite. ..."
"... Who yanked his chain? Was there a palace coup? Was the CIA involved? Has Trump been threatened? ..."
"... Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy ..."
"... Even in a political system based on popular sovereignty, Michels pointed out that, "the sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions." This is true for simple, unavoidable technical reasons: "such a gigantic number of persons belonging to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a system of direct discussion." ..."
"... " while Trump might be able to seize the presidency in spite of establishment opposition, he will never be able to wield it without establishment support." ..."
May 02, 2017 | original.antiwar.com
Did the Deep State deep-six Trump's populist revolution?

Many observers, especially among his fans, suspect that the seemingly untamable Trump has already been housebroken by the Washington, "globalist" establishment. If true, the downfall of Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn less than a month into the new presidency may have been a warning sign. And the turning point would have been the removal of Steven K. Bannon from the National Security Council on April 5.

Until then, the presidency's early policies had a recognizably populist-nationalist orientation. During his administration's first weeks, Trump's biggest supporters frequently tweeted the hashtag #winning and exulted that he was decisively doing exactly what, on the campaign trail, he said he would do.

In a flurry of executive orders and other unilateral actions bearing Bannon's fingerprints, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, declared a sweeping travel ban, instituted harsher deportation policies, and more.

These policies seemed to fit Trump's reputation as the " tribune of poor white people ," as he has been called; above all, Trump's base calls for protectionism and immigration restrictions. Trump seemed to be delivering on the populist promise of his inauguration speech (thought to be written by Bannon), in which he said:

"Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now." [Emphasis added.]

After a populist insurgency stormed social media and the voting booths, American democracy, it seemed, had been wrenched from the hands of the Washington elite and restored to "the people," or at least a large, discontented subset of "the people." And this happened in spite of the establishment, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and "polite opinion" throwing everything it had at Trump.

The Betrayal

But for the past month, the administration's axis seems to have shifted. This shift was especially abrupt in Trump's Syria policy.

Days before Bannon's fall from grace, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared that forcing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power was no longer top priority. This too was pursuant of Trump's populist promises.

Trump's nationalist fans are sick of the globalist wars that America never seems to win. They are hardly against war per se. They are perfectly fine with bombing radical Islamists, even if it means mass innocent casualties. But they have had enough of expending American blood and treasure to overthrow secular Arab dictators to the benefit of Islamists; so, it seemed, was Trump. They also saw no nationalist advantage in the globalists' renewed Cold War against Assad's ally Russian president Vladimir Putin, another enemy of Islamists.

The Syrian pivot also seemed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of some antiwar libertarians who had pragmatically supported Trump. For them, acquiescing to the unwelcome planks of Trump's platform was a price worth paying for overthrowing the establishment policies of regime change in the Middle East and hostility toward nuclear Russia. While populism wasn't an unalloyed friend of liberty, these libertarians thought, at least it could be harnessed to sweep away the war-engineering elites. And since war is the health of the state, that could redirect history's momentum in favor of liberty.

But then it all evaporated. Shortly after Bannon's ouster from the NSC, in response to an alleged, unverified chemical attack on civilians, Trump bombed one of Assad's airbases (something even globalist Obama had balked at doing when offered the exact same excuse), and regime change in Syria was top priority once again. The establishment media swooned over Trump's newfound willingness to be "presidential."

Since then, Trump has reneged on one campaign promise after another. He dropped any principled repeal of Obamacare. He threw cold water on expectations for prompt fulfillment of his signature promise: the construction of a Mexico border wall. And he announced an imminent withdrawal from NAFTA, only to walk that announcement back the very next day.

Here I make no claim as to whether any of these policy reversals are good or bad. I only point out that they run counter to the populist promises he had given to his core constituents.

Poor white people, "the forgotten men and women of our country," have been forgotten once again. Their "tribune" seems to be turning out to be just another agent of the power elite.

Who yanked his chain? Was there a palace coup? Was the CIA involved? Has Trump been threatened? Or, after constant obstruction, has he simply concluded that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?

The Iron Law of Oligarchy

Regardless of how it came about, it seems clear that whatever prospect there was for a truly populist Trump presidency is gone with the wind. Was it inevitable that this would happen, one way or another?

One person who might have thought so was German sociologist Robert Michels, who posited the "iron law of oligarchy" in his 1911 work Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy .

Michels argued that political organizations, no matter how democratically structured, rarely remain truly populist, but inexorably succumb to oligarchic control.

Even in a political system based on popular sovereignty, Michels pointed out that, "the sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions." This is true for simple, unavoidable technical reasons: "such a gigantic number of persons belonging to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a system of direct discussion."

This practical limitation necessitates delegation of decision-making to officeholders. These delegates may at first be considered servants of the masses:

"All the offices are filled by election. The officials, executive organs of the general will, play a merely subordinate part, are always dependent upon the collectivity, and can be deprived of their office at any moment. The mass of the party is omnipotent."

But these delegates will inevitably become specialists in the exercise and consolidation of power, which they gradually wrest away from the "sovereign people":

"The technical specialization that inevitably results from all extensive organization renders necessary what is called expert leadership. Consequently the power of determination comes to be considered one of the specific attributes of leadership, and is gradually withdrawn from the masses to be concentrated in the hands of the leaders alone. Thus the leaders, who were at first no more than the executive organs of the collective will, soon emancipate themselves from the mass and become independent of its control.

Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every organization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency manifests itself very clearly."

Trumped by the Deep State

Thus elected, populist "tribunes" like Trump are ultimately no match for entrenched technocrats nestled in permanent bureaucracy. Especially invincible are technocrats who specialize in political force and intrigue, i.e., the National Security State (military, NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.). And these elite functionaries don't serve "the people" or any large subpopulation. They only serve their own careers, and by extension, big-money special interest groups that make it worth their while: especially big business and foreign lobbies. The nexus of all these powers is what is known as the Deep State.

Trump's more sophisticated champions were aware of these dynamics, but held out hope nonetheless. They thought that Trump would be an exception, because his large personal fortune would grant him immunity from elite influence. That factor did contribute to the independent, untamable spirit of his campaign. But as I predicted during the Republican primaries:

" while Trump might be able to seize the presidency in spite of establishment opposition, he will never be able to wield it without establishment support."

No matter how popular, rich, and bombastic, a populist president simply cannot rule without access to the levers of power. And that access is under the unshakable control of the Deep State. If Trump wants to play president, he has to play ball.

On these grounds, I advised his fans over a year ago, " don't hold out hope that Trump will make good on his isolationist rhetoric " and anticipated, "a complete rapprochement between the populist rebel and the Republican establishment." I also warned that, far from truly threatening the establishment and the warfare state, Trump's populist insurgency would only invigorate them:

"Such phony establishment "deaths" at the hands of "grassroots" outsiders followed by "rebirths" (rebranding) are an excellent way for moribund oligarchies to renew themselves without actually meaningfully changing. Each "populist" reincarnation of the power elite is draped with a freshly-laundered mantle of popular legitimacy, bestowing on it greater license to do as it pleases. And nothing pleases the State more than war."

Politics, even populist politics, is the oligarchy's game. And the house always wins.

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org , including articles and courses. The originally appeared on the FEE website and is reprinted with the author's permission.

[Sep 21, 2018] Fact free propaganda

Sep 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Sep 20, 2018 3:43:13 PM | link

The whole nonsense about Russian interference, which was obviously nonsense from Day One and has never, for a moment looked like anything but nonsense, seems to indicate that we have entered a post political era in which policy discussions and debates are forgotten and smears and false accusations take their place.
Currently in the US the Kavanaugh nomination which ought to be about the meaning of the law and the consequences of having a Supreme Court which will make Judge Taney look like Solomon at his most impressive. Instead it is about an alleged teenage incident in which the nominee is said to have caressed a girls breasts at a drunken party when all involved were at High School. Before that we had a Senatorial election in Alabama in which the Republican candidate was charged with having shown a sexual interest in teenage girls- whether this was a 'first' in Alabama is unknown but it is believed to have happened elsewhere, in the unenlightened past.
Then we have the matter of whether Jeremy Corbyn is such a danger to Jews that they will all leave the country if he is ever elected to power. This long campaign, completely devoid of evidence, like 'Russiagate' has the potential of going on forever, simply because there being no evidence it cannot be refuted.
Which is also the case with the Skripal affair, because of which even as we speak, massive trade and financial sanctions are being imposed against Russia and its enormous, innocent and plundered population.
In none of these cases has any real evidence, of the minimal quality that might justify the hanging of a dog, ever advanced. But that doesn't matter, the important thing is to choose a side and if it is Hillary Clinton's to believe or to pretend to believe and to convince others to believe (as Marcy at Emptywheel has been doing for close to three years now) in the incredible.
Who says that we no longer live in a Christian society in which faith is everything?

[Sep 16, 2018] Neoliberal nomenklatura

Sep 16, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Stephen 09.16.18 at 4:11 pm

Peter T: contrariwise, if it is that as you say "There's surely a reasoned case to be made that hierarchies are essential to complex societies" and "someone has to be at the top and therefore someone else at the bottom", is it legitimate to suspect that a fair proportion (not all, of course) of those advocating progressive change believe that after the defeat of the evil conservative forces, there will still be an essential hierarchy, only they will be on top?

See nomenklatura, etc.


Sebastian H 09.16.18 at 5:27 pm ( 83 )

"is it legitimate to suspect that a fair proportion (not all, of course) of those advocating progressive change believe that after the defeat of the evil conservative forces, there will still be an essential hierarchy, only they will be on top?"

Usually yes, but they will be benevolent so we don't have to worry about them. That is why there are a lot of naïve progressive rule proposals that make me want to scream "what if someone less pure than the purest person you ever met gets a hold of it"? Though I usually just say "what if Ralph Nader were in charge ?", but that is admittedly trolling. For the most current example see the EU copyright rules. The same people who complain about conservative twitter mobs think that telling facebook, twitter, and google to automatically screen out copyright violations and somehow automatically allow fair use of copyright is going to work out well.
I suck at guessing at malignant uses of technology and I can already see the Russian copyright upload experts getting prominent left wing voices tied up in interminable litigation over political speeches. Or some troll reporting the entire internet as copyrighted in one paragraph increments. Or the speech censorship discussions. Dissolving free speech norms is 1000% more likely to be used against left wing voices than right wing ones if they get mainstreamed.

likbez 09.16.18 at 9:16 pm ( 84 )
@Lee A. Arnold 09.15.18 at 12:14 pm (66)

In our present moment, the "protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" has transmuted to "protection of the free market as a way for any subordinate person to ascend by personal effort into the modern open aristocracy."

