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The Iron Law of Oligarchy

"Who says organization, says oligarchy"

Version 1.5 (Jan 5, 2021)

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
The importance of controlling the narrative New American Caste System  American Exceptionalism Amorality of neoliberal elite Neo-fascism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult What's the Matter with Kansas
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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 an 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 more current and more correct term is  "nomenklatura". It was derived from the USSR  history and was an actual, semi-official term used to define unaccountable Communist party and top management of Soviet industry as well as their extended families.

The process of "crystallization" of  "Nomenklatura" in large organizations, parties and government agencies (such as the State Department, CIA, etc) 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 not 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).

Effective administration requires both hard-to-gain, specialized knowledge of well hidden 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. Only few people naturally have (or can acquire) such capabilities, and some of them happen to be in a right time at the right place to be promoted to the top

So power in large organizations based on democratic principle, and that are ruled by the elected leadership, such as parties, trade unions gradually tend to concentrated at the top with the same leaders elected again and again.  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, a 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. 

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

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.

Neoliberalism extrapolates the concept of alpha male in primates to human societies.  Like feudalism it creates unaccountable elite that is above the law.

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; in the two last cases the role of CIA in their elevation is unclear and might well be decisive).

That means that those individuals who have the most of the qualities we would like to have ourselves,  the most organizational talent, can advance into elite, given persistence and luck. Or, those days,  individuals with the initial affiliation with the "Deep State" (the core of which are national intelligence agencies) 

Iron law of oligarchy sees 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 qualities.

The elite is (at least initially) a minority set off from the masses by the possession of some prized qualities.

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 creators of the first democracy. For example, Plato put forth an unabashed apology for political rule by intellectual elites.

Speaking 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 far from 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 the different parts of the "elite", different factions,  exist is this own social "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 is, by definition, a group that dominates/control 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 with gerontocracy) 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.  Moreover the political elite policies are always pro-elite, not so much pro-people.  Imperial ambitions of the USA political elite in this area is a pretty convincing example. Only due to them Pentagon gets over trillion dollar annual budget and there are talks about cutting Social Security to feed military industrial complex better.

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 on radical organization

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 initially is with time it becomes less radical. This trend was reflected in the old European saying "Social democrat who became a minister is  not a social-democratic minister".

Not only hieratical structure spontaneously emerges in large organizations, the elite itself gradually, with time became more moderate and more corrupt.  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 initially is with time it becomes 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 sad trend, up to and including the total betrayal of the interests of rank-and-file members, is observable in the US trade union movement.

Still the most drastic example is the compete betrayal of the rank-and-file members was the betrayal of the "Communist ideals" by the USSR Nomenklatura: members of the Politburo, KGB brass,  administrative and academic elite of the USSR. In 70 years they went from radical left wing neo-theocratic sect into a bunch of corrupt neoliberals (essentially turncoats)  ready to fleece the country and sell its industry, natural resources and infrastructure for pennies on the dollar to Western countries as long as at least one penny ends in their own pocket.  And some leaders of Young Communist League seamlessly turned into gangster-style capitalists in no time (Khodorkovsky). The level of corruption of academics was also very notable and not less staggering (Arbatov, Berezovsky, etc). The USSR academic elite even provided its share of gangster-style capitalists (Berezovsky).

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 the existence of the  "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 the "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 typically reflected in the unforgettable words of Russian Prime minister Chernomyrdin about Russian Perestroika. Which while idiomatic has approximately the following implied meaning  “Everybody wanted improvements in the standards of living and in governance, but the net result we got is even worse than it was before..."  (in the Economist translation “We wanted to do our best, but got the usual crappy results.” ―  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. and this there is an internal struggle within the elite (see Russiagate and Ukrainegate). It also can take the violent forms (JFK assassination by CIA brass; Yeltsin shelling of Russian Parliament, Ukrainian Euromaidan, etc.) 

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 like 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.  This is the case for the US neoliberal elite, the core of which is the financial oligarchy.

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 so much on the level of single political parties or other organization.  For example neoliberal elite in the USA unleashed vicious campaign for the redistribution profits up since 1980 and managed to substantially lower the standard of living of working lass and lower middle class (while rapaciously enriching themselves), as well as to eliminate large swats of well paying jobs via outsourcing and offshoring.  They also decimated social security mechanisms introduced by the New Deal, and converted  a large part of work form to perma-temps. As the result they got Trump elected in 2016 and some period of time because they coerced him they lived in fear that their crimes might be exposed.  That's why Russiagate was launched.

Iron law of oligarchy, in a way, can be viewed as a "backdoor" way of introduction of the idea of class society in sociology postulating on a different basis than Marxism the idea that the upper class always 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. The waist of money on foreign military adventures beneficial for financial oligarchy and MIC is simply astronomical (Pentagon alone consumes over trillion dollars of taxpayer money). This is quite an achievement of neoliberalism because in the past such a huge and sustained levels of military spending was possible to achieved only in some absolutists regimes like Nazi regime in Germany.

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. By definition, the elite can see farther down the road. But it frequently acts completely against the interests of "common people" like in case of, say, US neocons, who from the very beginning was an imperial, militaristic force in the US society, driving up the influence of military industrial complex and serving as MIC lobbyists par excellence. At the expense of lives (it's the common people not the elite, who constitute the "cannon fodder" in the USA mercenary army) and the standard of living of common people.  

But typically the dynamics is more complex and at least some social changes hatched by the 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 (so called, "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 the issues related to ConformismGroupthink and the psychology of crowds. Typically "rank and file" members of the organization, or society as a whole display high level of "groupthink", which makes possible such  phenomenon as McCarthyism -- a witch hunt unleashed the elite which desire to increase the cohesion of the organization and eliminate any opposition.  

Universal voting exposes the level of thinking of "common people" quite nicely -- they can be easily brainwashing into supporting very harmful for them policies. Which actually happened wth the election of Reagan and quit coup d'état that established the rule of neoliberalim in the USA and start the decimation of the New Deal. Which was by and large accomplished by Clinton administration.

They tend to create the "cult of personality" within the particular organization. The key problem is that "common people" often do not understand and resent the ideas/policies of the leaders, rejecting those which, at the end, are the most beneficiary for them personally. Instead they adhere to supporting self-destructing policies based on some delusions of envy toward other social groups (this effect is called "What's the matter with Kansas" as it was described 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 size also grow in complexity. And inevitably with this growth gradually become  less and less democratic.

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 level of complexity of managing of large organization (which presuppose existence of hierarchy of "managers") as well the set objectively existing  "tactical and technical necessities" immanent to complex organizations.  People who initially can be classified as intellectuals within such political organizations and which were promoted to the leadership positions for their special qualities, useful for the organization, with time 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 in any large organization. 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, suppressing the opponents (and opposition in general)  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 in 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, and the rank and file members are less informed (and often are less educated) than their "superiors." Finally, from birth, people are taught to obey those in positions of authority. Therefore the rank and file members 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 war in clearly has offensive nor defensive character like it was the case with the Vietnam and later with Iraq was. Int heboth cases the society as deceived by the mass media (which works exclusively for the oligarchy)  and forced to support the course of action the the elite wanted.  

The leaders have the power to control communication,  grant or deny raises, assign workloads, fire, demote and the most gratifying of all sanctions — the power to promote. There is no  doubt that they tend to promote junior officials who share their opinions and can be counted on being loyal. The net result is 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 and perverts the organization goals for their own clan interests. 

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),  the total neoliberalization of this Party and Clinton-initiated switch from the party of trade unions to the party of Wall Street lobbyists 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, were 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 emergence of personal 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 new flavor of globalism -- neoliberal globalism.   That increased neoliberal tendencies of the corrupt and degenerated USSR Communist Party and KGB elite (with the key role of KGB elite, which produced the blueprint for the conversion of the USSR into the neoliberal capitalist society, the blueprint developed by Andropov and which Gorbachov tried to implement, but being mediocre politician screw up. That screw up result in the dissolution of the USSR (not without help form Western states, and first of all the USA and GB,  which provided financial support and fueled nationalism in Soviet republics).  One sign of this transformation of KGB was several high raking defectors to the USA including at least one general.

The Soviet elite 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 strived 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.

The importance of the Iron Law of Oligarchy is that this law was the major contributing factor to the collapse of the USSR. While founded under noble slogans by a radical party it quickly degraded into oligarchic republic (not plutocratic like the USA, but oligarchic republic with strong technocratic flavor) in which Nomenklatura was full and unrestricted political power. The main components of Soviet nomenklatura were high ranking members of the Communist party (and their extended families), high level managers in various enterprises and high raking officials in various state ministries (so called "Apparatchiks"  similar in essence to MBA strata in the USA, but probably more competent ) and high level brass in military.

After the death of Stalin, who tried to maintain the vitality of created by him theocratic system with ruthless terror and performed periodic  "purges",  which provided the "forced" rotation of Nomenklatura they gradually started "enjoying their position" more and the process of rotation of nomenklatura stagnated with fatal consequences for the state.

While their salaries were not much higher than ordinary workers (with few exceptions, the ratio in the USSR probably was around 1:10), they created the society within the society to service their needs (special vacations places, special shops, special everything), started sending  their children to Western universities, their wives could shop in Paris (like Raisa Gorbachov systematically did), so they were behaving like mini-oligarchs, without formally owning anything. In some ways Soviet nomenklatura was really technocratic elite, although nepotism played some role too but mostly up to middle range positions (there were case when such people got to the rank of minister, but they were exceptions). 

In 1980th considerable faction of this class decided that  the level of inequality that resulted from their dominance made this new variant of theocracy unsustainable and is doomed to stagnation and technological backwardness (in condition of strict embargo of export of technologies imposed by the USA and its allies). And that they can preserve their position and multiply their wealth by switching to neoliberalism. Which they did in a decade of 1990 -- Dissolution of the USSR was driven by, as paradoxically as it sounds, by KGB apparatus (starting from Andropov -- the major architect of conversion of the USSR into neoliberal society)  and the  "renegade" tiny, but dedicated (and  supported by the West) faction of Politburo consisting of such people as Gorbachov (protégé of Andropov, nicknames for his mediocre political abilities  "combiner driver" as he started his career from this position), Alexander Yakovlev (the "godfather of glasnost"[, former ambassador in Canada, a Fulbright exchange student at Columbia University for one year ), Yegor Gaidar  (the victim of nepotism, being a child of prominent  revolutionary, the person educated in the USA)  and Eduard Shevardnadze (hand picked Gorbachov minister of Foreign Affairs) and several highly ranked academics such as Georgy Arbatov from Institute for US and Canadian Studies (actually the role of academic turncoats in the collapse of the USSR is similar to the role of neoliberal turncoats such as Milton Friedman in the USA in converting the country to neoliberalism.) 

Their initial plan was just transition to neoliberal economy of the whole USSR (perestroika), but being mediocre politicians (actually Gorbachov was below the level of mediocre) they rocked the boat too much and it sunk -- the USSR dissolved (not without substantial help from the West which incited nationalistic feeling in the USSR republics (and lavishly financed all nationalistic movements within the USSR) and then became the real political force in 1990th due to the stagnation of the economy and  financial crisis of the society, much like in 2016 they became a political force in the USA )

Perestroika created some structural elements of capitalism with which coup d'état of the Soviet nomenklatura became possible. It was the major catalyst of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Not without major help of friendly intelligence agencies from the USA, GB and several other countries, and financial injection to help this transition happen ;-)

We also see this phenomenon, when a tiny faction dominates the whole party,  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 (aka Russiagate) 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 have been 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 elite of numerous intelligence services into it who now act as semi-autonomous political force (Comey, Brennan and "Parteigenosse" Mueller are pretty educational examples in this area ;-).

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. After that he essentially became a puppet. This is yet another demonstration of power of the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

The process of "crystallization" of  "Nomenklatura" in large organizations, parties and government agencies (such as the State Department, CIA, etc) 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. 

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 between various factions of  the political and economic 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).

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 experience 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 on 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 the national oligarchy, is artifically propred  to power on the "tips of bayonets".   Not that dissimilar with the Trotsky idea of "permanent revolution"

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 percent (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. 

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 "golden age" for the US middle class.

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 "golden age" for the US middle class.  This period ended with the accent of neoliberalism in 1970th and culminated with the election of President Reagan, who started destroying the New Deal society. This job was finished by President Clinton.

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 putting the stability of the society at risk.  From the point of view of iron law if oligarchy neoliberalism  much like Bolshevism in the past, 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." But is late phase of neoliberalism that we experience in the USA this process is broken and universities became mainly a tool for reproduction of existing neoliberal elite: mediocre children of the elite has disproportionally higher chances to get to the top educational institutions than gifted children of common people

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 betray the interests of home country population.

Financial oligarchy proved to be different from other types of oligarchy: from the very beginning it is transnational and as such is inclined to 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 financial institutions (TBTF) 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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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Apr 12, 2021] Dark Money by Jane Mayer is about how some nominally right-wing libertarian sociopaths, (i.e. the Kochs and their coterie) seek to control American politics through various 'charitable' think tanks and stealth infiltration of top ranked universities

Apr 12, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

I have just finished reading a couple of weighty tomes with similar themes: Dark Money by Jane Mayer is about how some nominally right-wing libertarian sociopaths, (i.e. the Kochs and their coterie) seek to control American politics through various 'charitable' think tanks and stealth infiltration of top ranked universities; and The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff, which is about how some nominally left-wing(ish) libertarian whiz kid sociopaths seek to control the whole world through social media.

My main take away is that libertarian ideology is just shorthand for narcissistic entitlement and psychopathic greed.

[Apr 12, 2021] America Needs the GOP, and It Needs Help

Two party system is a polished version of one party rule...
Apr 12, 2021 | www.wsj.com

...Some Republicans the past few years have talked of breaking from the two-party system and starting a third. But that's not the way to go. Better to strengthen the system that for more than a century and a half has seen us through a lot of mess. In its rough way the two-party system, even without meaning to, functions as a unifying force: At the end of the day, for all our differences and arguments, you have to decide if you were a constituency of Team A or Team B. The parties, in their rough and inadequate way, had to be alive to your interests. Things proceeded with a sense, an air, of majority rule. With a third party you can win the presidency with 34%. That won't help national unity. And this being America, once we have a third party we'll have a fourth and a fifth, and everything will be chaos, with a loss of any feeling of general consensus.

Two parties are better for the country, and better for the Democrats. A strong Republican party keeps them on their toes. As Oscar Hammerstein once said, liberals need conservatives to hold them back and conservatives need liberals to pull them forward. One side should stop the other when it goes too far, or boost it when it fails to move. Hammerstein was a cockeyed optimist, but this isn't a bad time for that.

... ... ...

...I left the Republican Party at some point in the 2000s. I didn't like a lot of what I was seeing. I began to say, honestly, that I was a political conservative but not a Republican. Readers could see it in my work, and I heard from them a lot. I reregistered to vote in a Republican primary in New York City, and have kept it that way, maybe for reasons of orneriness.

But I've done a lot of mourning over it the past 15 years, shed literal tears over the GOP. There were a lot of break points. Iraq was one: If that wasn't the country club at work, what was? People to whom nothing much bad had ever happened, so they expected good fortune to follow their decisions. Immigration was another, with the elite decision makers of the party not caring at all how the unprotected see and experience life. It was a total detachment from their concerns accompanied by a claim of higher compassion. Sarah Palin was another. I felt her choice as a vice presidential candidate degraded a good insight, that an ability to do the show business of politics is important -- FDR, JFK and Reagan knew that -- but you can't let politics degrade into only showbiz; you need the ability to think seriously about issues. It is wrong to reduce politics to a subset of entertainment. There were more.


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Patrick Jan SUBSCRIBER 12 minutes ago

Conservatives dominate the state governments and federal judiciary, and Republicans hold 50% of the Senate and 49% of the House. Despite his many flaws, Trump lost the presidential election by a mere 43,000 votes spread across 3 states. The GOP is hardly "shattered". On the contrary, the country hasn't been this evenly divided in a long time.

Trump's populist conservative platform and fighting energy have made net gains for the GOP. Trump's checkered personal life and lack of self-discipline have had the opposite effect. So let's find a leader who maintains the Trump platform without the Trump self-sabotage. How about Ron DeSantis?

Joan Lardin SUBSCRIBER 2 hours ago
My late father used to say:
"oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive."
All Republicans have to do to rehabilitate themselves and people's faith in their party is speak truth about the Big Lie.

The truth will set them free.

But they can't or won't do it. They are held in the thrall of a six time bankrupt, lying NY City conman. They are consummate cowards and panderers.

Jesse G SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago
The "Big Lie" is being perpetrated by the Biden Administration and Democrats right in front of your face. Lying about the border, lying about jobs, lying about infrastructure, lying about voting laws. Everything's a lie. I'm curious what your father would think about this new level of deception.
Gregory Caswell SUBSCRIBER 2 hours ago
Money, Media Hacks and Socialist Union Educators have succeeded, over the years, and more completely recently, to brainwash our youth, and our ever more naive, less thoughtful, more fearful, overly occupied, and wee witted population, into believing they would far better off, under a Socialist Dictatorship than a Democratic Republic! I do believe that will change over the next four years, when the new 'woke" will have thoughtfully awakened from the nightmare that is growing daily, through lies and disinformation from our Left-Wing Pelosian Politician's and the Administration, bolstered by our Majority Media Outlet Hacks, each and every day! We are, and appear to be to other Nations, quite naive in our Foreign affairs! We have more illegals gaining entrance and more citizen jobless than ever, and the Government handouts will of necessity cease, with many opportunities having failed, and employment and pay less than before! They are greasing the slope, and making it much steeper!

[Apr 02, 2021] Our politicians are for sale to the highest bidders. It's no longer democracy, but full-fledged plutocracy with a veneer of "democracy" that's visibly cracked and flaking off to anyone but the willfully blind

Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Canadian Cents , Apr 1 2021 21:18 utc | 42

Paul Damascene @22, thanks, I looked up the LBJ/Pearson anectdote and came across this:

https://www.cbc.ca/canadaus/pms_presidents1.html

Apparently it was "You pissed on my rug!". I guess if they update that book and article, they'll include Trump characterizing Justin as "weak and dishonest" - which I would say, based on his 7 years as PM, is blunt but accurate.

I think you're right that any US concessions are just a reprieve. That non-agreement-capable thing. Freeland and Justin don't care, they're looking forward to getting rich after leaving office, like the Clintons, Obama, etc. as a reward for their service to plutocracy.

William Gruff @19, Hoarsewhisperer @16, agreed. That, it seems to me is the root of the problem. Our politicians are for sale to the highest bidders. It's no longer democracy, but full-fledged plutocracy with a veneer of "democracy" that's visibly cracked and flaking off to anyone but the willfully blind.

solo @38, good point. Saudi Arabia also sided with China on Xinjiang:

Importantly, the Crown Prince said Saudi Arabia 'firmly supports China's legitimate position on the issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, opposes interfering in China's internal affairs under any pretext, and rejects the attempt by certain parties to sow dissension between China and the Islamic world.'

Plainly put, Saudi Arabia has undercut the current US campaign against China regarding Xinjiang. It is a snub to the Biden administration.

https://www.indianpunchline.com/the-china-iran-pact-is-a-game-changer-part-i/

[Mar 06, 2021] Both major parties work according the the scheme of a pyramidal control

Mar 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 6 2021 14:01 utc | 101

Both major parties work according the the scheme of a pyramidal control. To control a company A, you need to get majority of voting shares. Which belong to company B that owns, say, 60%. In turn, 60% or shares of B belongs to C which controls A while having 60% x 60% = 36% of capital. After adding D, E etc., you can get away with the following: you start with actual majority of shares, and the company prospers. Time to realize gains. But that would deprive you of control. Thus you organize company B and sell 40% of its shares. Control preserved. Wash and repeat.

In a similar spirit, a narrow circle can control a major party. Of course, the rules are different and more hidden. On the bottom level, the equivalent of B controlling A, it was observed that rational arguments are boring, and the wide masses have hard time following them and following what (itself controlled) B advocates. So you invent easy to remember [expletive deleted] like "Obama birth's certificate", "Russian collusion" etc. An energetic group with group solidarity needs its tribal spirit and shibboleths.

[Feb 06, 2021] Clarity In Trump's Wake - ZeroHedge

Feb 05, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Angelo Codevilla via AMGreatness.com,

The United States of America is now a classic oligarchy. The clarity that it has brought to our situation by recognizing this fact is its only virtue...

"Either the Constitution matters and must be followed . . . or it is simply a piece of parchment on display at the National Archives."

- Texas v. Pennsylvania et al.

T exas v. Pennsylvania et al. did not deny setting rules for the 2020 election contrary to the Constitution. On December 10, 2020, the Supreme Court discounted that . By refusing to interfere as America's ruling oligarchy serves itself, the court archived what remained of the American republic's system of equal justice. That much is clear.

In 2021, the laws, customs, and habits of the heart that had defined the American republic since the 18th century are things of the past. Americans' movements and interactions are under strictures for which no one ever voted. Government disarticulated society by penalizing ordinary social intercourse and precluding the rise of spontaneous opinion therefrom. Together with corporate America, it smothers minds through the mass and social media with relentless, pervasive, identical, and ever-evolving directives. In that way, these oligarchs have proclaimed themselves the arbiters of truth, entitled and obliged to censor whoever disagrees with them as systemically racist, adepts of conspiracy theories.

Corporations, and the government itself, require employees to attend meetings personally to acknowledge their guilt. They solicit mutual accusations. While violent felons are released from prison, anyone may be fired or otherwise have his life wrecked for questioning government/corporate sentiment. Today's rulers don't try to convince. They demand obedience, and they punish.

Russians and East Germans under Communists Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in the 1970s lived under less ruling class pressure than do today's Americans. And their rulers were smart enough not to insult them, their country, or their race.

In 2015, Americans could still believe they lived in a republic, in which life's rules flow from the people through their representatives.

In 2021, a class of rulers draws their right to rule from self-declared experts' claims of infallibility that dwarf baroque kings' pretensions. In that self-referential sense, the United States of America is now a classic oligarchy.

The following explains how this change happened. The clarity that it has brought to our predicament is its only virtue.

Oligarchy had long been growing within America's republican forms. The 2016 election posed the choice of whether its rise should consolidate, or not. Consolidation was very much "in the cards." But how that election and its aftermath led to the fast, thorough, revolution of American life depended on how Donald Trump acted as the catalyst who clarified, energized, and empowered our burgeoning oligarchy's peculiarities. These, along with the manner in which the oligarchy seized power between November 2016 and November 2020, ensure that its reign will be ruinous and likely short. The prospect that the republic's way of life may thrive among those who wish it to depends on the manner in which they manage the civil conflict that is now inevitable.

From Ruling Class to Oligarchy

By the 21st century's first decade, little but formality was left of the American republic. In 1942, Joseph Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy described the logic by which government and big business tend to coalesce into socialism in theory, oligarchy in practice. But by then, that logic had already imposed itself on the Western world. Italy's 1926 Law of Corporations -- fascism's charter -- inaugurated not so much the regulation of business by government as the coalescence of the twain. Over the ensuing decade, it was more or less copied throughout the West.

In America, the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act's authors had erected barriers against private oligopolies and monopolies. By maintaining competition between big business, they hoped to preserve private freedoms and limit government's role. But the Great Depression's pressures and temptations led to the New Deal's rules that differed little from Italy's. No matter that, as the Supreme Court pointed out in Schechter Poultry v. U.S . , public-private amalgamation does not fit in the Constitution. It grew nevertheless alongside the notion that good government proceeds from the experts' judgment rather than from the voters' choices. The miracles of production that America brought forth in World War II seemed to validate the point.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had come to understand large organizations that feed on government power and dispense vast private benefits, was not shy in warning about the danger they pose to the republic. His warning about the " military-industrial complex " that he knew so well is often misunderstood as a mere caution against militarism. But Ike was making a broader point: Amalgams of public and private power tend to prioritize their corporate interests over the country's.

That is why Eisenhower cautioned against the power of government-funded expertise. "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever-present and is gravely to be regarded," he said, because "public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite." Government money can accredit a self-regarding elite. Because "a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity," government experts can end up substituting their power for truth.

The expansion of government power throughout the 1960s and '70s in pursuit of improving education, eradicating poverty, and uplifting blacks created complexes of public-private power throughout America that surpassed the military-industrial complex in size, and above all in influence.

Consider education. Post-secondary education increased fourfold, from 9 percent of Americans holding four-year degrees in 1965 to 36 percent in 2015. College towns became islands of wealth and political power. From them came endless "studies" that purported to be arbiters of truth and wisdom, as well as a growing class of graduates increasingly less educated but ever so much more socio-politically uniform.

In the lower grades, per-pupil expenditure (in constant dollars) went from $3,200 in 1960 to $13,400 in 2015. That money fueled an even more vast and powerful complex -- one that includes book publishers, administrators, and labor unions and that has monopolized the minds of at least two generations. As it grew, the education establishment also detached itself from the voters' control: In the 1950s, there were some 83,000 public school districts in America. By 2015, only around 13,000 remained for a population twice as large. Today's parents have many times less influence over their children's education than did their grandparents.

Analogous things happened in every field of life. Medicine came to be dominated by the government's relationship with drug companies and hospital associations. When Americans went to buy cars, or even light bulbs and shower nozzles, they found their choices limited by deals between government, industry, and insurance companies. These entities regarded each other as "stakeholders" in an oligarchic system. But they had ever less need to take account of mere citizens in what was becoming a republic in name only. As the 20eth century was drawing to a close, wherever citizens looked, they saw a government and government-empowered entities over which they had ever less say, which ruled ever more unaccountably, and whose attitude toward them was ever less friendly.

The formalities were the last to go. Ever since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 A.D., the rulers' dependence on popular assent to expenditures has been the essence of limited government. Article I, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution enshrines that principle. Congressional practice embodied it. Details of bills and expenditures were subject to public hearings and votes in subcommittees, committees, and the floors of both Houses. But beginning in the early 1980s and culminating in 2007, the U.S government abandoned the appropriations process.

Until 1981, Congress had used "continuing resolutions" to continue funding government operations unchanged until regular appropriations could be made. Thereafter, as congressional leaders learned how easy it is to use this vehicle to avoid exposing what they are doing to public scrutiny, they legislated and appropriated ever less in public, and increasingly put Congress' output into continuing resolutions or omnibus bills, amounting to trillions of dollars and thousands of pages, impossible for representatives and senators to read, and presented to them as the only alternative to "shutting down the government." This -- now the U.S government standard operating procedure -- enables the oligarchy's "stakeholders" to negotiate their internal arrangements free from responsibility to citizens. It is the practical abolition of Article I section 9 -- and of the Magna Carta itself.

In the 21st century, the American people's trust in government plummeted as they -- on the political Left as well as on the Right -- realized that those in power care little for them. As they watched corporate and non-profit officials trade places with public officials and politicians while getting much richer, they felt impoverished and disempowered. Since the ruling class embraced Republicans and Democrats, elections seemed irrelevant. The presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 underlined that whoever won, the same people would be in charge and that the parceling out of wealth and power among stakeholders would continue.

Americans on the Right were especially aggrieved because the oligarchy had become culturally united in disdain for Western civilization in general and for themselves in particular. The cultural warfare it waged on the rest of America inflamed opposition. But it also diluted its own focus on solidifying profitable arrangements.

By 2016, America was already well into the classic cycles of revolution. The atrophy of institutions, the waning of republican habits, and the increasing, reciprocal disrespect between classes that have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another, than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners precluded returning to traditional republican life. The election would determine whether the oligarchy could consolidate itself. More important, it would affect the speed by which the revolutionary vortex would carry the country, and the amount of violence this would involve.

The Trump Catalyst

By 2015, the right side of America's challenge to the budding oligarchy was inevitable. Trump was not inevitable. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had begun posing a thorough challenge to the "stakeholders" most Americans disrespected. Candidate Trump was the more gripping showman. His popularity came from his willingness to disrespect them, loudly. Because the other 16 Republican candidates ran on different bases, none ever had a chance. Inevitably, victory in a field so crowded depended on when which minor candidate did or did not withdraw. There never was a head-to-head choice between Trump and Cruz.

Trump's candidacy drew the ferocious opposition it did primarily because the entire ruling class recognized that, unlike McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, he really was mobilizing millions of Americans against the arrangements by which the ruling class live, move, and have their being. Since Cruz's candidacy represented the same threat, it almost certainly would have drawn no less intense self-righteous anger. Nasty narratives could have been made up about him out of whole cloth as easily as about Trump.

But Trump's actual peculiarities made it possible for the oligarchy to give the impression that its campaign was about his person, his public flouting of conventional norms, rather than about the preservation of their own power and wealth. The principal consequence of the ruling class' opposition to candidate Trump was to convince itself, and then its followers, that defeating him was so important that it legitimized, indeed dictated, setting aside all laws, and truth itself.

Particular individuals had never been the oligarchy's worry. In 2008, as Barack Obama was running against Hillary Clinton and John McCain -- far cries from Trump -- he pointed to those Americans who "cling to God and guns" as the problem's root. Clinton's 2016 remark that Trump's supporters were "a basket of deplorables," -- racists, sexists, homophobes, etc. -- merely voiced what had long been the oligarchy's consensus judgment of most Americans. For them, pushing these Americans as far away as possible from the levers of power, treating them as less than citizens, had already come to define justice and right.

Donald Trump -- his bombastic, hyperbolic style, his tendency to play fast and loose with truth, even to lie as he insulted his targets -- fit perfectly the oligarchy's image of his supporters, and lent a color of legitimacy to the utterly illegitimate collusion between the oligarchy's members in government and those in the Democratic Party running against Trump.

Thus did the FBI and CIA, in league with the major media and the Democratic Party, spy on candidate Trump, concocting and spreading all manner of synthetic dirt about him. Nevertheless, to universal surprise, he won, or rather the oligarchy lost, the 2016 election.

The oligarchy's disparate members had already set aside laws, truth, etc. in opposition to Trump. The realization that the presidency's awesome powers now rested in his hands fostered a full-court-press #Resistance. Trump's peculiarities helped make it far more successful than anyone could have imagined.

"Dogs That Bark Do Not Bite"

Applying this observation to candidate Trump's hyperbole suggested that President Trump might suffer from what Theodore Roosevelt called the most self-destructive of habits, combining "the unbridled tongue with the unready hand." And, in fact, President Trump neither fired and referred for prosecution James Comey or the other intelligence officials who had run the surveillance of his campaign. He praised them, and let himself be persuaded to fire General Michael Flynn, his national security advisor, who stood in the way of the intelligence agencies' plans against him. Nor did he declassify and make public all the documents associated with their illegalities.

Four years later, he left office with those documents still under seal. He criticized officials over whom he had absolute power, notably CIA's Gina Haspel who likely committed a crime spying on his candidacy, but left them in office. Days after his own inauguration, he suffered the CIA's removal of clearances from one of his appointees because he was a critic of the Agency. Any president worthy of his office would have fired the entire chain of officials who had made that decision. Instead, he appointed to these agencies people loyal to them and hostile to himself.

He acted similarly with other agencies. His first secretary of state, secretary of defense, and national security advisor mocked him publicly. At their behest, in August 2017, he gave a nationally televised speech in which he effectively thanked them for showing him that he had been wrong in opposing ongoing war in the Middle East. He railed against Wall Street but left untouched the tax code's "carried interest" provision that is the source of much unearned wealth. He railed against the legal loophole that lets Google, Facebook, and Twitter censor content without retribution, but did nothing to close it. Already by the end of January 2017, it was clear that no one in Washington needed to fear Trump. By the time he left office, Washington was laughing at him.

Nor did Trump protect his supporters. For example, he shared their resentment of being ordered to attend workplace sessions about their "racism." But not until his last months in office did he ban the practice within the federal government. Never did he ban contracts with companies that require such sessions.

Thus, as the oligarchy set about negating the 2016 electorate's attempt to stop its consolidation of power, Trump had assured them that they would neither be impeded as they did so nor pay a price. Donald Trump is not responsible for the oligarchy's power. But he was indispensable to it.

#TheResistance rallied every part of the ruling class to mutually supporting efforts. Nothing encourages, amplifies, or seemingly justifies extreme sentiments as does being part of a unanimous chorus, a crowd, a mob -- especially when all can be sure they are acting safely, gratuitously. Success supercharges them. #TheResistance fostered the sense in the ruling class' members that they are more right, more superior, and more entitled than they had ever imagined. It made millions of people feel bigger and better about themselves than they ever had.

Logic and Dysfunction

Disdain for the "deplorables" united and energized parts of American society that, apart from their profitable material connections to government, have nothing in common and often have diverging interests. That hate, that determination to feel superior to the "deplorables" by treading upon them, is the "intersectionality," the glue that binds, say, Wall Street coupon-clippers, folks in the media, officials of public service unions, gender studies professors, all manner of administrators, radical feminists, race and ethnic activists, and so on. #TheResistance grew by awakening these groups to the powers and privileges to which they imagine their superior worth entitles them, to their hate for anyone who does not submit preemptively.