That is a very deep observation. Thank you!

Protection of inequality as a "natural human condition" is the key to understanding both conservatism and neoliberalism. The corresponding myth of social mobility based on person's abilities under neoliberalism (as Napoleon Bonaparte observed "Ability is of little account without opportunity" and the opportunity is lacking under neoliberal stagnation -- the current state of neoliberalism ) is just icing on the cake.

As soon as you accept Hayek sophistry that the term "freedom" means "the freedom from coercion" you are both a neoliberal and a conservative. And if you belong to Democratic Party, you are a Vichy democrat ;-)

likbez 09.16.18 at 9:50 pm ( 85 )
@Stephen 09.16.18 at 4:11 pm (82)

"is it legitimate to suspect that a fair proportion (not all, of course) of those advocating progressive change believe that after the defeat of the evil conservative forces, there will still be an essential hierarchy, only they will be on top?"

In a way yes ;-)

Neoliberalism/conservatism means that the state enforces the existing hierarchy and supports existing aristocracy ("socialism for rich"). If you deny the existence of a flavor of the Soviet nomenklatura (aristocracy in which position in social hierarchy mainly depends on their role in the top management of government or corporations, not so much personal fortune) in the USA, you deny the reality.

So the question is not about hierarchy per se, but about the acceptable level of "corporate socialism" and inequality in the society.

The progressive change means the creation of the system of government which serves as a countervailing force to the private capital owners, curbing their excesses. I would say that financial oligarchy generally should be treated as a district flavor of organized crime.

The key issue is how to allow a decent level of protection of the bottom 90% of the population from excesses of unfettered capitalism and "market forces" and at the same time not to slide into excessive bureaucracy and regulation ("state capitalism" model).

For a short period after WWII the alliance of a part of state apparatus, upper-level management, and trade unions against owners of capital did exist in the USA (New Deal Capitalism). In an imperfect form with multiple betrayals and quick deterioration, but still existed for some time due to the danger from the USSR

Around 80th the threat from USSR dissipate, and the upper-level management betrayed their former allies and switched sides which signified the victory of neoliberalism and dismantling of the New Deal Capitalism.

After the USSR collapse (when Soviet nomenklatura switched to neoliberalism) the financial oligarchy staged coup d'état in the USA (aka "Quiet Coup") and came to the top.

We need depose this semi-criminal gang. Of course, the end of "cheap oil" will probably help.

Peter T 09.16.18 at 11:40 pm ( 86 )
Stephen

Some, but a "fair proportion"? Probably not. Advocacy of progressive causes usually involves punching up – an inherently more dangerous occupation than punching down. People forget that the older nomenklatura won their positions in World War II, when being a commissar meant leading from the front, being shot out of hand by the Germans, rallying the partisans in mountain villages to another desperate defence and similar. Survivor bias – we don't see the dead.

In more genteel times, the outspoken progressive will often face social ostracism, lack of promotion, attacks in the conservative press

Human motives are complex – no doubt there were confederates who genuinely believed the fight was for states rights, and no doubt there are libertarians who genuinely believe that the poor will have it much better in a free market utopia. I doubt the proportion, either counting individuals or in the swirl inside minds, is very large, but there's always some.

Faustusnotes 09.16.18 at 11:45 pm ( 87 )
Now we're making progress Thomas. The Berkowitz definition is sleazy, and sets up anyone not conservative as an amoral lump in need of guidance, or worse still as dangerous to society. Perhaps that's why Hayek (a supposedly type b conservative) had his opponents thrown out of helicopters. Or was that Friedman?

The appeal of conservatism and it's electoral success is easily explained. Because their real ideology is just treachery, theft and rape they need to hide these ideas from normal people, who already in general support the moral ideas fundamental to civilized society regardless of their politics. So they hide their true agenda through appeals to racism, or by cloaking themselves in the type b definition (isn't this robins point?!) In doing this they benefit from the work of yeomen like you, who insist that conservatism is a real moral project rather than banditry. In most countries they also only win when the left is divided, and only when their elite friends are pouring money into corrupt media. If they didn't have these advantages, these lies, and help from people like you they would never succeed.

I focus on Trump et Al because they are the leaders of your sect,the people who sell your ideas (manafort was a campaign manager ffs), and the people who turn the ideology into action. Didn't you learn in primary school to judge people by their actions, not their words? And why would I ignore these particular conservatives because they're "vulgar clowns"? You're all dangerous, vulgar clowns.

[Sep 12, 2018] If You Read This Book, It'll Make You a Radical A Conversation with Thomas Frank by John Siman

Notable quotes:
"... "Let us linger over the perversity," he writes in "Why Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump," one of the seventeen component essays in Rendezvous with Oblivion : "Let us linger over the perversity. Left parties the world over were founded to advance the fortunes of working people. But our left party in America -- one of our two monopoly parties -- chose long ago to turn its back on these people's concerns, making itself instead into the tribune of the enlightened professional class, a 'creative class' that makes innovative things like derivative securities and smartphone apps ..."
"... And the real bad news is not that this Creative Class, this Expert Class, this Meritocratic Class, this Professional Class -- this Liberal Class, with all its techno-ecstasy and virtue-questing and unleashing of innovation -- is so deeply narcissistic and hypocritical, but rather that it is so self-interestedly parasitical and predatory. ..."
Sep 11, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Thomas Frank's new collection of essays: Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society (Metropolitan Books 2018) and Listen, Liberal; or,Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? (ibid. 2016)

To hang out with Thomas Frank for a couple of hours is to be reminded that, going back to 1607, say, or to 1620, for a period of about three hundred and fifty years, the most archetypal of American characters was, arguably, the hard-working, earnest, self-controlled, dependable white Protestant guy, last presented without irony a generation or two -- or three -- ago in the television personas of men like Ward Cleaver and Mister Rogers.

Thomas Frank, who grew up in Kansas and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, who at age 53 has the vibe of a happy eager college nerd, not only glows with authentic Midwestern Nice (and sometimes his face turns red when he laughs, which is often), he actually lives in suburbia, just outside of D.C., in Bethesda, where, he told me, he takes pleasure in mowing the lawn and doing some auto repair and fixing dinner for his wife and two children. (Until I met him, I had always assumed it was impossible for a serious intellectual to live in suburbia and stay sane, but Thomas Frank has proven me quite wrong on this.)

Frank is sincerely worried about the possibility of offending friends and acquaintances by the topics he chooses to write about. He told me that he was a B oy Scout back in Kansas, but didn't make Eagle. He told me that he was perhaps a little too harsh on Hillary Clinton in his brilliantly perspicacious "Liberal Gilt [ sic ]" chapter at the end of Listen, Liberal . His piercing insight into and fascination with the moral rot and the hypocrisy that lies in the American soul brings, well, Nathaniel Hawthorne to mind, yet he refuses to say anything (and I tried so hard to bait him!) mean about anyone, no matter how culpable he or she is in the ongoing dissolving and crumbling and sinking -- all his metaphors -- of our society. And with such metaphors Frank describes the "one essential story" he is telling in Rendezvous with Oblivion : "This is what a society looks like when the glue that holds it together starts to dissolve. This is the way ordinary citizens react when they learn that the structure beneath them is crumbling. And this is the thrill that pulses through the veins of the well-to-do when they discover that there is no longer any limit on their power to accumulate" ( Thomas Frank in NYC on book tour https://youtu.be/DBNthCKtc1Y ).

And I believe that Frank's self-restraint, his refusal to indulge in bitter satire even as he parses our every national lie, makes him unique as social critic. "You will notice," he writes in the introduction to Rendezvous with Oblivion, "that I describe [these disasters] with a certain amount of levity. I do that because that's the only way to confront the issues of our time without sinking into debilitating gloom" (p. 8). And so rather than succumbing to an existential nausea, Frank descends into the abyss with a dependable flashlight and a ca. 1956 sitcom-dad chuckle.

"Let us linger over the perversity," he writes in "Why Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump," one of the seventeen component essays in Rendezvous with Oblivion : "Let us linger over the perversity. Left parties the world over were founded to advance the fortunes of working people. But our left party in America -- one of our two monopoly parties -- chose long ago to turn its back on these people's concerns, making itself instead into the tribune of the enlightened professional class, a 'creative class' that makes innovative things like derivative securities and smartphone apps " (p. 178).

And it is his analysis of this "Creative Class" -- he usually refers to it as the "Liberal Class" and sometimes as the "Meritocratic Class" in Listen, Liberal (while Barbara Ehrenreich uses the term " Professional Managerial Class ,"and Matthew Stewart recently published an article entitled "The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy" in the Atlantic ) -- that makes it clear that Frank's work is a continuation of the profound sociological critique that goes back to Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) and, more recently, to Christopher Lasch's The Revolt of the Elites (1994).

Unlike Veblen and Lasch, however, Frank is able to deliver the harshest news without any hauteur or irascibility, but rather with a deftness and tranquillity of mind, for he is both in and of the Creative Class; he abides among those afflicted by the epidemic which he diagnoses: "Today we live in a world of predatory bankers, predatory educators, even predatory health care providers, all of them out for themselves . Liberalism itself has changed to accommodate its new constituents' technocratic views. Today, liberalism is the philosophy not of the sons of toil but of the 'knowledge economy' and, specifically, of the knowledge economy's winners: the Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign . They are a 'learning class' that truly gets the power of education. They are a 'creative class' that naturally rebels against fakeness and conformity. They are an ' innovation class ' that just can't stop coming up with awesome new stuff" ( Listen, Liberal , pp. 27-29).

And the real bad news is not that this Creative Class, this Expert Class, this Meritocratic Class, this Professional Class -- this Liberal Class, with all its techno-ecstasy and virtue-questing and unleashing of innovation -- is so deeply narcissistic and hypocritical, but rather that it is so self-interestedly parasitical and predatory.

The class that now runs the so-called Party of the People is impoverishing the people; the genius value-creators at Amazon and Google and Uber are Robber Barons, although, one must grant, hipper, cooler, and oh so much more innovative than their historical predecessors. "In reality," Frank writes in Listen, Liberal ,

.there is little new about this stuff except the software, the convenience, and the spying. Each of the innovations I have mentioned merely updates or digitizes some business strategy that Americans learned long ago to be wary of. Amazon updates the practices of Wal-Mart, for example, while Google has dusted off corporate behavior from the days of the Robber Barons. What Uber does has been compared to the every-man-for-himself hiring procedures of the pre-union shipping docks . Together, as Robert Reich has written, all these developments are 'the logical culmination of a process that began thirty years ago when corporations began turning over full-time jobs to temporary workers, independent contractors, free-lancers, and consultants.' This is atavism, not innovation . And if we keep going in this direction, it will one day reduce all of us to day laborers, standing around like the guys outside the local hardware store, hoping for work. (p. 215).

And who gets this message? The YouTube patriot/comedian Jimmy Dore, Chicago-born, ex-Catholic, son of a cop, does for one. "If you read this b ook, " Dore said while interviewing Frank back in January of 2017, "it'll make y ou a radical" (Frank Interview Part 4 https://youtu.be/JONbGkQaq8Q ).

But to what extent, on the other hand, is Frank being actively excluded from our elite media outlets? He's certainly not on TV or radio or in print as much as he used to be. So is he a prophet without honor in his own country? Frank, of course, is too self-restrained to speculate about the motives of these Creative Class decision-makers and influencers. "But it is ironic and worth mentioning," he told me, "that most of my writing for the last few years has been in a British publication, The Guardian and (in translation) in Le Monde Diplomatique . The way to put it, I think, is to describe me as an ex-pundit."

Frank was, nevertheless, happy to tell me in vivid detail about how his most fundamental observation about America, viz. that the Party of the People has become hostile to the people , was for years effectively discredited in the Creative Class media -- among the bien-pensants , that is -- and about what he learned from their denialism.

JS: Going all the way back to your 2004 book What's the Matter with Kansas? -- I just looked at Larry Bartels's attack on it, "What's the Matter with What's the Matter with Kansas?" -- and I saw that his first objection to your book was, Well, Thomas Frank says the working class is alienated from the Democrats, but I have the math to show that that's false. How out of touch does that sound now?

TCF: [laughs merrily] I know.

JS: I remember at the time that was considered a serious objection to your thesis.

TCF: Yeah. Well, he was a professor at Princeton. And he had numbers. So it looked real. And I actually wrote a response to that in which I pointed out that there were other statistical ways of looking at it, and he had chosen the one that makes his point.

JS: Well, what did Mark Twain say?

TCF: Mark Twain?

JS: There are lies, damned lies --

TCF: [laughs merrily] -- and statistics! Yeah. Well, anyhow, Bartels's take became the common sense of the highly educated -- there needs to be a term for these people by the way, in France they're called the bien-pensants -- the "right-thinking," the people who read The Atlantic, The New York Times op-ed page, The Washington Post op-ed page, and who all agree with each other on everything -- there's this tight little circle of unanimity. And they all agreed that Bartels was right about that, and that was a costly mistake. For example, Paul Krugman, a guy whom I admire in a lot of ways, he referenced this four or five times. He agreed with it . No, the Democrats are not losing the white working class outside the South -- they were not going over to the Republicans. The suggestion was that there is nothing to worry about. Yes. And there were people saying this right up to the 2016 election. But it was a mistake.

JS: I remember being perplexed at the time. I had thought you had written this brilliant book, and you weren't being taken seriously -- because somebody at Princeton had run some software -- as if that had proven you wrong.

TCF: Yeah, that's correct . That was a very widespread take on it. And Bartels was incorrect, and I am right, and [laughs merrily] that's that.

JS: So do you think Russiagate is a way of saying, Oh no no no no, Hillary didn't really lose?

TCF: Well, she did win the popular vote -- but there's a whole set of pathologies out there right now that all stem from Hillary Denialism. And I don't want to say that Russiagate is one of them, because we don't know the answer to that yet.

JS: Um, ok.

TCF: Well, there are all kinds of questionable reactions to 2016 out there, and what they all have in common is the faith that Democrats did nothing wrong. For example, this same circle of the bien-pensants have decided that the only acceptable explanation for Trump's victory is the racism of his supporters. Racism can be the only explanation for the behavior of Trump voters. But that just seems odd to me because, while it's true of course that there's lots of racism in this country, and while Trump is clearly a bigot and clearly won the bigot vote, racism is just one of several factors that went into what happened in 2016. Those who focus on this as the only possible answer are implying that all Trump voters are irredeemable, lost forever.

And it comes back to the same point that was made by all those people who denied what was happening with the white working class, which is: The Democratic Party needs to do nothing differently . All the post-election arguments come back to this same point. So a couple years ago they were saying about the white working class -- we don't have to worry about them -- they're not leaving the Democratic Party, they're totally loyal, especially in the northern states, or whatever the hell it was. And now they say, well, Those people are racists, and therefore they're lost to us forever. What is the common theme of these two arguments? It's always that there's nothing the Democratic Party needs to do differently. First, you haven't lost them; now you have lost them and they're irretrievable: Either way -- you see what I'm getting at? -- you don't have to do anything differently to win them.

JS: Yes, I do.

TCF: The argument in What's the Matter with Kansas? was that this is a long-term process, the movement of the white working class away from the Democratic Party. This has been going on for a long time. It begins in the '60s, and the response of the Democrats by and large has been to mock those people, deride those people, and to move away from organized labor, to move away from class issues -- working class issues -- and so their response has been to make this situation worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse! And there's really no excuse for them not seeing it. But they say, believe, rationalize, you know, come up with anything that gets then off the hook for this, that allows them to ignore this change. Anything. They will say or believe whatever it takes.

JS: Yes.

TCF: By the way, these are the smartest people! These are tenured professors at Ivy League institutions, these are people with Nobel Prizes, people with foundation grants, people with, you know, chairs at prestigious universities, people who work at our most prestigious media outlets -- that's who's wrong about all this stuff.

JS: [quoting the title of David Halberstam's 1972 book, an excerpt from which Frank uses as an epigraph for Listen, Liberal ] The best and the brightest!

TCF: [laughing merrily] Exactly. Isn't it fascinating?

JS: But this gets to the irony of the thing. [locates highlighted passage in book] I'm going to ask you one of the questions you ask in Rendezvous with Oblivion: "Why are worshippers of competence so often incompetent?" (p. 165). That's a huge question.

TCF: That's one of the big mysteries. Look. Take a step back. I had met Barack Obama. He was a professor at the University of Chicago, and I'd been a student there. And he was super smart. Anyhow, I met him and was really impressed by him. All the liberals in Hyde Park -- that's the neighborhood we lived in -- loved him, and I was one of them, and I loved him too. And I was so happy when he got elected.

Anyhow, I knew one thing he would do for sure, and that is he would end the reign of cronyism and incompetence that marked the Bush administration and before them the Reagan administration. These were administrations that actively promoted incompetent people. And I knew Obama wouldn't do that, and I knew Obama would bring in the smartest people, and he'd get the best economists. Remember, when he got elected we were in the pit of the crisis -- we were at this terrible moment -- and here comes exactly the right man to solve the problem. He did exactly what I just described: He brought in [pause] Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard, considered the greatest economist of his generation -- and, you know, go down the list: He had Nobel Prize winners, he had people who'd won genius grants, he had The Best and the Brightest . And they didn't really deal with the problem. They let the Wall Street perpetrators off the hook -- in a catastrophic way, I would argue. They come up with a health care system that was half-baked. Anyhow, the question becomes -- after watching the great disappointments of the Obama years -- the question becomes: Why did government-by-expert fail?

JS: So how did this happen? Why?

TCF: The answer is understanding experts not as individual geniuses but as members of a class . This is the great missing link in all of our talk about expertise. Experts aren't just experts: They are members of a class. And they act like a class. They have loyalty to one another; they have a disdain for others, people who aren't like them, who they perceive as being lower than them, and there's this whole hierarchy of status that they are at the pinnacle of.

And once you understand this, then everything falls into place! So why did they let the Wall Street bankers off the hook? Because these people were them. These people are their peers. Why did they refuse to do what obviously needed to be done with the health care system? Because they didn't want to do that to their friends in Big Pharma. Why didn't Obama get tough with Google and Facebook? They obviously have this kind of scary monopoly power that we haven't seen in a long time. Instead, he brought them into the White House, he identified with them. Again, it's the same thing. Once you understand this, you say: Wait a minute -- so the Democratic Party is a vehicle of this particular social class! It all makes sense. And all of a sudden all of these screw-ups make sense. And, you know, all of their rhetoric makes sense. And the way they treat working class people makes sense. And they way they treat so many other demographic groups makes sense -- all of the old-time elements of the Democratic Party: unions, minorities, et cetera. They all get to ride in back. It's the professionals -- you know, the professional class -- that sits up front and has its hands on the steering wheel.

* * *

It is, given Frank's persona, not surprising that he is able to conclude Listen, Liberal with a certain hopefulness, and so let me end by quoting some of his final words:

What I saw in Kansas eleven years ago is now everywhere . It is time to face the obvious: that the direction the Democrats have chosen to follow for the last few decades has been a failure for both the nation and for their own partisan health . The Democrats posture as the 'party of the people' even as they dedicate themselves ever more resolutely to serving and glorifying the professional class. Worse: they combine self-righteousness and class privilege in a way that Americans find stomach-turning . The Democrats have no interest in reforming themselves in a more egalitarian way . What we can do is strip away the Democrats' precious sense of their own moral probity -- to make liberals live without the comforting knowledge that righteousness is always on their side . Once that smooth, seamless sense of liberal virtue has been cracked, anything becomes possible. (pp. 256-257).

[Aug 31, 2018] Erasing the Truth and Fabricating Fake Narratives

Notable quotes:
"... Western media monopolies, appendages of the billionaire ruling class, select for narratives which glorify criminal foreign policies. Hence, these monopolies are cheerleaders for uninterrupted wars of aggression. ..."
"... Ruling class policymakers hide their criminality beneath banners of freedom, democracy, and human rights. [1] These lies provide cover for what amounts to a Western- orchestrated and sustained overseas holocaust and the thirdworldization of domestic populations. ..."
"... The lies and misplaced adulation also serve to legitimize the West's proxies, which include al Qaeda [2] in Syria, and neo-Nazis [3] in Kiev. ..."
"... The adulation, then, is part of the apparatus of deception. It brands those who should be facing trials at the Hague as heroes, as it erases the truth, which is a vital component for Peace and International Justice. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Western media monopolies, appendages of the billionaire ruling class, select for narratives which glorify criminal foreign policies. Hence, these monopolies are cheerleaders for uninterrupted wars of aggression.

Ruling class policymakers hide their criminality beneath banners of freedom, democracy, and human rights. [1] These lies provide cover for what amounts to a Western- orchestrated and sustained overseas holocaust and the thirdworldization of domestic populations.