Ruling-class judges sustained every bureaucratic act of opposition to the Trump Administration. Thousands of identical voices in major media echoed every charge, every insinuation, non-stop and unquestioned. #TheResistance made it ruling-class policy that Trump's and his voters' racism and a host of other wrongdoing made them, personally, illegitimate. In any confrontation, the ruling class deemed these presumed white supremacists in the wrong, systemically. By 2018, the ruling class had effectively placed the "deplorables" outside the protection of the laws. By 2020, they could be fired for a trifle, set upon in the streets, prosecuted on suspicion of bad attitudes, and even for defending themselves.

Because each and every part of the ruling coalition's sense of what may assuage its grievances evolves without natural limit, this logic is as insatiable as it is powerful. It is also inherently destructive of oligarchy.

Enjoyment of power's material perquisites is classic oligarchy's defining purpose. Having conquered power over the people, successful oligarchies foster environments in which they can live in peace, productively. Oligarchy, like all regimes, cannot survive if it works at cross-purposes. But the oligarchy that seized power in America between 2016 and 2020 is engaged in a never-ending seizure of ever more power and the infliction of ever more punishment -- in a war against the people without imaginable end. Clearly, that is contrary to what the Wall Street magnates or the corps of bureaucrats or the university administrators or senior professors want. But that is what the people want who wield the "intersectional" passions that put the oligarchy in power.

As the oligarchy's every part, every organ, raged against everything Trump, it made itself less attractive to the public even as Trump's various encouragements of economic activity were contributing to palpable increases in prosperity.

Hence, by 2019's end, Trump was likely to win reelection. Then came COVID-19.

The COVID Fortuna

The COVID-19 virus is no plague. Though quite contagious, its infection/fatality rate (IFR), about 0.01 percent, is that of the average flu, and its effects are generally so mild that most whom it infects never know it.

Like all infections, it is deadly to those weakened severely by other causes. It did not transform American life by killing people, but by the fears about it that our oligarchy packaged and purveyed. Fortuna , as Machiavelli reminds us, is inherently submissive to whoever bends her to his wishes. The fears and the strictures they enabled were not about health -- if only because those who purveyed and imposed them did not apply them to themselves. They were about power over others.

COVID's politicization began in February 2020 with the adoption by the World Health Organization -- which is headed by an Ethiopian bureaucrat beholden to China -- and upon recommendation of non-scientist Bill Gates, of a non-peer-reviewed test for the infection. The test's chief characteristic is that its rate of positives to negatives depends on the number of cycles through which the sample is run. More cycles, more positives. Hence, every test result is a "soft" number. Second, the WHO and associated national organizations like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported COVID's spread by another "soft" number: "confirmed cases." That is, sick persons who tested positive for the virus.

When this number is related to that of such persons who then die, the ratio -- somewhat north of 5 percent -- suggests that COVID kills one out of 20 people it touches. But that is an even softer number since these deaths include those who die with COVID rather than of it, as well as those who may have had COVID. Pyramiding such soft numbers, mathematical modelers projected millions of deaths. Scary for the unwary, but pure fantasy.

For example, the U.S. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which modeled the authoritative predictions on which the U.S. lockdowns were based, also predicted COVID-19 deaths for Sweden, which did not lock down. On May 3, the IHME predicted that Sweden would suffer 2,800 COVID deaths a day within the next two weeks. The actual number was 38. Reporting on COVID has never ceased to consist of numbers as scary as they are soft.

Literate persons know that, once an infectious disease enters a population, nothing can prevent it from infecting all of it, until a majority has developed antibodies after contracting it -- so-called community immunity or herd immunity. But fear leads people to empower those who promise safety, regardless of how empty the promises. The media pressed governments to do something . The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan screamed: "don't panic is terrible advice." The pharmaceutical industry and its Wall Street backers salivated at the prospect of billions of government money for new drugs and vaccines. Never mind the little sense it makes for millions of people to accept a vaccine's non-trivial risk to protect against a virus with trivial consequences for themselves. All manner of officials yearned to wield unaccountable power.

Because the power to crush the general population's resistance to itself is the oligarchy's single-minded focus, it was able to bend fears of COVID to that purpose. Thus, it gathered more power with more consequences than the oligarchs could have imagined.

But only President Trump's complaisance made this possible. His message to the American people had been not to panic, be mindful of the scientific facts -- you can't stop it, and it's not that bad -- while mitigating its effects on vulnerable populations. But on March 15, Trump bent, and agreed to counsel people to suspend normal life for two weeks to "slow the spread," so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed. Two weeks later, the New York Times crowed that Trump, having been told "hundreds of thousands of Americans could face death if the country reopened too soon," had been stampeded into "abandoning his goal of reopening the country by Easter." He agreed to support the "experts'" definition of what "soon" might mean. By accrediting the complex of government, industry, and media's good faith and expertise, Trump validated their plans to use COVID as a vehicle for enhancing their power.

Having seized powers, the oligarchs used them as weapons to disrupt and disaggregate the parts of American society they could not control.

The economic effects of lockdowns and social distancing caused obvious pain. Tens of millions of small businesses were forced to close or radically to reduce activity. More than 40 million Americans filed claims for unemployment assistance. Uncountable millions of farmers and professionals had their products and activities devalued. Millions of careers, dreams that had been realized by lifetimes of work, were wrecked. Big business and government took over their functions. Within nine months, COVID-19 had produced 28 new billionaires .

Surplus and scarcity of food resulted simultaneously because the lockdowns closed most restaurants and hotels. As demand shifted in ways that made it impossible for distribution networks and processing plants to adjust seamlessly, millions of gallons of milk were poured down drains, millions of chickens, billions of eggs, and tens of thousands of hogs and cattle were destroyed, acres of vegetables and tons of fruit were plowed under. Prices in the markets rose. Persons deprived of work with less money with which to pay higher prices struggled to feed their families. This reduced countless self-supporting citizens to supplicants. By intentionally reducing the supply of food available to the population, the U.S. government joined the rare ranks of such as Stalin's Soviet Union and Castro's Cuba.

But none of these had ever shut down a whole nation's entire medical care except for one disease. Hospitals stood nearly empty, having cleared the decks for the (ignorantly) expected COVID flood. Emergency rooms were closed to the poor people who get routine care there. Forget about dentistry. Most Americans were left essentially without medical care for most of a year. Human bodies' troubles not having taken a corresponding holiday, it is impossible to estimate how much suffering and death this lack of medical care has caused and will cause yet.

The oligarchy's division of all activity into "essential" -- meaning permitted -- and "nonessential" -- to be throttled at will -- had less obvious but more destructive effects. Private clubs, as well as any and all gatherings of more than five or 10 people, were banned. Churches were forbidden to have worship services or to continue social activities. The "social distancing" and mask mandates enforced in public buildings and stores, and often on the streets, made it well-nigh impossible for people to communicate casually. Thus, was that part of American society that the oligarchy did not control directly disarticulated, and its members left alone to face unaccountable powers on which they had to depend.

Meanwhile, the media became the oligarchy's public relations department. Very much including ordinary commercial advertising, it hammered home the oligarchy's line that COVID restrictions are good, even cool. These restrictions reduced the ideas available to the American people to what the mass media purveyed and the social media allowed. Already by April 2020, these used what had become near-monopoly power over interpersonal communications to censor such communications as they disapproved. Political enforcers took it upon themselves even to cancel statements by eminent physicians about COVID that they judged to be "misleading." Of course, this betrayed the tech giants' initial promise of universal access. It is also unconstitutional. (In Marsh v. Alabama , decided in 1946, the Supreme Court barred private parties from acting as de facto governments). Since these companies did it in unison, they also violated the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. But the ruling class that had become an oligarchy applauded their disabling whatever might be conducive to conservatives' interests and inconvenient to their own candidates.

Private entities wielding public powers in coordination with each other without having to observe any of government's constitutional constraints is as good a definition of oligarchy as there is. Oligarchy had increasingly taken power in the buildup to the 2020 election. In its aftermath, it would try to suffocate America.

Sovereignty of the Vote Counters

The oligarchy's proximate objective, preventing the 2020 presidential election from validating the previous one's results, overrode all others. The powers it had seized under COVID's cover, added to the plethora that it had exercised since the 2016 campaign's beginning, had surely cowered some opposition. But as November 2020 loomed, no one could be sure how much it also had energized.

Few people were happy to be locked down. It was a safe bet that not a few were unhappy at being called systemically racist. The oligarchy, its powers notwithstanding, could not be sure how people would vote. That is why it acted to take the presidential election's outcome out of the hands of those who would cast the votes and to place it as much as possible in the hands of its members who would count the votes.

Intentionally, traditional procedures for voting leave no discretion to those who count the votes. Individuals obtain and cast ballots into a physical or electronic box only after showing identification that matches their registration. Ballot boxes are opened and their contents counted by persons representing the election's opposing parties. Persons registered to vote might qualify to vote-by-mail by requesting a ballot, the issuance and receipt of which is checked against their registration. Their ballots are counted in the same bipartisan manner.

The Democratic Party had long pressed to substitute universal voting by mail -- meaning that ballots would be sent to all registered voters, in some states to anyone with a driver's license whether they asked for them or not and regardless of whether these persons still lived at the address on the rolls or were even alive. The ballots eventually would arrive at the counting centers, either through the mail, from drop boxes, or through "harvesters" who would pick them up from the voters who fill them out, and who may even help them to fill them out. Security, if any, would consist of machine-matching signatures on the ballot and on the envelope in which it had come. The machine's software can be dialed to greater or lesser sensitivity.

But doing away with scrutiny of ballots counted by representatives of the election's contenders removes the last possibility of ensuring the ballot had come from a real person whose will it is supposed to represent. Once the link between the ballot and the qualified person is broken, nothing prevents those in charge of the electoral process from excluding and including masses of ballots as they choose. The counters become the arbiters.

Attorney General William Barr pointed out the obvious: Anyone, in America or abroad, can print up any number of ballots, mark them, and deliver them for counting to whoever is willing to accept them and run them through their machines. Since the counters usually dispose of the envelopes in which ballots arrive -- thus obviating any possibility of tracing the ballot's connection to a voter -- they may even dispense of the fiction that there had ever been any signed envelopes. That is especially true of late-found ballots. Who knows where they came from? Who cares to find out?

Only in a few one-party Democratic states was universal vote-by-mail established by law. Elsewhere, especially in the states sure to be battlegrounds in the presidential election, mail-in voting was introduced by various kinds of executive or judicial actions. Questions of right and wrong aside, the Constitution's Article II section 1's words -- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct " -- makes such actions unconstitutional on their face. Moreover, in these states -- Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin -- the counting of votes in the most populous counties is firmly in the hands of Democratic Party bosses with a well-documented history of fraud.

To no one's surprise, the 2020 presidential election was decided by super-majorities for the Democratic candidate precisely from these counties in these states. Yes, Trump's percentage of the vote fell in certain suburbs. But Trump received some 11 million more votes in 2020 than four years earlier, and nearly doubled the share of votes he received from blacks. The Democrats' gain of some 15 million votes came exclusively from mail-in ballots, and their victory in the Electoral College came exclusively from the supermajorities piled up in these corrupt counties -- the only places where Trump's share of the black vote was cut by three-quarters. Did people there really think so differently?

This is not the place to recount the list of affidavits sworn under penalty of perjury by persons who observed ballot stuffing, nor the statistical anomaly of successive batches of votes that favored Biden over Trump by precisely the same amounts, of un-creased (i.e., never mailed) ballots fed into counting machines, nor the Georgia video of suitcases of ballots being taken from under tables and inserted into counting machines after Republican observers had been ousted. Suffice it to note that references to these events have been scrubbed from the Internet. It is more important to keep in mind that, in America prior to 2020, sworn affidavits that crimes have been committed had invariably been probable cause for judicial, prosecutorial, or legislative investigations. But for the first time in America, the ruling class dismissed them with: "You have no proof!" A judge (the sister of Georgia's Stacey Abrams) ruled that even when someone tells the U.S. Postal Service they have moved, their old address is still a lawful basis for them to cast a ballot. Certainly, proof of crime is impossible with such judges and without testimony under oath, or powers of subpoena.

Just as important, Republicans in general and the Trump White House in particular bear heavy responsibility for failing to challenge the patent illegality of the executive actions and consent decrees that enabled inherently insecure mail-in procedures in real-time, as they were being perpetrated in key states. No facts were at issue. Only law. The constitutional violations were undeniable.

Pennsylvania et. al. answered Texas's late lawsuit by arguing it demanded the invalidation of votes that had been cast in good faith. True. But Texas argued that letting stand the results of an election carried out contrary to the Constitution devalued the votes cast in states such as Texas that had held the election in a constitutional manner. Also true. Without comment, the Supreme Court chose to privilege the set of voters on the oligarchy's side over those of their opponents. Had the lawsuit come well before the election, no such choice would have existed. Typically, the Trump Administration substituted bluster for action.

The Oligarchy Rides its Tigers

Winning the 2020 election had been the objective behind which the oligarchy had coalesced during the previous five years. In 2021, waging socio-political war on the rest of America is what the oligarchy is all about.

The logic of hate and disdain of ordinary Americans is not only what binds the oligarchy together. It is the only substitute it has for any moral-ethical-intellectual point of reference. Donald Trump's impotent, inglorious reaction to his defeat offered irresistible temptations to the oligarchy's several sectors to celebrate victory by vying to hurt whoever had supported the president. But permanent war against some 74 million fellow citizens is a foredoomed approach to governing.

The Democratic Party had promised a return to some kind of "normalcy." Instead, its victory enabled the oligarchy's several parts to redefine the people who do not show them due deference as "white supremacists," "insurrectionists," and Nazis -- in short, as some kind of criminals -- to exclude them from common platforms of communication, from the banking system, and perhaps even from air travel; and to set law enforcement to surveil them in order to find bases for prosecuting them. Neither Congress nor any state's legislature legislated any of this. Rather, the several parts of America's economic, cultural, and political establishment are waging this war, uncoordinated but well-nigh unanimously.

Perhaps most important, they do so without thought of how a war against at least some 74 million fellow citizens might end. The people in the oligarchy's corporate components seem to want only to adorn unchallenged power with a reputation for "wokeness." For them, causing pain to their opponents is a pleasure incidental to enjoying power's perquisites. The Biden family's self-enrichment by renting access to influence is this oligarchy's standard.

But the people who dispense that reputation -- not just the professional revolutionaries of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, but "mainstream" racial and gender activists and self-appointed virtue-crats, have appetites as variable as they are insatiable. For them, rubbing conservative America's faces in excrement is what it's all about. A Twitter video viewed by 2.6 million people urges them to form "an army of citizen detectives" to ferret out conservatives from among teachers, doctors, police officers, and "report them to the authorities." No doubt, encouraged by President Biden's characterization of opponents as "domestic terrorists," any number of "authorities" as well as private persons will find opportunities to lord it over persons not to their taste. This guarantees endless clashes, and spiraling violence.

Joseph Biden, Kamala Harris, and the people they appoint to positions of official responsibility are apparatchiks, habituated to currying favor and pulling rank. They have neither the inclination nor the capacity to persuade the oligarchy's several parts to agree to a common good or at least to a modus vivendi among themselves, never mind with conservative America. This guarantees that they will ride tigers that they won't even try to dismount.

At this moment, the oligarchy wields an awesome complex of official and unofficial powers to exclude whomever it chooses from society's mainstream. Necessarily, however, exclusions cut both ways. Invariably, to banish another is to banish one's self as well. Google, Facebook, and Twitter let it be known that they would exclude anything with which they disagree from what had become the near-universal means of communication. They bolstered that by colluding to destroy their competitor, Parler. Did they imagine that 74 million Americans could find no means of communicating otherwise? Simon and Schuster canceled a book by Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) critical of communications monopolies. Did its officials imagine that they would thereby do other than increase the book's eventual sales, and transfer some of their customers to Hawley's new publisher ? The media effectively suppressed inconvenient news. Did they imagine that this would prevent photos of Black Lives Matter professionals in the forefront of the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol from reaching the public?

In sum, intending to relegate conservative America to society's servile sidelines, the oligarchy's members drew a clear, sharp line between themselves and that America. By telling conservative Americans "these institutions and corporations, are ours, not yours," they freed conservative America of moral obligations toward them and themselves. By abandoning conservative America, they oblige conservative America to abandon them and seek its own way.

Clarity, Leadership, and Separation

To think of conservative America's predicament as an opportunity is as hyperbolic as it was for Machiavelli to begin the conclusion of The Prince by observing that "in order to know Moses' virtue it was necessary that the people of Israel be slaves in Egypt, and to know the greatness of Cyrus's spirit that the Persians be oppressed by the Medes, and to know the excellence of Theseus, that the Athenian people be dispersed, so at the present, in order to know the virtue of an Italian spirit it was necessary that Italy reduce herself to the conditions in which she is at present . . ."

Machiavelli's lesson is that the clarity of situations such as he mentions, and such as is conservative America's following the 2020 election, is itself valuable. Clarity makes illusions of compromise untenable and points to self-reliant action as the only reasonable path. The people might or might not be, as he wrote, "all ready and disposed to follow the flag if only someone were to pick it up." But surely, someone picking up the flag is the only alternative to servitude.

What, in conservative America's current predicament, might it mean to "pick up the flag?" Electoral politics remains open to talented, courageous, ambitious leadership. In Florida and South Dakota, Governors Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem have used their powers to make room for ways of life different from and more attractive than that in places wholly dominated by the oligarchy. Texas and Idaho as well attract refugees from such as California and New York by virtue of such differences with life there as their elected officials have been able to maintain. Governmental and corporate pressures on such states to conform to the oligarchy's standards, sure to increase, are opportunities for their officials to lead their people's refusal to conform by explaining why doing this is good, and by personally standing in the way. They may be sure that President Kamala Harris would not order federal troops to shoot at state officials for closing abortion clinics or for excluding men from women's bathrooms.

For more than a generation, a majority of Americans have expressed growing distrust of, and alienation from, the establishment. The establishment, not Donald Trump, made this happen. That disparate majority, in many ways at cross purposes with itself, demands leadership. Pollster Patrick Caddell's in-depth study of the American electorate, which he titled "We Need Smith," showed how the themes that made it possible for the hero of the 1939 movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" to prevail against the establishment then are even more gripping now and appeal to a bigger majority. Trump was a bad copy of Mr. Smith.

More than ever, an audience beyond the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump hungers for leadership. The oligarchy came together by ever more vigorously denigrating and suppressing these deplorables. Already before the 20th century's turn, the FBI and some elements in the Army and the Justice Department had concluded that they are somehow criminal, and that preparations should be made to treat them as such. The official position of the administration taking power after the 2020 election is that domestic terrorism from legions of "white supremacists" is the primary threat facing America. No wonder those so designated for outlawry demand protection.

The path to electoral leadership is straightforward. Whoever would lead the deplorables-plus must explain their cause to friend and foe, make it his own, and grow it by leading successful acts of resistance.

Increasingly, conservative Americans live as if under occupation by a hostile power. Whoever would lead them should emulate Charles de Gaulle's 1941 basic rule for la résistance : refrain from individual or spontaneous acts or expressions that produce only martyrs. But join with thousands in what amount to battles to defeat the enemy's initiatives, weaken his grip on power, and prepare his defeat. Thus, an aspirant to the presidency in 2024, in the course of debunking the narrative by which the oligarchy seized so much power over America, might lead millions to violate restrictions placed on those who refuse to wear masks. Or, as he pursues legislative and judicial measures to abolish the compulsory racial and gender sensitivity training sessions to which public and private employees are subjected, he might organize employees in a given sector unanimously to stay away from them in protest. They can't all be fired or held back.

Such a persuasive prospective president, or president, could finish the process that, beginning circa 2010, initiated the process of reshaping the Republican Party into something like Caddell's Mr. Smith would have personified.

Electoral politics, however, is the easy part. Major corporations, private and semi-private institutions such as schools, publishing houses, and media, are the oligarchy's deepest foundations. These having become hostile, conservative Americans have no choice but to populate their own. This is far from impossible.

Sorting ourselves out into congenial groups has been part of America's DNA since 1630, when Roger Williams led his followers out of Massachusetts to found Providence Plantations. In the 19th century, the Mormons left unfriendly environments to establish their own settlements. Since 1973, Americans who believe in unborn children's humanity have largely ceased to intermarry with those who do not. Nobody decided this should happen. It is in the logic of diverging cultures.

As American primary and secondary education's dysfunction became painfully apparent, parents of all races have fled the public schools as fast as they could. Businesses have been fleeing the Rust Belt for the Sun Belt for generations. When Democratic governors and mayors used COVID to make life difficult in their jurisdictions, people moved out of them. When Twitter's censorship of conservatives became undeniable, Parler added customers by the hundreds of thousands each day. Facebook and Twitter's stock lost $50 billion in a week. Much more separation follows from the American people's diverging cultures.

As conservative America sorts itself out from oligarchy's social bases, it may be able to restore something like what had existed under the republic. Effectively, two regimes would have to learn to coexist within our present boundaries. But that may be the best, freest, arrangement possible now for the United States.

[Feb 03, 2021] Inner Party members are untouchable: Prosecution of top officials is unlikely outcome Of Durham 'Russiagate' probe

Feb 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Douglass Braff via SaraACarter.com,

While Special Counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe is generally focused on the FBI's activities, sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News the prosecution of high-ranking FBI officials, such as former Director James Comey, is "unlikely."

In a report published Tuesday, Fox News reports that sources told the publication that the investigation is ongoing and that Durham last year concluded the part of his investigation looking into the CIA and he is now examining the FBI's activities.

Additionally, another source told the news outlet that the special counsel had been pursuing "new and credible leads" through the end of the Trump administration, however, Fox News noted that it is unclear at this point what those lines of inquiry entail.

Moreover, a spokesperson for Durham told the outlet that they had "no comment from Mr. Durham."

Durham's probe is looking into the origins of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as well as now-debunked collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. Former President Donald Trump and conservatives have called Mueller's yearlong probe a "witch hunt" and accused it of being motivated by anti-Trump animus.

Mueller's investigation yielded no evidence that collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.

Tuesday's report comes after the first and only criminal sentencing stemming from Durham's investigation was issued last week.

Last Friday, Kevin Clinesmith , a former FBI lawyer, was sentenced to one year of probation and 400 hours of community service for altering an email during the Mueller's investigation that was used as grounds for the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Previously, Comey has said that investigators have yet to reach out to him.

"I have had no contact with him and haven't talked to him," the former FBI director told CBS News' "Face the Nation" back in August.

"I can't imagine that I'm a target."

Last summer, Durham's team also questioned former CIA Director John Brennan for about eight hours at the CIA headquarters . Brennan later said through a spokesman he was assured he was "not a target," according to Fox News.

Back in December, Brennan told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that he had no issue with Durham's investigation extending into 2021 and also divulged briefly about the eight-hour session.

"I think that is fine, I have no problems with it," the former CIA director said, adding that Durham's team already talked with him for eight hours. "I do believe that John Durham is going to carry out his responsibilities ably and hopefully not with any political influence." 5,713 64 NEV play_arrow


Clee Torres 4 minutes ago

No sh*t Sherlock.

You mean there are two levels of justice? One for me and one for thee?

JohnG 3 minutes ago

Inner Party members are untouchable.

nope-1004 9 minutes ago

Comey, Brennan, Hunter, the Fed, Yellen, Bernanke, Powell, Geithner, Biden, Clinton, Podesto, Obama, Rice, Holder, Corzine......

THEY ALL LAUGH AT YOU.

How does that make you feel?

BeansBulletsBandaidsComms 3 minutes ago

Smart.

When lynch met clinton on the plane and it barely made a ripple.

That's when I knew.

enough of this 11 minutes ago (Edited)

No surprise. Durham and his pals are milking the investigation for all its worth. In the meantime, Comey skates and the amendment named in his honor remains in full force.

https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/crimes-without-consequences-the-clinton-comey-amendment/

Cen Sore 10 minutes ago

On a happier note, Mr. Durham is looking for a nice beachfront mansion...

WOODisGOOD 3 minutes ago

Deep State gotta protect Deep State. That's just the way it works.

squib 4 minutes ago

I remember, Strzok, Comey, Clapper, Brennan etc. always looked smug bc they knew that they'd be taken care of.

PaulDF 3 minutes ago

"Insurance Policy" indeed

Alex Jones was right... 4 minutes ago remove link

In other news, water is wet...

Reaper 16 minutes ago

US Law makes Dunham a Principle who abeted the crimes he's investigating. As such, under US Code, he's liable for the same punishment as the perps. Remember how quickly Roger Stone was prosecuted for lying.

[Jan 29, 2021] With -Biden- in the White House, the Kremlin now needs to change gear by The Saker

Jan 29, 2021 | www.unz.com

US Presidents are really puppets, figureheads, even if during their campaign they pretend otherwise. As for the elections, every four years in the US, they are nothing but a grand brainwashing show whose sole purpose is to give the illusion of people power. They could have presidential elections every 2 years, or even every year, none of that would change the fact that the US is a plutocratic dictatorship with much less people power than any other state in the collective West.

In fact, the argument above is just a tiny fig leaf trying to conceal the undeniable fact that the US are not ruled by a person, but are ruled by a class, in the Marxist sense of this world. Personally, I call this ruling class the "US Nomenklatura ". And while both Obama and Trump pretended to want real change, they both lost that chance (assuming they ever wanted this is the first place, which I doubt) when they did not do what Putin did when he came to office: crush the Russian oligarchs as a class (some fled abroad, some died, some lost it all, and some agreed to play by Putin's new rules). Obama, being the vapid and spineless car salesman that he, is probably never even contemplated any real move against the US Nomenklatura . As for Trump, being the pompous narcissist that he is, he might have even entertained some thoughts of showing "who is boss", but that lasted only 1 month, until the US Nomenklatura forced Trump to fire Flynn (after that, it was all freefall ).

[Jan 20, 2021] There was and is no great "American democracy" to be restored as the nation had for many decades become "an oligarchy" where wealthy "elites" and their corporations "rule" and "ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does

Dec 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

There was and is no great "American democracy" to be restored after Trump. As the mainstream political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern) had shown six years into Barack Obama's presidency, the nation had for many decades become "an oligarchy" where wealthy "elites" and their corporations "rule" and "ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does."

That was clear during Obama's corporatist "Hope" and "Change" presidency, which gave Americans what commentator William Greider memorably called "a blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn't." Americans, Greider wrote , "watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe. They learned that government has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. 'Where's my bailout,' became the rueful punch line at lunch counters and construction sites nationwide." Then Americans beheld Obama embrace "entitlement reform" (nice-sounding cover for attacking Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits) and pass a health insurance reform (the so-called Affordable Care Act) that only the big insurance and drug companies could love.

READ MORE Rewriting history: Legacy media shriek Trump is 'bucking tradition'... for doing the same thing they praised Obama for Rewriting history: Legacy media shriek Trump is 'bucking tradition'... for doing the same thing they praised Obama for

The Biden team has no more intention of acting sincerely on the Democratic Party's standard manipulative populist-sounding campaign rhetoric in the wake of the Trump nightmare and the 2020-21 Covid-19 Recession than did the Obama White House in the wake of the George W. Bush nightmare and the 2007-08 Great Recession.

Biden's cabinet picks are loaded with neoliberal center-right operatives inherited from the fake-progressive Obama administration. They hail from the same Wall Street backgrounds and corporate and imperial think tanks that staffed the George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama administrations.

The "diversity" that CNN and MSNBC applaud in Biden's cabinet and agency picks is all about the race, ethnicity, and gender of his elections. It does not extend to ideology to include genuinely progressive Democrats in the mold of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Under the faux-transformative cloak of identity, these are ruling-class personnel trained and doctrinally committed to oppose the decent, humane, progressive, social-democratic, and environmentally sane policies favored by the nation's silenced progressive majority -- Single Payer health insurance, seriously progressive taxation, the abolition of parasitic student debt, free public college, a doubling of the federal minimum wage, the re-legalization of union organizing, and a planet-saving Green New Deal. As liberals fawn over the many female, nonwhite, and gay people holding top positions, the Biden administration will be a monument to the persistent rule of the nation's un-elected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire.

This follows in accord with the near-octogenarian Biden's promise to super-wealthy campaign donors at a posh Manhattan hotel last year. Pledging not to "demonize anybody who has made money," Biden told a gathering of tuxedo-wearing financial parasites that the rich were not to blame for the nation's savage inequalities (so extreme that the top tenth of the upper US One Percent had more wealth than the nation's bottom 90 percent by the end of the Obama years). "Nothing will fundamentally change" and nobody's wealth or income would have to be reduced if he became president, Biden said . "I need you badly," he added.


njab 18 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 08:58 AM

What exactly is "left"? The author doesn't talk about being "anti-war" for example. And frankly, some of the "left" policies, especially related to LGBQXYZ, I find abhorrent. What is needed is neither "left" nor "right" but something that benefits the MAJORITY of the population and not just a few fringe groups.
Ohhho HypoxiaMasks 12 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 03:11 PM
Americans is the most confused nation on Earth! They confuse plutocracy with democracy, propaganda with news, debt with wealth, individualism with freedom, corruption with influencing, bullying with leading, war with peace and looting with help!
ColdFacts 1justssayn 4 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 11:22 PM
trump is fake anti-establishment, he had 4 years and did not pardon Assange or Snowden, did not expose corrupt elites, he did not declassify anything "interesting", even now with exposed election fraud all he did was to file some pseudo lawsuits which were dismissed by corrupt establishment owned courts.
rubyvolt 16 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 10:41 AM
'MuriKKKa is run by those who OWN it. Their muscle is the US military. Its fodder, the citizens. The PEOPLE of this nation have no say and can't get into the streets as most of us have been so poisoned and brainwashed that independent thought is not possible.
jjikss 13 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 02:03 PM
There is no such thing as "democratic empire". You either believe that majority decides or you believe that power decides. America is undoubtedly an empire ( over 600 offshore military bases), so the democracy part is just a form of " double think" that comes straight from George Orwell's vision.
Vikiiing 19 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 08:08 AM
The election process could be fixed to be fair but neither party wants that. US elections could be modelled after any scandanavian system to get rid of corruption, but there's big money to be made keeping it corrupt.
DeadRassputin 8 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 07:05 PM
The working class elected Trump as an outsider in the hope he could curb the corruption that was becoming apparent in the Federal Government. Second term they tried to elect him again, however the career politicians were having none of that. MSM propaganda blitz plus social media censorship added to unverifiable mail in ballots, and rigged counting machines sealed the deal.
Khanlenin DeadRassputin 7 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 07:42 PM
Even though he never stopped stuffing millions into the pockets of the super rich, he did offer some improvement to the economic conditions of the working classes which had been stagnating since the 1970's Obama and Clinton had made sure any improvements in productivity and technology were all going to benefit the top financial elites. Having an unstable ego, he kept throwing grenades at everything he didn't understand. In the case of Iranian government officials, the grenades were real
Khanlenin DeadRassputin 7 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 07:42 PM
Even though he never stopped stuffing millions into the pockets of the super rich, he did offer some improvement to the economic conditions of the working classes which had been stagnating since the 1970's Obama and Clinton had made sure any improvements in productivity and technology were all going to benefit the top financial elites. Having an unstable ego, he kept throwing grenades at everything he didn't understand. In the case of Iranian government officials, the grenades were real
Joaquin Montano 12 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 02:54 PM
"There's no great 'American democracy' to be restored after Trump, ..." We used to say "America is the best democracy money can buy". Not even that anymore. It is so disfunctional it isn't worth the money ...
westernman 13 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 02:29 PM
Some 40 trillion dollars that the rich are stashing away in offshore fictitious bank accounts if taxed even at 1% will more than pay for all social services like single payer health insurance, student loan forgiveness, free college education and much much more. Correct Obama was a faux progressive, he would take one step forward and two back. I agree that Biden seems to be painting a diverse race cabinet portfolio but skin color is no guarantee at all of pro working people ideologies.
Hasse1 14 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 12:59 PM
In reality (with hard evidence) Trump is NO different from his predecessors. In fact, if you compared him with other U.S. presidents, Trump was less violent and caused the death of less people than Clinton, Bush, Obama or Biden. Just to mention the latest few.
Khanlenin Bill Spence 6 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 08:57 PM
"general welfare" or "the welfare of the generals" You're correct. When ordinary citizens opposed the invasion of Iraq, they showed that they did not have the expertise needed to make the decisions in the best interest of the welfare of the generals (or Standard Oil).
czerenkob 13 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 01:40 PM
In the USA democracy is talked about, but not practiced.
SheepNotHuman 9 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 06:14 PM
Democracy a dreamy concept for children only. There is no such thing as Democracy when money buys the elections and votes remain secretive. America was never a Democracy, from day one it's a fraud. The first president old George Washington was a blood relative of the UK Royals and his 50 secret society brothers set up America for 200 + years of fraud. Guess what, the royals still run things folks. We on the other hand will only be remembered as man or woman if we turn a blind eye to truth and care nothing for honesty. Some less than human! Now as people catch on to the facts that they have been played their whole life long while they pretend and live in the matrix the Deep State must act to clean us out. It's called Agenda 2030 schemed up by the evil WEF. Don't get tested and don't get vaccinated. Now my awakened ones it's your turn!
shadow1369 15 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 11:48 AM
The US haas been mythologising its nature from day one, all is fraud and pretence there.
Ohhho 14 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 01:15 PM
All of it is just a bunch of nonsense by a naive American. All that "great republic" and "democracy" garbage! Their dear POTUSes are just puppets to the Global financial oligarchy that "bought them all and in the darkness bound them"! So they underestimated Trump and let him slip by, big deal! Everything is back to normal baby, hallelujah!
athineos Ohhho 13 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 01:50 PM
Correct! US has been an Oligarchy since it's Founding when the theft and rape of the land of the INDIGENOUS AMERICAN PEOPLE by the European Colonizers was being undertaken to benefit the few as always. Now it has moved into its advanced cancerous stage where the middle class will be completely assimilated into the poor class to bring about the New Feudal era of the NEW WORLD ORDER.
Sovietski 10 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 05:18 PM
Biden's sole election slogan/promise has been: "I'm not Trump" He's a millionaire and 4-decade career political dinosaur. Of course nothing will change!
The_Chosenites 14 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 01:03 PM
Biden will spend most of his time as the Donald did. It will be Biden the Blind lead around by his Israelis guide dog Bibi. Biden will be consumed with middle east policy and defeating the enemies of Israel, allowing Israels continued expansionist policies. The American people may have lost the election but there is always a clear winner!
IslandT 3 hours ago 20 Dec, 2020 11:45 PM
Trump administration is a complete failure, when Trump comes to power he has basically started war on so many fronts and attacks so many swamp people which is the main reason why so many top level people hate him and causes him to lost the presidency! The swamp in US senate is simply too deep and there is nothing Trump can do about it, when he leaves the office, the swamp people will come back and continue their party, those generals or officials Trump puts on the important positions will be overthrew by Joe Biden, those rules that set by Trump will also get overwritten by Joe Biden, basically it is a complete waste of time for Trump to do all those unproductive works. Also the Mexican-US border wall will also be stopped under Biden as well. If both the democrat and republican not realize they need to change then there is nothing much a President can do to change the entire situation. US is in the ending stage of it's empire and we will see de dollarisation after Trump steps down, think about this, what will happen if other nations want US to buy their currency with the US gold reserves so the American can buy their raw material or finished product? How much gold reserves does the US actually has and how much money does the US owns the foreign countries and how much gold does the us has to pay to foreign nations if de dollarisation actually happen? Do you people realize that Mike Pompeo has just turned into Swamp people as well, there goes the last hope for the American!

[Jan 19, 2021] How Billionaires Transfer Blame to Others by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side, Eric Zuesse writes. ..."
"... Mission accomplished ..."
"... Nice work, Mr. Putin. ..."
"... According to a US intelligence community report, Russia's chief goal in interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton was to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process." Four years on, there have been two impeachments and an insurrection against the US legislature. Millions believe Trump's lies that he was illegally ejected from power, and doubt Biden's legitimacy. ..."
"... Conspiracy theorists have seats in Congress. There are serious questions about whether one of the country's great political parties is now anti-democratic. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in a federal system that grants vast power to the states. And America's self-appointed role as an exceptional nation and beacon of democracy is in the gutter. ..."
"... Most of the disorienting events of the last few years can be blamed directly on Trump and his particular skill at tearing at the social, racial and political divides that are just below the nation's surface. So the ex-KGB man in the Kremlin hardly deserves all the credit. But Russia, China and other autocratic nations are gaining much from Washington's agony. They're already using it to promote their own closed and totalitarian societies as models of comparative order and efficiency -- and to beat back brave local voices calling for democracy and human rights. ..."
"... In an effective declaration of victory for Russia's espionage offensive against the US more than four years ago, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, slid home the knife. "Following the events that unfolded after the presidential elections, it is meaningless to refer to America as the example of democracy," he said. ..."
"... "We are on the verge of reevaluating the standards that are being promoted by the United States of America, that is exporting its vision of democracy and political systems around the world. Those in our country who love to cite their example as leading will also have to reconsider their views." ..."
Jan 19, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org

In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side, Eric Zuesse writes.

Throughout history, aristocrats, and their flaks such as their 'news'-media, cast blame downward, away from themselves who collectively control the government, and onto, instead, some minority or other mass group, who can't even plan or function together so as to be able to control the government.

The U.S. has a two-Party aristocracy, as is clear from the "Open Secrets" list of the 100 biggest political donors in the 2020 U.S. Presidential and congressional campaigns, the "2020 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups" . Those are only these individuals' publicly acknowledged expenditures, none of the dark political money, which, of course, is donated secretly. At the top there, of the donors' lists, is Sheldon Adelson (who just died, on January 11th in California, and was buried in Israel), who spent far more than anyone in all of U.S. history had ever spent in any campaign cycle, $215 million, which amount far exceeded even the $82 million that he had spent in 2016, which in 2016 was second only to Thomas Steyer's $92 million (the previous all-time highest amount donated in any campaign year). Adelson gave exclusively to Republicans, whereas Steyer gave exclusively to Democrats. Steyer in 2020 gave $67 million, which -- though he was running for President in 2020, and hadn't been running in 2016 -- was only 73% of his 2016 donations, in that year, when he had been the nation's top political donor. He was only the 5th-biggest donor in 2020, instead of #1.

The second-biggest donor in 2020 was the liberal Republican Michael Bloomberg, who ran in the Democratic Presidential primaries in order to defeat the only progressive in that contest, who was Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg spent $151 million of his own funds for that purpose. In 2016, he had spent $24 million in order to help Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders, and then try to beat Donald Trump.

The third-biggest in 2020 was Timothy Mellon, the son of Paul Mellon and grandson of Andrew Mellon . Timothy Mellon gave $70 million, all to Republicans.

In 2020, the top ten donors, collectively, spent $776 million to own their chunk of the U.S. Government. The second group of ten (#s 11-20) donated only $187 million; and, so, the top twenty together donated $963 million, just shy of $1 trillion. All 80 of the other top-100 donors, together, gave around $370 million, so that the total from all 100 was around one-and-a-third trillion dollars. 47 gave to Republicans; 53 gave to Democrats.

The smallest publicly acknowledged donor among the top 100, Foster Friess , gave $2.4 million, all to Republicans.

Most of these 100 donors are among America's approximately 700 billionaires; and, even the ones who aren't are serving and doing business with the billionaires, and therefore are to some extent dependent upon having good relations with them, not being enemies of any billionaire. All of these 100 are, obviously, also dependent upon the governmental decisions that the public officials whom they have purchased will be making, not only regarding regulations and laws, but also regarding foreign policies. For example, Friess merged his company into Affiliated Management Group, which "is a global asset management firm" that "has grown to approximately $730 billion." Virtually all of the top 100 political donors are internationally invested, and their personal wealth is therefore affected by American foreign policies, in ways that the personal wealth of the rest of the population is not.

When the U.S. invades a foreign country, or issues sanctions against a foreign country, it benefits some American investors, not only in corporations such as Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil, but even in some foreign-headquartered corporations. America's spending around half of the entire world's military expenses gives an enormous competitive boost to America's billionaires, which is paid for by all U.S. taxpayers. It takes away money that would otherwise go toward the rest of the U.S. population -- people who might even become crippled or killed by their military service for the benefit of America's billionaires. Marketing this military service to thepublic, as "national defense" -- even at a time when no nation has invaded or even threatened to invade America after 1945 -- is good PR for America's wealthiest families, regardless of whether it's of any benefit whatsoever to other Americans. Because of the success of this PR for the military, Americans consider the U.S. military to be America's best institution -- far higher than any other part of the U.S. Government or any non-governmental institution, such as churches, the press, or the medical system. The U.S. Department of Defense is, also, by far, the most corrupt of all Departments of the U.S. federal Government . This fact is carefully hidden from the U.S. public, so as to keep the public admiring the military.

Billionaires use their media, and their scholars, to point the finger of blame, for the problems that the public does know about, anywhere else than against themselves; and, though the billionaires have political differences amongst themselves, they are unified against the public, so as to continue the gravy train that they all are on.

In order for the aristocracy not to be blamed for the many problems that they cause upon the public, their first trick is to blame some minority or some other vulnerable mass within the public. Or else to blame some 'enemy' country. But if and when such a strategy fails, then, they and their media blame the middle class or "bourgeoisie," in order to fool the leftists, and also they blame the "communists" and the poor, in order to fool the rightists. That's a two-pronged PR strategy -- one to the left, and the other to the right. Since the aristocracy is always, itself, fundamentally conservative, they would naturally rather blame the leftists as being "communists," than to blame the middle class and poor, because to do the latter would place the public's ideological focus on economic class, which then would threaten to expose the billionaires themselves as being the actual economic "elite" who are the public's real enemy (and as being the elite against which the propaganda should instead be focused). Blaming the middle class and poor might work amongst their fellow-aristocrats, but if tried amongst the public, it would present the danger of backfiring. Consequently, there is a return to the days of Joseph R. McCarthy, but this time without communism. Thus, here is how the White House correspondent for a Democratic Party 'news'-site, CNN, closed his 'news'-analysis, on January 14th, under the headline "Washington's agony is a win for autocrats and strongmen" :

Mission accomplished

Nice work, Mr. Putin.

According to a US intelligence community report, Russia's chief goal in interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton was to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process." Four years on, there have been two impeachments and an insurrection against the US legislature. Millions believe Trump's lies that he was illegally ejected from power, and doubt Biden's legitimacy.

Conspiracy theorists have seats in Congress. There are serious questions about whether one of the country's great political parties is now anti-democratic. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in a federal system that grants vast power to the states. And America's self-appointed role as an exceptional nation and beacon of democracy is in the gutter.

Most of the disorienting events of the last few years can be blamed directly on Trump and his particular skill at tearing at the social, racial and political divides that are just below the nation's surface. So the ex-KGB man in the Kremlin hardly deserves all the credit. But Russia, China and other autocratic nations are gaining much from Washington's agony. They're already using it to promote their own closed and totalitarian societies as models of comparative order and efficiency -- and to beat back brave local voices calling for democracy and human rights.

In an effective declaration of victory for Russia's espionage offensive against the US more than four years ago, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, slid home the knife. "Following the events that unfolded after the presidential elections, it is meaningless to refer to America as the example of democracy," he said.

"We are on the verge of reevaluating the standards that are being promoted by the United States of America, that is exporting its vision of democracy and political systems around the world. Those in our country who love to cite their example as leading will also have to reconsider their views."

That's propaganda from "leftist" (i.e., Democratic Party) billionaires. A good example of an independent American journalist who has been fooled by Republican Party billionaires to blame some amorphous mass of "leftists" is Sara A. Carter's 12 January 2021 youtube "Rudy Giuliani talks big tech censorship" , blaming America's problems on "the government," or "the bureacracy," and, of course, especially on Democrats. At 10:15 there, she said "My mother fled from Cuba." Carter, as a conservative, is so obsessed with her visceral hatred of "communism," that she interpreted America's dictatorship as being communists, instead of as being billionaires -- of both Parties: actually, fascists. In a two-Party fascist dictatorship , she fears the leftists. This is typical of propagandists on the conservative side. But propagandists on the liberal side (such as the CNN correspondent exemplified) are no better, just different.

Both propaganda-operations cast blame away from the real culprits.

In a two-Party dictatorship, the important truths are kept away from being publicized on either side. What the public sees and hears, instead, is political theater, merely tailored to different audiences.

[Jan 19, 2021] The US neoliberal nomenklatura has truly achieved total power

Notable quotes:
"... One one hand, this is truly an absolute disaster, because when the US ruling Nomenklatura agrees to drop any past pretenses of objectivity, or even decency, things will definitely get ugly. On the other hand, however, this immense "coming out" of the US Nomenklatura is, of course, unsustainable (just look at history, every time these folks thought that they had crushed the "plebes", the latter ended up rising and showing their supposed "masters" to the door; this will happen here too). ..."
"... Trump really destroyed the USA externally, in terms of world politics. The Dems have done the same thing, only internally. For example, Trump is the one who most arrogantly ignored the rule of law in international affairs, but it was the Dems who destroyed the rule of law inside the USA. It was Trump who with his antics and narcissistic threats urbi et orbi who destroyed any credibility left for the USA as a country (or even of the the AngloZionist Empire as a whole), but it was the Dems who really decided to sabotage the very political system which allowed them to seize power in the first place. ..."
"... What comes next is the illegal rule of an illegitimate regime which came to power by violence (BLM, Antifa, Capitol false flag). This will be a Soviet-style gerontocracy with senile figureheads pretending to be in power (think Biden vs Chernenko here). Looking at the old, Obama-era, names which are circulated now for future Cabinet positions, we can bet on two things: the new rulers will be as evil as they will be grossly incompetent, mostly due to their crass lack of education (even Nuland and Psaki are back, it appears!). The Biden admin will be similar to the rule of Kerensky in "democratic" Russia: chaos, violence, lots and lots of speeches and total social and economic chaos. The next crucial, and even frightening, question now is: what will replace this US version of a Kerensky regime? ..."
"... "domestic terrorism" will, once again, become the boogeyman we will be told to fear. And, as all good boys and girls know, the best way to deal with such a horrible "domestic terrorism" threat is to dismantle the First and Second Amendments of the Constitution. Having corrupt kangaroo courts on all levels, from the small claims level to the Supreme court, will greatly help in this endeavor... ..."
Jan 19, 2021 | www.unz.com

...the US liberals decided that this vote was a slap in their face which, of course, is quite correct (I still believe that most votes for Trump where not votes for Trump, but votes against Hillary); it was, so to speak, a gigantic "f**k you!" from the revolting serfs against their masters. And class consciousness told the US Nomenklatura that this was an anti-masters pogrom , a US " Jacquerie " if you wish. This "revolt of the serfs" had to be put down, immediately, and it was: Trump caved to the Neocons in less than a month (when he betrayed General Flynn) and ever since the US Nomenklatura has been using Trump as a disposable President who would do all the crazy nonsense imaginable to please Israel, and who would then be disposed off. And yet it is now quite clear that the US "deplorables" voted for the "wrong" candidate again! Hence the need for a (very poorly concealed) "election steal" followed by a "test of loyalty" (you better side with us, or else ) which eventually resulted in the situation we have today.

What is that situation exactly?

Simply put, this time the US Nomenklatura has truly achieved total power. Not only do they control all three of the official branches of government, they now also fully control the 4th one, the "media space", courtesy of the US tech giants which now are openly silencing anybody who disagrees with the One And Only Official Truth As Represented By The Propaganda Outlets. This is the very first time in recent US history that a small cabal of "deep insiders" have achieved such total control of all the real instruments of power. The bad news is that they know that they are a small minority and they realize that they need to act fast to secure their hold on power. But for that they needed a pretext.

It is hardly surprising that after successfully pulling off the 9/11 false flag operation, the US Nomenklatura had no problems whatsoever pulling off the "Capitol" false flag.

Think about it: the legally organized and scheduled protest of Trump supporters was announced at least a week before it had to take place. How hard was it for those in charge of security to make sure that the protesters stay in one specific location? At the very least, those in charge of security could have done what Lukashenko eventually did in Mink: place military and police forces around all the important symbolic buildings and monuments and say "you are welcome to protest, but don't even think of trying to take over any government property" (that approach worked much better than beating up protesters, which Lukashenko initially had tried). Yet what we saw was the exact opposite: in DC protesters were invited across police lines by cops. Not only that, but even those protesters which did enter the Capitol were, apparently, not violent enough, so it had to be one of the cops to shoot an unarmed and clearly non-dangerous woman, thereby providing the "sacrificial victim" needed to justify the hysterics about "violence" and "rule of law".

And the worst part is that it worked, even Trump ended up condemning the "violence" and denouncing those who, according to Trump, did not represent the people.

The hard truth is much simpler: the "stop the steal" protestors did not commit any real violence! Yes, they broke some furniture, had some fights with cops (who initially were inviting people in, only to then violently turn against them with batons, pepper sprays and flash-bang grenades). Some reports say that one cop was hit by a fire extinguisher. If true, that would be a case of assault with a deadly weapon (under US law any object capable of being used to kill can be considered a deadly weapon when used for that purpose). But considering the nonstop hysteria about guns, the NRA and "armed militias", this was clearly not a planned murder. Finally, a few people died, apparently from natural causes, possibly made worse by the people trampling over each other. In other words, the Trump supporters did not kill anybody deliberately, at most they can be accused of creating the circumstances which resulted in manslaughter. That was not murder. Not even close. Want to see what a planned murder looks like? Just look at the footage of the Ashli Babbitt murder by some kind of armed official. That is real murder, and it was committed by a armed official. So which side is most guilty of violating laws and regulations?

Furthermore, no moral value can be respected unless it is universally and equally applied. Which, considering that the US deep state has engaged in a full year of wanton mass violence against hundreds of innocent US citizens makes it unbelievably hypocritical for the US liberals to denounce "the mob" now. Frankly, the way I see it, all the US liberals should now "take a knee" before the pro-Trump protestors and declare that this was a "mostly peaceful" event which, objectively speaking, it was .

Won't happen. I know.

What will happen next is going to be a vicious crackdown on free speech in all its forms . In fact, and just to use a Marxist notion, what comes next is class warfare .

We have all seen Pelosi and the rest of them demanding that Trump either be removed by Pence and the Cabinet (25th A.), or they will unleash another impeachment. First, if impeached, Trump won't be able to run in 2024 (which the liberals fully realize is a major risk for them). But even more important, is to humiliate him, make him pay, show him once and for all "who is boss"! These people thrive on revenge and victory is never enough to appease them, they simply hate anybody who dares oppose them and they want to make an example of any and every serf who dares to disobey them. That is why they always send "messages", no matter how inchoate: they want to bully all the deplorables on the planet into total subservience.

But they won't stop with just Trump. Oh no! They will also go after all those serfs who dared defy this Nomenklatura and who objected to the wholesale repudiation of the US Constitution. For example, in a truly Orwellian move, the NY State Bar now wants to disbar Giuliani for acting as Trump's lawyer (not a joke, check here ). Which, considering that Trump already lost several lawyers to such tactics should not come as a surprise to anybody: apparently, in the "new 2021 Woke-USA", some are more entitled to legal representation than others.

Don't expect the ACLU to protest, by the way – equal protection under the law is not a topic of interest to them. Here are a few screenshots take off their website , so see for yourself.

Clearly, the priority for the folks at the ACLU is to destroy Trump and anybody daring to take up his defense.

One one hand, this is truly an absolute disaster, because when the US ruling Nomenklatura agrees to drop any past pretenses of objectivity, or even decency, things will definitely get ugly. On the other hand, however, this immense "coming out" of the US Nomenklatura is, of course, unsustainable (just look at history, every time these folks thought that they had crushed the "plebes", the latter ended up rising and showing their supposed "masters" to the door; this will happen here too).

Last, but not least, let's keep another crucial thing in mind: even if you absolutely hate Trump, you really should realize that it is not just "the vote" which was stolen, it was the entire US Constitutional order . While we often focus on the SCOTUS, we should not remember the many lower courts which showed a total absence of courage or dignity and which caved in to the hysterical demands of the US Nomenklatura . It is impossible to have a country under the rule of law when the courts shy away from their obligation to uphold the said rule of law and, instead, place political expediency above the letter and spirit of the law.

Furthermore, when concepts such as "legal" and "illegal" lose any objective meaning, how can any action be considered illegal or punishable?

Here is, just as an example, the Oath of Office taken by all Supreme Court Justices: (emphasis added)

"I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich , and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."

And this is what each member of the US Armed Forces swears: (emphasis added)

"I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic ; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (So help me God)."

It does not take a genius to figure out that the SCOTUS is now in the hands of a small cabal of people who clearly are "domestic enemies" of the US Constitution.

Finally, here is what the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence states: (emphasis added)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it , and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

I don't think that there is any need to further beat this dead horse and I will simply summarize it as so:

The regime which will soon replace the Trump Administration is an illegal occupation government, with strong ties to foreign interests (and I don't mean China or Russia here!), which all those who served in the US military have taken an oath to oppose; this is precisely the kind of occupation regime which the Founding Fathers foresaw in their Declaration of Independence . Furthermore, the rule of law has clearly collapsed, at least on the federal level, this should give the states more freedom of movement to resist the decrees of this new regime (at least those states still willing and able to resist, I think of TX and FL here). The leaders of this US Nomenklatura understand this, at least on some level, and we should expect no decency from them; neither should we expect any mercy. Revenge is what fuels these ideology- and hate-filled people who loathe and fear all the rest of humanity because nobody is willing to worship them as our "lords and masters ". But this is also the beginning of their end.

Conclusion: now we are all Palestinians!

True, no "mob" won on the Capitol, unless we refer to the (disgraced, hated and useless) Congress as "the mob". And, of course, neither did "the people" or the protesters. The only real winner in this entire operation was the US deep state and the US Nomenklatura . But they did not win any war, only the opening battle of a war which will be much longer than what they imagine in their ignorance.

I have said it many times, Trump really destroyed the USA externally, in terms of world politics. The Dems have done the same thing, only internally. For example, Trump is the one who most arrogantly ignored the rule of law in international affairs, but it was the Dems who destroyed the rule of law inside the USA. It was Trump who with his antics and narcissistic threats urbi et orbi who destroyed any credibility left for the USA as a country (or even of the the AngloZionist Empire as a whole), but it was the Dems who really decided to sabotage the very political system which allowed them to seize power in the first place.

What comes next is the illegal rule of an illegitimate regime which came to power by violence (BLM, Antifa, Capitol false flag). This will be a Soviet-style gerontocracy with senile figureheads pretending to be in power (think Biden vs Chernenko here). Looking at the old, Obama-era, names which are circulated now for future Cabinet positions, we can bet on two things: the new rulers will be as evil as they will be grossly incompetent, mostly due to their crass lack of education (even Nuland and Psaki are back, it appears!). The Biden admin will be similar to the rule of Kerensky in "democratic" Russia: chaos, violence, lots and lots of speeches and total social and economic chaos. The next crucial, and even frightening, question now is: what will replace this US version of a Kerensky regime?

It is way too early to reply to this question, but we should at least begin to think about it, lest we be completely caught off guard.

But until then, "domestic terrorism" will, once again, become the boogeyman we will be told to fear. And, as all good boys and girls know, the best way to deal with such a horrible "domestic terrorism" threat is to dismantle the First and Second Amendments of the Constitution. Having corrupt kangaroo courts on all levels, from the small claims level to the Supreme court, will greatly help in this endeavor...

... ... ...


obwandiyag , says: January 12, 2021 at 3:36 am GMT • 6.5 days ago

Read this again, boneheads:

"Americans have been brainwashed into calling things they don't like, or don't understand, as "Socialist" or even "Marxist". The sad reality is that most Americans sincerely believe that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders are "socialists", and when they see modern movies ridiculously filled with "minorities" and gender fluid freaks – this is a case of "cultural Marxism" (a totally meaningless term, by the way!). This is all utter nonsense, neither Marxism nor Socialism have anything to do with BLM, Antifa, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer (in fact, Marxism places a premium on real law and order!)."

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:11 am GMT • 6.4 days ago

"class" has been declared heretical and it has been replaced by identity politics – the best way for a ruling class to (a) hide behind a fake illusion of pluralism and (b) to divide the people and rule over them

It's a neat bait and switch scheme, identity being substituted for class. Billionaires can now be hailed as people's champions by instituting 'gender-fluid' toilets and forcing their peons to kneel. Who knows how much force they'll be willing to use against the deplorables but probably it would know no limit. The shock and awe unleashed against foreign countries could now be instituted domestically with things like the Phoenix Program being tried here, among other things. Anything but relinquish power.
The old war-lovers are coming back in. Although he was considered belligerent the new regime will be worse. War is probably part of the future agenda. Solidifying it's grip upon the domestic population may be the precursor to embarking upon an unpopular and certain to be costly war against Iran or perhaps even some clash with Russia.

Old Man Turtle , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:40 am GMT • 6.4 days ago

From the I Ching: "Large ambitions coupled with meager talent will seldom escape disaster."

The fervid machinations of the current crop of "self"-glorifying wannabes will not, as The Saker reminds us here, be any exception to the rule, either. They're hardly the first bunch of feckless opportunists to take a run at "full spectrum dominance" .aiming to trap Life Herownself within the suffocating CONfines of their own little nut'shell.

The rampant insanity symptomatic of their virulent "self"-sickness, as it runs its inevitable course, looks like being somewhat more than usually trying for the rest of us, though .given all the electro-mechanical and institutional enhancement available to them, for intensifying the degenerative effects of their folly. At the same time, our best response will be just what we all know is always organically and in all Ways imperative for our Kind, anyhow. All our precious attention is best devoted to taking care of the Earth and each other. Our unconditional affection is best lavished on this Living Creation, all our Relations, and The Great Spirit whose gift it is.

[Jan 19, 2021] The Saker's treatment of the Nomenklatura is similar to the American street language term "made man," -- an untouchable mafiosi

Jan 19, 2021 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [148] Disclaimer , says: January 12, 2021 at 10:03 am GMT • 6.2 days ago

I see this article is quite relevant to another one on a different blog that I have been fruitlessly attempting to comment upon. It keeps getting disappeared immediately and not even sent to moderation where normally all submissions first go. Have had that trouble two days running on two different articles about i) the impending crackdowns on free speech and ii) the planned purge of Republican officeholders by the triumphalist Clinton/Obama/Biden mob. I'll go with my remarks on the coming attempt at a purge since it is closer to the Saker's treatment of the Nomenklatura (cognate to "nomenclature" specifying ordered classes of things, including people or their offices, in English) or in American street language simply identifying who is a "made man," i.e., an untouchable in the mafia. Yeah, the Dem hierarchy are sure feeling they are all made men (and women) following the set to in the Capitol which they most possibly facilitated and have certainly exploited to the limit.

Jake , says:

[Jan 18, 2021] Biden is clearly an enforcer for a faction of what we might call the permanent establishment, the hidden real government that runs on automatic imperial pilot regardless who is nominal US President.

Jan 18, 2021 | journal-neo.org

http://journal-neo.org/2016/09/27/joe-biden-is-washington-troublemaker-in-chief/

Biden is clearly an enforcer for a faction of what we might call the permanent establishment, the hidden real government that runs on automatic imperial pilot regardless who is nominal US President.
That "permanent establishment" is currently becoming "dis-established" everywhere in the world. It sees with horror that its grip on the entire world is crumbling.

It does only what it has always tried in such cases -- war, war, war. Only of late, those wars -- war against Russia over Ukraine, war against Assad's Syria, an attempted war against Erdogan in Turkey, a war against the growing economic muscle in the world of China -- have been impotent flops.

Biden, a dutiful servant of those interests, carries the flag of war to where he is sent, much like the character in Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.

[Jan 18, 2021] Neoliberal Nomenklatura vs bond holders

Jan 18, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: January 12, 2021 at 4:25 pm GMT • 6.0 days ago

Nomenklatura is a bad analogy.

It is an Oligarchy of bond holders. I'm using the word bond as an stand-in for debt instruments, or any sort of claim on productivity. Bond/Bondage/Debt are all closely related concepts.

The entire Western World is inter-connected double-entry balance sheets.

One side of the balance sheet is "assets" and the other is "liabilities." One person's liability is another persons asset.

It is best to view the western world as a balance sheet, especially as private bank credit is the dominant money type of the west. Private banking and debt spreading has metastasized like a cancer, and is now consuming the host. Debt instruments and finance paper are being serviced in the finance sector with QE and 'CARES' act shenanigan's, which pays these finance "assets."

If you want to call the bond holders in finance and elsewhere as a nomenklatura, go ahead – but it obscures reality. These people are a class, a class of usurers, who are "taking" wealth in sordid ways by gaming the system.

All through history, plutocracy has arisen out of the population because debts were not annulled, or land was enclosed.

Oligarchs of various types are harvesting the world through various means, including the growth of debt claims. These claims grow exponentially, and outside of nature's ability to pay. The derivative bubble wants to be paid. What cannot go on, will not.

The balance sheet is not really balanced, one side (the debt instrument holder) is making exponential claims on debtors.

https://michael-hudson.com/2016/07/socrates-debt-and-the-cyclical-rise-and-fall-of-societies/

Curmudgeon , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:04 pm GMT • 5.9 days ago
@Biff

I have, for some time, been mis-naming the Nomenklatura as the Politburo, with the commune being the many tentacled international banking cartel. It's the same crowd that funded the original Bolsheviks.
IMO they are only "Neo" by virtue of the old ones having died, but I'm not going to split hairs. We all know it is those whose loyalty is to a shitty little country on the Mediterranean.

[Jan 13, 2021] The current enhanced by tech billionaries set of neoliberal Nomenklatura is still too weak to sustain rule.

Jan 13, 2021 | www.unz.com

Emslander , says: January 12, 2021 at 2:56 pm GMT • 13.4 hours ago

I've come back to salute this essay as the compendium of truth that it is. Several of the essays here this week have been intelligent and deserving of the Unz readership.

You are most correct when you say that the current set of Nomenklatura are too weak to sustain rule. I'd call the Big Tech oligarchy the Nickelodeon class. They have digits, which are really nothing to be afraid of, but any small farmer in the Midwest is more powerful than they are.

Big changes are coming and it won't take violence to effect them, just a patriotic week or two off of the social media.

[Jan 13, 2021] The Mob Did Not Win!, by The Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I have, for some time, been mis-naming the Nomenklatura as the Politburo, with the commune being the many tentacled international banking cartel. ..."
Jan 13, 2021 | www.unz.com

FoxNews finally showed its true face during the election steal when it declared that Trump had lost the election long before any evidence in support of this thesis materialized. It is now abundantly clear that with a few exceptions (notably Tucker Carlson), FoxNews is very much on the same page as CNN and the rest of them. So what just happened and what is taking place now?

Americans have been brainwashed into calling things they don't like, or don't understand, as "Socialist" or even "Marxist". The sad reality is that most Americans sincerely believe that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders are "socialists", and when they see modern movies ridiculously filled with "minorities" and gender fluid freaks – this is a case of "cultural Marxism" (a totally meaningless term, by the way!). This is all utter nonsense, neither Marxism nor Socialism have anything to do with BLM, Antifa, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer (in fact, Marxism places a premium on real law and order!). I can't take the time and space here to discuss Marxism, but I do believe that there is one analytical tool which we can borrow from Marxist thought to try to make sense of what just happened in the USA. Let's begin by asking a simple question:

If "the mob" did not win, who did?

Most certainly not the abstract concept of "law and order". For one thing, it is now abundantly clear that some cops deliberately let a (rather small) subset of protestors not only across police lines but even inside the Capitol Building itself. That is not exactly law and order, now is it? Furthermore, it is now also clear that Ashli Babbitt was very deliberately shot by an (apparently black) cop who was then quickly hidden away from sight by the authorities. Not exactly law and order either.

Neither did the abstract concept of "democracy" win anything that day. Many protesters were recorded saying that the Capitol building belonged to the people, not to the people working in it on behalf of the people. They are right. But even if we accept the notion that those who entered the building were trespassing, the massive crackdown on free speech which immediately followed the events at the Capitol is a clear sign that "democracy" did not win that day. More about that later.

So who won?

Well, look who is celebrating and who is now demanding that punitive and even repressive measures be taken against Trump supporters:

here and here ) The Russia-hating Lobby Antifa/BLM/etc The many freaks of nature leading various "minorities" Big Tech megacorporations a la Google and Amazon

The list is longer, of course, and it includes pretty much all the folks afflicted with the now famous Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).

Our list looks like a cocktail of very different actors, but is that really the case?

I submit that if we look closely at this list of possible "winners" we can quickly see that we are dealing with a single social category /group whose "diversity" is only apparent. Here is what all these groups have in common:

They are numerically small, definitely a minority They are very wealthy They are very close to the real centers of power They share the same narcissistic (Neocon) ideology of self-worship They are driven by the same hate-based ideology of revenge They don't care about the people of the USA They want to dismantle the US Constitutional order

On the basis of these common characteristics, I believe that we can speak about a social class united by a common ideology .

Now, of course, in the plutocratic oligarchy (which the United States in reality is), the notion of "class" has been declared heretical and it has been replaced by identity politics – the best way for a ruling class to (a) hide behind a fake illusion of pluralism and (b) to divide the people and rule over them.