The lies are further reinforced when those who advance these toxic policies are celebrated as heroes. This misplaced adulation negates the struggle for Peace and the rule of International Law. The lies and misplaced adulation also serve to legitimize the West's proxies, which include al Qaeda [2] in Syria, and neo-Nazis [3] in Kiev.

What's great thing about the pic accompanying this piece in the Washington Post sanctifying McCain as a human rights advocate is that the guy to his left is an actual Nazi. He's Oleh Tyahnybok, a Ukrainian Nazi. Too good!

10:38 AM - Aug 28, 2018

The adulation, then, is part of the apparatus of deception. It brands those who should be facing trials at the Hague as heroes, as it erases the truth, which is a vital component for Peace and International Justice.

[Aug 24, 2018] The priorities of the deep state and its public face the MSM

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump is being promoted by the MSM as the leader of the deplorables – an orange straw man. I support him to the degree that he is confounding the deep state elites and social engineering. ..."
Aug 24, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

PATIENT OBSERVER August 23, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Here is my take on the priorities of the deep state and its public face – the MSM:

  1. stopping the deplorable rebellion
  2. cutting off the head of the rebellion – perceived as Trump
  3. reinstating the Cold War in an effort to derail Rusisa's recovery and international leadership role
  4. bitch slapping China

The rest involves turning unsustainable debt into establishment of a feudal world comprised of elites living on Mount Olympus, legions of vassals and a vast sea of cerebrally castrated peasants to serve as a reservoir for any imaginable exploitation.

Won't happen, not even close.

PATIENT OBSERVER August 23, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Upon further reflection, Trump is being promoted by the MSM as the leader of the deplorables – an orange straw man. I support him to the degree that he is confounding the deep state elites and social engineering.

[Aug 18, 2018] Is Russia an Adversary by Gary Leupp

Notable quotes:
"... The Russians were not pleased by U.S.-NATO involvements in the former Yugoslavia, a traditional Russian ally, in 1995 and 1999, and the expansion of NATO in the latter year (to include Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary) in violation of the agreement between Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that in return for Russia's acceptance of German reunification NATO would not spread "one inch" towards Russia. They protested meekly. But Russia was not an adversary then. ..."
"... Nor was it an adversary when, in 2001, under its new president Vladimir Putin, it offered NATO a route through Russia to provision forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The real change only came in 2004, when NATO suddenly expanded to include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. This brought alliances forces right to the Russian border. ..."
"... We are your adversary. ..."
"... Russia is an adversary. ..."
"... Russia is an adversary. ..."
"... He worked with our adversary to undermine our election. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | dissidentvoice.org

Or, What's Wrong with Russian Collusion?

The question is finally being asked, by the president himself: what's wrong with collusion? Or at least his lawyer asks the question, while Trumps tweets:

Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn't matter because there was No Collusion.

The problem, of course, is that of collusion with an alleged adversary. Russia, we are constantly informed, is one such adversary, indeed the main state adversary, with Putin is its head.

Adversary is a very strong term. The Hebrew word for adversary is Satan. Satan is the ultimate symbol of evil in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Satan tempted Eve at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, causing her to eat the fruit, and so evil entered the world.

Just like some want you to think that evil entered the (good, pristine) U.S. electoral process due to this Russian adversary in 2016.

(Sometimes listening to TV pundits vilifying Putin I find Luther's famous hymn floating through my head:

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.

Luther's referring to Satan, of course. But the current mythology around Putin -- as someone who still , like Lenin and Stalin before him, and the tsars of old, wishes us harm; is an unbridled dictator with a powerful great nuclear arsenal; is the wealthiest man on earth; and hates democracy -- resembles the mythology around the Adversary in the Bible.)

But let us problematize this vilification. When did Russia become a U.S. adversary? Some might say 1917 when in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution Moscow became the center of the global communist movement. But surely that period ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR.

Throughout the 1990s the U.S. cultivated Boris Yeltsin's Russia as a friend and even aided the drunken buffoon in winning the 1996 election. Bill Clinton and Yeltsin signed the Start II treaty. Harvard professors advised Moscow on economic reform.

The Russians were not pleased by U.S.-NATO involvements in the former Yugoslavia, a traditional Russian ally, in 1995 and 1999, and the expansion of NATO in the latter year (to include Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary) in violation of the agreement between Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that in return for Russia's acceptance of German reunification NATO would not spread "one inch" towards Russia. They protested meekly. But Russia was not an adversary then.

Nor was it an adversary when, in 2001, under its new president Vladimir Putin, it offered NATO a route through Russia to provision forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The real change only came in 2004, when NATO suddenly expanded to include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. This brought alliances forces right to the Russian border.

It was a clear statement by the U.S. to a friendly country: We are your adversary. But, of course, the Pentagon and State Department always pooh-poohed Russian concerns, denying that NATO targeted any particular country.

Four years later (2008) NATO announced intentions to draw Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. Meanwhile the U.S. recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Kosovo, the historical heart of Serbian civilization, had been wrenched from Serbia in 1999 under the pretext of a "humanitarian" intervention that included the first bombing (by NATO) of a European capital city since 1945. The province had been converted into a vast NATO base.

Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, emboldened by the prospect of NATO membership and western backing, attacked the capital of the separatist republic of South Ossetia, provoking (as the Russians explain it) a proper punitive response: the Russo-Georgian War of August 7-16 . After this Moscow recognized South Ossetia and a second breakaway republic, Abkhazia, in a tit-for-tat response to Washington's recognition of Kosovo.

Now Russia was labelled an aggressive power -- by the power that had carved up Yugoslavia, and invaded and occupied Iraq on the basis of lies and killed half a million in the process. Plans to include Georgia in NATO had to be put on hold, in large part due to European allies' opposition (why provoke Russia?) but the U.S. intensified efforts to draw in Ukraine. That meant toppling the anti-NATO elected president Viktor Yanukovych.

The U.S. State Department devoted enormous resources to the Maidan coup in Kiev on February 23, 2014. Its agents helped topple the government, ostensibly for its failure to negotiate an agreement for Ukrainian associate membership in the EU, but really to bring pro-NATO forces to power and expel the Russian Fleet from the Crimean Peninsula where it has been based since 1783. Moscow's limited support for the Donbass ethnic-Russian separatists and re-annexation of Crimea were, of course, depicted by the U.S. as more aggression, more mischievous opposition to "U.S. global interests."

But from Moscow's point of view these moves have surely been defensive. The main problem is (obviously) NATO and its dangerous, unnecessary and provocative expansion. Throughout his presidential campaign Trump questioned the continued "relevance" of NATO. Characteristically he focused on budget issues and allies' failure to meet the goal figure of 2% if GDP for military expenses (misleadingly depicting investment shortfalls as a betrayal and rip-off of the victimized U.S.). But he did -- to the alarm of many, and probably to Moscow's delight -- express little enthusiasm for the alliance's historical purpose.

The most rational proposition Trump voiced before his election that the U.S. should "get along" with Russia. That is, get along with the so-called adversary. Trump as we all know had been in Russia on business, hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, and maintains interest in building a Trump Tower in the city. He has met and befriended Russian oligarchs. He quite possibly sees Russia as just another country, like Germany or France.

If "the French" had had dirt on Hillary, would it have been okay to "collude" with them to influence the election result? France is, of course, a NATO ally. Would that make it different? Now that the president and his layers are openly questioning whether "collusion", per se, is even illegal, the specific nature of the colluder becomes more relevant.

Russia is an adversary.

Russia is an adversary.

Putin in Helsinki acknowledged to a reporter that he had hoped Trump could win, because he had expressed hope for better relations. He might have added that he dreaded the prospect of a Hillary victory because of her warmongering and characterization of him as a Hitler. Naturally the Russian media favored Trump over Clinton at a certain point when he emerged as a credible candidate. So when Trump on July 27, 2016 called on Russia to release Hillary's missing emails ("if you've got 'em") the Russians probably felt invited to make contact through channels. And when informed that they had dirt, Don Jr. wrote: "If that's what you say, I love it." (Who can blame him?)

Let's say there was some collusion after the June 6 Trump Tower meeting. Trump has suddenly acknowledged that the meeting with the Russians was indeed to "seek political dirt." He adds that this is "totally legal," and this may be true. Some are now saying that Don Jr. may have violated a federal statute (52 USC 30121, 36 USC 5210) forbidding any foreign person to "make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.' and for anyone to knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by [this law]." But the language is vague. If a Canadian speechwriter works gratis for a U.S. political candidate, in order to help him or her win, is this not "a thing of value" intended to affect an election?

If Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner had met with Canadian agents in Trump Tower I doubt there would have been any controversy. The fact is, Trump won the election and many of those stunned by that wish to undermine him using revived Cold War-type Russophobia. They insist: He worked with our adversary to undermine our election. And now they hope they've got him on this charge.

*****

Five years ago a young man named Edward Snowden (now living in forced exile in Russia) revealed to the world the extent of the U.S.'s global surveillance. He showed us how the NSA wiretaps EU meetings, popes' conversations, Angela Merkel's cell phone and maintains metadata on virtually all U.S. residents. He showed us what the contemporary advanced state can do in this respect. We should suppose that Moscow has, if not similar capacity, at least enough expertise to hack into the DNC emails or John Podesta's g-mail account. Is that surprising?

What none of the TV anchors is allowed to say needs to be said again: The U.S. interferes in foreign elections all the time, including Russian ones. It should surprise no one if Russian intelligence responds in kind. The point is not the provenance of the leaked emails but their content.

Those horrified by the leaked material complain that their release was designed to "undermine faith in our democratic system." Really? Don't the workings of the system itself undermine one's faith in it, once they are exposed? Was it adversarial of the leaker to inform us that the DNC had no intention of allowing Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, and thus that the process was rigged? Was it unfriendly to reveal that Podesta was hoping the media would hype Trump, as an easy target for his candidate?

The question that will no doubt be debated in the coming days is whether seeking dirt on a political opponent from any foreigner is indeed illegal, or whether there are specific legal ramifications of meeting with someone from an "adversary" country. But it seems to me that Russia has not been defined as such officially. So we may have a discussion less about legality than the politics of Russophobia.

I am happy to see Trump besieged, rattled, possibly facing impeachment. But to bring him down on the basis of "Russian collusion," on the assumption that Russia is an adversary, would only advantage the warmongers who want no-fly zones over Syria and military support for the Kiev regime against the Donbas separatists. Vice President Pence I believe favors both.

Trump has said that he cannot host Putin in Washington this year, or until the Russian Hoax witch hunt is over. But Putin has invited him to Moscow. One senses he wants some agreements with Trump before he is ousted by his gathering adversaries, including the press, courts, Democrats, select Republicans, turncoat aides and he himself sometimes in his unguarded tweets.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu . Read other articles by Gary .