I have already written about what I consider to be a US version of the Soviet Nomenklatura , a special ruling class which was official in the (comparatively much more honest) Soviet system but which is always hidden from sight by the rulers of the United States.

The actual word we use are not that important: Nomenklatura , class, caste, establishment, powers that be, deep state, etc. – they all approximate the reality of a small gang of self-declared "elites" (as opposed to the "deplorables") ruling with total impunity and no checks and balances mitigating their de facto dictatorship. Some well-intentioned people began speaking about the "1%" – which is not bad, even if the actual figure is even smaller than just one percent. Others used "Wall Street" (as in the "occupy WS" movement), again – not a bad attempt to describe the problem. Whatever the terms you chose, what is certain is that this entity has what Marx would call a " class consciousness " which produces a single " class ideology " characterized by an extremely strong sense of "us versus them" .

By the way, while I disagree with any notion that the US Nomenklatura is Marxist or Socialist in any way, I very much agree that these "elites" are displaying an ideological zeal very similar to what Trotskysts or Nazis typically exhibit, especially when confronted with the "deplorables" or, like FoxNews says, the "mob" (the Polish word " bydło " – cattle – very accurately renders this contempt for the masses).

In fact, they see us all as their "class enemy" . And they are quite correct, by the way.

Their ideology is messianic, racist, violent and hate filled while the members of this US Nomenklatura see themselves as the cream of the crop, the "chosen people", whose "destiny" is to rule over the "dark and primitive" "mob".

This contempt for the "mob" is something which self-described "liberals" always try to conceal, but which always comes out, be it in 1917 Russia or in 2021 USA. There is a weird logic to this, by the way. It goes something like this: " we are clearly superior to the plebes, yet these plebes seem to reject that notion, these plebes are therefore a "dark mob" which absolutely needs to be strictly ruled by us ". The underlying assumption is that plebes are dangerous, they can always riot and threaten "us". Hence the need for a police state. QED.

We all remember how the Clinton gang was mega-super-sure that Hillary would easily defeat Trump. And just to make darn sure that the US "plebes" don't do anything stupid, the US legacy corporate ziomedia engaged in probably the most hysterical candidate bashing propaganda operation in history only to find out that the "deplorables" did not vote as they were told to, they voted for "Trump The New Hitler" instead.

What a truly unforgivable affront of these serfs against the masters which God, or Manifest Destiny, placed above them!

And just as their pseudo-liberal colleagues from the past, the US liberals decided that this vote was a slap in their face which, of course, is quite correct (I still believe that most votes for Trump where not votes for Trump, but votes against Hillary); it was, so to speak, a gigantic "f**k you!" from the revolting serfs against their masters. And class consciousness told the US Nomenklatura that this was an anti-masters pogrom , a US " Jacquerie " if you wish. This "revolt of the serfs" had to be put down, immediately, and it was: Trump caved to the Neocons in less than a month (when he betrayed General Flynn) and ever since the US Nomenklatura has been using Trump as a disposable President who would do all the crazy nonsense imaginable to please Israel, and who would then be disposed off. And yet it is now quite clear that the US "deplorables" voted for the "wrong" candidate again! Hence the need for a (very poorly concealed) "election steal" followed by a "test of loyalty" (you better side with us, or else ) which eventually resulted in the situation we have today.

What is that situation exactly?

Simply put, this time the US Nomenklatura has truly achieved total power. Not only do they control all three of the official branches of government, they now also fully control the 4th one, the "media space", courtesy of the US tech giants which now are openly silencing anybody who disagrees with the One And Only Official Truth As Represented By The Propaganda Outlets. This is the very first time in recent US history that a small cabal of "deep insiders" have achieved such total control of all the real instruments of power. The bad news is that they know that they are a small minority and they realize that they need to act fast to secure their hold on power. But for that they needed a pretext.

It is hardly surprising that after successfully pulling off the 9/11 false flag operation, the US Nomenklatura had no problems whatsoever pulling off the "Capitol" false flag.

Think about it: the legally organized and scheduled protest of Trump supporters was announced at least a week before it had to take place. How hard was it for those in charge of security to make sure that the protesters stay in one specific location? At the very least, those in charge of security could have done what Lukashenko eventually did in Mink: place military and police forces around all the important symbolic buildings and monuments and say "you are welcome to protest, but don't even think of trying to take over any government property" (that approach worked much better than beating up protesters, which Lukashenko initially had tried). Yet what we saw was the exact opposite: in DC protesters were invited across police lines by cops. Not only that, but even those protesters which did enter the Capitol were, apparently, not violent enough, so it had to be one of the cops to shoot an unarmed and clearly non-dangerous woman, thereby providing the "sacrificial victim" needed to justify the hysterics about "violence" and "rule of law".

And the worst part is that it worked, even Trump ended up condemning the "violence" and denouncing those who, according to Trump, did not represent the people.

The hard truth is much simpler: the "stop the steal" protestors did not commit any real violence! Yes, they broke some furniture, had some fights with cops (who initially were inviting people in, only to then violently turn against them with batons, pepper sprays and flash-bang grenades). Some reports say that one cop was hit by a fire extinguisher. If true, that would be a case of assault with a deadly weapon (under US law any object capable of being used to kill can be considered a deadly weapon when used for that purpose). But considering the nonstop hysteria about guns, the NRA and "armed militias", this was clearly not a planned murder. Finally, a few people died, apparently from natural causes, possibly made worse by the people trampling over each other. In other words, the Trump supporters did not kill anybody deliberately, at most they can be accused of creating the circumstances which resulted in manslaughter. That was not murder. Not even close. Want to see what a planned murder looks like? Just look at the footage of the Ashli Babbitt murder by some kind of armed official. That is real murder, and it was committed by a armed official. So which side is most guilty of violating laws and regulations?

Furthermore, no moral value can be respected unless it is universally and equally applied. Which, considering that the US deep state has engaged in a full year of wanton mass violence against hundreds of innocent US citizens makes it unbelievably hypocritical for the US liberals to denounce "the mob" now. Frankly, the way I see it, all the US liberals should now "take a knee" before the pro-Trump protestors and declare that this was a "mostly peaceful" event which, objectively speaking, it was .

Won't happen. I know.

What will happen next is going to be a vicious crackdown on free speech in all its forms . In fact, and just to use a Marxist notion, what comes next is class warfare .

We have all seen Pelosi and the rest of them demanding that Trump either be removed by Pence and the Cabinet (25th A.), or they will unleash another impeachment. First, if impeached, Trump won't be able to run in 2024 (which the liberals fully realize is a major risk for them). But even more important, is to humiliate him, make him pay, show him once and for all "who is boss"! These people thrive on revenge and victory is never enough to appease them, they simply hate anybody who dares oppose them and they want to make an example of any and every serf who dares to disobey them. That is why they always send "messages", no matter how inchoate: they want to bully all the deplorables on the planet into total subservience.

But they won't stop with just Trump. Oh no! They will also go after all those serfs who dared defy this Nomenklatura and who objected to the wholesale repudiation of the US Constitution. For example, in a truly Orwellian move, the NY State Bar now wants to disbar Giuliani for acting as Trump's lawyer (not a joke, check here ). Which, considering that Trump already lost several lawyers to such tactics should not come as a surprise to anybody: apparently, in the "new 2021 Woke-USA", some are more entitled to legal representation than others.

Don't expect the ACLU to protest, by the way – equal protection under the law is not a topic of interest to them. Here are a few screenshots take off their website , so see for yourself.

Clearly, the priority for the folks at the ACLU is to destroy Trump and anybody daring to take up his defense.

One one hand, this is truly an absolute disaster, because when the US ruling Nomenklatura agrees to drop any past pretenses of objectivity, or even decency, things will definitely get ugly. On the other hand, however, this immense "coming out" of the US Nomenklatura is, of course, unsustainable (just look at history, every time these folks thought that they had crushed the "plebes", the latter ended up rising and showing their supposed "masters" to the door; this will happen here too).

Last, but not least, let's keep another crucial thing in mind: even if you absolutely hate Trump, you really should realize that it is not just "the vote" which was stolen, it was the entire US Constitutional order . While we often focus on the SCOTUS, we should not remember the many lower courts which showed a total absence of courage or dignity and which caved in to the hysterical demands of the US Nomenklatura . It is impossible to have a country under the rule of law when the courts shy away from their obligation to uphold the said rule of law and, instead, place political expediency above the letter and spirit of the law.

Furthermore, when concepts such as "legal" and "illegal" lose any objective meaning, how can any action be considered illegal or punishable?

Here is, just as an example, the Oath of Office taken by all Supreme Court Justices: (emphasis added)

"I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich , and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."

And this is what each member of the US Armed Forces swears: (emphasis added)

"I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic ; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (So help me God)."

It does not take a genius to figure out that the SCOTUS is now in the hands of a small cabal of people who clearly are "domestic enemies" of the US Constitution.

Finally, here is what the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence states: (emphasis added)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it , and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

I don't think that there is any need to further beat this dead horse and I will simply summarize it as so:

The regime which will soon replace the Trump Administration is an illegal occupation government, with strong ties to foreign interests (and I don't mean China or Russia here!), which all those who served in the US military have taken an oath to oppose; this is precisely the kind of occupation regime which the Founding Fathers foresaw in their Declaration of Independence . Furthermore, the rule of law has clearly collapsed, at least on the federal level, this should give the states more freedom of movement to resist the decrees of this new regime (at least those states still willing and able to resist, I think of TX and FL here). The leaders of this US Nomenklatura understand this, at least on some level, and we should expect no decency from them; neither should we expect any mercy. Revenge is what fuels these ideology- and hate-filled people who loathe and fear all the rest of humanity because nobody is willing to worship them as our "lords and masters ". But this is also the beginning of their end.

Conclusion: now we are all Palestinians!

True, no "mob" won on the Capitol, unless we refer to the (disgraced, hated and useless) Congress as "the mob". And, of course, neither did "the people" or the protesters. The only real winner in this entire operation was the US deep state and the US Nomenklatura . But they did not win any war, only the opening battle of a war which will be much longer than what they imagine in their ignorance.

I have said it many times, Trump really destroyed the USA externally, in terms of world politics. The Dems have done the same thing, only internally. For example, Trump is the one who most arrogantly ignored the rule of law in international affairs, but it was the Dems who destroyed the rule of law inside the USA. It was Trump who with his antics and narcissistic threats urbi et orbi who destroyed any credibility left for the USA as a country (or even of the the AngloZionist Empire as a whole), but it was the Dems who really decided to sabotage the very political system which allowed them to seize power in the first place.

What comes next is the illegal rule of an illegitimate regime which came to power by violence (BLM, Antifa, Capitol false flag). This will be a Soviet-style gerontocracy with senile figureheads pretending to be in power (think Biden vs Chernenko here). Looking at the old, Obama-era, names which are circulated now for future Cabinet positions, we can bet on two things: the new rulers will be as evil as they will be grossly incompetent, mostly due to their crass lack of education (even Nuland and Psaki are back, it appears!). The Biden admin will be similar to the rule of Kerensky in "democratic" Russia: chaos, violence, lots and lots of speeches and total social and economic chaos. The next crucial, and even frightening, question now is: what will replace this US version of a Kerensky regime?

It is way too early to reply to this question, but we should at least begin to think about it, lest we be completely caught off guard.

But until then, "domestic terrorism" will, once again, become the boogeyman we will be told to fear. And, as all good boys and girls know, the best way to deal with such a horrible "domestic terrorism" threat is to dismantle the First and Second Amendments of the Constitution. Having corrupt kangaroo courts on all levels, from the small claims level to the Supreme court, will greatly help in this endeavor. Of course, there will be resistance from the deplorables who still love their country and their Constitution.

But no matter how long this takes (might be decades) and how violent this confrontation becomes (and, it will, if only because the regime vitally needs more false flags to survive!), what will happen with this occupation regime is what happened to all of them throughout history (could that be the reason why history is not taught anymore?).

As the Russian poet and bard, Vladimir Vissotski, wrote " it is impossible to trample upon souls with boots " (сапогами не вытоптать душу). Now we are all Palestinians. And we, like they, will win!


obwandiyag , says: January 12, 2021 at 3:36 am GMT • 1.0 days ago

Read this again, boneheads:

"Americans have been brainwashed into calling things they don't like, or don't understand, as "Socialist" or even "Marxist". The sad reality is that most Americans sincerely believe that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders are "socialists", and when they see modern movies ridiculously filled with "minorities" and gender fluid freaks – this is a case of "cultural Marxism" (a totally meaningless term, by the way!). This is all utter nonsense, neither Marxism nor Socialism have anything to do with BLM, Antifa, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer (in fact, Marxism places a premium on real law and order!)."

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:11 am GMT • 23.1 hours ago

"class" has been declared heretical and it has been replaced by identity politics – the best way for a ruling class to (a) hide behind a fake illusion of pluralism and (b) to divide the people and rule over them

It's a neat bait and switch scheme, identity being substituted for class. Billionaires can now be hailed as people's champions by instituting 'gender-fluid' toilets and forcing their peons to kneel. Who knows how much force they'll be willing to use against the deplorables but probably it would know no limit. The shock and awe unleashed against foreign countries could now be instituted domestically with things like the Phoenix Program being tried here, among other things. Anything but relinquish power.

The old war-lovers are coming back in. Although he was considered belligerent the new regime will be worse. War is probably part of the future agenda. Solidifying it's grip upon the domestic population may be the precursor to embarking upon an unpopular and certain to be costly war against Iran or perhaps even some clash with Russia.

Faihtful , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:28 am GMT • 22.8 hours ago

The mob never wins. It is always led by the nose by well organised agents provocateur. See Epoch time video:


https://www.bitchute.com/embed/FrE27FTf11Q/

Old Man Turtle , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:40 am GMT • 22.6 hours ago

From the I Ching: "Large ambitions coupled with meager talent will seldom escape disaster."

The fervid machinations of the current crop of "self"-glorifying wannabes will not, as The Saker reminds us here, be any exception to the rule, either. They're hardly the first bunch of feckless opportunists to take a run at "full spectrum dominance" .aiming to trap Life Herownself within the suffocating CONfines of their own little nut'shell.

The rampant insanity symptomatic of their virulent "self"-sickness, as it runs its inevitable course, looks like being somewhat more than usually trying for the rest of us, though .given all the electro-mechanical and institutional enhancement available to them, for intensifying the degenerative effects of their folly. At the same time, our best response will be just what we all know is always organically and in all Ways imperative for our Kind, anyhow. All our precious attention is best devoted to taking care of the Earth and each other. Our unconditional affection is best lavished on this Living Creation, all our Relations, and The Great Spirit whose gift it is.

Mefobills , says: January 12, 2021 at 4:25 pm GMT • 11.9 hours ago

Nomenklatura is a bad analogy.

It is an Oligarchy of bond holders. I'm using the word bond as an stand-in for debt instruments, or any sort of claim on productivity. Bond/Bondage/Debt are all closely related concepts.

The entire Western World is inter-connected double-entry balance sheets.

One side of the balance sheet is "assets" and the other is "liabilities." One person's liability is another persons asset.

It is best to view the western world as a balance sheet, especially as private bank credit is the dominant money type of the west. Private banking and debt spreading has metastasized like a cancer, and is now consuming the host. Debt instruments and finance paper are being serviced in the finance sector with QE and 'CARES' act shenanigan's, which pays these finance "assets."

If you want to call the bond holders in finance and elsewhere as a nomenklatura, go ahead – but it obscures reality. These people are a class, a class of usurers, who are "taking" wealth in sordid ways by gaming the system.

All through history, plutocracy has arisen out of the population because debts were not annulled, or land was enclosed.

Oligarchs of various types are harvesting the world through various means, including the growth of debt claims. These claims grow exponentially, and outside of nature's ability to pay. The derivative bubble wants to be paid. What cannot go on, will not.

The balance sheet is not really balanced, one side (the debt instrument holder) is making exponential claims on debtors.

https://michael-hudson.com/2016/07/socrates-debt-and-the-cyclical-rise-and-fall-of-societies/

Moritz Hinsch from Berlin collected what Socrates (470-399 BC) and other Athenians wrote about debt, and the conference's organizer, Prof. John Weisweiler, presented the new view of late imperial Rome as being still a long way from outright serfdom. The 99 Percent were squeezed, but "the economy" grew – in a way that concentrated growth in the hands of the One Percent . In due course this bred popular resentment that spread in the form of debtor revolts, not only in the Roman Empire but that of Iran as well, leading to religious reforms to limit the charging of interest and self-indulgent greed in general.

By now Nazi references are getting thread-bare. We actually need to examine how the national socialists operated because their situation is analogous to today.

I very much agree that these "elites" are displaying an ideological zeal very similar to what Trotskysts or Nazis typically exhibit

National Socialism arose as a reaction to finance capitalism's excesses. The very things we are seeing today, were present in Weimar Germany. The country was being bought up, and the people were being denied their birthright. Self-indulgent greed of an arising Oligarchy was smashed by the National Socialists to then re-balance German civilization.

Nazi zeal restoring civilizational balance is quite something different than leftist bolshevism.

Curmudgeon , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:04 pm GMT • 11.2 hours ago
@Biff

I have, for some time, been mis-naming the Nomenklatura as the Politburo, with the commune being the many tentacled international banking cartel. It's the same crowd that funded the original Bolsheviks.
IMO they are only "Neo" by virtue of the old ones having died, but I'm not going to split hairs. We all know it is those whose loyalty is to a shitty little country on the Mediterranean.

Mefobills , says: January 12, 2021 at 5:47 pm GMT • 10.5 hours ago
@Anonymous ties extract, which makes politicians whores for their donor class. The donor class is the "holders of debt instruments" as I explained earlier. Or, they can be part of the military industrial complex, to then whore for more taxpayer dollars. In all cases it is for self aggrandizement. By the same reasoning, press-titutes are whores for their paymasters.

The easy money is taken in by usury or other sordid schemes; then donated/recycled into politicians, to then keep the game going. Average laboring people don't have this surplus wealth to donate.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fD6wxH5gIk8?start=2&feature=oembed

[Jan 09, 2021] Referendums are really the only check on oligarchy.

Jan 09, 2021 | www.unz.com

davidgmillsatty , says: January 8, 2021 at 9:12 pm GMT • 2.2 hours ago

@Rufus Clyde v>

A Republic is, by definition, an oligarchy. We just refuse to acknowledge what it truly is. Put some lipstick on the pig.

But ours is not a pure Republic because we do have democratic referendums all of the time where the people get to make laws that a majority want. We need more of them.

We don't have any at the federal level but there is nothing that prohibits them. Under Amendment 10 all powers not granted to the federal government are granted to the states and the people . The implication is that powers left to the people can be exercised by referendum. Referendums are really the only check on oligarchy.

[Jan 06, 2021] Georgia Dems Relied Heavily on Massive Corporate War Chest to Cinch Historic Election by Alan MacLeod

Notable quotes:
"... Democrats decisively outraised their opponents, giving them a critical edge. Ossoff outraised Perdue by $138 million to $89 million while Warnock received $124 million to Loeffler's $92 million. With over 98% of the votes counted, Warnock has been declared the winner, with 50.6% of the vote. Ossoff, meanwhile, is all but assured of winning as well, and has already declared victory. ..."
"... Thus, both contests have conformed to political scientist Thomas Ferguson's "Golden Rule" of politics: that the party that spends the most almost always wins the election. Ferguson's 1995 thesis , "The Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems," argued that elections are essentially contests between rival big businesses and that the two political parties compete to serve those who pay them, not the public. Nearly 20 years later, a University of Princeton study of 1,779 policy issues found that, ..."
"... Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence." ..."
"... Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that, since 2000, the candidate spending the most money has won between 70% and 98% of their races in the House or Senate ..."
"... the real winners in this election were corporate America, who could not lose, whoever won. ..."
Jan 06, 2021 | www.mintpressnews.com

In order to beat GOP incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate elections, Democrats had to spend big, raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

The two Georgia Senate elections -- called today for the Democrats -- were easily the most costly in history, amounting to nearly $830 million in total ($468 million for the race between Democrat Joey Ossoff and Republican David Perdue and more than $361 million for the special election between Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican Kelly Loeffler.

The Democrats' massive war chest came in no small part from hefty contributions from corporate America. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics , tech companies rallied around the Democratic challengers, plying the two campaigns with millions of dollars. Alphabet Inc., Google's parent organization, was the largest single source of funds, their PACs, shareholders, or employees donating almost $1 million to Ossoff's campaign alone with other big tech companies cracking his top ten, all with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations from the like of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and AT&T. The rest of the top ten were made up by universities.

The Republican candidates also relied on large corporations for much of their funding. Perdue's biggest donors included Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, while Loeffler was generously supported by oil and chemical giant Koch Industries as well as a number of financial institutions like Ryan LLC and Blackstone Group.

However, Democrats decisively outraised their opponents, giving them a critical edge. Ossoff outraised Perdue by $138 million to $89 million while Warnock received $124 million to Loeffler's $92 million. With over 98% of the votes counted, Warnock has been declared the winner, with 50.6% of the vote. Ossoff, meanwhile, is all but assured of winning as well, and has already declared victory.

Thus, both contests have conformed to political scientist Thomas Ferguson's "Golden Rule" of politics: that the party that spends the most almost always wins the election. Ferguson's 1995 thesis , "The Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems," argued that elections are essentially contests between rival big businesses and that the two political parties compete to serve those who pay them, not the public. Nearly 20 years later, a University of Princeton study of 1,779 policy issues found that,

Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

https://cdn.iframe.ly/oNuYTi0?v=1&app=1

Empirical evidence seems to support this notion. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that, since 2000, the candidate spending the most money has won between 70% and 98% of their races in the House or Senate

The 2020 election was already by far the most expensive in history, even before the Georgia numbers were added into the mix. The sums of $468 million and $361 million are comfortably higher than any of those from two months ago, the most expensive of which was the $299 million contest in North Carolina between Thom Tillis (Republican) and Cal Cunningham (Democrat).

Many were heralding the Democratic upset in Georgia as the start of a new era and a victory against racism and hate. "The votes of Black people have been suppressed in this nation for a very long time. This is the dawning of a new day," said Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Warnock, who will become the state's first black senator, agreed. "Tonight we proved that with hope, hard work, and the people by our side, anything is possible All of us have a choice to make; will we continue to divide, distract and dishonor one another, or will we love our neighbors as we love ourselves?" he said in his victory speech.

Yet while corporations continue to have such an outsized role in funding both major political parties, it is unclear whether substantive change is even possible. The debate over whether this represents a victory for racial justice can be had, but what seems unmistakable is that the real winners in this election were corporate America, who could not lose, whoever won.

Feature photo | Senate candidate Jon Ossoff introduces President-elect Joe Biden in Atlanta, Jan. 4, 2021, as he campaigns for Raphael Warnock and Ossoff. Carolyn Kaster | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent . He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting , The Guardian , Salon , The Grayzone , Jacobin Magazine , Common Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary .

[Dec 20, 2020] Here is this ruse of oligarchs today just as in Venice in the 16th and 17th century where the Doges in their magnificence spy on the citizens and reward citizens for spying on each other, where social cohesion and solidarity is corroded and rots within.

Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Dec 18 2020 22:03 utc | 114

India analysis and Modi's neo liberalism backgrounder. 25 minute Video from redfish.


Bemildred , Dec 18 2020 22:22 utc | 115

William Gruff # 97
Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 18 2020 21:36 utc | 113

The 70s was when they started selling the good redwood saw logs to Japan instead of cutting them up here because they could get more profit that way. At the time I do not think it was considered that the Japanese would be able to compete with us as well as they did, and I think the same applies to the other sellouts of our working class to foreign cheap manufacturing centers. You have to remember these people really do think they are better. They do think in class terms even if they avoid that rhetoric in public. The problem is they thought they could control China like they did Japan. That was dumb then and it looks even dumber now. You can see similar dumbness in their lack of grip on any realisitic view of Russia. Provincials really. Rich peasants.

Framarz , Dec 19 2020 9:14 utc | 142
@114 uncle tungsten

Thanks for the redfish video suggestion. Worth watching not only to get insight about the current developments in India but also understanding the global Zeitgeist.

I couldn't avoid to identify the exact same type of developments and problems that working class and increasingly also middle class facing in other parts of the world.

The globalization of capitalism since the fall of USSR and Warsaw pact, has caused accelerated monopolization of political and economic power everywhere in the world, this was achieved by enforcing the same neoliberal agenda globally. No matter if you look at the USA, Germany, Iran or India, you discover the same type of "reforms". Reforms that result in increased poverty, more and more middle class families are losing their socioeconomic position and becoming part of working class.

One come to the understanding that the "Great Reset" we are talking about recently, is not something new in the beginning and making, it's only the continuation of an agenda which has been in implementation since 30 years ago.

Framarz , Dec 19 2020 9:42 utc | 143
@114 uncle tungsten

have you noticed that terms like "Imperialism" and "Capitalist government" which were natural parts of the political discourse in 20th century have been increasingly replaced by "Nepotism" and "Oligarchy" in 21st century?

uncle tungsten , Dec 19 2020 10:30 utc | 144
Framarz #142 and #143

Thank you and I have noticed the shift in terminology. I try to avoid it as I believe in the need to be extremely clear about socialism and capitalism. I prefer to avid CCP and prefer Chinese Communist Party. I take care to compare western issues with how Cuba is actually doing. Keep making it clear there is a range of alternatives to private finance capitalism and IMF usury.

The weavers of deceit and theft that are private finance capitalists are indeed oligarchs and they attempt to crush any discussion of repossessing their wealth and redistributing it so that more people can do more work with it and generate stronger societies. The private finance vultures live in dread of a Tobin tax so I say bring it on. Wherever cash is locked away and idle - take it and give it to the people as it is they who know how to put it back to work and generate security and peace within communities.

Wherever power is monopolised in industry then force a devolution of shares to workers and unions and pay shares as taxes to the state so that dividends go to all including the state. As it is now in many countries mega corporations extort tax holidays to set up production units in the counties and dump the entire cost of infrastructure expansion onto those counties as part of their extortion. Information monopolies are the most critical to dismantle. Look at the west where critical journalism has been reduced to mediocre stenography and those with integrity are entirely reliant on other monopolies to squeeze their digital content between the pillars of censorious monopolies like twitter and facebook etc. These monopolies are managing public content and creativity and should be in public ownership - NOT just shareholder public but the entire public.

There is this ruse of oligarchs today just as in Venice in the 16th and 17th century where the Doges in their magnificence spy on the citizens and reward citizens for spying on each other, where social cohesion and solidarity is corroded and rots within. That is what the neo liberal and private finance agenda is - to monopolise $$$ and power and decision making within the hands of decrepit gerontocrats like Pelosi, Lord Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch, Queen Elisabeth etc, etc.

Enough of this rant... thank you Framarz. Long live those countries that have for decades repelled the evil that would crush their freedom and socialism. May Russia find its way to reintegrate socialism within its future.

[Dec 20, 2020] Financial oligarchy contol and the role of the press

Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Dec 19 2020 11:29 utc | 36

by: steven t johnson @ 13 says "the Presidency is essentially unchecked: Article II and amendment 12 clearly state
that no one can challenge the president.." <= I add "unless congress can find something they themselves are all
guilty of, and are collectively willing to accept the risk that they themselves might be removed for the same crime
for which the Congress might impeach the President .. from elected Office impeachment is impossible.

It is this improbability of removing the President from office that makes the control of the content allowed or
pushed on the public by the main stream media so important to the stability of the government and the ability of
the President to lead.

The only way a President can be impeached is to do to the President what the Lenin and Tolstoy Bolshevik regime
change team accomplished to bring down the Czar of Russia. The media began its attacks on Christian Czar led
Russia in 1875 by 1919 if the Czar had said it was raining outside the entire nation of Russia wanting to know if
it were raining would go outside to see for themselves.

Tolstoy, a public hero, blamed the Czar for the problems caused by a pandemic and a famine of 1891. The peasants
of Russia were trained by media content to distrust any and everything the Czar or any member of his staff said or
did. Propaganda said there was evil behind every act of the Czar. Tolstoy's famous propaganda undermined the
Christian faith held by millions of people.

"The Minister for the Interior told the Emperor Czar that Tolstoy's letter to the English press 'must be considered
tantamount to a most shocking revolutionary proclamation': not a judgement that can often have been made of a letter
to The Daily Telegraph. Czar Alexander III began to believe that it was all part of an English plot and the Moscow
Gazette, which was fed from the Government, denounced Tolstoy's letters as 'frank propaganda for the overthrow of
the whole social and economic structure of the world'." see destroys Christain Russian government

Norecovery @ 22 says and I have added to what he said to make this list.
1. "The .. criminals have ..take[n] over foreign policy in the U.S.,
these criminals you are talking about are not part of the government, they are private persons and corporations.
Allow me to remind you that Article II of the Constitution of the USA only concerns two persons, The President
and the VP.. to them all power to act domestic and foreign is given, Congress has no power that it cannot get
into law, and no power to govern the office of the President and that has been true since the original constitution
was ratified in 1788. To conduct war around the world, it is necessary only to won the president.

2. leveraging money power .. the oligarch network employees highly motivated highly-paid promoters to force President control onto the world.

3. The Oligarch and their corporations control Congress, Intelligence Agencies, and the content that MSM presents...

4. the MSM distributed content expresses total censorship as does Google, and social media

5. Corona virus is bio-warfare designed to undermine small-scale economies and to establish Oligarch autonomy

6. Using rule of law (generated by nation state power) oligarch owned corporations own all non taxable property (copyrights and patents) and the right to use all technology (copyright and patents).

7. Worldwide compliance is the goal of the oligarch. owning the nation state allows military, financial, and media to be used to crush dissent and to extract wealth.

8. The pharma-promoted questionable gene editing vaccinations are questionable at best.

9. Humanity is witnessing a worldwide COUPS, UBER-Fascism that exceeds all historical examples.

10. WWI was a war to take control of the Ottoman owned oil rich land and to tame German competitive strength.

11. Hilter return Germany to its former power, so WWII was to take German competition completely out of the equation.

12. The wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, are about pipeline and control of oil production, transport and profit

13. the wars in Belarus, Ukraine, Modldova, Bulgaria Romania, Hunary, Slovakia Cezech Republic Poland are about getting Western Europe access into Russia.

14. Last week the House passed a bill designed to deny the president any authority to reduce the US troops in Foreign land.

so your question at norecovery @ 22 will it succeed is relevant. I don't think it will, I was told the Governor of Florida
has refused to take the vaccine, word is getting around; people everywhere in USA governed America, in UK governed
Britain, in Republic of France governed France ( riots every weekend for over two years) , and Zionist governed
Israel (riots all over the place all of the time).. everyone is skeptical of the nation state system.

I think the take over would have succeeded if the Oligarchs had not tried to force a vaccination on people that
genetic engineers (changes the way their body works) the bodies those vaccinated were born with.

Mark2 , Dec 19 2020 12:28 utc | 37

Snake @ 36
You must have spent a lot of time and consideration on that far reaching summary !
That's MOA at its very best !!
I could only add -- - the disfunctional mindset that blights America right now is having an immediate impact on all corners of the world.
I see it even in my tiny peaceful backwater.
If they create a fascist monster unleash it on the world -- it will consume everything and everyone in its path.
Whithin a decade.

[Nov 28, 2020] Who need Biden what we have CFR; In 2008, Barack Obama received the names of his entire future cabinet one month prior to his election

Nov 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

In 2008, Barack Obama received the names of his entire future cabinet already one month prior to his election by CFR Senior Fellow (and Citigroup banker) Michael Froman, as a Wikileaks email later revealed. Consequently, the key posts in Obama's cabinet were filled almost exclusively by CFR members, as was the case in most cabinets since World War II. To be sure, Obama's 2008 Republican opponent, the late John McCain, was a CFR member, too. Michael Froman later negotiated the TPP and TTIP international trade agreements, before returning to the CFR as a Distinguished Fellow.

In 2017, CFR nightmare President Donald Trump immediately canceled these trade agreements -- because he viewed them as detrimental to US domestic industry -- which allowed China to conclude its own, recently announced RCEP free-trade area , encompassing 14 countries and a third of global trade. Trump also canceled other CFR achievements, like the multinational Iran nuclear deal and the UN climate and migration agreements, and he tried, but largely failed, to withdraw US troops from East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, thus seriously endangering the global US empire built over decades by the CFR and its 5000 elite members .

Unsurprisingly, most of the US media , whose owners and editors are themselves members of the CFR , didn't like President Trump. This was also true for most of the European media, whose owners and editors are members of international CFR affiliates like the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission, founded by CFR directors after the conquest of Europe during World War II. Moreover, it was none other than the CFR which in 1996 advocated a closer cooperation between the CIA and the media, i.e. a restart of the famous CIA Operation Mockingbird . Historically, OSS and CIA directors since William Donovan and Allen Dulles have always been CFR members.