This article was posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018 at 10:30pm and is filed under (Ex-)Yugoslavia , Chancellor Angela Merkel , Donald Trump , Elections , Espionage/"Intelligence" , Hillary Clinton , Kosovo , Mike Pence , President Vladimir Putin , Russia , Serbia , Ukraine , United States , US Hypocrisy , US Lies .

[Aug 17, 2018] What if Russiagate is the New WMDs

Highly recommended!
In both cases CIA and neocons run the show. But there is new powerful factor: emergence of CIA democrats like Brennan and the conversion of intelligence agencies into political tool, the Cerberus that safeguard the castle of neoliberalism in the USA. The USA people (bottom 90%) be damned.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day. ..."
"... Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times ..."
"... Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs. ..."
"... New York Magazine ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
Aug 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
declared liberal celebrity activist Rosie O'Donnell at a protest in front of the White House last week. "We see it, he can't lie about it," she added. "He is going down and so will all of his administration." "The charge is treason," O'Donnell declared. Protesters held held large letters that spelled it out: " T-R-E-A-S-O-N ."

O'Donnell is by no means alone in her sentiments. Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day.

This kind of partisan religiosity is not new.

In the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, conservative pundit Ann Coulter accused war opponents of " treason " and insisted of Saddam Hussein, "We know he had weapons of mass destruction."

Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times in 2014 were somehow the same thing as the " mushroom cloud " the Bush administration said Saddam was capable of.

Unfortunately for the right (and America, and the world), that premise turned out to be false. There were no WMDs. Today, only a minority of delusional, face-saving hawks and unreconstructed neoconservatives still parrot that lie .

And far from being "traitors," Iraq war opponents today are considered to have been on the right side of history .

John Brennan: Melting Down and Covering Up The Iraq War's Age of Madness

Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.

The post-2016 left's most dominant narrative is arguably their deeply held belief -- with all the ferocity and piety of yesterday's pro-war conservatives -- that Russia colluded with Trump's campaign to undermine the presidential election. Many believe that the president and anyone who supports his diplomatic efforts like Senator Rand Paul are in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies," said Barack Obama in 2008, and he did just that with Putin, as has every other president in recent times .

But Trump-Russia relations have been spun into far-fetched conspiracy theories on the left. New York Magazine 's Jonathan Chait recently went so far as to speculate that Trump has been a Russian agent since 1987 , a cockamamie idea on par with the Weekly Standard 's Stephen Hayes' discredited conspiracy theory that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots .

It really was plausible that Iraq had WMDs in 2003 based on what our intelligence agencies knew, or purported to know. Today, it is feasible that American democracy really has Putin's fingerprints on it based on things revealed by U.S. intelligence.

But isn't it also possible that the left is reading far too much into Russiagate?

The Nation 's Aaron Maté believes liberals are overreaching, and that's putting it mildly:

From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of US government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed. The reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian military-intelligence officers for hacking of Democratic party servers and voter databases is no exception. Mueller's indictment is certainly detailed. Most significantly, it marks the first time anyone has been charged for offenses related to Russiagate's underlying crime.

But while it is a major step forward in the investigation, we have yet to see the basis for the allegations that Mueller has lodged. As with any criminal case, from a petty offense to a cybercrime charge against a foreign government, a verdict cannot be formed in the absence of this evidence.

Then the irony kicks in. Maté continues, "The record of US intelligence, replete with lies and errors, underscores the need for caution. Mueller was a player in one of this century's most disastrous follies when, in congressional testimony, he endorsed claims about Iraqi WMDs and warned that Saddam Hussein 'may supply' chemical and biological material to 'terrorists.'"

Noting Mueller's 2003 WMD testimony is not an attempt to undermine him or his investigation, something Maté also makes clear. But it does serve as an important reminder that "intelligence" can be flat-out wrong. It reminds us how these scenarios, which so much of Washington and the elite class fully endorse, can be looked back on as lapses of reason years later.

Mass psychology is real. Political classes and parties are not immune.

"Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true," Maté asks. "Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country's election can never be justified."

He continues, "But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an 'attack,' even an 'act of war,' are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed."

The U.S. could have certainly used less hyperbole and more sobriety in 2002 and 2003.

And there's good chance that when the history books are written about American politics circa 2018, much of Russiagate will be dismissed as more Red Scare than Red Dawn .

With Russia, as with WMDs, left and right have elevated slivers of legitimate security concerns to the level of existential threat based mostly on their own partisanship. That kind of thinking has already proven to be dangerous.

We don't know what evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia might yet come forth, but it's easy to see how, even if this narrative eventually falls flat, 15 years from now some liberals will still be clinging to Russiagate not as a matter of fact, but political identity. Russia-obsessed liberals, too, could end up on the wrong side of history.

No one can know the future. Republicans would be wise to prepare for new, potentially damaging information about Trump and Russia that may yet emerge.

Democrats should consider that Russiagate may be just as imaginary as Republicans' Iraq fantasy.

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

JLF August 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

All this may be as Hunter would have it. Yet there is the nagging doubt that Trump, who could only find major financing for his enterprises following his last bankruptcy through Putin-controlled banks, could be free of any entangling ties or obligations. And if those doubts prove true, what then?
MM , August 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
From the Nation: "From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of U.S. government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed."

This is a key point, because now Democrats and the most of the Left are ready to embrace a guy like Brennan a.k.a. Mr. Torture, merely because they hate Trump.

I'll also admit to not knowing what's coming in the future, but as of now there's a strong circumstantial case to be made that this reactions to Russian election meddling, which when all was said and done amounted to providing the voting public with the truth about the DNC and its own election-fixing operation, that this reaction is only about losing the 2016 presidential election to a guy who was only given a 1% chance of winning by almost everyone.

Clyde Schechter , , August 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm
This is the most sensible commentary on "Russiagate" I have seen anywhere in a long time.

At present, there is some suggestive evidence in the public arena, but nothing conclusive.

What we probably need, actually, is a moratorium on commentary about this until the investigation reaches its conclusion. That can take a long time. But until then, the endless partisanship-motivated speculation we hear daily is, frankly tiresome.

Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for your temperate perspective on this. I wish this would be the last word on the subject until the investigation ends.

b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm
'"Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.'

I suspect I agree with the author's sentiment, but it is not easy to tell.

Who stands accused? Trump? Russia? Both?

The claim that Trump is colluding with Russia is not the same as the claim that Iraq War opponents were colluding with Saddam Hussein.

The manufactured "Russia!" hysteria campaign orchestrated by the Obama/Clinton Democratic Party leadership, as deplorable and dubious as it might be, has nothing in common with the "5th column" smears Sullivan et.al. were peddling in 2002-2003 and beyond.

The claim that Trump committed "treason" would be legally incorrect on the worst case. Without a formal Congressional declaration of war, we are not at war with Russia, and Russia is not the enemy, no matter how much irresponsible mouthbreathing is broadcast from the biparty Congress members. However corrupt and corrupted Trump may be, corruption does not qualify as treason. If corruption were treason, Congress, in support of Israel and Saudi Arabia at the expense of the US (and certainly not in support of Russia) would be a house of traitors.

In comparison, the claim that opponents of the Iraq war were traitors was not just idiotic, but morally inexcusable. If anybody violated their oath, it was Bush himself, his appointees, and the ranking officers of the US military, for issuing illegal orders and/or following them.

"Russian election meddling" is the new WMD only the extent it is used as a pretext for war against Russia. It is the new "stained dress" in the attempt to challenge the ballot and paralyze an inconvenient President. I have no doubt that the Clintons are corrupt, and the GOP has engaged in many a Congressional effort to "investigate". The Clinton campaign adopted this playbook, and the damage to the Republic done by all is growing every day.

The real corruption here is the pretense that Congress is any better than Trump, that Russian oligarchs have more impact on the eroding Republic than Israeli-American, Saudi and UAE oligarchs, and that the biggest threat to the integrity of our elections and the franchise is Russia, and not the Roberts Court, Democrat apparatchiks like Sunstein, or Republican frauds like Kobach. Both parties are actively conspiring and plotting to make sure our votes are meaningless and cannot harm incumbents and the war profiteering classes, and where there used to be an opposition to illegal war and to oligarchs and plutocrats, there is now willing participation in manufactured hysteria to extend the 2016 campaign indefinitely.

WMDs? The very concept is a scam -- there is nukes, and nothing else. Nuclear arsenals outsized to end us all, and trillion dollar waste to expand them, are the tie that binds the US and Russia, and I suspect that Russia would be a lot more rational about reducing those arsenals than the US. If the author wants to worry about ending up on the wrong side of history, he should stop worrying about partisan points and focus. Politics is not a team sports, and anybody who picks a favorite is a failure as a citizen. Nobody who wants power is suitable for it.

b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm
Ask yourself, if Saddam Hussein had had "WMD" -- say, some of those chemical and biological stocks Reagan envoy Rumsfeld helpfully provided to Saddam Hussein -- would that have made the Iraq invasion legal, right just, necessary, successful? Or if Powell's little phials and mobile weapons labs actually existed?

Heck, let's say Saddam managed to make actual nukes out of tubes that weren't and yellowcake that wasn't. North Korea has nukes. Does that make invasion and aggressive war legal, right, just necessary, successful?

WMD or not was a lie wrapped within a deception inside a fraud. That's the one thing that it has in common with "Russiagate". Every layer, every aspect of it is a lie, a distraction, and everybody -- Trump included -- is perpetuating the hysteria for their own benefit. The stupidity of it is only barely rivaled by the mendacity.

Stavros , , August 16, 2018 at 3:17 pm
Trump is proving to be the Republican Alger Hiss. The partisanship of 1948 quickly crystallized into pro- and anti-Hiss camps in which the then limited evidence was trumped by ideology. It was not until the Verona tapes were released in the early 1990s that Hiss was proven to be guilty. Had Nixon and his allies called for a special prosecutor in 1948 and the facts both open and classified been examined intensely, Hiss would never have become the progressive Victim that he was to be for over thirty years. Ditto with Trump. Absent Mueller's investigation, these accusations against Trump (and I believe them to have serious weight and substance as well as potential for policy changes to prevent election fraud) would be mere ideological shrapnel to be argued over for another thirty years. Let the investigations proceed unimpeded and a final accounting be published at the very least for the sanity and integrity of the Republic. Don't let Trump become the Right's Alger Hiss.
b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm
In other words, let's imagine that Putin has really tried to change election results. Let's imagine that Trump really has been bribed by Russian oligarchs.

Is that why we are at this juncture? Is that why Congress has not served the People and upheld the Constitution in decades? Is that why citizens and voters lose trust in our institutions, and doubt election results?

Really?

We cannot even own up to our own mistakes, our own greed, our own malignancy. We have to blame it not on our "business partners" and "allies" and their hundreds of billions of dollars of arms purchases, we will blame it on Russia.

How small we have become.

It is not just Trump, it is Congress. It is not just this administration and this Congress, it is the previous ones, and the ones before it, and so on.

The point is not whether or not the "Russia!" hysteria and the allegations against Trump are accurate or not. The point is that, in comparison to everything else, it would just be more of the same, and we brought it upon ourselves.

Regime change begins at home.

Sisera , , August 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm
@Collin-
Isn't it extremely Orwellian to say that 'information isn't really information/should be censored or disregarded if it comes from a subversive (Russia) source'?

Naturally, it allows for a very easy way to control and censor information.

Now, as far as pure security threats, aside from information that should've been public anyway, experts deem that the DNC information came from on site:

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

Now this is also an appeal to authority, but VIPs has a better track record and I've seen them actually elaborate on their claims, not just assert them.

[Aug 17, 2018] Lavrov Brilliantly Dissects Western Lies And Manipulations On The False Flag And Skripals

Lavrov suggests that Skripals were intentionally poisoned by BZ which temporary disable a person (for approx 4 days) and Novichok was injected in samples to implicate Russia. He impliedly suggests that this was a false flag operation.
Notable quotes:
"... First, US sanctions against Russia, then the Skripals mystery, and last the Attack at Syria....What the masters of the world trying do??? ..."
"... I'm an American. I'm disgusted with the mafia cartel bankrupt corporation that masquerades as the government. I don't like or trust any government but after listening to this guy, he certainly comes across as way more trustworthy than anyone puppet we have in the Trump regime. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Maria Kuzali , 4 months ago

First, US sanctions against Russia, then the Skripals mystery, and last the Attack at Syria....What the masters of the world trying do???

Off Grid Nation , 4 months ago

I'm an American. I'm disgusted with the mafia cartel bankrupt corporation that masquerades as the government. I don't like or trust any government but after listening to this guy, he certainly comes across as way more trustworthy than anyone puppet we have in the Trump regime. #IDONOTCONSENT

shaughn fourie , 4 months ago

THANK YOU RUSSIA IN PARTICULAR PRESIDENT PUTIN AND LAVROV BOTH GOOD INTELLIGENT AND DECENT MEN

shaughn fourie , 4 months ago

MACRON TRUMP AND MAY ARE MURDERERS......THANK YOU ASSAD AND RUSSIA AND KURDISH PEOPLE FOR TRULY STANDING UP FOR CIVILISED VALUES

James Australian , 4 months ago (edited)

need to stop the tyrants to prevent the fall of Damascus.. Must not let them kill Mr Assad.

zac anthony , 4 months ago

I believe in Russia more than our gov we are being led

Luboš Lier , 4 months ago

Russia just needs to give Syria couple of tactical nukes. And the peace in Syria is assured...

haithem ali , 4 months ago

Sometimes he continues talking without look at paper..... bcs he say true.... and USA, BRITAIN and France cant do that bcs they are lying and scared if they will say something wrong.

[Aug 17, 2018] It is quite interesting how many uninformed posters and/or trolls would love to find a way to show the Russiagate nonsense is somehow plausible in spite of the evidence

Notable quotes:
"... They're kind of like a five year old child who desperately wants to keep believing in Santa Claus, even though he just found dad's Santa costume in the closet and he's holding it in his own hands. ..."
"... Sorry, but two years into this we should be way beyond this kind of – "I can't believe Santa's not real"- denying, dissembling, rationalizing nonsense. Then again, this is America. ..."
"... America is after all a country in which half the population believe in the creation myth. ..."
"... "Two years after the Iraq War began, 70 per cent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks, according to a Washington Post survey." The Big Lie works, and since Obama gutted Smith-Mundt, the CIA/ State Department can legally keep Americans tracking on their propaganda narratives. ..."
"... I agree with Lawrences point that this is an issue of social psychology. Rational argument over the facts is simply over taken by some kind of mass hysteria. There certainly precedent for this kind of behavior. Indeed this was described in 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' 180 years ago. In my lifetime I have witnessed two episodes of this kind of mass hysteria. The first was the red scare of the early 1950's (I not so much witnessed that as experienced it) and the second was the day care hysteria of satanic cults abusing our children that flared between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now this is a third manifestation of mass hysteria. ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Gary Weglarz August 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm

It is quite interesting how many uninformed posters and/or trolls would love to find a way to show the "Russiagate" nonsense is somehow plausible in spite of the evidence. They're kind of like a five year old child who desperately wants to keep believing in Santa Claus, even though he just found dad's Santa costume in the closet and he's holding it in his own hands.

I will say that the amount of mental gymnastics required to continue not believing evidence that is right in front of one's eyes is quite impressive – but I'd never underestimate the American people's creativity when they want to maintain their illusions/delusions. And I'd certainly never underestimate the Russiagate troll army's persistence.

At this rate I expect to soon encounter some version of the following "observation" in the comments section for this article: – "maybe space aliens hired by the Russians downloaded the files to a to a new fangled thig-a-ma-jig and then shape-shifted so Craig Murray would be fooled into thinking a real-like-human insider provided him the files on a flash drive." – "oh, oh, wait, maybe the aliens abducted Murray too, and then just made him "think" a fellow human gave him the drive in person." "yeah, yeah, and maybe Assange just says he didn't get the files from the Russians because "he's a space alien too." "Yeah, prove to me that it didn't happen this way – you can't – ha! there! I win!"

Sorry, but two years into this we should be way beyond this kind of – "I can't believe Santa's not real"- denying, dissembling, rationalizing nonsense. Then again, this is America.

Reply

GM , August 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

America is after all a country in which half the population believe in the creation myth.

jeff montanye , August 17, 2018 at 7:11 am

but if i had to bet, the creationists are less likely to believe in Russiagate than the evolutionists.

Just Plain Scott , August 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Please don't give Rachel Maddow any more ideas.

michael , August 15, 2018 at 6:06 am

"Two years after the Iraq War began, 70 per cent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks, according to a Washington Post survey." The Big Lie works, and since Obama gutted Smith-Mundt, the CIA/ State Department can legally keep Americans tracking on their propaganda narratives.

ToivoS , August 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

I agree with Lawrences point that this is an issue of social psychology. Rational argument over the facts is simply over taken by some kind of mass hysteria. There certainly precedent for this kind of behavior. Indeed this was described in 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' 180 years ago. In my lifetime I have witnessed two episodes of this kind of mass hysteria. The first was the red scare of the early 1950's (I not so much witnessed that as experienced it) and the second was the day care hysteria of satanic cults abusing our children that flared between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now this is a third manifestation of mass hysteria.

It all began with Hillary's shocking defeat. Many millions of her supporters knew that she was so good that she had to win. But then she lost. Those millions of Democrats could not accept that in fact their assessment of her talents were totally wrong and that she lost because she has to be one of the worst candidates in American history. That is a reality those people refused to accept. Instead they had to concoct some crazy conspiracy to explain their break with reality. This is a classic case of cognitive dissonance which often leads to mass hysteria.

GM , August 14, 2018 at 5:01 pm

People choose to believe what they feel that they most need to believe to assuage their insecurities fostered by what they perceive to be the dangerous and scary world in which they exist. The simple fact that we know that life is finite by the time we're three years old fosters the creation of such constructs as that of the myth of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven complete with a mortgage-free condo and an extra parking space for all repentant sinners are mainstream beliefs.

Rob Roy , August 14, 2018 at 11:07 pm

ToivoS, you are right about Hillary. She simply couldn't accept her defeat. She was the one who began Russiagate by the lie, "17 intelligence agencies" said the Russians hacked the emails.
As for times of mass-swallowing of a lie in the 1930s every German thought that Poland was about to invade Germany and they were scared so much that they believed their leaders who "false flagged" them into invading Poland "first." Of course, Poland had no intention of invading Germany.
Notice every time the US attacks another sovereign country, there's a false flag waved for the citizens to follow?
Don't you appreciate that we have consortiumnews?

[Aug 07, 2018] Truth Decay: Living in the Age of the Big Lie

Notable quotes:
"... constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment. ..."
"... Genetically Modified Canola 'Escapes' Farm Fields, August 6, 2010 ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Living in the Age of the Big Lie" [Stephen Gold, Industry Week ]. Gold is President and Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI):

All this has created the potential for an American cultural crisis of distrust, authoritatively captured in two recently published analyses.

In "Truth Decay," [cute! –lambert] the RAND Corporation lays the blame for the deteriorating role of facts and data in public life on four primary causes:

1. The rise of social media
2. An overtaxed educational system that cannot keep up with changes in the "information ecosystem"
3. Political and social polarization
4. And -- perhaps due to all of these factors -- the increasing tendency of individuals to create their own subjective social reality, otherwise known as "cognitive bias."

"The Death of Truth" by Pulitzer-Prize winning book critic Michiko Kakutani explores the waning of integrity in American society, particularly since the 2016 elections. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's observation that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts," is more timely than ever, Kakutani says: "polarization has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts." And no wonder: Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news through social media -- a platform that has been overwhelmed by trolls and bots, and which uses algorithms to decide what each of us gets to see.

Executives ignore the cultural shift away from honesty at their peril.

Social media has its own problems, gawd knows -- break them up and outlaw the algos, and they'd be a lot more like the public utilities they should really be -- but it's amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama's "hope and change" campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession. The official narrative and its maintainers didn't lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system.

Grassroots and/or AstroTurf?

Our Famously Free Press

"The Press Doesn't Cause Wars -- Presidents Do" [ The Atlantic ] • One of a ginormous steaming load of revisionist and defensive articles prompted by Trump's tweet that the press can "causes War." Anyone who was present for the build up to the Iraq War knows that Trump's claim is true; in fact, the "media critique" that began then was prompted by the Iraq WMDs scam, in which the press -- *** cough *** Judy Miller ***cough*** -- was not merely compliant or complicitous, but active and vociferous, especially in shunning and shaming skeptics. Of course, everybody who was wrong about Iraq was wrong in the right way, so they all still have jobs (David Frum, Bush speechwriter and Hero of the Resistance, at the Atlantic, among hundreds of others). So revisionist history is very easy for them to write.