Joe Biden promised that he would form "the most diverse cabinet" in US history. This may be true in terms of skin color and gender, but almost all of his key future cabinet members have one thing in common: they are, indeed, members of the US Council on Foreign Relations .

This is the case for Anthony Blinken (State), Alejandro Mayorkas (Homeland Security), Janet Yellen (Treasury), Michele Flournoy and Jeh Johnson (candidates for Defense), Linda Thomas-Greenfield (Ambassador to the UN), Richard Stengel (US Agency for Global Media; Stengel famously called propaganda "a good thing" at a 2018 CFR session), John Kerry (Special Envoy for Climate), Nelson Cunningham (candidate for Trade), and Thomas Donilon (candidate for CIA Director).

Jake Sullivan, Biden's National Security Advisor, is not (yet) a CFR member, but Sullivan has been a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (a think tank "promoting active international engagement by the United States") and a member of the US German Marshall Fund's "Alliance For Securing Democracy" (a major promoter of the "Russiagate" disinformation campaign to restrain the Trump presidency), both of which are run by senior CFR members.

about:blank

about:blank

me title=

Most of Biden's CFR-vetted nominees supported recent US wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen as well as the 2014 regime change in Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, neoconservative Max Boot, the CFR Senior Fellow in National Security Studies and one of the most vocal opponents of the Trump administration, has called Biden's future cabinet "America's A-Team" .

Thus, after four years of "populism" and "isolationism", a Biden presidency will mean the return of the Council on Foreign Relations and the continuation of a tradition of more than 70 years . Indeed, the CFR was founded in 1921 in response to the "trauma of 1920" , when US President Warren Harding and the US Senate turned isolationist and renounced US global leadership after World War I. In 2016, Donald Trump's "America First" campaign reactivated this 100 year old foreign policy trauma.

Was the 2020 presidential election "stolen", as some allege? There are certainly indications of significant statistical anomalies in key Democrat-run swing states. Whether these were decisive for the election outcome may be up to courts to decide. At any rate, Joe Biden may well be the first US President known to be involved in international corruption before even entering office.

Why are most US and international media hardly interested in this? Well, why should they?

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[Nov 25, 2020] Splitting the public up into two oppositional factions who barely interact and can't even communicate with each other because they don't share a common reality keeps the populace impotent, ignorant, and powerless to stop the unfolding of the agendas of the powerful.

Highly recommended!
Nov 25, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com


NEWTON FINN
/ NOVEMBER 24, 2020

"Splitting the public up into two oppositional factions who barely interact and can't even communicate with each other because they don't share a common reality keeps the populace impotent, ignorant, and powerless to stop the unfolding of the agendas of the powerful."

Surely so. But I'm not sure whether this was deliberately planned by the plutocrats as a political strategy, or whether this bifurcation spontaneously emerged from tech company algorithms designed only to increase their profits.

Clearly, the plutocrats have seized upon this bifurcation to keep the populace divided and engaged in a kind of civil war, but it's sort of like the pandemic – was it a plot hatched or an opportunity exploited?

This might not seem to matter at this point, but IMHO the answer helps to determine not only what we're up against but also the best ways to fight the bastards.

SHOCKER / NOVEMBER 24, 2020

https://www.wakingtimes.com/tyranny-standing-rock-govt-divide-conquer-strategy-work/
`
"Divide and conquer.
`
"It's one of the oldest military strategies in the books, and it's proven to be the police state's most effective weapon for maintaining the status quo.
`
"How do you conquer a nation?
`
"Distract them with football games, political circuses and Black Friday sales. Keep them focused on their differences -- economic, religious, environmental, political, racial [gender- pandemic] -- so they can never agree on anything. And then, when they're so divided that they are incapable of joining forces against a common threat, start picking them off one by one."

JWK / NOVEMBER 24, 2020

"We live in different information universes, chosen for us by algorithms whose only criterion is how to maximise our attention for advertisers' products to generate greater profits for the internet giants,"
Which precisely explains how we got the recent POTUS candidates, displayed as the "best and brightest". Really? That's the best they have? You can look across the board at ALL of the two party's leadership and get the same picture. These are far from the "best and brightest". They may be bright, since psychopaths are often quite intelligent, but they certainly have zero qualification for best.

KHATIKA / NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Regardless. The democrats ignored people like Tulsi Gabbard and Sanders to flock to Biden. This is just a sign of how brainwashed the people have become. The propaganda is working quite well.


ANARCISSIE
/ NOVEMBER 24, 2020

This raises the question of why these people were selected. I think Trump sabotaged the Republican fix for 2016 by exploiting weaknesses in its pseudodemocratic primary structure, but the choice of Biden is hard to figure from any angle. Someone should investigate. About a year ago I was conversing with some deplorables about Biden and a perfectly intelligent young Black woman hotly defended him against all criticism. Anita Hill, the crime bill, the invasion of Iraq, his creepiness, just bounced off her shell. How do people get this way?

JULIUS SKOOLAFISH / NOVEMBER 24, 2020

in passing
.
WESTERN VALUES™ . The country that judges other countries' elections just had an election. Somebody won. One day a court will tell us who. Apparently counting votes is a tremendously difficult task, requiring enormous amounts of time.
.
http://russiahouse.org/current_news.php?language=eng&id_current=3183
.
See also (via Fort Russ – Matthew Ehret)

RON CAMPBELL / NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Ah, Ms Johnstone, my fellow United States citizens love their " echo chamber comas " because it allows them to completely suppress any and all logic, justice, empathy, and shame for the blood-thirsty Evil Empire that they cherish and support. The Evil Empire has no soul at all; and it requires its subjects to be soul-less as well. Resistance is futile!

[Nov 25, 2020] No crisis is more serious for our Money Power than an attempt by a head of government to assume personal control of intelligence and operations or to by-pass existing agencies by setting up parallel ones

Notable quotes:
"... "No crisis is more serious for our Money Power than an attempt by a head of government to assume personal control of intelligence and operations or to by-pass existing agencies by setting up parallel ones." ..."
"... Perhaps the most accurate overview of our intelligence community can be achieved by visualizing it as a "nationalized secret society." Our predecessors, in their struggle against the old order of kings and princes, had to finance secret societies such as the Illuminati, Masons, German Union, etc. out of their own pockets. ..."
"... At great expense and risk such secret societies were able to infiltrate the major governmental and private institutions of the nations that our noble predecessors targeted for take over by the Money Power. Such bureaucratic takeovers are expensive and time consuming. They can be considered complete only when promotions, raises, and advancements are no longer based on objective service to the stated organizational objectives, but are in the hands of the infiltrating group and its secret goals. ..."
"... By appealing to "national security" we are able to finance and erect secret societies of a colossal scope, far beyond the wildest dreams of our path breaking predecessors. Besides the benefits of public financing reaped by these "nationalized secret societies," we obtain a decisive advantage from the fact that these our "spook" operations are sanctioned by law! ..."
"... Maintaining discipline, loyalty, and secrecy is no longer solely a matter of propaganda, blackmail, patronage, and intimidation. Although these remain important tools, especially in emergency cases, ordinary discipline among initiates (now called agents) can be encouraged by appealing to patriotism and can be enforced in courts of law by prosecuting "national security violations." ..."
Nov 25, 2020 | lena-mozya.ru

"No crisis is more serious for our Money Power than an attempt by a head of government to assume personal control of intelligence and operations or to by-pass existing agencies by setting up parallel ones."


9. PROFESSOR Y. ON COVERT OPERATIONS AND INTELLIGENCE ~

In our fully developed state-capitalist systems we have found absolute control of governmental intelligence gathering and covert operations to be vital.

Besides providing a valuable tool in our struggle with rival dynasties, such control is now an integral and necessary part of our day-to-day operations. Large intelligence communities are inevitable, given the system of all encompassing governments which we have imposed upon the world during our ascent to power. Our power would be short-lived indeed if the pervasive influence and power of these iron-disciplined intelligence agencies fell into the hands of mere politicians, especially those beyond our control.

We do not allow intelligence agencies to pursue the "national interest," the way the public conceives "spies" to operate. Politicians cannot be permitted to divert the power and influence of our intelligence community from the esoteric requirements of our Money Power to petty political struggles.

Neither nationalistic aspirations of races and peoples nor ideological visions of intellectuals for humanity can be allowed to pervert intelligence and covert operations. Our rationalizations, both within the intelligence community and to the public at large, must be diverse and flexible, but the intelligence community must further without exception the inexorable goals we have set for humanity.

No crisis is more serious for our Money Power than an attempt by a head of government to assume personal control of intelligence and operations or to by-pass existing agencies by setting up parallel ones. Such intrusions must be met decisively. Although a contrived scandal to remove the offending politician from office is the first line of defense, we dare not shrink from assassination when necessary.

Perhaps the most accurate overview of our intelligence community can be achieved by visualizing it as a "nationalized secret society." Our predecessors, in their struggle against the old order of kings and princes, had to finance secret societies such as the Illuminati, Masons, German Union, etc. out of their own pockets.

At great expense and risk such secret societies were able to infiltrate the major governmental and private institutions of the nations that our noble predecessors targeted for take over by the Money Power. Such bureaucratic takeovers are expensive and time consuming. They can be considered complete only when promotions, raises, and advancements are no longer based on objective service to the stated organizational objectives, but are in the hands of the infiltrating group and its secret goals.

How much easier it is for us, the inheritors of a fully developed state-capitalist system! By appealing to "national security" we are able to finance and erect secret societies of a colossal scope, far beyond the wildest dreams of our path breaking predecessors. Besides the benefits of public financing reaped by these "nationalized secret societies," we obtain a decisive advantage from the fact that these our "spook" operations are sanctioned by law!

Maintaining discipline, loyalty, and secrecy is no longer solely a matter of propaganda, blackmail, patronage, and intimidation. Although these remain important tools, especially in emergency cases, ordinary discipline among initiates (now called agents) can be encouraged by appealing to patriotism and can be enforced in courts of law by prosecuting "national security violations."

As massive as our intelligence community has become in itself, we still operate strictly on the finance capitalist principle of leverage. Just as a rational finance capitalist never owns more stock in a corporation than the bare minimum required for control, intelligence operatives are placed only in as many key positions as are required to control the target organizations. Our goal, after all, is agent control of all significant organizations, not intelligence community member ship for the entire population.

The organizational pattern of baffling "circles within circles," characteristic of classical secret societies, is retained and refined by our intelligence community. That "one hand not know what the other is doing" is essential to the success of our operations. In most cases, we do not allow the operatives themselves to know the ultimate, and when possible, even the short-range objectives of their assignments.

They operate under "covers" that disguise our goals not only from the public and target groups, but from the agents themselves. For instance, many agents operating under "left cover" are led to believe that the agency, or at least their department, is secretly, but sincerely motivated by socialistic ideology. Thus, they assume that the intelligence agency's ultimate goal is to guide left-wing groups in "productive" directions, even though they cannot always see how their own assignment fits into those assumed goals.

Other "left-cover" agents, those with right-wing predilections, are encouraged to believe the agency is simply "monitoring" violence prone, subversive groups in order to protect the public. When such agents are asked to participate in or even lead radical activity they assume that the ultimate objective is to fully infiltrate and destroy the organization for the good of the country. This is very seldom the case. We waste little or no money protecting the "public" or defending the "nation."

Agents operating under "right-cover" are handled in symmetrical fashion. Agents with right-wing prejudices are encouraged to believe the agency is right-wing. Left-prejudiced agents are asked to operate under "right-cover" in order to "monitor" dangerous rightist organizations. Most intelligence agents remain blithely ignorant of the big picture which is so clear to us from our spectacular vantage point. Very few have enough information or intelligence to reason out how their specific and sometimes baffling assignments promote the legislative, judicial, operational and propaganda needs of our Money Power. Most would never try. They are paid too much to think about such things.

Agents with a "gangster-cover" are of two types. First, there is the sincere gangster that draws his salary from an intelligence agency. He is led to believe that the gangland "Godfathers" control the government agency for their own purposes. Actually, the situation is the opposite. The agency controls the gangster for other purposes. Second, is the sincere crime fighter who is led to believe that the agency is at tempting to infiltrate and monitor the gangsters as a preliminary step to destroying organized crime. Such "upstanding" agents commit many crimes in their zeal to rid the country of organized crime!

To envision how we operate in this lucrative field, let's briefly look at the mechanics of dope smuggling. Police and customs officials are told to leave certain gangsters alone, even when transporting suspicious cargoes. This is made to seem perfectly proper since it is well known that secret police infiltrators of organized crime must participate in crimes in order to gain the confidence of gangsters.

What customs agent would want to upset a carefully laid plan to "set-up" the underworld kingpins of dope pushing! But the agent, as well as the police who cooperate, are mistaken in believing that the purpose of the assignment to help smuggle dope is ultimately to smash organized crime. If he could see the big picture, as we can, the agent would see that practically all our dope is smuggled by federal intelligence agents and secret police! How ever could such a volume be transported safely? Real harassment and prosecution is reserved for those who enter the field without our approval.

Here is our organized crime strategy: On the one hand we pass laws to ensure that mankind's favorite pastimes (vices) are illegal. On the other hand, we cater to these "vices" at a huge monopoly profit with complete immunity from prosecution.

A new and growing methodology of our intelligence community is psychologically and drug-controlled agents. Properly, these are referred to as "behavior modified" agents, or, in the vernacular, "zombies." With the use of hypnotic drugs, brain washing, sensory deprivation, small group "sensitivity" training, and other behavior modification techniques, the scope of which was hinted in the movie "Clockwork Orange," complete personalities can be manufactured from scratch, to the specifications of value structure profiles we design by computer to suit our purposes. Such personalities are quite neurotic and unstable due to defects in our still developing technology, but still useful for many purposes.

The primary virtue of "zombies," of course, is loyalty. Agents that are subconsciously programmed for the assignment at hand cannot be conscious traitors. All a "zombie" can do is reveal how compulsive and psychotic he is with regard to his "cause." Even to trained psychologists he simply appears to be the proverbial "lone nut." Although the "zombie" may have memories of psychotherapy at a government agency when questioned under hypnosis, this is unlikely to raise suspicion in the mind of court-appointed psychologists. After all, "lone nuts" should be kept in insane asylums and subjected to psychotherapy! At most, the government hospital will be reprimanded for letting a loony loose before he was cured.

Until our techniques can be perfected the use of "zombies" must be restricted to "national dramas" designed to justify the growing power of our centralized governments over the lives of our people. Most suicidal radicals and "crazies" who so mysteriously avoid arrest for years at a time are "zombies" conditioned to terrorize the public in the name of some irrational ideology. After repeated doses of such terror, the public is conditioned to accept the necessity of our intrusive police state with very little objection.

The way is clear for an accelerated program of behavior modification research to be conducted mostly at public expense in the name of mental health and rehabilitation. Such research can be conducted with little complaint in prisons, refugee camps, drug rehabilitation centers, government hospitals, veterans hospitals, and even public schools and day care centers. Mental institutions, methadone maintenance centers, and prisons are fertile fields for recruiting the deranged or drug-addicted persons most suitable for "zombie" conversions. Of course, only a few of our most trusted agents actually participate in the creation of "zombies." The brilliant researchers and experimenters who make most of the breakthroughs earnestly believe that their techniques are destined strictly for the betterment of mankind.

Inevitably, a fraction of the population objects to behavior modification as an infringement of man's "sacred" free will even if they are convinced that our intentions are benign. We carefully leak a few scandals to satisfy such persons that our experiments are being kept within bounds and that excesses are being stopped. Our artificial scandals exposing the "excesses" of coercive psychology are carefully designed to make the researchers seem incompetent and clumsy to the point of maiming and killing their "patients." This effectively conceals the fantastic strides we have made toward total behavioral control. Great things are going to be possible in the future.

Source

[Nov 18, 2020] This is not just America. It is global. the decades old drive to convert the world's governments to "democracy" is in fact a drive to place the elite in total control of the populations.

Notable quotes:
"... "Democracy" is little more than another word for "rule by money" – it can be nothing else. The entire world is falling under the delusion that "each vote counts". ..."
"... The world is utterly corrupt, ruled almost exclusively by monied interests. Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." ..."
"... Misinformed by the politicians and the MSM, presumably. So if establishment and career politicians are the enemies of the people, then anti-politicians and populist outsiders who want to drain the swamp deserve our fullest support. ..."
Nov 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Victor , Nov 16, 2020 7:04 AM

This is not just America. It is global. the decades old drive to convert the world's governments to "democracy" is in fact a drive to place the elite in total control of the populations. "Democracy" is little more than another word for "rule by money" – it can be nothing else. The entire world is falling under the delusion that "each vote counts".

The world is utterly corrupt, ruled almost exclusively by monied interests. Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Which is your choice?

I_left_the_left , Nov 16, 2020 10:29 AM Reply to Victor

Are voters really as corrupt as those they vote for?

Laurence Howell , Nov 16, 2020 12:44 PM Reply to I_left_the_left

No, just mis-informed

I_left_the_left , Nov 16, 2020 1:11 PM Reply to Laurence Howell

Misinformed by the politicians and the MSM, presumably. So if establishment and career politicians are the enemies of the people, then anti-politicians and populist outsiders who want to drain the swamp deserve our fullest support.

[Nov 18, 2020] Everybody Knows the Fight was Fixed

Nov 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

They are programmed and propagandized, embracing the illusion that the electoral system is not structured and controlled to make sure no significant change can occur, no matter who is president. It is a sad reality promoted as democracy.

They will prattle on and give all sorts of reasons why they voted, and for whom, and how if you don't vote you have no right to bitch, and how it's this sacred right to vote that makes democracy great, blah blah blah. It's all sheer nonsense. For the U.S.A. is not a democracy; it is an oligarchy run by the wealthy for the wealthy.

This is not a big secret. Everybody knows this is true; knows the electoral system is sheer show business with the presidential extravaganza drawing the big money from corporate lobbyists, investment bankers, credit card companies, lawyers, business and hedge fund executives, Silicon Valley honchos, think tanks, Wall Street gamblers, millionaires, billionaires, et. al. Biden and Trump spent over 3 billion dollars on the election. They are owned by the money people.

Both are old men with long, shameful histories. A quick inquiry will show how the rich have profited immensely from their tenures in office. There is not one hint that they could change and have a miraculous conversion while in future office, like JFK. Neither has the guts or the intelligence. They are nowhere men who fear the fate that John Kennedy faced squarely when he turned against the CIA and the war machine. They join the craven company of Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. They all got the message that was sent from the streets of Dallas in 1963: You don't want to die, do you?

Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks, its vast intelligence apparatus, increased or decreased in the past half century? Who is winning the battle, the people or the ruling elites? The answer is obvious.

It matters not at all whether the president has been Trump or Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, Barack Obama or George H. W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, or Jimmy Carter. The power of the national security state has grown under them all and everyone is left to moan and groan and wonder why.

All the while, the doll's house has become more and more sophisticated and powerful. It is now essentially an electronic prison that is being "Built Back Better." The new Cold War now being waged against Russia and China is a bi-partisan affair, as is the confidence game played by the secret government intended to create a fractured consciousness in the population through their corporate mass-media stenographers. Trump and his followers on one side of the coin; liberal Democrats on the other.

Only those backed by the wealthy power brokers get elected in the U.S.A. Then when elected, it's payback time. Palms are greased. Everybody knows this is true. It's called corruption. So why would anyone, who opposes a corrupt political oligarchy, vote, unless they were casting a vote of conscience for a doomed third-party candidate?

hether it's Tweedledee or Tweedledum – will result in the death and impoverishment of so many, that being the end result of oligarchic rule at home and imperialism abroad.

Orwell called this Doublethink:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary.

And while in Nineteen Eighty-Four Doublethink is learned by all the Party members "and certainly by all who are intelligent as well as orthodox," today in the USA, it has been mastered even by the so-called unintelligent.

To live in the USA is to live in the Church of the Good Hustler.

People often ask: What can we do to make the country better? What is your alternative?

A child could answer that one: Don't vote if you know that both contenders are backed by the super-rich elites, what some call the Deep State. Which of course they are. Everybody knows.

Reply

I_left_the_left , Nov 18, 2020 9:50 AM

"the U.S.A. is not a democracy; it is an oligarchy run by the wealthy for the wealthy." Sorry, no. The whole point about Trump is that he is the great anti-politician, the outsider, the patriot enemy of the corrupt ruling elites who only care about status, power and control, not the interests of the American people or any other. By contrast, Biden is clearly the perfect puppet of the oligarchy and political establishment. The ruling class expected their ally Clinton to win in 2016, never Trump. The great election steal of 2020 is all about reversing this little surprise, and to make sure that the irksome people power of US democracy will finally be under full control. No more land of the free; the USA is now on the cusp of becoming a leftist fascist dictatorship, in which US patriots are the new German Jews, and in which future elections will be as meaningful as those of the Soviet Union.

A Texas Libertarian , Nov 18, 2020 6:05 AM

If you don't see that there is a big difference between Trump and Biden, then you are still in the dollhouse. Trump certainly ain't perfect, but at least he wants to keep the economy open. Biden is the lock down candidate. If that's all I knew about each of these candidates, it'd be enough to vote for Trump. But there is a lot more.

Also, 'democracy' is the virus, not the cure, and Orwell was a dumb ass socialist.

Curmudgeon , Nov 17, 2020 11:55 PM

With all of his warts, Nixon did end the Vietnam war. Reagan ended the Cold War and mutually assured destruction. Wilson got the US into WWI, FDR did WWII, Truman set up Korea and Clinton tried to heat up Yugoslavia.
George Wallace circa 1965 said there wasn't a dimes worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans. They are different branches of the corporate party and globalists competing for the speed of takeover. Trump is a corporatist but for all of his faults has gone off script with his own corporatist agenda to cut in on the action, and the owners ain't havin' it, because the Trumpian party is ever-so mildly nationalistic. Nationalism cannot be allowed to rear its beautiful head, because people will love it. Trump is a turd, alright, but Biden is a pile of shit.

I_left_the_left , Nov 18, 2020 9:53 AM Reply to Curmudgeon

Would Biden end endless wars of intervention against the wishes of the neo-cons and military-industrial complex, as Trump has been doing?

Curmudgeon , Nov 18, 2020 4:05 PM Reply to I_left_the_left

LOL. Biden IS the swamp. Even George Galloway is "defending" Trump.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/506618-henry-kissinger-joe-biden/
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1357509/us-election-news-donald-trump-latest-Joe-Biden-wins-George-Galloway-manila-chan

Nobodys Fool , Nov 17, 2020 11:11 PM

Wow what a hopeless and dreary world you live in. I left the dollhouse in the weeks after 9-11 when I realized the official narrative was full of holes. But I don't find the world out here quite so dreary as you. Call me a dreamer, but I still believe that good always (eventually) wins over evil, and I believe the ideals of America – the very same ones that were probably sold to us as a fake bill of goods a long time ago – is REAL and not an illusion because so many people believe in it. Perception is reality. Donald Trump despite all his personal quirks and flaws I sincerely believe to be a deal maker who is interested in protecting and serving the American people. Even if it's out of his own narcissism that he wants to do so I'll take it. Regardless, one good thing that has come out of the last 4 years is that I think a LOT of people have gotten "woke" in their own ways. Not all have left the dollhouse yet but many have. Have faith in people.

Lysias , Nov 17, 2020 2:01 PM

If it made no difference who won, why were the elites so fanatically opposed to Trump?

George Mc , Nov 17, 2020 3:00 PM Reply to Lysias

It does make a difference cf. the mad scramble to get GWB elected in 2000. At that time the rulers had decided on years of aggressive foreign policy therefore they need the "war party" in. When Obama was pitted against the lame duck McCain it was time for some "smiley face" rule with a surge in the woke factor with the first (gasp!) African American president.

With Trump, I think it was a genuine shock when he was elected. Like Brexit in the UK, it just wasn't supposed to happen! Trump is too much of a wild card. Too revealing. Suggesting there's a deep state and actually taking conspiracies seriously? How dare he!. More to the point, he's not getting with the covid program.

I_left_the_left , Nov 18, 2020 10:01 AM Reply to wardropper

Trump had the perfect billionaire's lifestyle, but gave it all up to run for the presidency. He donated all presidential salary to good causes and says he has lost billions by becoming president, unlike any other political leader you care to mention. More seriously, he has put himself and family in grave danger by opposing the corrupt ruling classes of the USA, and by his insolent attempt to 'drain the swamp'. In the near future, the elites will persecute and try to imprison him and his family, to prevent any further rebellion against their control in the land of the unfree.

wardropper , Nov 17, 2020 4:25 PM Reply to Lysias

We don't really know how fanatically opposed to him they actually are.
What the media choose to show us always has several layers of superficial, misleading crap attached to it.
Appearing to be opposed to something is a pretty old trick, after all.
It covers your ass.

Lysias , Nov 17, 2020 10:50 PM Reply to wardropper

Paying off the BLM rioters? That's not something you do just to create an appearance.

[Nov 07, 2020] The PNACers rely for their brainpower on the PMC ("Professional, Managerial class"), who are the middle managers, doctors, lawyers, MBAs, tenured professors, finance types and what not who are divorced from the actual hands-on labor. Which means they have much less mooring them to reality.

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Nov 6 2020 13:19 utc | 16

The election is being stolen but once again the establishment dramatically misread the lay of the political landscape among the American population. The adjustments that were made ahead of time to the paperless electronic voting machines were not sufficient to overcome the votes for Trump and so the establishment has to fall back on much more difficult and risky approaches to cooking the count. To help cover this more challenging and time-consuming operation the "Mighty Wurlitzer" has the mass media chanting in chorus that the Trump Administration's charges of fraud are "baseless" before investigations can be done to determine if the charges have a basis.

There will be no "revenge" against the Democrats. If the American public accepts the results of the fraud then the establishment (Democrats and Republicans) will heave a "Huuuge" sigh of relief for dodging the bullet and things will return to "normal" as they were with previous presidents as figureheads for the State. There will be nothing remotely like the ludicrous "Russiagate" hysteria that the mass media indulged in against Trump. Something truly baseless will have to be found for the Republicans to rant at the Democrats about like Obama's birth certificate, but the real issues will be dropped like hot potatoes by both "teams" .

The establishment will then try to restart "Project for a New American Century" . This is bad news for Syria as the "Assad Curse" will start getting more exercise again. This is also bad news for Russia as the PNAC crowd are entirely certain that the Russians are bluffing about engaging the Empire kinetically. They are Russians, after all, right? You just have to push them hard enough like Reagan did and they will roll over.

At least that is what the PNAC crowd thinks. The PNACers rely for their brainpower on the PMC ( "Professional, Managerial class" ), who as c1ue pointed out are "... the middle managers, doctors, lawyers, MBAs, tenured professors, finance types and what not who are divorced from the actual hands-on labor." That part about being "divorced from the actual hands-on labor" is important because it means they have nothing mooring them to reality.

[Aside: I have often mentioned that economics is the keystone social science, and contemporary economics being based around vacuous capitalist apologetics renders the entire realm of the social sciences a limp and constantly shifting mass of liquid shite with no predictive power and only serving to sell pop culture self-help books. Psychology is where the social sciences bump up against the biological sciences. This is how economics plays such an important role in real (not pop) psychology. One's occupation; how one makes a living; how one puts food on the table, is the core of human identity (skin tone isn't anywhere close). The more that individuals fulfill employment roles that are entirely socially constructed and the further they are from direct involvement in the process of transforming natural resources into tangible items humans use for living, then the more tenuous and, to put it politely, more "abstract" and subject to reinterpretation their association with physical reality becomes. This is why c1ue 's PMCs, despite being very intelligent and highly educated, can make such profound mistakes that get hayseed farmers scratching their heads in amazement.]

The PNAC gang (Biden/Harris is their front) will now "shirtfront" Russia and "get in their face" . They will escalate until they succeed at their plans. Trump's escalations were almost entirely symbolic and meaningless, but the PNACer's escalations will be kinetic. When Iran is once again forced to retaliate against the empire and missile-strikes some US assets, the PNAC people will escalate and respond with ten times the violence where Trump had ordered the empire to stand down.

Unfortunately for the empire, America's economic decline is systemic; it is baked into capitalism. It cannot be reversed. While Trump hastened the empire's diplomatic decline and poisoned its "soft power" , Biden/Harris will hasten the empire's economic decline.

As for the Fort Detrick flu, the mass media will now try to downplay it in order to get workers back to making the elites some profits, but the cases and fatalities will continue to increase. There will be no more effective countering of the pandemic by Team Blue than Team Red because the US simply doesn't have the tools, either medically, culturally, or socially, to do anything about it.

Four years of the deep state/establishment exposing itself in panicked hysteria, only to now fade back into the background with nothing gained from those four years. I wonder how the posters here who think it was all part of an elaborate plan will spin their tales of the omnipotent empire now that it can no longer be said "Trump hasn't started a war YET but he will once he cements his image as 'Glorious Leader'!!"

Biden/Harris being installed in such an obvious manner is not a display of the establishment's power, but rather is proof of their weakness and incompetence.

[Nov 07, 2020] A Unified Theory of the 2020 Election by David Shor

Financial oligarchy fully controls neoliberal Dems and this "scholar" does even use the term neoliberalism to describe the US elections. What a jerk.
"Mitt Romney and Donald Trump agreed on basically every issue, as did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And yet, a bunch of people changed their votes. And the reason that happened was because the salience of various issues changed." -- that a false, phoby statiment. Election for Obama and for Hillary were conducted at the different stages of the crisis of neoliberalism. In Hillary case voters ejected the candidate from neoliberal establishment.
Nov 07, 2020 | nymag.com

David Shor got famous by getting fired. In late May, amid widespread protests over George Floyd's murder, the 28-year-old data scientist tweeted out a study that found nonviolent demonstrations were more effective than "riots" at pushing public opinion and voter behavior leftward in 1968.

Many Twitter users -- and (reportedly) some of Shor's colleagues and clients at the data firm Civis Analytics -- found this post insensitive. A day later, Shor publicly apologized for his tweet. Two weeks after that, he'd lost his job as Civis's head of political data science -- and become a byword for the excesses of so-called cancel culture . (Shor has not discussed his firing publicly due to a nondisclosure agreement, and the details of his termination remain undisclosed).

... ... ...

So there's a big constellation of issues. The single biggest way that highly educated people who follow politics closely are different from everyone else is that we have much more ideological coherence in our views.

If you decided to create a survey scorecard, where on every single issue -- choice, guns, unions, health care, etc. -- you gave people one point for choosing the more liberal of two policy options, and then had 1,000 Americans fill it out, you would find that Democratic elected officials are to the left of 90 to 95 percent of people.

And the reason is that while voters may have more left-wing views than Joe Biden on a few issues, they don't have the same consistency across their views. There are like tons of pro-life people who want higher taxes, etc. There's a paper by the political scientist David Broockman that made this point really famous -- that "moderate" voters don't have moderate views, just ideologically inconsistent ones. Some people responded to media coverage of that paper by saying, "Oh, people are just answering these surveys randomly, issues don't matter." But that's not actually what the paper showed. In a separate section, they tested the relevance of issues by presenting voters with hypothetical candidate matchups -- here's a politician running on this position, and another politician running on the opposite -- and they found that issue congruence was actually very important for predicting who people voted for.

So this suggests there's a big mass of voters who agree with us on some issues, and disagree with us on others. And whenever we talk about a given issue, that increases the extent to which voters will cast their ballots on the basis of that issue.

Mitt Romney and Donald Trump agreed on basically every issue, as did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And yet, a bunch of people changed their votes. And the reason that happened was because the salience of various issues changed. Both sides talked a lot more about immigration, and because of that, correlation between preferences on immigration and which candidate people voted for went up. In 2012, both sides talked about health care. In 2016, they didn't. And so the correlation between views on health care and which candidate people voted for went down.

So this means that every time you open your mouth, you have this complex optimization problem where what you say gains you some voters and loses you other voters. But this is actually cool because campaigns have a lot of control over what issues they talk about.

Non-college-educated whites, on average, have very conservative views on immigration, and generally conservative racial attitudes. But they have center-left views on economics; they support universal health care and minimum-wage increases. So I think Democrats need to talk about the issues they are with us on, and try really hard not to talk about the issues where we disagree. Which, in practice, means not talking about immigration.

... ... ...

The problem is that swing voters don't trust either party. So if you get Democrats to embrace Abolish ICE, that won't get moderate- ish , racist white people to support it; it will just turn them into Republicans. So that's the trade-off. When you embrace unpopular things, you become more unpopular with marginal voters, but also get a fairly large segment of the public to change its views. And the latter can sometimes produce long-term change.