Class Warfare

"The New Class-Blindness" [ Law and Political Economy ]. "It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do . Some judges -- even some Supreme Court Justices -- have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit reached this conclusion a few years ago in the Whole Woman's Health case, in which it asserted that judges could consider only obstacles created by "the law itself" when determining whether a law unduly burdens the right to abortion -- a category that excluded obstacles such as lack of transportation, childcare, days off from work, and money for overnight stays. When Whole Woman's Health reached the Supreme Court, some of the Justices (in dissent) expressed support for this approach."

"Vermont's Striking Nurses Want A Raise for Nonunion Workers Too" [ Labor Notes ]. "Yet when 1,800 nurses and technical staff struck for better wages July 12-13 at the state's second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the people of Burlington came out in force to back them up. 'We had policemen and firefighters and UPS drivers pulling over and shaking our hands' on the picket line, said neurology nurse Maggie Belensz. 'We had pizza places dropping off dozens of pizzas, giving out free ice cream.' And when a thousand people marched from the hospital through Burlington's downtown, 'we had standing ovations from people eating their dinners,' she said. 'It was a moving experience.' One reason for such wide support: these hospital workers aren't just demanding a raise themselves. They're also calling for a $15 minimum wage for their nonunion co-workers, such as those who answer the phones, mop the floors, cook the food, and help patients to the bathroom."

"What Are Capitalists Thinking?" [Michael Tomaskey, New York Times ]. "I write today with some friendly advice for the capitalist class about said socialists. You want fewer socialists? Easy. Stop creating them . I understand completely why it's happening. Given what's been going on in this country, it couldn't not have happened. And if you're a capitalist, you'd better try to understand it, too -- and do something to address the very legitimate grievances that propelled it." • Finally, reality begins to penetrate the thickened craniums of the better sort of liberal

"In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream" [Frank Rich, New York Magazine ]. (The "American Dream" being one of the official narratives.) "It's not hard to pinpoint the dawn of this deep gloom: It arrived in September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers kicked off the Great Recession that proved to be a more lasting existential threat to America than the terrorist attack of seven Septembers earlier. The shadow it would cast is so dark that a decade later, even our current run of ostensible prosperity and peace does not mitigate the one conviction that still unites all Americans: Everything in the country is broken. Not just Washington, which failed to prevent the financial catastrophe and has done little to protect us from the next, but also race relations, health care, education, institutional religion, law enforcement, the physical infrastructure, the news media, the bedrock virtues of civility and community. Nearly everything has turned to crap, it seems ." • Ditto


Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Computer glitch? Well, who programmed the computer and who paid 'em? Follow the money, and you'll find that it leads back to Wells Fargo.

sierra7 , August 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm

"We ("They") Were Doing God's Work" LLoyd Blankfein then head of Goldman Sachs in his testimony to Congress on " .what went wrong".

nippersdad , August 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm

I think I would put it much earlier than that. Anyone who watched Newt Gingrich during his Contract on America days, who watched Max Cleland be attacked by Saxby Chambliss, who watched as Clinton deregulated the media in favor of Rupert Murdoch even as they slagged him, knew something was afoot.

Integrity has been in short supply ever since.

foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:18 pm

How about going back a bit further,
Carter, put a sweater on.
Reagan, put it on the credit card.

cm , August 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Shenzhen Tech Girl Naomi Wu

informative post spelling out that China is still a repressive government in ways that Americans often cannot relate.

Carey , August 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Tomasky at NYT:

"I have mixed feelings about this socialism boomlet. It has yet to prove itself politically viable in general elections outside a handful of areas, and by 2021 we could wake up and see that it's been a disaster for Democrats."

What is a Democrat? Are they inherently good? Is failing the Democrats OK, if doing so improves the lives of the 90%?

pretzelattack , August 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I would say it is required.

Pat , August 6, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Mr. Tomasky seems to have missed that Democrats throwing out the concerns of the working class to court wealthy donors for its Clintonian politics boomlet has been distinctly, well not all that long term politically viable. It has been a disaster for the Democrats. There were signs prior to 2000, but it took starting an unpopular and largely unsuccessful war and attempting to undermine Social Security for the Democrats to make a come back. That their success was pretty much over by 2010, with the exception of the Presidency is very clear in the massive loss of Governorships, State Houses and yes Congress leading up to the 2016 debacle when they foolishly nominated the Grand Dame of that 'can't give me lots of money – suck on it' political position to be their Presidential nominee.

But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative meant to convince the rubes to continue voting for polticians who have no interest in their concerns because of the right pronouns and Russia!

Carey , August 6, 2018 at 6:16 pm

All well said. I wonder also about who is included in Tomasky's "we".

Class class class

nothing but the truth , August 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Truth Decay

The biggest cause is spin , that has become an art form, a business and career path.

Telling the truth in public is an invitation to cut short your career. The only time when officials tell the truth is when they are comfortably retired.

Especially with economists and journalists (the conscience keepers), it is not so important what they are saying, but why they are saying it (basically lack of trust in the narrator).

jsn , August 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm

I can't remember who it was, someone like Art Buchwald or Molly Ivins way back, who said "a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth."

Craig H. , August 6, 2018 at 5:15 pm

I personally blame Bill Clinton. The turning point was the report that he told Lewinsky "deny deny deny there's nothing they can do."

Which is true but that was the point in the timeline when a critical mass of people began to live like that. Or when it became obvious to me. Perhaps it was exactly like that for a long time before and it is not BC's fault.

Synapsid , August 6, 2018 at 3:39 pm

It's cheering that coal shipment and use in the US has declined. The good news for our coal industry is that coal exports January to June 2018 have risen, in particular to Africa, Asia (largely to India which is voracious) and South America.

The current Administration can thank the previous one for increasing our capacity to export coal, I believe.

Tom Stone , August 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Sarah Jeong is a piece of work, is her desk next to Judy Miller's?
Good grief, the cultural differences between different parts of SE Asian Countries can be profound let alone the cultural differences between countries.
I'm reminded of a boss who told me that monopolies increase competition, with a straight face.

Carey , August 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm

My impression is that Ms. Jeong's job is and will be to start plenty of cultural "fires", so
that while the citizenry is distracted with them, the looting and pillaging of the many by the few can continue.

jsn , August 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm

" the significant benefits that Federal Reserve independence brings." For whom?

diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Re: Mastodon

You can simply "unpin" the columns you don't want to see.

diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 4:21 pm

But to answer the question you actually asked the Federated timeline includes your local timeline, which itself includes your home timeline. So if you want to see it all, just use the federated timeline. If you only want to see people you follow, use the home timeline, etc.

Montanamaven , August 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm

How do you start? What "instances" would be a good fit?

Lee , August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Re Sarah Jeong

What's an Asian woman doing criticizing a white guy for commenting on a predominantly, but not exclusively, black art form? I mean, why is she even speaking English and how about that name Sarah for an egregious example of cultural appropriation? And, as I have previously queried on this site: how is it even permissible for Yo-Yo Ma to play Bach on the cello? And in case you ask: yes, identity politics has finally driven me insane. Or is it they who are mad?

fresno dan , August 6, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Lee
August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Actually, after I read the below, I'm kinda warming to her ..

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/welcome-to-bad-faith/

She (Sarah Jeong) wrote: "After a bad day, some people come home and kick the furniture. I get on the Internet and make fun of The New York Times." "I don't feel safe in a country that is led by someone who takes Thomas Friedman seriously." "Hannah Rosin shatters ceiling by proving women writers can be as hackish as Tom Friedman, too." "[David] Brooks is an absolute nitwit tho." "Notajoke: I'm being forced to read Nicholas Kristof. This is the worst." "if I had a bajillion dollars, I'd buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman ."

curlydan , August 6, 2018 at 5:34 pm

combining the articles, it sounds like she's got a lot of opinions. Good for an aspiring pundit but also opening herself up for a greater possibility of errors.

WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 6:59 pm

I'd buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman ."

Ah, but you"ll have to scheme to have a cabbie deliver the news. Otherwise, he wouldn't believe it.

sleepy , August 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm

it's amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama's "hope and change" campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession.

Good list to which I would add the Katrina debacle.

Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm

One for the thumb!

jonhoops , August 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

9-11 anyone? Of course we should probably go back to at least Nov. 1963

foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:28 pm

We probably should, but then you're just a conspiracy theorist.
Ya big dummy.

foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:48 pm

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DXY02Qkuc_f8&ved=2ahUKEwj61Jru2tncAhUJLKwKHYx6CZYQwqsBMAZ6BAgKEBE&usg=AOvVaw3Qc0sJeXBikn0l5vC9T388

Unless of course all the SS guys are riding on the VP limo.

fresno dan , August 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

The New Class-Blindness" [Law and Political Economy]. "It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do . Some judges -- even some Supreme Court Justices -- have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment.
================
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. Anatole France

flora , August 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Note to Frank Rich: Read Simon Johnson's 2009 Atlantic Magazine essay 'The Quiet Coup'.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/

He saw what would happen if the US govt didn't clean up the TBTF banks, Wall St., and other financial perps. This still needs to happen.

knowbuddhau , August 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Huh, you say that as if USG, TBTF, Wall St, other fin perps weren't all the same. /s

zagonostra , August 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Russia,Russia,Russia.

Not much concern over the disconnect between voter preference and policy outcome which was documented in the 2014 Gilens/Benjamin study or Jimmy Carter statement that the U.S. is a defacto oligarchy, or the massive voter fraud that is part and parcel of our voting system (see https://www.gregpalast.com/ ), or the disclosure of HRC/DNC collusion documented in wiki leaks and Donna Brasil's "tell all book", not much concern their at all.

Do you find it curious this obsession of the MSM with Russia meddling in our elections?

Montanamaven , August 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm

A compilation on Rachel Maddow and how many times she mentions Russia in ONE show on March 9 Russia, Russia, Russia

Richard , August 6, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Hilarious and mind-blowing.

Hameloose Cannon , August 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

"Do you find it curious this obsession [ ] w/ Russia meddling [ ]?" The Russian meddling isn't the curious part; Russia tries it in every election west of the river Pina. The abnormal part is a sitting US President, on Twitter, accused his son of a felony aka violating 52 U.S. Code § 30121 (a)(2), soliciting contributions [things of value] from a foreign national. Talk about "Blue on Blue" fire. Nothing "friendly" about that. Especially given the prima facie evidence of violating 18 U.S. Code § 3, accessory after the fact, by dictating Don the Younger's response to the story.

diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 4:17 pm

I read the book Q a couple of years ago. It's real good. Especially if you're into the gory details of European religious history. There's a lot of things they didn't mention in my confirmation classes

Synoia , August 6, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Social media has its own problems, gawd knows The official narrative and its maintainers didn't lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system

Well said. The official narrative, the swamp, is very good at blaming effects and ignoring causes.