But it's a hard trade-off. And I don't think anyone ever says something like, "I think it was a good trade for us to lose the presidency because we raised the salience of this issue." That's not generally what people want. They don't want to make an unpopular issue go from 7 percent to 30 percent support. They want something like what happened with gay marriage or marijuana legalization, where you take an issue that is 30 percent and then it goes to 70 percent. And if you look at the history of those things, it's kind of clear that campaigns didn't do that.

... ... ...

But ultimately, when people hear from both sides, they're gonna revert to some kind of partisan baseline. But there's not a nihilism there; it's not just that Democratic-leaning voters will adopt the Democratic position or Republican-leaning ones will automatically adopt the Republican one. Persuadable voters trust the parties on different issues.

And there's a pretty basic pattern -- both here and in other countries -- in which voters view center-left parties as empathetic. Center-left parties care about the environment, lowering poverty, improving race relations. And then, you know, center-right parties are seen as more "serious," or more like the stern dad figure or something. They do better on getting the economy going or lowering unemployment or taxes or crime or immigration.

... ... ..

What's powerful about nonviolent protest -- and particularly nonviolent protest that incurs a disproportionate response from the police -- is that it can shift the conversation, in a really visceral way, into the part of this issue space that benefits Democrats and the center left. Which is the pursuit of equality, social justice, fairness -- these Democratic-loaded concepts -- without the trade-off of crime or public safety. So I think it is really consistent with a pretty broad, cross-sectional body of evidence (a piece of which I obviously tweeted at some point ) that nonviolent protest is politically advantageous, both in terms of changing public opinion on discrete issues and electing parties sympathetic to the left's concerns.

As for "the abolish the police" stuff, I think the important thing there is that basically no mainstream elected officials embraced it.

... ... ...

But there's always a mix of violent and nonviolent protest; or, there's always some violence that occurs at nonviolent protests. And it's not a situation where a drop of violence spoils everything and turns everybody into fascists. The research isn't consistent with that. It's more about the proportions. Because the mechanism here is that when violence is happening, people become afraid. They fear for their safety, and then they crave order. And order is a winning issue for conservatives here and everywhere around the world. The basic political argument since the French Revolution has been the left saying, "Let's make things more fair," and the right saying, "If we do that, it will lead to chaos and threaten your family."

But when you have nonviolent protests that goad security forces into using excessive force against unarmed people -- preferably while people are watching -- then order gets discredited, and people experience this visceral sense of unfairness. And you can change public opinion.

... ... ..

So, as a result, campaigns centered around this cosmopolitan elite's internal disagreements over economic issues. But over the past 60 years, college graduates have gone from being 4 percent of the electorate to being more like 35. Now, it's actually possible -- for the first time ever in human history -- for political parties to openly embrace cosmopolitan values and win elections; certainly primary and municipal elections, maybe even national elections if you don't push things too far or if you have a recession at your back. And so Democratic elites started campaigning on the things they'd always wanted to, but which had previously been too toxic. And so did center-left parties internationally

... .....

Many on the left are wary of the Democratic Party's growing dependence on wealthy voters and donors. But you've argued that the party's donor class actually pulls it to the left, as big-dollar Democratic donors are more progressive -- even on economic issues -- than the median Democratic voter. I'm skeptical of that claim. After all, so much regulation and legislation never crosses ordinary Americans' radar. It seems implausible to me that, during negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Obama administration fought to export America's generous patent protections on pharmaceuticals to the developing world, or to expand the reach of the Investor State Dispute Settlement process, because they felt compelled to placate swing voters. Similarly, it's hard for me to believe that the primary reason why Democrats did not significantly expand collective-bargaining rights under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama was voter hostility to labor-law reform rather than the unified opposition of business interests to such a policy. So why couldn't it be the case that, when it comes to policy, a minority of big-dollar donors who are highly motivated -- and reactionary -- on discrete issues pull the party to the right, even as wealthier Democrats give more ideologically consistent responses to survey questions?

... ... ...

David Broockman showed in a recent paper -- and I've seen this in internal data -- that people who give money to Democrats are more economically left wing than Democrats overall. And the more money people give, the more economically left wing they are. These are obviously the non-transactional donors. But people underestimate the extent to which the non-transactional money is now all of the money. This wasn't true ten years ago.

So then you get to the question: Why do so many moderate Democrats vote for center-right policies that don't even poll well? Why did Heidi Heitkamp vote to deregulate banks in 2018 , when the median voter in North Dakota doesn't want looser regulations on banks? But the thing is, while that median voter doesn't want to deregulate banks, that voter doesn't want a senator who is bad for business in North Dakota. And so if the North Dakota business community signals that it doesn't like Heidi Heitkamp, that's really bad for Heidi Heitkamp, because business has a lot of cultural power.

I think that's a very straightforward, almost Marxist view of power: Rich people have disproportionate cultural influence. So business does pull the party right. But it does so more through the mechanism of using its cultural power to influence public opinion, not through donations to campaigns.

So, in your view, the reason that Democrats aren't more left wing on economic issues isn't because they're bought off, but because the median voter is "bought off," in the sense of responding to cues from corporate interests?

... ... ...

So I think people underestimate Democrats' openness to left-wing policies that won't cost them elections. And there are a lot of radical, left-wing policies that are genuinely very popular. Codetermination is popular. A job guarantee is popular. Large minimum-wage increases are popular and could literally end market poverty.

All these things will engender opposition from capital. But if you focus on the popular things, and manage to build positive earned media around those things, then you can convince Democrats to do them. So we should be asking ourselves, "What is the maximally radical thing that can get past Joe Manchin." And that's like a really depressing optimization problem. And it's one that most leftists don't even want to approach, but they should. There's a wide spectrum of possibilities for what could happen the next time Democrats take power, and if we don't come in with clear thinking and realistic demands, we could end up getting rolled.

... ... ...

The Senate is even worse. And much worse than people realize. The Senate has always been, on paper, biased against Democrats. It overrepresents states that are rural and white, and mechanically, that gives a structural advantage to Republicans. For 50 years or so, the tipping-point state in the Senate has been about one percentage point more Republican than the country as a whole. And that advantage did go up in 2016, because white rural voters trended against us (it went up to 3 percent).

... ... ..

I think one big lesson of 2018 was that Trump's coalition held up. Obviously, we did better as the party out of power. But if you look at how we did in places like Maine or Wisconsin or Michigan, it looked more like 2016 than 2012. Donald Trump still has a giant structural advantage in the Electoral College.

[Nov 06, 2020] The elites may control who gets nominated but no matter how flawed or repugnant their candidate is or how obvious that the candidate was chosen for them the flocks that follow the candidates act as if they did the choosing.

Nov 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jinn , Nov 5 2020 13:48 utc | 27

The elites may control who gets nominated but no matter how flawed or repugnant their candidate is or how obvious that the candidate was chosen for them the flocks that follow the candidates act as if they did the choosing.

Trump was given 10 times the free advertising than all the other primary candidates combined and yet his followers think they picked him.

And Biden will go down in history as the candidate who got more popular votes than any other candidate ever has and yet he is about as popular as a hemorrhoid.

[Oct 30, 2020] Is this what democracy looks like- Rich donors pack Biden's campaign chest to seduce poor spurned by Trump and both parties

Oct 27, 2020 | www.rt.com

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign is using a vast reserve of donations from the usual plutocratic suspects to pry even deep-red states away from an incumbent who's done little to help the working class.

The Biden campaign broke all-time records for TV ad spending over the weekend, leveraging Wall Street donors' unprecedented largesse in its effort to woo ordinary Americans back into the establishment fold.

Given how Trump's record bristles with policies so 'pro-business' they can be seen as anti-working-class, it's a strategy just crazy enough to work. Voters need only be reminded how the incumbent cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations while printing trillions of dollars to be diverted directly into the pockets of big banks and big companies during the pandemic. The media is encouraged to do its part by hyping up Trump's " divisiveness. "

ALSO ON RT.COM Woman says her DYING pro-Trump dad voted for Biden because 'it matters to his girls,' but not everybody feels the inspiration

The same corporate-friendly policies that alienated many in Trump's 2016 base have somehow failed to keep the .01 percent in the Republican camp, and Wall Street has poured $50 million into the Biden campaign, CNBC reported on Monday, holding up former Goldman Sachs president Harvey Schwartz as a typical contributor. Schwartz made his largest-ever political donation earlier this month to the Biden Action Fund, a $100,000 gift that was also one of the biggest donations the Fund received during that period.

And it's not just Wall Street - aside from hardcore Republican Zionists like casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and vulture capitalist Paul Singer, the US oligarchy is firmly and vocally in the Biden camp. Former New York City Republican-turned-Democrat mayor Mike Bloomberg announced a $15 million ad buy in Texas and Ohio on Monday, two states where Trump won by a healthy margin in 2016 but where the failed presidential candidate apparently smells weakness. That hefty sum is in addition to over $100 million Bloomberg spent in the critical swing state of Florida, where he also raised millions of dollars to pay off the court fees of black and Hispanic ex-cons - whose votes the businessman believes will reliably land in the Biden camp, never mind the candidate's history of supporting the kind of laws that probably landed them in prison in the first place.

READ MORE What if neither Democrats nor Republicans want to win in 2020? No one wants the task of changing the full diaper of US Empire What if neither Democrats nor Republicans want to win in 2020? No one wants the task of changing the full diaper of US Empire

Overwhelming support for Biden among the ruling class is also amplified by wealthy celebrities. From Cher's cringe-inducing ditty " Happiness is just a thing called Joe ," recently performed at a Biden benefit concert, to Taylor Swift's insistence that 2020's election is " more important than I could even possibly say ," to questionable statements from one-time anti-establishment stalwarts like Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Americans are being cajoled, shamed, and pushed into the voting booth to deliver their support to candidates who have never cared less about average Americans.

Working class people whose lives have been torn asunder by the coronavirus shutdowns Biden has essentially pledged to expand aren't left with many options. While Trump resisted calls to lock down the nation, his self-presentation as an anti-establishment maverick contrasts with four years spent racking up debt and bombing Middle Eastern civilians. Recent polls suggest that even the " poor and uneducated " - groups whose support for Trump has long been the butt of liberal jokes - are defecting.

While a New York Times analysis on Sunday showed Trump continuing to outperform Biden in low-income areas and Biden's support remains concentrated in traditional liberal bastions on the East and West Coasts, it showed middle-class suburban voters bailing out of the " Trump train " in droves. Meanwhile, wealthy and college-educated voters have coalesced around Biden more firmly than in the past, with even big-money establishment Republican types drawn to Biden's promise of a return to the Obama-era status quo.

Where does that leave the poor, or those who lost their middle-class status in the last crash? Trump's detractors have pointed out the irony of the man surrounded by gold presenting himself as the people's champion, and the Biden campaign is spending relentlessly to poach wavering Trump supporters, with ads and opinion pieces featuring self- described " Christian Republicans " embracing the Democrat.

ALSO ON RT.COM Slavoj Zizek: Biden's just Trump with a human face, and the two of them share the same enemy

Short of voting for a third party - described by the media establishment as something akin to a war crime, especially for swing state residents - the working class is caught in an unenviable bind. More than a few must be wondering if voting is merely a long con aimed at drafting Americans into participating in their own oppression. Driving through rural western Pennsylvania, a state polls insist Biden has bagged, a bumper crop of Trump signs - more than a few of them handmade - has blossomed, suggesting the small farmers of the Rust Belt really are expending their meager resources to re-elect the man with the gold-plated bathroom . But if this is, indeed, what democracy looks like, it's no wonder the system is losing support among the younger generation.

If you like this story, share it with a friend! Jojo jordan 1 day ago Sorry Helen but you lost me where you claimed Trump didn't help the working class. Also, the Big companies got rich during the pandemic due to Democrat Governors and Mayors shutdowns of small businesses. Biden is THE definition of swamp creature. Trump is for the people. He's a realist. Reply 10 2 Zogg Jojo jordan 1 day ago Nope, Trump heavily damaged the working class when signed the law having the corporate taxes halved and not halving the working class taxes. tracie72 1 day ago "It's one big party, we aren't invited." George Carlin J_P_Franklin 1 day ago "wondering if voting is merely a long con aimed at drafting Americans into participating in their own oppression" Democracy is the problem. "Voting only encourages them." - Gore Vidal Juan_More J_P_Franklin 1 day ago Actually it is the reverse. The more the people vote the more it scares the politicians. It is usually non-aligned voters that make up the vast majority of those who do not vote. That way the parties count on the party faithful to get out and vote. With all those independent voters voting it makes those sure thing seats a lot less sure. Why are you trying to discourage people from voting. From the number of comments like yours I've seen in social media there would appear to be move to suppress people from voting. Lastly everyone should keep in mind, there may not be anything worth voting for but there is always something to vote against.

[Oct 30, 2020] Billionaires want not only more money, but more power. In their minds, power is essentially infinite.

Notable quotes:
"... It is indeed more likely that an authoritarian regime can last longer than the current one, and they can more easily push the things they want this way. "Democracy" and "free speech" served their purpose for a time, now it's time to try something else. ..."
Oct 30, 2020 | www.unz.com

animalogic , says: October 28, 2020 at 8:23 am GMT

@romanempire ionaires.
"How to consume the surplus capital? " I suspect you maybe confusing money/debt with capital ["-The latter [capital] is so cheap these days it costs nothing to a qualified borrower. "] which is the capacity to use labour productively, usually combination with technology.
"surplus" capital then is non/under utilised factories etc & labour.
As to the vast inflation of debt/money .as Dr Hudson says, debts that can't be paid, won't be paid. The easiest way to rid the world of the trillions that elites have, is to liquidate the elites themselves. Either that, or like Samson, pull the whole shithouse down around you .
Dumbo , says: October 28, 2020 at 11:20 am GMT
@romanempire e. the economy/dollar will collapse), or they realize that the global democratic neo-liberal order is on its last legs, and can't last, so they are anticipating things.

It is indeed more likely that an authoritarian regime can last longer than the current one, and they can more easily push the things they want this way. "Democracy" and "free speech" served their purpose for a time, now it's time to try something else.

The final push will be when they make people complete slaves by embedding our bodies with technology (i.e. Musk's project for a microchip in the brain, among other things). The Unabomber wrote about that in his Manifesto.

Stick , says: October 28, 2020 at 2:36 pm GMT
@animalogic

They, like all aristocrats, want to be Too Big To Fail. This is what drives all the New World Order Wankers.

[Oct 28, 2020] Wall Street Banks, And Their Employees, Now Officially Lean Democrat

Highly recommended!
They understand who will serve them better... After all they are dependent on the continuation of neoliberal globalization.
Oct 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

You'd think that voting Republican would be an easy decision if you work on Wall Street, especially given the lower taxes and the removal of burdensome regulations. But Democrats have entangled themselves so deeply in the web of Wall Street, that the industry is now leaning to the left, according to a new report from Reuters .

The Center for Responsive Politics took a look at how the industry, and its employees, break down for the 2020 election cycle.

It has been obvious that Democratic candidate Joe Biden has been outpacing President Trump when it comes to fundraising, and this is also true of "winning cash from the banking industry," Reuters notes.

Biden's campaign has been the beneficiary of $3 million from commercial banks, compared to the $1.4 million Trump has raised. This is a far skew from 2012, where Mitt Romney was able to raise $5.5 million from commercial banks, while Barack Obama only raised $2 million. In 2012, Wall Street banks were among the top five contributors to Romney' campaign.

In 2020, campaign contributions to congressional races from Wall Street banks are about even. Republicans have raised $14 million while Democrats have brought in $13.6 million. About four years ago, Republicans pulled in $18.9 million, which was about twice as much as the Democrats raised. In 2012, Republicans raised about 61% of total bank donations.

Interestingly enough, when Biden and Trump are removed from the equation, the highest recipient from Wall Street is none other than Bernie Sanders, who has raised $831,096. Sanders often tops contributions in many industries due to his grassroots following.

When you remove the employees from the equation and only look at how the bank's political arms donate, the picture turns more Republican-friendly.

House of Representatives lawmaker Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, one of the senior Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, which is key for the banking industry, tops the list, hauling in $226,000. Next up is Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, the top Republican on that panel, with $185,500 in cash from bank political committees.

The top 20 recipients of bank political funds comprise 14 Republicans and six Democrats. Representative Gregory Meeks of New York, a senior member of the House banking panel, received the most among Democrats, with $140,000.

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The shift in data shows that while Wall Street's top brass may still understand the value of Republican leadership, bank employees themselves may overwhelmingly favor progressives.

ay_arrow

tonye , 3 hours ago

It's obvious. Wall Street is part of the Deep State...

Le SoJ16 , 3 hours ago

How can you hate capitalism and work for a Wall Street bank?

tonye , 3 hours ago

Because Wall Street is no longer capitalist.

Main Street is capitalist, they create the GNP.

Wall Street is a casino owned by globalists and bankers. They don't create much anymore.

Macho Latte , 2 hours ago

It has nothing to do with ideology. The Biden is FOR SALE!

Any questions?

Lord Raglan , 2 hours ago

It is because the majority of Wall Street are Jewish and **** overwhelmingly support Democrats.

David Horowitz has said that 80% of the donations to the Democrat Party come from ****.

KashNCarry , 2 hours ago

What a bunch of ****. Wall St. elites are in it up to their necks casting their lot with the globalists who want total control NOW. Trump is the only thing in their way....

artvandalai , 3 hours ago

Wall street people don't know much about the real economy. They also know little, nor do they care about, the real problems faced by business people who have to work everyday to overcome the policies put in place by liberals.

They do understand finance however. But all that requires is the ability to push paper around all day.

But let them vote for the Libotards and have them watch Elizabeth Warren take charge of the US Senate Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Committee. They'll be jumping out of windows.

FauxReal , 3 hours ago

Wall Street favors free money?

sun tzu , 1 hour ago

Wall Street wants bailouts. 0bozo gave them a yuge bailout

American2 , 2 hours ago

Based on the massively coordinated MSM suppression of the Biden corruption scandal, now I know why these folks back Biden.

CosmoJoe , 2 hours ago

Democrats as the party of the big banks,

bgundr , 2 hours ago

Of course banksters favor policies that make the average person a slave with less agency

Homie , 2 hours ago

Especially if you like the endless bailouts, give-aways, and freedom from those pesky rules limiting the Squid's diet

You'd think that voting Republican would be an easy decision if you work on Wall Street, especially given the lower taxes and the removal of burdensome regulations.

mtl4 , 2 hours ago

The shift in data shows that while Wall Street's top brass may still understand the value of Republican leadership, bank employees themselves may overwhelmingly favor progressives.

The banks are big on corruption and that's one poll the Dems are definitely leading by a longshot.......thick as thieves.

tunetopper , 2 hours ago

Wall St youngsters dont realize their job is to whore themselves out as much as possible to the few remaining classes of folk they dont already have accounts with. The few Millennials and Gen Xers that have enough capital saved up are their target market. Ever since the take-down of Bear Stearns and Lehman, and the exit of many others from their Private Client Groups- the Whorewolves of Wall St are very busy pretending to be Progs and Libs.

And like this post says: " who really cares, they all live in NY, NJ and CT which are guaranteed Dem states anyway"

So in essence- they have nothing to lose while pretending to be a Prog/Lib. in order to ge the clients money.

radar99 , 36 minutes ago

I arrived to wall st in 2010. My female boss at a large investment bank hated me from the moment I criticized Obama. I was and still am absolutely amazed you can work on wall st and be a democrat

moneybots , 59 minutes ago

"The shift in data shows that while Wall Street's top brass may still understand the value of Republican leadership, bank employees themselves may overwhelmingly favor progressives."

So 50 Cent alone went Trump after finding out NYC's top tax rate would be 62% under Biden?

Flynt2142ahh , 1 hour ago

also known as MBNA Joe Biden friends, you mean the privatize profits but liberalize losses crowd that always looks for gubment money to bail out failures - Shocking !

invention13 , 1 hour ago

Wall St. just knows Biden is someone you can do business with.

Loser Face , 1 hour ago

Wall Street leans towards anyone who passes laws that benefit Wall Street.

Obamaroid Ointment , 1 hour ago

The Wally Street crowd has always been a bunch Globalist Mercedes Marxists and Limousine Liberals, this article is ancient history.

Sound of the Suburbs , 2 hours ago

US politicians haven't got a clue what's really going on and got duped by the banker's shell game.

When you don't know what real wealth creation is, or how banks work, you fall for the banker's shell game.

Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy towards a financial crisis.

On a BBC documentary, comparing 1929 to 2008, it said the last time US bankers made as much money as they did before 2008 was in the 1920s.

Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy into a financial crisis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

At 18 mins.

The bankers loaded the US economy up with their debt products until they got financial crises in 1929 and 2008.

As you head towards the financial crisis, the economy booms due to the money creation of bank loans.

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

The financial crisis appears to come out of a clear blue sky when you use an economics that doesn't consider debt, like neoclassical economics.

That's what the banker's shell game does to your economy.

Bankers are playing a shell game, which you can't see if you don't know how banks actually work like today's policymakers.

The real estate shell game.

Watch this video of the S&L crisis to refresh your memory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwFXvc1rJDw

They were just cutting their teeth messing about transferring financial assets around in those days.

It's all pretty straight forward.

Bank loans create money out of nothing.

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

Money and debt come into existence together and disappear together like matter and anti-matter.

It's a shell game; you have to keep your eye on the money and the debt.

The speculators pocket the money, and the debt builds up in the S&Ls until the ponzi scheme collapses.

US taxpayers then bail out the bust S&Ls.

The shell game only works when no when is looking at the debt building up in the financial system like the UK from 1980 – 2008.

https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png

Money and debt come into existence together and disappear together like matter and anti-matter.

The money flows into the economy making it boom.

The debt builds up in the financial system leading to a financial crisis.

Banks – What is the idea?

The idea is that banks lend into business and industry to increase the productive capacity of the economy.

Business and industry don't have to wait until they have the money to expand. They can borrow the money and use it to expand today, and then pay that money back in the future.

The economy can then grow more rapidly than it would without banks.

Debt grows with GDP and there are no problems.

The banks create money and use it to create real wealth.

Caliphate Connie and the Headbangers , 2 hours ago

https://youtu.be/U06jlgpMtQs Democrat President, Republican Senate, Democratic House equals Deflation

medium giraffe , 3 hours ago

The banks and corporations of America have been welfare queens since 2008. Regardless of who wins, they will be the beneficiaries of moar US-style corporate welfare socialism.

Victory_Rossi , 3 hours ago

Wall Street loves globalism and hates the entire ethos of "America First". They're people with dodgy loyalties and grand self-interests.

FreemonSandlewould , 3 hours ago

What a surprise. The Banking Cartel faction of the Jish Control Grid sent Trotsky and company to Russia to implement the Bolshevik revolution. Should I be surprised they lean left?

Well I guess not. But they are at base amoral - that is to say with out moral philosophy. Their real motto is "Whatever gets the job done".

I know you human fungus in Wall St banks read Zh.

[Oct 20, 2020] Big Tech goes all in- Silicon Valley launches $100 million anti-Trump ad blitz

Another face of iron law of oligarchy: money as the way to misinform and lure the voters ;-)
Oct 20, 2020 | www.rt.com

The $100-plus million blitz includes at least $22 million from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, according to an exclusive report from Recode, a subdivision of Vox. Another Democratic megadonor involved is former Google and Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, currently advising the Pentagon on technology innovation. Home USA News Big Tech goes all in: Silicon Valley launches $100 million anti-Trump ad blitz – report 20 Oct, 2020 20:08 Get short URL Big Tech goes all in: Silicon Valley launches $100 million anti-Trump ad blitz – report FILE PHOTO © AFP / Getty Images ; SCOTT OLSON 121 3 Follow RT on RT A super PAC bankrolled by Silicon Valley moguls is preparing a massive TV advertising campaign to help boost Democratic candidate Joe Biden against President Donald Trump in the final days before the 2020 US election.

The $100-plus million blitz includes at least $22 million from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, according to an exclusive report from Recode, a subdivision of Vox. Another Democratic megadonor involved is former Google and Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, currently advising the Pentagon on technology innovation.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1318588732585422853&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F504061-silicon-valley-biden-donations%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Called Future Forward, the super PAC has filed federal paperwork on Tuesday disclosing that it has raised $66 million between September 1 and October 15. It has contracted for $106 million of TV ads between September 29 and November 3, according to media tracking firm Advertising Analytics. This makes it the largest Biden booster outside the Democrats' campaign itself, already a fundraising juggernaut.

Recode also reported that Future Forward "has been recommended in private communications by the team of Reid Hoffman." He is the LinkedIn co-founder and Democratic megadonor previously caught funding a disinformation campaign during the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama, in which a company called New Knowledge created a Twitter army of 'Russian bots' pretending to back the Republican candidate. It was unclear from the Recode story whether Hoffman had contributed any funding to Moskovitz's super PAC.

[Oct 05, 2020] As long as people continue to waste their vote by voting for a duopoly candidate, nothing will change

Oct 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Oct 4 2020 18:26 utc | 23

Yves at nakedcapitalism.com sneaks in an endorsement of Trump?!?

Why not? After all, the Democratic Party is practically trying to elect him as they stumble from one self-inflicted wound to the next.

Naturally, the reader that explains why he's voting for Trump complains that he's doing so for rational reasons while ignoring the evident set-up. Nor does Yves offer any critical analysis that might connect dots that have been memory-holed.

So, lets review: the Democrats went 'all in' on bogus Russiagate; on "all victims must be believed"; and then on a failed impeachment while supporting Trump's domestic agenda (tax cuts, nominations, etc.) and lending verbal/moral support for his foreign policy agenda (increased militarism, anti-Maduro, TWO missile attacks on Syria, persecution of Assange, etc.). With this in mind, more people should see that it's likely that Hillary threw the election in 2016 this seasoned campaigner : screwed progressives, ignored blacks, insulted white "deplorables", and chose not to campaign, in the closing weeks of the election, in the three states SHE KNEW would decide the election.

But there's more. The history of recent Presidential elections indicates a persistent manipulation:


As long as people continue to waste their vote by voting for a duopoly candidate, nothing will change. Democracy propagandists that play along by, among other things, urge others to vote for the lesser evil, promote disinfo and do a disservice to their readers/followers.

What is needed is a root-and-branch reform of the corrupt, money-driven electoral system. There will not be any real change until/unless that is done. Only real Movements and third-party candidates offer the hope for such reform to happen peacefully.

!!

[Oct 05, 2020] The first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards. The executive will be always increasing here, as elsewhere, till it ends in a monarchy

Oct 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Oct 5 2020 4:25 utc | 96

Posted by: snake | Oct 5 2020 4:02 utc | 93 430,000,000 virgin Americans

Thought the population as of this year was 331 million? Typo?

True, dissatisfaction with states appears to be on the rise world-wide. The problem is that people still are still thoroughly brainwashed into believing the problem is *their* state, not "state" in the abstract. And because of that, *any* change they make is likely to be for the worse, a la National Socialism. The likelihood of some form of "Chinese Communism" in this country is next to zero - not that I would welcome that, either, but some here would. France might swing toward some form of "council socialism", given their previous history with left revolutions, but I don't see that spreading anywhere else; maybe Spain given their anarchism history. No, I don't see any evidence that the state itself is under any significant threat anywhere. States may collapse, even in the US, but they will reform almost immediately. Any positive changes will be unlikely and even if implemented will quickly be eroded.

The *only* solution is extermination of the ruling class. "The world will only be free when the last politician is strangled with the guts of the last priest." And even then, without some kind of "re-education" of everyone else, it won't last. A new ruling class will simply arise.

Just looked up that Ben Franklin quote:

First reported by James McHenry, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention. This is what he wrote: "A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it." Another of his famous quotes from that era comes just after Washington had been elected the first president. "The first man put at the helm will be a good one. Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards," he said. But that isn't the full quote. He continued, "The executive will be always increasing here, as elsewhere, till it ends in a monarchy."

Well, here we are. We didn't keep it. And here we are: a lunatic in office who thinks he's King George.

[Aug 23, 2020] Unconstrained Economic-Elite Domination under neoliberalism

Aug 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

james charles , says: Next New Comment August 23, 2020 at 11:12 am GMT

Hands up those who think the election will only have a 'marginal' effect?

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

Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page

Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics -- which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism -- offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism. "

https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

[Aug 19, 2020] People vs money: oligarchy almost always wins

Notable quotes:
"... Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves? ..."
"... How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise. ..."
"... The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways. ..."
"... It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty. ..."
"... The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

apacheman -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 23:32

Excuse me?

Huge numbers of people who disagree with me and don't share my particular beliefs are not sociopaths, nothing would stop them from running or holding office, and I've no problem with that.

Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves?

THAT I'm not ok with, are you?

DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 21:12
How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise.
HauptmannGurski -> Aseoria , 7 Jul 2018 20:26
I know, and Bush I was head of the CIA. Strange that one matters and the other does not.
Sisyphus2 -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 20:05
Love this line: "the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people."

The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways.

Aseoria -> ildfluer , 7 Jul 2018 19:52
Do you think the interpreters might turn out to be agents, or perhaps even assassins, from other governments? Or maybe everybody will be knocked out with fentanyl gas at dinner. In the dining room.
Aseoria -> consumerx , 7 Jul 2018 19:47
Typical Good-Cop Bad-Cop from here in the vaunted "Two-Party" system of the USA gov
Janaka77 -> petersview , 7 Jul 2018 19:05
I like the way the Republic of Ireland puts strict restrictions on political spending for their elections - including their presidential elections.
apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 19:02
1. It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty.

The alternative, continuing to allow unlimited wealth accumulation will ultimately destroy democracy and end in a dictatorship nearly impossible to remove without massive casualties. Is that preferable to trying to control the behavior of wealth addicts? Make no mistake: billionaires are addicts, their uncontrollable addiction to more is an extreme form of hoarding dysfunction, one that, like all uncontrolled addictions, has had disastrous consequences for everyone but them.

3. Fewer Representatives means you are concentrating power rather than dispersing it. More means smaller districts, which in turn means more accountability, not less. As it stands now, Congresscritters can safely ignore the wishes of the public, because when someone "represents" nearly a million citizens, it means they actually represent only themselves. If taken in conjunction with item #2, more citizens would be invested in the political process and far more likely to pay attention.

4. The Hare test is a standard written exam that is difficult to cheat. Getting caught at cheating or attempting to cheat would mark one automatically as a sociopath. The latest studies of brain structures show that sociopaths have physically different brains, and those physical differences are detectable. Brain activity as shown by fMRI also clearly marks a sociopath from a normal, since while they can fake emotional responses very well, their brain activity shows their true lack of response to emotionally charged images, words, etc. Using a three-layer test, written>fMRI>genetic should be robust enough to correctly identify most. The stakes are too huge to risk a set of sociopaths and their lackeys control of the machinery of government. The genetic test is the most likely to give problematic results, but if the written is failed, the fMRI would then be done to confirm or reject the written results, while the genetics would be a supplementary confirmation. Widespread genetic testing of politicians and would-bes would undoubtedly advance research and understanding dramatically.

When you do even a casual cost-benefit study, the answer is clear: test them. Ask yourself: is the thwarting of an individual's potential career in politics really that great a cost compared to preventing unknowingly electing a sociopath who could destabilize the entire world?

Janaka77 -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 18:55

Another big difference of course is a little thing called the law.

Are you under the impression the British don't have rule of law? Their elected representatives make their laws, not their ceremonial royal family. Their royal family's job is to abide by the same laws as every other UK citizen, stay out of politics and promote British tourism and gossip magazines.

Janaka77 -> Ben Groetsch , 7 Jul 2018 18:15

The United States is actually a federal republic, not a democracy.

The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people.

WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 17:57

If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.


We will never beat China at manufacturing cheap and efficient products using human labor. Robotic labor maybe, but that might not happen for a decade or more at least--if they or another country doesn't beat us to retooling our factories.
Labor and manufacturing will never return in the US--unless we have another world war we win, in which all global production is again concentrated in the US because the rest of the worlds factories are bombed to rubble. Besides, they have the most central location for manufacturing in the world and a cheap source of endless labor.

What they don't have is innovation, tech and freedom to try products out on a free market. We are squandering those advantages in the US when we cut education and limit college education to the masses.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:48

The system is not crooked,

Are Americans the most immoral people on earth? I don't think so. Do we have the strictest code of laws on earth? I don't think so either. Yet we have the highest incarceration rate on earth. Higher than authoritarian countries like China & Russia.

This alone should tell you something is wrong with our system. Never mind the stats about differing average sentences depending on race & wealth.

WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:42
Doubt implies a reason behind the wrong, where uncertainty implies an unknowing trait--a mystery behind the wrong.

The right, what with all its fake news scams, deep state BS and witch hunt propaganda, is uncertainty at best, a mystery of sorts--it provides us with a conspiracy that can neither be proved or unproven--an enigma.

Doubt, about if Russia meddled in the US election in collusion with the president or at the least his advisors, surely implies something is wrong, especially in the face of criminal charges, doubt is inherent and well intentioned, but not always true and can be proven false in the face of doubt.

Byron Delaney -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:00
At one time the US was agrarian and one could subsist via bartering. Consider reliance on for-profit healthcare, transportation systems, debt, credit cards, landlords, grocery stores, and the lack of any ability to subsist without statewide and nationwide infrastructure. Right now, people in the US already die prematurely if they can't afford healthcare. Many are homeless. And this is when things are better than ever? What will happen here is what happened in Europe during WWII. People will suffer, and they will be forced to adopt socialist practices (like the EU does today). People in Europe really did starve to death, and people in India, Africa, and other countries are starving and dying today. China doles out food rations because they practice communism. That's why they have cheap, efficient labor that serves to manufacture products for US consumers. Communism and socialism help American corporations big time.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 16:51
Citizens United is a First Amendment decision. Which part of the First Amendment do you want moot? What gives any government the right to decide which assemblies of citizens have no free speech rights?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:47
Doubt is everybody's political currency.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 16:46
You are aware, I imagine, that the US can adjust its money supply to adapt to circumstances? We can feed ourselves. We have our own power sources. We can improvise, adapt, and overcome. Prices go up and down. No big deal. Scaring people for political gain doesn't have the clout it onvce did.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> tjt77 , 7 Jul 2018 16:40
Are you opposed to people deciding who moves across their nation's borders?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Elephantmoth , 7 Jul 2018 16:38
Open Secrets Top Donors, Organizations.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 16:35
Too many virtue signalers seem to think that only the innocent are ever convicted.
The system is not crooked, but if you can set up a better one that doesn't bankrupt every community, have at it.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:29
You really, really, really like screaming racist, don't you? And slide in a Godwin. Wow. The concept that black pastors would be negatively impacted by financial attacks on their churches never ever occurred to you, did it? You get off on pretending to care about people that you have no direct, routine connection to. How virtuous of you. Wouldn't deliberately harming black churches make you the racist storm trooper?
Byron Delaney -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:08
Violence will break out when credit cards stop working. Can't even imagine what will happen if people are starving. No problem in a socialistic country like Finland, but a big problem here. My guess is that Trump knows the economy is hanging by a thread, so needs to create an alternate reason (trade wars). Or he figures he might as well have a trade war if it's all going to pieces anyway. Of course China manufactures just about everything for the US. If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.
WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:49
Don't forget as the Trump trade war heats up and China decides to sell off US bonds en-masse (they own 1.17 trillion in US debt). That's gonna put a hurt on the already low US dollar and could send inflation soaring. China could also devalue its currency and increase the trade deficit. Combine those with all the things you've pointed out and you've got financial troubles the likes of which no large government has ever dealt with in human history.
Starving people--China can handle in droves; not so much the US. We're talking nasty violence if that kinda stuff happens here.
Melty Clock -> happylittledebunkera , 7 Jul 2018 15:43
True, but the POTUS is a head of state and the PM is not, so there's a limit to how far we should take comparisons.
WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 15:05
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:02
Occupy Wall Street began due to income inequality when the worst effects of the Great Recession were being felt by the population. Wealth inequality has only increased since then.


Right now, the population is held at bay because the media and politicians claim that the economy is so incredibly hot it's overheating. But we know that's a lie. For one, the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people. This year, 401(k) plans have returned almost nothing (or are going negative). This was also the case in 2016. Savings accounts have returned almost nothing for the last decade (they should be providing approximately 5% interest).

The worker participation rate today is 3.2% below what it was in 2008 (during the Great Recession). The US population, meanwhile, has increased by approximately 24,321,000. That's a 7.68% increase. The labor force has increased by 5% during this time (unemployment rate was relatively similar, 5.6% vs 4%). From June 2008 to June 2018, the labor force increased by approximately 8 million. However, if the worker participation rate was the same now as it was then, there would be approximately 8 million more people in the labor force. If you add 8 million people to the current number of people who are counted as unemployed by the BLS, the unemployment rate is approximately 9%. This is about as high as the unemployment rate got during the depths of the Great Recession, right when Occupy Wall Street was born.

Now, OK, sure, the economy has REPLACED lost jobs, but it has not ADDED jobs for the last decade. The unemployment rate is false. It should be at least 8%. There's many millions of Americans who do not have steady, gainful employment - or any employment - and they are not counted.
The billionaires and their bought politicians are responsible for fixing this. They can fix it and should fix it. Otherwise, the economy and their profits are going to fall off a giant cliff any day now. The next recession has basically already begun, but it can still be alleviated. If things continue as they are, unemployment could be 16% by 2020, with the U6 measure approaching or exceeding 25%. If stocks drop enough, people may starve to death.

kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 14:11
Who supported Citizen's United? All cons and republicans

Who supports campaign finance reform and legislation that would make Cititzen's United moot? Democrats and progressives

Really tired of the false equivalencies. Republicans are now the polar opposite of Democrats in policy and principles. Vote Blue this November and get rid of the republicans; every single one of them. It can be done if people get out and vote.

memo10 -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 14:10
1. Anything is possible but I don't think this is practical. The rich can just cheat on the definition of ownership, pass it around between family members, offshore it, sink it into their businesses in token ways, etc. When you try to take wealth (power) away from the most powerful people in the country they will start devoting SERIOUS resources to getting around it.

3. I'm not saying we need fewer people doing congress's job in total. But we should be electing fewer of them, and letting those fewer people do more hiring/delegating. The way things are now, most of the public only knows much about the president. Everyone else is mostly just a vote for a party. But if the country only voted for 50 Congressmen in total - or even fewer - then we would all have a more careful eye on them. We would know them better and see them more individually. They would have less pressure to toe the party line all the time.

4. As long as there's a written test then it will get cheated. Right now the testing is rarely given and the specific consequences don't determine powerful people's careers. Make it a widespread & important thing and people will learn to cheat it.
The genetic + fMRI research is interesting but the whole thing opens up serious cans of worms. We're talking about DQ'ing somebody from an important career based partially on the results of a genetic screening for a character trait. That's a dangerous business for our whole society to get into. Although I do realize the payoff for this specific instance would be very big.

apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 13:34
1. Why do you think that? Using teams of forensic accountants and outlawing secret accounts would go a long way towards increasing enforceability. But you are viewing it as a legal problem rather than a cultural problem. If an effective propaganda campaign aimed on one level at the public and another level at the billionaires, it could work. Many billionaires are already committed to returning their fortunes to the economy (mostly after they are dead, true). Convince a few and the rest will follow. Give them the lure of claiming the title of the richest who ever were and some would be eager for that place in history.

Anything can be done if the will is there.

2. Income taxes are just a portion of the federal revenues, ~47%. Corporate taxes, parkland fees, excise taxes, ~18% taken together and Social Security make up the rest. Revenues would increase as taxpayers topped off step amounts to keep control. The beauty of it is that Congress would see very clearly where the nation's priorities were. Any politician trying to raise fines so that they had more money under their control would soon find themselves out of office. Unpopular programs would have to be financed out of the 18%, and that would likely make them increase corporate taxes. But most importantly, it would cut the power of politicians and decrease the effectiveness of lobbyists.

3. Actually, we have too few, not too many. The work of governance suffers because there is too much to be done and too few to do it. Spreading the workload and assigning responsibility areas would increase efficiency. Most importantly though, it would break up the oligarchic duopoly that keeps a stranglehold on the nation's politics, and bring more third party candidates into office giving Congress a more diverse culture by adding viewpoints based on other things than business interests.

4. Actually, advances in fMRI equipment and procedures, along with genetics and written testing can prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not someone is a sociopath, do some research and you'l see it is true. False positives in any testing regime are always an issue, but tens of millions of workers submit to drug tests to qualify for their jobs, and their jobs don't usually run the risk of plunging the world into war, economic or environmental disasters. False positives are common in the workplace and cost many thousands their jobs.

And there's an easy way to prove you aren't really a sociopath: be honest, don't lie, and genuinely care about people...things sociopaths cannot do over time.

Seriously, it is a societal safety issue that demands to be done, protecting the few against false positives means opening the floodgates for the many sociopaths who seek power over others.

WillisFitnurbut -> ConBrio , 7 Jul 2018 13:25
Not just eliminate--alter and add to it, but since it takes 2/3 majority of the house and senate to amend the constitution--it's not an easy feat--that's why there has only been 17 amendments altogether and two of them are there to cancel each other out!
You see, the beauty behind the National Popular Vote Bill is that it's done on a state by state basis and will only work when the required 270 electoral votes are gained with the bill--this means all voters would have their votes tallied in a presidential election and it eliminates swing states with a winner takes all approach. The electoral college and state control of elections are preserved and every one is happy.
I feel like you've not read up on any of this even though I provide a link. 12 of these bills have been enacted into state law already, comprising of 172 electoral votes and 3,112 legislative sponsors. That's more than halfway there.
To continue to say that changing the way we vote by altering the EC is a fantasy is in itself a fantasy because obviously it is gaining traction across the country.
tjt77 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 12:51
Which 'side' do you imagine I'm on Mike ? FYI.. Im not a member of any tribe especially regarding the republican or democrat parties... you may have noticed that as part of the progress towards a globalized economy, 'Money' now has open borders...but the restrictions of movement for people are growing as nationalism rises and wealth and the power it yields, becomes ever more concentrated in fewer hands...this is a dangerous precedent and history repeats if lessons of the past are not learned.
I can well recall when humanity and the ability of the individual to attain freedom and liberty based upon the merit of the individual was once celebrated.
What really irks me and causes me to voice my opinion on this forum, ( thank you Guardian for your continued efforts at informing us all and especially for promoting participation) is how easily people are duped .. when 'others' can easily see that they are being lied to. My parents fought for freedom and liberty against vicious tyranny in Europe and paid a HUGE price..by the time the scales had tipped the balance towards fascism, it was far too late for anything other than all out war... the fact that they survived the required sacrifice to pitch in to protect democracy, and the freedom and liberty which comes with it, still seems miraculous..
Gary Daily , 7 Jul 2018 12:20
Billionaires on the left should put some of that money into paying for and distributing subscriptions to newspapers and magazines which live up to the standards of professional journalism. These papers should be made available, free, at high schools, colleges, libraries, and commercial centers of loitering and "neighborly" discussions. May I suggest the NYT, WP, The Guardian, and The Economist.
ConBrio -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 12:16
The "fact" that there have been 700 attempts to eliminate it should tell you that in all likelihood the The Electoral College will continue.

Whether or not a group of states can effectively circumvent the Constitution is an open question.

aquacalc -> ghstwrtrx7 , 7 Jul 2018 12:01
"What the country sorely needs is a new constitution."

No thanks! The Founders were quite a bit more intelligent than the current national 'brain trust' -- on the both sides of the Aisle -- that would be charged with writing a new Constitution.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:48

A defense attorney once told me that his job was one of the toughest out there because an astonishing percentage of defendants are guilty as charged.

That's true. But it doesn't excuse the crooked system whatsoever. It doesn't make the innocent poor people any less innocent.

Dorthy Boatman -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 11:36
Since when have politicians and rich people ever followed the law? And what recourse would that be exactly?
WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:17
I like how you immediately expose your racism, right out of the gate. Haven't you got a storm trooper meeting to head out to soon?
Elephantmoth -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:14
Sorry I forgot the link: http://www.http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/318177-lobbyings-top-50-whos-spending-big
Sisyphus2 -> NYbill13 , 7 Jul 2018 10:41
Back to the days of Dickens, workhouses, indentured slaves, etc.

[Aug 19, 2020] People who strive for "democracy" have two choice and that most common is "managed democracy" on behalf of neoliberal financial oligarchy, which strip mining your "resources"

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

G. Poulin , says: December 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm GMT

So if propaganda is so easy and effective, remind me again why democracy is such a great idea?
El Dato , says: December 12, 2019 at 6:00 am GMT
@G. Poulin You have two choices:

1) Democracy with a population that is at least minimally engaged and angrily stays that way (including removing powerful special interests from premises with pitchforks)
2) Being "managed" on behalf of various power centers. This can be liveable or can turn into strip mining of your "resources".

Sadly, there is no algorithm that allows you to detect whether your are engaged or are being engaged on behalf of others. That would be easy. But one should start with a minimal state, hard money and the sons of the upper crust on the front lines and forbidden from taking office in government.

That being said, this article is a bit meandering. Came for Bellingcat but was confused.

Who presented the Emmy Award to the film makers, but none other than the rebel journalist Chris Hedges.

Maximum Clown World.

Johan , says: December 12, 2019 at 11:49 pm GMT
@El Dato "1) Democracy with a population that is at least minimally engaged and angrily stays that way (including removing powerful special interests from premises with pitchforks)"

There are no revolutions by means of pitchforks in a democracy, everything is weakened by compromise, false promises, infiltration, manipulation, etc. You cannot stay angry all the time too, it is very bad for your health, it needs to be short and intense to be effective, which is exactly what democracy prevents.
Democracy turns you into a petted animal.

[Aug 19, 2020] GOP Donors Vs. GOP Voters

Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

From J.D. Vance's appearance last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight Vance has just said that the donor elites of the GOP are out of touch with the party's base. More:

CARLSON: But more broadly, what you are saying, I think is, that the Democratic Party understands what it is and who it represents and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters, but the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.

VANCE: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, look at who the Democratic Party is and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Most of the times, I disagree with them. But I at least admire that they recognize who their voters are and they actually just as raw cynical politics do a lot of things to serve those voters.

Now, look at who Republican voters increasingly are. They are people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They are disproportionately folks who want to have more children. They are people who want to have more single earner families. They are people who don't necessarily want to go to college but they want to work in an economy where if you play by the rules, you can you actually support a family on one income.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Have Republicans done anything for those people really in the last 15 or 20 years? I think can you point to some policies of the Trump administration. Certainly, instinctively, I think the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks. But at the end of the day, the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are.

Now, the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters much.

CARLSON: Well, that's it. So I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there is a substantial block within it, it's this unstable coalition, all of these groups have nothing in common, but the one thing they have in common is the Democratic Party will protect them.

VANCE: Yes.

CARLSON: You criticize a block of Democratic Voters and they are on you like a wounded wombat. They will bite you. The Republicans, watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement, "Yes, these people should be attacked."

VANCE: Yes, that's absolutely right. I mean, if you talk to people who spent their lives in D.C. I know you live in D.C.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: I've spent a lot of my life here. The people who spend their time in D.C. who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think tanks, now this isn't true of everybody, but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days.

[Aug 19, 2020] 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

[Aug 19, 2020] Smash the Oligarchy by JOSIAH LIPPINCOTT

Oligarchy owns the USA political system and tune it to their needs. Proliferation of NGO is one such trick that favor oligarchy.
That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense—and it yields results. In April, Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn’t quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high.
Notable quotes:
"... Non-profit activity lets super-elites broker political power tax-free, reshaping the world according to their designs. ..."
"... The American tax code makes all of this possible. It greases the skids for the wealthy to use their fortunes to augment their political power. The 501(c)(3) designation makes all donations, of whatever size, to charitable nonprofits immune from taxation. ..."
"... For the super-wealthy, political power comes tax-free. ..."
"... No one ever elected Bill Gates to anything. His wealth, and not the democratic process, is the only reason he has an outsized voice in shaping coronavirus policy. The man who couldn't keep viruses out of Windows now wants to vaccinate the planet. That isn't an unreasonable goal for a man of his wealth, either. Gates's foundation is the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, providing some 10 percent of its funds . That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April , Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high . ..."
"... Eliminating the tax exemption for charitable giving would make it simple to heavily tax the capital gains that drive the wealth of America's richest one thousand people. One could also leave the exemption in place for most Americans (those with a net worth under $100 million), while making larger gifts, especially those over a billion dollars, taxable at extremely high rates close to 100%. Bill Gates wants to give a billion dollars to his foundation? Great. But he should pay a steep fee to the American people to purchase that kind of power. ..."
"... There is nothing socialist in these or similar tax proposals. We are not making an abstract commentary on whether having a billion dollars is "moral." These are simply prudential measures to put the people back in charge of their own country. Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy. ..."
"... An America governed by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and George Soros will be -- arguably, already is -- a disaster for the middle class and everyday Americans. Cracking down on their "selfless" philanthropy, combined with antitrust enforcement and higher progressive tax rates, is a key way for Americans to leverage the power of the ballot box against the power of the banker's vault. ..."
"... The rotting edifice that is the United States is coming down one way or another. Just accept it. ..."
"... I would end tax exempt status for organizations. When everyone pays taxes we all become better stewards of how that money is used. ..."
"... To think both Mr. Dreher and Mr. Van Buren just recently posted about the superwealthy leaving the big cities, citing as the main reasons the Covid thing on the one hand, and "excessively high" income taxes on the other. Most comments that followed were in the line of "that's what happens when you let socialists run things" and "stop giving money to the poor, then they'll work and get rich." And here we have someone proposing more and higher taxes on the wealthy to bust their political nuts. ..."
"... It's an interesting proposal, but it seems that if you're worried about super-elites brokering political power tax-free, you might focus on direct brokering of political power. For example, we could pass a law requiring full disclosure of all sources of funding for any political advertising. ..."
Aug 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Non-profit activity lets super-elites broker political power tax-free, reshaping the world according to their designs.

America's super-wealthy have too much power. A republican regime based on the consent of the governed cannot survive when a few hands control too large a sum of money and too much human capital. A dominion of monopolists spells ruin for the common man.

The Federal Reserve calculates that, at present, America's total household wealth equals $104 trillion . Of that, $3.4 trillion belongs to America's 600 billionaires alone. Put another way, 3% of the nation's wealth belongs to 0.0002% of the population. Those 600 names control twice as much wealth as the least wealthy 170 million Americans combined . This is a problem. Economic power means political power. In an era of mass media, it has never been easier to manufacture public opinion and to manipulate the citizenry.

Look no further than the consensus view of Fortune 500 companies as to the virtues of Black Lives Matter. That movement's incredible cultural reach is, in large part, a function of its cachet among American elites. In 2016, the Ford Foundation began a Black-Led Movement Fund to funnel $100 million into racial and social justice causes. George Soros' Open Society Foundation immediately poured in $33 million in grants.

Soros and company received a massive return on investment. The shift leftward on issues of racial and social justice in the last four years has been nothing short of remarkable. Net public support for BLM , at minus 5 percent in 2018, has surged to plus 28 percent in 2020. The New York Times estimates that some 15 to 26 million Americans participated in recent protests over George Floyd's death.

And the money keeps flowing. In the last three months, hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into social and racial justice causes. Sony Music Group , the NFL , Warner Music Group , and Comcast all have promised gifts in excess of $100 million. MacKenzie Bezos has promised more than a billion dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other racial and social justice organizations. Yet, as scholars like Heather MacDonald have pointed out -- America's justice system is not racist. Disquieting anecdotes and wrenching videos blasted across cyberspace are not the whole of, or even representative of, our reality. But well-heeled media and activism campaigns can change the perception. That's what matters.

The American tax code makes all of this possible. It greases the skids for the wealthy to use their fortunes to augment their political power. The 501(c)(3) designation makes all donations, of whatever size, to charitable nonprofits immune from taxation.

A man can only eat so much filet mignon in one lifetime. He can only drive so many Lamborghinis and vacation in so many French chalets. At a certain point, the longing for material pleasures gives way to a longing for honor and power. What a super-elite really wants is to be remembered for "changing the world." The tax code makes the purchasing of such honors even easier than buying fast cars and luxury homes.

For the super-wealthy, political power comes tax-free.

No one ever elected Bill Gates to anything. His wealth, and not the democratic process, is the only reason he has an outsized voice in shaping coronavirus policy. The man who couldn't keep viruses out of Windows now wants to vaccinate the planet. That isn't an unreasonable goal for a man of his wealth, either. Gates's foundation is the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, providing some 10 percent of its funds . That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April , Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high .

No one ever voted on those lockdowns, either. Like the mask-wearing mandates, they were instituted by executive fiat. The experts , many of them funded through donations given by tech billionaires like Gates , campaigned for policies that radically altered the basic structure of society. Here lies the danger of billionaire power. Without adequate checks and balances, the super-wealthy can skirt the normal political process, working behind the scenes to make policies that the people never even have a chance to debate or vote on.

A republic cannot be governed this way. America needs to bring its current crop of oligarchs to heel. That starts with constraining their ability to commandeer their massive personal fortunes to shape policy. Technically, the 501(c)(3) designation prevents political activities by tax-exempt charities. Those rules apply only to political campaigning and lobbying, however. They say nothing about funding legal battles or shaping specific policies indirectly through research and grants. America's universities, think tanks, and advocacy organizations are nearly universally considered tax-exempt nonprofits. Only a fool would believe they are not political.

One solution to the nonprofit problem to simply get rid of the charitable exemption all together. If there is no loophole, it can't be exploited by the mega-wealthy. Most Americans' charitable giving wouldn't be affected. The average American gives between $2,000 and $3,000 per year . That is well under the $24,800 standard tax deduction for married couples. Ninety percent of taxpayers have no reason to use a line-item deduction. Such a change likely wouldn't affect wealthy givers either. In 2014 , the average high-income American (defined as making more than $200,000 per year or having a million dollars in assets) gave an average of $68,000 to charity, and in 2018 93 percent said their giving had nothing to do with tax breaks.

Eliminating the tax exemption for charitable giving would make it simple to heavily tax the capital gains that drive the wealth of America's richest one thousand people. One could also leave the exemption in place for most Americans (those with a net worth under $100 million), while making larger gifts, especially those over a billion dollars, taxable at extremely high rates close to 100%. Bill Gates wants to give a billion dollars to his foundation? Great. But he should pay a steep fee to the American people to purchase that kind of power.

There is nothing socialist in these or similar tax proposals. We are not making an abstract commentary on whether having a billion dollars is "moral." These are simply prudential measures to put the people back in charge of their own country. Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy.

Incentives to make more money are generally good. The libertarians are mostly right -- people are usually better judges of how to spend and use their resources than the government.

But not always. The libertarian account does not adequately recognize man's political nature. We need law and order. We need a regime where elections matter and the opinions of the people actually shape policy. Contract law, borders, and taxes are all necessary to human flourishing, but all impede the total and unrestricted movement of labor and money. At the very top of the wealth pyramid, concentrated economic power always turns into political power. An economic policy that doesn't recognize that fact will create an untouchable class that controls both the market and the regime. There's nothing freeing about that outcome.

An America governed by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and George Soros will be -- arguably, already is -- a disaster for the middle class and everyday Americans. Cracking down on their "selfless" philanthropy, combined with antitrust enforcement and higher progressive tax rates, is a key way for Americans to leverage the power of the ballot box against the power of the banker's vault.

Josiah Lippincott is a former Marine officer and current Master's student at the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College.


Kent13 hours ago

I'd like to thank the author for actually discussing policy proposals that actually make sense. That's a rarity on TAC. However, he needs to keep a couple of things in mind:

1. You can't just say something isn't socialist on a conservative website. Conservatives have been conditioned for decades to believe that anything the GOP considers to be bad is called by the name "socialism". And taxes are bad. Therefore socialist. To bring any nuance to that word will be devastating to long-term conservative ability to argue points.

2. This proposal won't just hurt the ability of left-leaning tech giants, but also right-leaning oil and defense industry barons. A double-edged sword.

AlexanderHistory X12 hours ago

This is an interesting idea that might have had a shot, big maybe, 50 plus years ago. America is too far gone to fix with political changes, not that you could make any major changes like this in the current political environment.

The rotting edifice that is the United States is coming down one way or another. Just accept it.

joeo12 hours ago

I would end tax exempt status for organizations. When everyone pays taxes we all become better stewards of how that money is used.

bumbershoot joeo10 hours ago

Certainly! Just so long as the word "organizations" encompasses churches as well, I think lots of people on all sides of the political spectrum would agree.

Ted joeo10 hours ago

Starting with the Roman Catholic Church.

YT14 joeo7 hours ago • edited

Complicated argument. Basically, charitable people will always give charity, even from taxed income. However, if people give charity from taxed income, the state can no longer control what the institutions given money do with that money as long as salaries and surplus are taxed.

YT1412 hours ago • edited

Interesting proposal. Removing tax deduction should of course throw IRS out of monitoring charitable giving. So less power to Lois Lerner and colleagues.

Woland11 hours ago

To think both Mr. Dreher and Mr. Van Buren just recently posted about the superwealthy leaving the big cities, citing as the main reasons the Covid thing on the one hand, and "excessively high" income taxes on the other. Most comments that followed were in the line of "that's what happens when you let socialists run things" and "stop giving money to the poor, then they'll work and get rich." And here we have someone proposing more and higher taxes on the wealthy to bust their political nuts.

Note that the author carefully left out any mention of conservative megadonors shaping public policy. Must be the quiet part, to avoid tarring and feathering by his own side.

bumbershoot10 hours ago
Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy.

It certainly never has been one before, but we on the left welcome this new appreciation of the perils of growing inequality.

Now all you have to do is convince the entire Republican Party that this isn't "socialism." Good luck!

AdmBenson10 hours ago

Say you like the game of Monopoly so much that you want it to last longer than the few hours it takes for one player to dominate and beat the others. Well, you could replace $200 as you pass Go with progessive taxation on income, assets, or a combination thereof. If you do it right, you can make the game last into perpetuity by ensuring that the dominance of any one player is only temporary.

gnt8 hours ago • edited

It's an interesting proposal, but it seems that if you're worried about super-elites brokering political power tax-free, you might focus on direct brokering of political power. For example, we could pass a law requiring full disclosure of all sources of funding for any political advertising.

If we wanted to be aggressive, we could even pass a constitutional amendment to specify that corporations are not people. It seems odd to worry about the political power exercised by institutions with no direct control over politics, and ignore the institution whose purpose is politics.

Another approach to deal with the direct influence of the super-elite would be to make lobbying expenses no longer tax deductible. I'm sure you could find support for that.

YT14 gnt7 hours ago

You are aware that this way IRS will lose control? Lois Lerner will be able no more to go after conservative non-profits?

Pete Barbeaux4 hours ago

This is the 5th TAC article since May to take something word-for-word from a Bernie Sanders-esque Leftist platform and call it something "Conservatives" want. GTFOOH.

GeorgeMarshall653 hours ago

Mr. Lippincott: That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April, Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high.

So the argument here is that the experts were not going to call for a lockdown, but Mr. Gates' outsized influence made them do it? The experts weren't going to do it anyway? Did that outsized influence extend to every other country in the world which imposed lockdowns? Was there a secret communique between Mr. Gates and the NBA so they suspended their season in mid-March? In the US, CA, Clark Cty in NV, Illinois, Kansas City, MA, MI, NY, OR, and WI all began lockdowns in March. Around the world, 80 countries began lockdowns in March. No matter what Mr. Gates said, lockdowns were deemed to be appropriate. Plus, Mr. Lippincott admits that Mr. Gates' proposal was not followed. In terms of "massive tech firms making out like bandits" v small businesses, might that have anything to do with their value?

L RNY2 hours ago

I very much agree with this article and I think we need another Teddy Roosevelt Monopoly (oligarchy) buster but much has changed in the 100 years since Teddy Roosevelt was President. The first thing that comes to mind is that the aristocracy was mostly protestant and the business class was mostly domestic with high tariffs keeping foreign competitors out so we could break up these companies without a foreign country purchasing them and possibly creating a national security risk.

Today's aristocracy is much more diverse. Its more Jewish and it has much more minority representation from African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, etc so that creates the first problem in breaking up a monopoly or an oligarchy which would be the accusation of targeting minorities for discrimination. The second problem is that many of the aristocratic class in the US consider themselves global citizens and have dual citizenship. They can live anywhere anytime they choose so if you target them the way say Cuomo and DiBlasio and Newsom do then they will leave. Third problem is our global society particularly the digital / virtual society. If you break that up without safeguards then you will only be inviting foreign ownership then you will have a national security issue and even less influence.

The biggest problem is the NGOs, nonprofits that the rich set up to usurp the government on various issues from immigration to gender identity to politics. These NGO nonprofits arent your harmless community soup kitchen doing good works. The anarchy, arson, looting, rioting in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NYC, Baltimore these are paid for by NGO nonprofits and they have the money to threaten local government, state government and federal government. Trump was 100% correct when he started to tax college endowments but he didnt go far enough. The tax laws have to be rewritten with a very strict and narrow interpretation of what exactly constitutes the public good and is deserving on non-profit status. If you say education then I will say you are correct but endowments are an investment vehicle under the umbrella of an educational nonprofit. Thats like a nonprofit hospital buying a mutual fund company or a mine or a manufacturing plan and claiming its non-profit. For me its relatively simple unless someone has a some other way. If you look at the non-profit community good...what are the budgets for say hospitals, schools, orphanages, retirement homes, etc. Put monetary limits on nonprofits which can vary depending on industry and the rest is taxed at a high rate. We simply cannot have NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) using a nonprofit status to bring down a country's financial system, over-throwing a country, financing civil strife and civil war, usurping the government on things like immigration, etc.

[Aug 19, 2020] Why the Superrich Keep Getting Richer by Grace Blakeley

Aug 19, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

July 25, 2020

Billionaires like Jeff Bezos aren't obscenely wealthy because they work harder than everyone else or they're more innovative. They're obscenely wealthy because their corporate empires drain society's resources -- and we'd all be better off without them.

This week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw the largest single-day increase in wealth ever recorded for any individual. In just one day, his fortune increased by $13 billion. On current trends, he is on track to become the world's first trillionaire by 2026.Those on the right wing of politics argue that extreme wealth is a function of hard work, creativity, and innovation that benefits society. But wealth and income inequality have increased dramatically in most advanced economies in recent years. The richest of the rich are much wealthier today than they were several decades ago, but it is not clear that they are working any harder.

Mainstream economists make a more nuanced version of this argument. They claim that the dramatic increase in income inequality has been driven by the dynamics of globalization and the rise of "superstars." Firms and corporate executives are now competing in a global market for capital and talent, so the rewards at the top are much higher -- even as competition also constrains wages for many toward the bottom end of the distribution.

According to this view, high levels of inequality are a reward for high productivity. The most productive firms will attract more investment than their less productive counterparts, and their managers, who are performing a much more complex job than those managing smaller firms, will be rewarded accordingly.

Read also: Sat. Jan. 25 Global Day of Protest - The People of the World Say: No War With Iran!

But here again the narrative runs aground on contact with reality. Productivity has not risen alongside inequality in recent years. In fact, in the United States and the UK productivity has flatlined since the financial crisis -- and in the United States, it has been declining since the turn of the century.

There is another explanation for the huge profits of the world's largest corporations and the huge fortunes of the superrich. Not higher productivity. Not simply globalization. But rising global market power.

Many of the world's largest tech companies have become global oligopolies and domestic monopolies. Globalization has played a role here, of course -- many domestic firms simply can't compete with global multinationals. But these firms also use their relative size to push down wages, avoid taxes, and gouge their suppliers, as well as lobbying governments to provide them with preferential treatment.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon are a case in point. Amazon has become America's largest company through anticompetitive practices that have landed it in trouble with the European Union's competition authorities. The working practices in its warehouses are notoriously appalling . And a study from last year revealed Amazon to be one of the world's most "aggressive tax avoiders."

Part of the reason Amazon has to work so hard to maintain its monopoly position is that its business model relies on network effects that only obtain at a certain scale. Tech companies like Amazon make money by monopolizing and then selling the data generated from the transactions on their sites.

The more people who sign up, the more data is generated; and the more data generated, the more useful this data is for those analyzing it. The monetization of this data is what generates most of Amazon's returns: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most profitable part of the business by some distance.

Read also: What Really Worries South Koreans: Trump

Far from representing its social utility, Amazon's market value -- and Bezos' personal wealth -- reflects its market power. And the rising market power of a small number of larger firms has actually reduced productivity. This concentration has also constrained investment and wage growth as these firms simply don't have to compete for labor, nor are they forced to innovate in order to outcompete their rivals.

In fact, they're much more likely to use their profits to buy back their own shares, or to acquire other firms that will increase their market share and give them access to more data. Amazon's recent acquisition of grocery store Whole Foods is likely to be the first of many such moves by tech companies. Rather than the Darwinian logic of compete or die, the tech companies face a different imperative: expand or die.

States are supporting this logic with exceptionally loose monetary policy. Low interest rates make it very easy for large companies to borrow to fund mergers and acquisitions. And quantitative easing -- unleashed on an unprecedented scale to tackle the pandemic -- has simply served to raise equity prices, especially for the big tech companies.

As more areas of our lives become subject to the power of big tech, the fortunes of people like Bezos will continue to mount. Their rising wealth will not represent a reward for innovation or job creation, but for their market power, which has allowed them to increase the exploitation of their workforces, gouge suppliers, and avoid taxes.