Hiding , August 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Qanon seems like a honeypot site(s) for retribution futures. Read anything, go into a database for future reference. Unz and others have likely multiple uses and followers, NOC/NotForAttribution and other.

a different chris , August 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Agree with the disagreement over the list. However, this underlies so many, maybe all problems and nobody is seemingly going to clean it up:

>An overtaxed educational system

JTMcPhee , August 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

On decline in coal shipments: look what is happening elsewhere! "Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity!", https://qz.com/680661/germany-had-so-much-renewable-energy-on-sunday-that-it-had-to-pay-people-to-use-electricity/ "Power too cheap to meter," just like nuclear was promised to be! And that is an old 2016 article. I saw another piece, I believe in Business Insider or Bloomberg, complaining that the big energy companies are facing "profit stress" because of grid-ties from solar and wind requiring them to pay people for energy in excess of the load. And having, gasp! to shut down coal fired plants, each closure being a pretty expensive anti-profit center! I would tend to think of it being a re-internalization of costs that the power companies have dumped on us (health effects from heavy metal and carcinogen emissions, smog, CO2/climate interruption. Too bad the paybacks won't come from clawbacks of CEO paydays or any of the lobbying money spent to bribe legislatures, deceive the public/consumers, spent on getting legislative approval for nuclear power plants that WILL NEVER BE BUILT like Duke Energy has done (and besides, they get to cllect a billion or more from customers to "pay for" those plants that will never be built. Kind of like an ISDS "judgment" in favor of a megacorporation because 'regulation and market conditions' impaired said corporations' "expectations of profit "

Of course, windmills built to a price are not infallible, either: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSB1SdVHqQ

I have to add, adding it all up and looking around, "Effing stupid humans," to get to this point

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 6, 2018 at 5:27 pm

And beyond this point, more ***ing stupid humans thanks to, well, population growth.

That would be a problem in any system – capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.

ewmayer , August 6, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Well, that green-energy surfeit may have something to do with the combination of a record-smashing heat wave in a country where A/C systems have not been needed at scale, historically speaking. But good on them if they are in fact doing it sustainably.

David , August 6, 2018 at 4:41 pm

. and could provide some relief to North American farmers just as Chinese tariffs are sapping demand for soybeans and other crops.

From the USDA's Export Sales Query System

Soybeans (in Metric Tons) for the week of 7/26/2018,

Country – 2018 Exports / 2017 Exports

China – 186 / 73,314

Korea – 59,999 / 0
Japan – 72,120 / 7,758
Taiwan – 86,441 / 3,853

Grand Total for the week – 856,438 / 637,737

JTMcPhee , August 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Of course, a good bit of that "trade" includes genetically modified soybeans. Monsanto is happy to sell their "intellectual property," immune from consequence of course, pure profit all the way down.

And of course there are NO POSSIBLE RISKS OR CONCERNS about the propagation of gene-fiddled stuff like soybeans and canola, " Genetically Modified Canola 'Escapes' Farm Fields,
August 6, 2010
, https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129010499 , just for example, I mean it's not like the World Health Organization has not kind of flagged some things that "policymakers" might want to keep in mind when confronted by the Cropporate Corrupters wanting to peddle their 'risk free innovations:'

"Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods
May 2014

These questions and answers have been prepared by WHO in response to questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified food." http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/

"Do not worry, meine liebchen -- we do this for your own good "

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 6, 2018 at 5:54 pm

That's one more thing to ban – GM soybeans.

And growth hormone beef that's another.

JohnnyGL , August 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/medicare-save-businesses-trillions-dollars-190500400.html

Posting this because sometimes it's more about WHO is saying it, rather than what is being said. It's not often I look at a Rick Newman column and say, 'wow, he's really making a strong case'.

Tectonic plates of politics are shifting.

Randy , August 6, 2018 at 5:26 pm

Salmonella in chickens.

The chickens are raised covered in their own filth and along with the filth comes salmonella. They attempt to contain the infection with antibiotics.

And if the conditions in the "chicken factory" aren't filthy enough the slaughterhouse ensures that the end product comes with salmonella by running the line speed so fast that punctured intestines insure that the end product comes out covered in salmonella-containing fecal matter. Which they try to contain with a chlorine bath.

If you like eating chicken shite eat store chicken. If you don't, and if you can, raise your own. Raising chickens for meat is a lot of work but they taste better and you won't be eating chicken shite.

WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Or quit eating meat.

Polar Donkey , August 6, 2018 at 5:49 pm

Jeez, Frank Rich needs to get out of New York City more. Everything has been completely broke around Memphis since 2006. It just mostly broke before that.

Polar Donkey , August 6, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Was it Trump's election, the rise of Bernie/AOC, Obama's $32 million worth of post-presidency houses, 60,000 people dying from opiods, or the broken subways in NYC that caused Frank Rich's awakening?

WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 6:40 pm

More likely a dollar sliding down the sidewalk

Glen , August 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

"Obama didn't cause that broken spirit any more than Trump did."

Obama made it perfectly clear that the Democratic party was going to do nothing to correct 2008. Instead he put the very same people that wrecked the world economy back in charge. I will no longer vote for the "have no alternative" Democrat. I will vote for those that are going to enact the polices that will fix this mess. If that means we get twenty Trumps a row – so be it.

Bernie would have won.

anon , August 6, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Re: On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 , and this excerpt from that Associated Press link:

The jobs data shows an economy that is as fractured as the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As more money pools in corporate hubs such as Houston, San Francisco or Seattle , prosperity spills over less and less to smaller towns and cities in America's interior. That would seem to undercut what Trump sees as a central accomplishment of his administration – job creation for middle class and blue-collar workers in towns far removed from glitzy urban centers.

Looking at those cities noted, especially Seattle and San Francisco – both of which now have an inhuman level of inequality and homelessness -- a further dive into the details is necessary.

Specifically, are those job gains ™ out of state imported employees from: Ivy League Schools (predominately under 26, mostly white males from elite families); along with H-1B, and Opt Program imported employees (predominately under 26, mostly males from mostly upper middle class Asian families, paid far, far less than those Ivy Leaguers) [1]; while the displaced unemployed -- yet, highly qualified for employment -- residents in those cities are continually being forced out (if they can afford the move and have somewhere they are able to move to), or made homeless.

[1] Admittedly, I'm not sure whether they are included in those job gains, but if the job gains are based on ADP reports, it might well be likely that they are; of course a search on two search sites brought up no answer to my query.

Daryl , August 6, 2018 at 6:08 pm

> Mastodon users?

I find Mastodon's user interface to be fairly unintuitive myself. Presumably it would be possible to make your own "mixed" view as it's open source and based on open protocols, but not sure if Mastodon supports it out of the box.

lyman alpha blob , August 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm

How does Mastodon work?

By rocking until you can't take it anymore.

Instructional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFop1gTbaj8

And their drummer is a monster!

Or did you mean the Mastodon platform ?

Sorry Lambert, couldn't help myself Just saw this band recently and they are tremendous.

Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Fun tutorial, lyman!

ChrisPacific , August 6, 2018 at 6:26 pm

Re: Indivisible

AOC is one of their candidates, as are Cynthia Nixon, Ayana Pressley etc. There is a prevalence of Democrat buzzwords, but I think they are aiming to be agnostic regarding left factions:

We're excited to make gains in 2018, but Indivisible 435 isn't just about notching wins. Our organization is not a wing of the Democratic party. While we care deeply about electing officials to oppose the Trump agenda, we care just as much building a strong progressive community nationwide and pushing the conversation back to the interests of the people.

This would be well off message for establishment Democrats.

I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, but still watch what they do.

Pat , August 6, 2018 at 6:51 pm

I would posit that most of the job gains in the last decade maybe even two were probably in areas that voted for Clinton. That the Texas boom and the oil boom in the Dakota's were exceptions not the rule. I would also posit that the few Trump areas that did see job growth in that decade saw that growth in minimum wage low to no benefit jobs. (That last one wasn't much of a stretch since that has been the majority of jobs created during both the Bush 2 and Obama administration.)

Summer , August 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Maybe They Could Invent Houses" [Eschaton]. • After having invented the bodega, the bus

More like an "Appartment"?

drumlin woodchuckles , August 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Sarah Jeong . . . hmmm . . .

Things like this have led me to comment in the past and every comment on this particular subject has failed to print. I figure I am tripping some kind of auto-filter.

So I will try again with indirect spelling.

We need a new word for this sort of thing. It would emerge from the new acronym we need.
The letters would be . . . arrr peee ohhh ceee
that stands for . . . rayciss purrsuns ovv cuhluhr.

The Rev Kev , August 6, 2018 at 7:36 pm

"Dockless bike, scooter firms clash with U.S. cities over regulations"

I have a solution to these tech-companies which strew towns and cities with their bikes without coordinating or even asking to enter such a town and let the town try to adapt to their needs. It is called an impound lot. You have city workers pick them up and cart them there. If that company wants their bikes back again, they will have to pay to spring them from the lot. Rinse and repeat until that tech company gets the message. If that tech company doubles down, announce a $5 bounty for any bike driven to the impound lot till the company is ready to negotiate.

drumlin woodchuckles , August 6, 2018 at 8:51 pm

Disrupt the disrupters.

Disruptive law-enforcement.

beth , August 6, 2018 at 8:05 pm

"How a Pair of Kentucky Pols Are About to Legalize Hemp"

Please help me here. Hemp can be sold in all 50 states. The 2014 Farm bill allowed each state to decide whether hemp oil could be sold for medicinal purposes w/i that year. My first package sent to me was from a reputable company and was mailed through Amazon from Kentucky. I was experiencing severe pain and now have a better alternative.

CalypsoFacto , August 6, 2018 at 8:58 pm

I am also hoping for this bill so I can get into hemp processing for fibers into fabric!

The Rev Kev , August 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm

"How to keep young people from fleeing small towns for big cities"

Not so hard. See that there are jobs for them. You cannot do much in modern society without money and a job provides this. A job provides dignity, discipline and the money it provides lets a young person to satisfy not only their needs but many of their wants as well. It is hard for a young guy to take a girl out but having no money to do so and a job's money will help a couple set up a household and marry and have children. The drop in marriage rates as well as the birthrate speaks volumes of the lack of decent paying jobs for young people, even those that have achieved credential