The only real way to tackle these inequities is to democratize the ownership of the means of production, and begin to hand the key decisions in our economy back to the people. But you would expect that even social democrats, who won't pursue transformative policies, could get behind measures such as a wealth tax.

Read also: L'Eurogroupe maintient la Grèce sous le joug de la dette illégitime

"Building back better" after the pandemic will be impossible without such a tax -- and the vast majority of both Labour and Conservative voters support such an approach, according to a recent poll. And yet it appears that Labour's leadership are retreating from the idea.

In an interview the other day, I was asked why we should care about Jeff Bezos's wealth if it makes everyone else better off. But the extreme inequalities generated by modern capitalism are making obvious something that Marxists have known for decades: the superrich generate their wealth at the expense of workers, the planet, and society as a whole.

In a rational and fair society, the vast resources of a tiny elite would be put to use solving our social problems.

[Aug 19, 2020] The pendulum swings back to sensible taxation rates for the ultra wealthy

Wishful thinking. The neoliberal oligarchy is in conrol of all political power centers. Looks like neoliberal ideas became completely discredited. Even Krugman abandoned them.
Notable quotes:
"... In the age of AI the US needs a grand rebuilding of our infrastructure including electrical grids, bridges, highways, mass transit systems, and conversion to renewable energy. ..."
"... Elizabeth Warren showed her chops years ago when she was a guest on Bill Moyer's PBS show, and I've been a fan ever since. But - we don't just need more of Teddy Roosevelt - we need a good dose of Franklin Roosevelt, too ..."
"... In Senator Warren we finally have a politician who understands the difference between wealth and income and is willing to start taxing wealth. This is especially important as the truly wealthy receive very little of their money in the form of income and are therefore taxed on far less than they are actually worth. This only serves to exacerbate our inequality problem. ..."
"... Extreme income inequality is damaging to social capital and to public health - and thus in the long run to sustainable prosperity. The American epidemic of depression, opioid abuse and suicide is is correlated with the acceleration of income inequality. ..."
"... Finally, Senator Warren's proposal seems like an acceleration of the estate tax. ..."
"... Having worked in trusts and estates law for decades, I suspect that this proposal will invite use of the same techniques used by estate planners, lawyers, and accountants to drive down the fair market value of assets. Her proposal may work, if it is ever enacted, but the devil, as usual, will be in the details. This is a very complex concept, simple as it may seem at first blush. That is not an argument for not trying, but for being very careful in the implementation, beginning with the statutory language. ..."
"... This tax will require staffing up the IRS and that will require dems control over both houses of Congress as the GOPers have defunded the IRS. ..."
"... Pretax income concentration at the top increased starting in the 1980s as a direct result of the large reductions in the top marginal income tax rates. ..."
"... Even if a 70% top marginal tax rate did not raise a penny more in tax revenue it would still be justified on the grounds of preventing extreme concentration of wealth and income. Recent economic research has shown that in a purely capitalistic society in which there is no taxation nor redistribution all wealth in the whole society will ultimately be owned by a single household. https://voxeu.org/article/what-would-wealth-distribution-look-without-redistribution ..."
"... I applaud Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for espousing Teddy an Franklin Roosevelt's ideas about reducing the concentration of 90% of wealth in the upper 1/10th of 1 per cent (0.1%). That is the situation which can lead to major social unrest, widespread crime, and ultimately, civil war as happened in England in the 17th century, in Russia in 1917, and in the French Revolution that beheaded Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - along with thousands of other members of the nobility. ..."
"... "wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans almost equal to that of the bottom 90 percent combined." The corrupt neoliberalism of the 1% is unsustainable but is reflective of a downward spiral of decline. While we experience continuous political campaigning the U.S. is, in reality, a criminal and corrupt corporate state enriching the 1% and masquerading as a democracy, an Inverted Totalitarianism. ..."
"... Great. The pendulum swings back to sensible taxation rates for the ultra wealthy. Hard to feel sorry for hedge fund managers. I can just see Sean Hannity railing against it now. He would have to cough up. ..."
"... Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing. Her Accountable Capitalism Act also addresses the root causes of inequality, although some critics have stated that it would lead to the semi-nationalization of business. ..."
Feb 04, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
Grindelwald Boston Mass Jan. 29

@Horsepower the tax bill has, as predicted by almost everyone but the GOP lawmakers, caused the deficit to balloon. Currently, the resulting debt must be paid by the descendents of all of us but the ultra-wealthy. The alternative to that approach, openly proposed by the GOP, was to take away vital services from most of us, like medical care, public education, and retirement support. I'm surprised that you don't find those things "consequential to the life of most Americans".

Doug Johnston Chapel Hill, NC Jan. 29

There is no reason -- economic, social or moral -- why anyone needs a personal fortune above $500 million dollars.

Eddie Cohen M.D ecohen2 . com Poway, California Jan. 29

In the age of AI the US needs a grand rebuilding of our infrastructure including electrical grids, bridges, highways, mass transit systems, and conversion to renewable energy.

It also needs a medical care system that provides a high level of to all of our citizens including the poor and those with pre-existing conditions. What better down payment on these costly necessities than a tax on the ultra rich.

Mary Ann Seattle, WA Jan. 29

Elizabeth Warren showed her chops years ago when she was a guest on Bill Moyer's PBS show, and I've been a fan ever since. But - we don't just need more of Teddy Roosevelt - we need a good dose of Franklin Roosevelt, too.

Given where this country is at, taxing the uber-rich alone isn't going to be enough to solve our problems. We need a jobs program - good, family wage jobs - that have been chipped away at for decades by both automation and off-shoring.

Taxing will help fund much needed gov't infrastructure problems, but it's purchasing power that drives the economy - and we can't have one without a vibrant middle class that's actually making and doing stuff. Since the Clinton years, the USA has spawned a bloated investor class, making a lot of money shuffling paper, but what do they produce that drives this country forward? Our infrastructure is fast becoming 3rd world.

John Murphysboro, IL Jan. 29

In Senator Warren we finally have a politician who understands the difference between wealth and income and is willing to start taxing wealth. This is especially important as the truly wealthy receive very little of their money in the form of income and are therefore taxed on far less than they are actually worth. This only serves to exacerbate our inequality problem. The big banks, in particular, are very worried about what would happen should Warren become president. Like that other Roosevelt - Franklin - she welcomes their hatred. Good for her.

Barry Fogel Lexington, MA Jan. 28

Extreme income inequality is damaging to social capital and to public health - and thus in the long run to sustainable prosperity. The American epidemic of depression, opioid abuse and suicide is is correlated with the acceleration of income inequality.

Worldwide, countries with high income inequality have more depression, more suicide and less happiness, even when their per capita GNP is higher than their neighbors'. The toxic effects of inequality are especially great in a nation like the US where children are taught that anyone can make it if they work hard enough. In fact, there's a lot more upward mobility in those awful socialist Nordic countries, where teaching public school is a prestigious and well-paid job, college and vocational training are taxpayer-funded (not 'free'), and no one goes bankrupt from a serious illness or injury.

Steve Tripoli Hull, MA Jan. 29

Without endorsing anyone's proposals here, a couple of examples from recent history on what's actually possible, despite what people may think: -- Six weeks before the Berlin Wall fell and reunited Germany, the then-West German government issued a report projecting that German reunification was at least 20 years away. -- Japan went from a highly-nuclear power dependent country, with no prospect of changing, to one that drastically cut its dependence on nuclear in just one year after the Fukushima disaster. -- One of my favorites: FDR sits down with the leaders of General Motors at the dawn of WWII and says I need so many tanks, so many trucks etc etc for the war effort. A GM exec responds on these lines: "Mr. President, we can't fulfill those needs and still produce X-hundred-thousand cars a year." FDR: "You don't understand. You're no longer a car company." So the lesson is, no one knows what's possible in a society till you try.

Silas Greenback Guilford, CT Jan. 28

Eliminating carried interest seems perfectly rational. Compensation by any other name is compensation and taxable as ordinary income as it is for everyone else in this country. Once upon a time, capital gains were taxed at 15% and ordinary income at rates as high as 91%. That led to all sorts of devices to game the system, including the infamous collapsible corporation.

But with the difference down to around 10-15%, we may as well bite the bullet and tax income from capital at the same rate we tax income from work. I doubt this will hurt savings, investment, or capital formation.

It is still nice to have money, and owning capital assets will still beat the alternative.

Finally, Senator Warren's proposal seems like an acceleration of the estate tax.

Having worked in trusts and estates law for decades, I suspect that this proposal will invite use of the same techniques used by estate planners, lawyers, and accountants to drive down the fair market value of assets. Her proposal may work, if it is ever enacted, but the devil, as usual, will be in the details. This is a very complex concept, simple as it may seem at first blush. That is not an argument for not trying, but for being very careful in the implementation, beginning with the statutory language.

Lisa Bay Area Jan. 28

@Taz Bernie talks in bumper-sticker slogans; Elizabeth talks substance.

Tom New Jersey Jan. 28

@Steve B People receiving Social Security only pay taxes on the benefits if their income exceeds the same thresholds that apply to people who go out and work for a living, and pay Social Security taxes that go to the elderly. Ellen, stop treating Social Security like it's a savings bank.

Your Social Security taxes paid for the generation before you, and the Social Security taxes raised now are paying for you. The average Social Security recipient today will receive twice as much as they paid into the system during their earning years.

So please give the "I'm just getting back the money I paid into the system" routine a rest. It's a fiction. The wealth of the over 65s is growing faster than any other age group in our society, and the fraction of government spending on over-65s is the only part of government that has grown in decades.

If you're making enough to pay income taxes, pay your taxes and stop complaining. That means you're doing OK. You'd better hope young people don't wake up and realize just how much of their hard-earned pay is going to pay for retirees.

Kodali VA Jan. 29

The seriousness in her policies is in her work ethics and brilliance. She means what she says and works her heart out to achieve those goals. There isn't anyone out there that matches those qualities.

RobertF Acton Ma Jan. 28

This tax will require staffing up the IRS and that will require dems control over both houses of Congress as the GOPers have defunded the IRS.

The ultra right, ultra rich will be paying more and more of their fortunes to their already privately-owned senators to defeat this and any other progressive tax proposals. We need more, more and more people to get into the democratic process and VOTE to recapture the nation's leadership in 2020!

Doug Rife Sarasota, FL Jan. 28

Pretax income concentration at the top increased starting in the 1980s as a direct result of the large reductions in the top marginal income tax rates. Those who complain that a 70% top marginal tax rate is confiscatory need to understand that's the whole point.

When top marginal tax rates are confiscatory that leads to lower pre-tax income inequality because tax aversion of the wealthy leads they to pay themselves less income to avoid paying the government so much in taxes.

Unlike most workers, corporate executives can easily arrange for their boards to pay them far more than their marginal product would justify.

Furthermore, wealth tends to concentrate automatically when top marginal tax rates are low. This is simply due to the math of compound interest. When investment returns are not taxed sufficiently by the estate tax or by capital gains taxes, they will be reinvested leading to extreme wealth accumulation over generations that is automatic and not the result of any kind of investing skill.

Even if a 70% top marginal tax rate did not raise a penny more in tax revenue it would still be justified on the grounds of preventing extreme concentration of wealth and income. Recent economic research has shown that in a purely capitalistic society in which there is no taxation nor redistribution all wealth in the whole society will ultimately be owned by a single household. https://voxeu.org/article/what-would-wealth-distribution-look-without-redistribution

Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Baldwin Actually, it's 2% on what is on top of those 50M, so 2% on 100M, if you have a net worth of $150M. That being said, nobody with $150M net worth just "sits" on his money for 35 years. To get there in the first place, in the 21st century you usually have to pay an expert and engage in financial speculation (= speculation about financial transactions, not an investment in the "real" economy), and of course you won't stop paying that expert once you reach $150M, so you continue to add millions to your wealth anyhow. On the other hand, if you belong to the middle class, you easily pay $30,000 taxes a year.

After ten years, that's $300,000, and after 33 years that's a million dollars paid in taxes. Seen in this way, even having the middle class paying taxes seems "unfair", because when they only earn $75,000 a year, why should they pay a million in taxes over 33 years ... ?

Conclusion: taxes are paid year after year not in function of how many you will have paid in total at the end of your career, but in function of what we collectively need to run this country smoothly (military, government, education, roads and bridges, EPA, ...).

A "fair" tax code is a tax code that allows anyone who works hard to live comfortably, weather your a hedge fund manager or teacher. And in order to get there, we can't continue the GOP's constantly lowering taxes for the wealthiest all while cutting services to the 99%. NO one with $150M will suffer by paying $2M in taxes a year ...

San Francisco Voter San Framcoscp Jan. 28

I applaud Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for espousing Teddy an Franklin Roosevelt's ideas about reducing the concentration of 90% of wealth in the upper 1/10th of 1 per cent (0.1%). That is the situation which can lead to major social unrest, widespread crime, and ultimately, civil war as happened in England in the 17th century, in Russia in 1917, and in the French Revolution that beheaded Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - along with thousands of other members of the nobility.

We see this anger and violence today in the United States - in mass shootings, in failing public schools (the salaries are not sufficient to attract qualified teachers who instead will work in more remunerative fields, like law and computer technology. What works better is to reduce the concentration of wealth so people in the lower 90% can have more prosperity and social stability in their lives.

All people need a reliable source of food, healthcare, and a place for them and their families to live. All people need access to good education, family planning, and higher education sufficient to alllow them to work. With so much reliance on mechanical work, we also need for all people to have a minimum income - something that no one talks abou yet - but enough to live safely.

There is support for this not only among Democrats but also among Republicans. The help should be for everyone, not based on need (Marxism). This is common sense not socialism.

Dadof2 NJ Jan. 29

It was hilarious to read that Rush Limbaugh is SO terrified of AOC and Liz Warren that he, the grandmaster of Goebbels-like mis-information, is calling them "hitlerian" as he and Hannity push Trump every day to emulate Mussolini! But why is simple: I read that Limbaugh makes about $100 million a year, which puts him in the super-rich category. I doubt highly that he's paying the maximum 37(?)% on his income and if he is he needs better accountants and tax lawyers! But AOC's proposal means that $90 million of his $100 million would be taxed at 70%, leaving him "only" a measly $27 million a year to try not to starve on. Along with whatever millions are left after taxes on the first $10 million, say, $5 million (again, needs better tax advice). So he's stuck trying to survive on $32 million! (BTW, Hannity only makes about $29 million before taxes, Oh! The Humanity!--Or is it "Oh! The Hannity"?) That's really why they are vitriolic. Taxes are for the "little people", the suckers who call in and rant, who watch Fox and believe, no matter how illogical their logic. Rush and Sean see a REAL movement to tax their excessive income and will fight it tooth and nail, with fact and fiction (mostly fiction) to protect themselves and their wealth.

Mike L NY Jan. 29

Interesting how it is almost exactly a hundred years since this problem was dealt with in the last Gilded Age. Enough time so that the generations that remember are long gone and so the problem came back.

The Uber rich did this to themselves with their complete disconnect from the economic realities facing the 99%. TARP was the kicker - we gave a trillion dollars to the 1% while the 99% were left to fend for themselves. Despite the protestations of the 99%. Now that's political power in the hands of the few for the benefit of the few. Time to stop it now.

Ken McBride Lynchburg, VA Jan. 29

"wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans almost equal to that of the bottom 90 percent combined." The corrupt neoliberalism of the 1% is unsustainable but is reflective of a downward spiral of decline. While we experience continuous political campaigning the U.S. is, in reality, a criminal and corrupt corporate state enriching the 1% and masquerading as a democracy, an Inverted Totalitarianism.

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis D. Brandeis

6 Recommend
Henry's boy Ottawa, Canada Jan. 29

Great. The pendulum swings back to sensible taxation rates for the ultra wealthy. Hard to feel sorry for hedge fund managers. I can just see Sean Hannity railing against it now. He would have to cough up.

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Fran B. Kent, CT Jan. 29

This column makes a good case for Elizabeth Warren as Secretary of the Treasury, or head of the Consumer Protection Bureau which she invented following Dodd Frank legislation. But the best way to reach the widest audience is a Presidential campaign. Most of the responses here focus on enough wealth, extreme wealth and self-interest. Beyond their tax liabilities is the reality of the power the the rich wield through lobbyists, campaign contributions, corporate takeovers, and tax dodges over our politics, governments, and over us, the people. It's a pity that any proposed tax fairness adjustments are reduced to epithets against socialism.

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David Dyte Brooklyn Jan. 28

The problem is that the big money against this will say (ie: fund ads saying) anything (true or false) about any other subject to swing votes against any candidate who's a serious chance of pushing such a tax increase. One can only hope I am wrong.

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Seabiscute MA Jan. 29

@Socrates, another trenchant and witty comment! Thank you.

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Cindy California Jan. 29

Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing. Her Accountable Capitalism Act also addresses the root causes of inequality, although some critics have stated that it would lead to the semi-nationalization of business. I think its effect would be commonsense regulation of the economic playing field so that excesses do not occur in how rewards are distributed. It has the potential to address issues early enough to prevent problems.

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Steve Scaramouche Saint Paul Jan. 29

@George Thanks to the Republican budget busting tax holiday for rich folks we will need every penny of revenue just to keep our fiscal boat afloat. We should add AOC's 70% rate just to patch our leaks in infrastructure, healthcare, education and social security for the retirees who were gutted by the 2008 Republican Great Recession.

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cslaftery NY, NY Jan. 29

Since the super-rich are already paying 2+20 for their wealth management, paying another 2 to the government hardly seems like it would kill incentive...

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Gary Upper West Side Jan. 28

Throughout most of the history of civilizations, governments have been funded by a wealth tax. This was in the form of property tax, as that was the only wealth there was. Somehow when financial wealth started to build, it was made largely exempt. Proposals to close this loophole are well overdue. It's not so radical as it is just restoring traditional funding methods.

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texsun usa Jan. 29

A sure sign of health when Warren, a veteran politician and Ocasio-Cortez, a first term member of Congress publish ideas early in the election cycle. The next steps are laws that dismantle Citizens United and protect voting rights.

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Wayne Campbell Ottawa, Canada Jan. 28

Elizabeth Warren had better take care. If she doesn't tread softly on these plans to progressively tax the rich and make them spread the wealth to all those millions of people out there who have had a hand in generating their economic success, she'll be called something equally invidious to a 'socialist' -- a 'Canadian'.

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stu freeman brooklyn Jan. 29

Prof. Krugman is speaking truth to power but power tends to speak back, telling our citizens that progressives like Sen. Warren are aiming to increase taxes across the board. Never EVER do they narrow the stated target of such projected increases to the uppermost economic stratum. And progressives always manage to let them get away with this. Democratic candidates for political office need to assign members of their campaign staffs to Republican events and arm them with bullhorns for the expressed purpose of shouting out the words "for the rich" every time a typically disingenuous Republican opponent announces that a specific Democrat has a plan to raise Americans' taxes.

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Andrew Michigan Jan. 29

"More important, my sense is that a lot of conventional political wisdom still assumes that proposals to sharply raise taxes on the wealthy are too left-wing for American voters." It's just shocking to me that conservative voters supposedly hate liberal elites, yet refuse continuously to tax the mega rich and/or ignore the tax cuts for those households. Do they not see the hypocrisy they're being fed by Fox News?

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Tom Pauloski Highland Park, IL Jan. 29

I know that it's inconvenient, but the US Constituion prohibits a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states on the basis of population. Hard to see how Ms. Warren's "plan" meets this standard. Serious presidential candidates need to propose plans that actually have a chance to work. After what we're experiencing now, we don't need four additional years of bombast.

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Kem Phillips Vermont Jan. 29

@Mkm Can you give any arguments as to why this is unconstitutional, or a source as to when it was declared so? Note that once (ie, just a few generations ago) abhorrent laws concerning voting rights and segregation were considered just fine.

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Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Paul Wortman We indeed tend to believe that the poor and lower middle class must be (more) ignorant, and as such easier victims of the GOP's massive fake news campaigns. Studies show however that a majority of those earning less than $100,000 a year voted for Hillary, whereas a small majority of those earning more than that voted for Trump. That's because her platform included VERY clear and urgent, fact-based measures that would have helped the poor and middle class, after Obama already made serious progress on these issues (a public option added to Obamacare, and many other things). So imho the only ones risking "forgetting" about the needs of the 99% when it comes to voting, are those who don't carefully fact-check politicians' achievements and campaign agenda, before voting (or deciding not to vote) ...

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CA CA Jan. 29

@BC The current standard deduction of $12K for single people means that the first $12K is not taxed ($24K joint) which means that your wish has already come true.

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Paul Rogers Montreal Jan. 29

@Socrates Please run for office.

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boourns Nyc Jan. 29

Fundamentally, a fallacy of modern American society is a perversion of the golden rule. Let's call it "tax not lest ye be taxed." Even though the electorate will never in their wildest dreams make this kind of income, their wildest dreams persist. And thus they will not permit the thought of "unfair" taxation on the ultra-rich, using all the talking points the richest 1% have lobbied deep into our political system at every level.

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Doug Lowenthal Nevada Jan. 29

At this stage in our history when wealth hasn't been more concentrated, raising taxes on the ultra-rich is exactly what populism is about. Think TR and FDR, not DJT.

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pjahwah Iowa Jan. 29

@Socrates Oh Socrates, you do have a way with words! Your first and second paragraphs are lol gems! I hope you keep coming back.

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michaeltide Bothell, WA Jan. 29

@Ronald B. Duke, I think I remember people saying that during the civil rights movement too. Be patient. You'll get what you want by'n'by. Waiting for dynastic fortunes trickle away is sort of like waiting for the mountain to be worn away by the wind. It's not gonna happen in our lifetime. There's always a reason for not depriving the wealthy of any part of their fortunes. Each time we fail to do that, the need to do it becomes more dire. Things just don't get better by waiting for someone to voluntarily or even accidentally, divest themselves of money or power. It can be done by legislation, and that's better than by revolution. And, you know, the wealth accumulation has already begun. What has to happen now is to keep it from falling over and crushing all of us (Make that almost all of us).

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Tom Maguire Darien CT Jan. 28

@Rockets Pual Krugman is almost surely right about incentives on the individual level since few of us will hold off just because the second $50 MM is slightly less lucrative. Buts its funny how he ignores the macroeconomic effect. If the Bezos tax bill was $1 billion, I think we agree it would come exclusively out of savings. *IF* the government simply used the proceeds to reduce spending (below some credible prior baseline) then the net effect on national savings is zero; interest rates unchanged, economic activity unaffected, and so on. But if the government spends the money (as seems likely under President Warren) then national savings is reduced and the fed will (in the current environment) probably feel obliged to push back against a stimulative fiscal policy with a restrictive monetary policy: higher rates, less investment, less consumer spending, etc. So Bezos has no incentive to invest less but as a nation we will do just that. Is that good? Maybe - it would have been great in 2009. Seems to merit a discussion.

6 Recommend
Harold Winter Park, Fl Jan. 29

The 2020 campaign for POTUS is shaping up to be very interesting. That is, if Trump makes it. Combine Warren and Harris we would have a great team. Warren adds specifics with intellectual heft and Harris inspires us with her open, honest and intelligent persona. Just need to find room for Amy K. on that team.

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DJS New York Jan. 29

@FunkyIrishman Your "radical plan " has been tried, and has failed.

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Native Tarheel Durham, NC Jan. 29

This is far better than changing the rate on capital gains, which would tend to punish middle class retirees for having invested over the years (Mr. Rattner's proposal today) and, I think, would be difficult for the uber-wealthy to avoid. I'm not sure that $50 million is the correct starting point (perhaps a meager $25 million of net worth should be taxed) but this is a brilliant new concept that offers promise of slowing wealth inequality while not terribly constraining the wealthy.

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Henry Crawford Silver Spring, Md Jan. 29

"We seem to be heading toward a society dominated by vast, often inherited fortunes." Welcome to kingship, 21st Century style.

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Mathman314 Los Angeles Jan. 29

In reading this column and the associated comments, there seems to be one glaring omission: the necessity of overturning the Citizens United decision which provides the ultra-rich avenues to continually push their lower taxes agenda by hiring hoards of lobbyists, by "buying" politicians with campaign contributions, by funding misleading and excessive political advertising, and by controlling various media outlets that are little more than propaganda mills. Until Citizens United is overturned much-needed, rational progressive taxation reforms have little chance of becoming reality, and with the current composition of the Supreme Court overturning this decision is unfortunately extremely unlikely.

6 Recommend
stan continople brooklyn Jan. 29

@Yabasta Yeah, Dr. Krugman must have sustained a hit to the head since 2016 and would not recognize a photo of Hillary Clinton if it was flashed before him. His incessant savaging of Bernie was positively embarrassing to witness and never adequately explained. Only goes to show you that our much vaunted reason is designed to justify our emotions and that even Nobel laureates have deep subconscious axes to grind.

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Rosebud NYS Jan. 29

Under Eisenhower marginal tax rates were approximately 90%. This "Greatest Generation" built the interstate system. We can't even maintain the interstate system we have let alone build a new one. Our national-level political system is dominated by the rich. Our economic policies are totally skewed towards the rich. Our educational system is biased towards the rich. We've let capitalism trump democracy. If making America Great Again means taxing the rich back into reality, I have no problem with that. My only annoyance with Mr. Krugman's essay is his monomaniacal avoidance of saying the word, "Sanders." What's that about?

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Steve NJ Jan. 29

This makes perfect sense to me. Under Senator Warren's plan households with more than $50 million of annual income would pay a 2% wealth surcharge. I can't imagine this would have any significant effect on any of the 75,000 wealthiest U.S. households. I'd much rather see Michael Bloomberg and his financial peers support broader efforts to make college free or reduce student debt levels than make more lavish gifts to elite institutions like John Hopkins.

6 Recommend
Rima Regas Southern California Jan. 28

cks, broken promises, scandal. and a presidency in trouble – all pushed Bill Clinton into taking a brand new tack: triangulation. In addition to the definition of triangulation offered by Dick Morris in his Frontline appearance on PBS, here is a quote from his book: "The idea behind triangulation is to work hard to solve the problems that motivate the other party's voters, so as to defang them politically The essence of triangulation is to use your party's solutions to solve the other side's problems. Use your tools to fix their car." The problem with that is that triangulation has not quite worked out that way. "Their car" wasn't what was actually being fixed. What the "tools" did address, however, were the goals of the Republican party. https://www.rimaregas.com/2017/09/04/triangulation-when-neoliberalism-is-at-its-most-dangerous-to-voters-updated-dem-politics-on-blog42 /

6 Recommend
Schrodinger Northern California Jan. 28

@Jonathan....Current S+P 500 dividend yield is 2.02%. That would provide cash to cover most of the wealth tax. A wealth tax might impact the market for high end art and collectibles, but that is probably a very small fraction of total wealth.

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Peter Wolf New York City Jan. 29

@Duane McPherson I realize Warren may have some limitations re emotional appeal (also re men not wanting to vote for a woman), which is why I said I put her "at the top of my list for Dems, SO FAR." I'll see how this plays out on the campaign trail. Someone else may emerge who has both the smarts and the charisma- or Warren may find an emotional niche. Time will tell.

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skier 6 Vermont Jan. 29

@George Warren Buffet has said, "There's class warfare all right. But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

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mrpoizun hot springs Jan. 28

@Phyliss Dalmatian I'm afraid Sherrod is not liberal enough. Nowadays, if you talk about bi-partisanship and reaching across the aisle, you're talking about making a deal with the devil.

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faivel1 NY Jan. 29

@Yuri Asian Very passionate and authentic comment!

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UtahSteve 1953 Gardiner, NY Jan. 29

This is a pie pie-in-the-sky comment, but I'll stand by the overall premise based on our history. It's all about the velocity of money and resources. You have to spend it to grow it. Infrastructure also includes 100% healthcare cradle to grave, baseline living standards, Social Security clean water, clean air, clean power, full education, etc. Infrastructure is the key to everything throughout history, period. Close all tax loop holes. Reduce all business taxes by at least half or more. Create a progressive tax rate starting at 0% raised all the way to 80% up the ladder. If you don't like it, renounce your citizenship with all of what that entails and leave. Completely get rid of the cap on Social Security. Everyone except those at the 0% tax rate pays in 7%. That is fair. Make the business contribution 3% of the first $100,000 Reinstate a stronger set of anti-trust guard rails. Re-instate a stronger form of Glass/Steagle. Reinstate a stronger Fairness Doctrine Realize that a corporation is NOT a person and if we think they are, subject them to the 13th amendment regarding one person owning another. They also are not allowed participate in anything of a political nature, in any way shape or form. Period. Full stop. Invest in the poor and middle classes in all ways. Raising standards from the bottom up raises all boats. It's not "trickle down" it's "trickle up". It's all about the velocity of money. You have to spend it to grow it. We can do this in this country.

5 Recommend
James Ricciardi Panama, Panama Jan. 28

Why do by indirection what is better done directly? Income tax rates should be adjusted to push the marginal rate to a percentage needed to produce the estimated revenue from Warren's proposal. This would (1) not require creation of a new beauracracy and a new wealth tax code to administer the new wealth tax, (2) not create incentives for lawyers and accounts to redefine net worth and would (3) not change incentives for investments by wealthy individuals, with unknown and unknowable side effects. If we also want to reduce fortunes directly, enact a truly functional estate tax, not the joke which we have now.

5 Recommend
Truthbeknown Texas Jan. 29

One other thought, the high tax rates of the 1950s and 1960s carried with them many, many deductions which are no longer available -- -which were surrendered politically in exchange for lower overall ages. Maybe something additionally to be considered would be combing through the tax code and addressing the special interest provisions which conflate social policy about certain companies/products/goals with tax policy.

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Tom Maguire Darien CT Jan. 28

@A P As you note, simply giving the money to their foundation can spare them the tax bill. They don't actually need to have the foundation disburse that much of it. And my casual impression is that Bill Gates' ability to direct billions through his foundation has preserved his "social capital" - he is still invited to Davos, can tour Africa with Bono or the Pope, get his phone calls returned by Important People, get his kids into whatever college he chooses to endow, hop on private jets to wherever, and so on. As punishments go forcing him to chair a major foundation is not much.

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John Coctosin Florida Jan. 29

The government has never proven itself to be a good steward of capital. They will tax and spend, tax and reallocate, tax and waste. No thanks. Would rather the incentives remain and America push back against socialist notions. So expected from Krugman.

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Jonathan Lincoln Jan. 28

@CDN Eh? Real estate is already valued every year and taxed accordingly, it's called property taxes. Art and antiquities are already valued for insurance purposes. It's not difficulty at all.

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b fagan chicago Jan. 28

@Shiv "I'm completely unable to determine how Jeff Bezos's work building Amazon has caused me or anyone else to be worse off. In fact, we're all better off." So you know nobody who had been making a decent living with a bookstore - or in publishing - or in many other small businesses that have been priced into oblivion by Amazon if they'd been lucky enough to survive the WalMart effect that came before. Robert Reich in "Supercapitalism" was right. The consumer side of a person can so easily derange the thinking of the rest of the person. Not following me? Than picture the dream world of big tech companies with their dreams of stupendous individual wealth by "disrupting" something where people have been making their livings. Each wave of disruption leaves people without their jobs. And these days, the chance of getting into a better-paying job after being disruptive aren't all that terrific if you look at the statistical outcomes. So is your view of morality served by the relentless push to undercut older businesses that provided employment, simply because the disrupting model is "more efficient"? Reconsider what "efficiency" is supposed to accomplish in the bigger picture of society rather than just shareholder (and top executive) financial reward.

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usa999 Portland, OR Jan. 29

As an authentic Republican, not one of the brigands who hijacked the party as a means to plunder and pillage, I heartily endorse the Warren proposal. To make it somewhat more palatable for voters I would suggest it earmark 50% of the revenue generated go to starting to pay down the national debt. That would mean, using the 2.75 trillion estimate, that in the first decade we would reclaim from the wealthiest approximately what Republicans gave away in the deficit-financed tax cuts of 2017. In effect having had an interest-free loan from us for a decade they would return the cash we have been paying interest on. Would be quite big of them, actually.

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WAXwing01 EveryWhere Jan. 30

Excellent!

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Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Alice It's not as if we ignore which tax loopholes for the wealthiest have to be closed and how to do so, you know. Democrats have been trying to do this for quite some time already, but the GOP blocks it. And Obamacare already includes a tax increase for the wealthiest - that's one of the reasons why it cuts the deficit by $100 billion, rather than adding to it. That proves that the wealthiest DNC donors and Democrats (such as Obama himself, and Pelosi) FULLY agree to increase their own taxes. Conclusion: cynicism never helped us move forward, fact-checking does ... ;-)

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stan continople brooklyn Jan. 29

@Vink Why do you think they all own a dozen sprawling properties scattered around the globe? They are all Bond villain wannabes never far from a secret citadel. I hope they've got plenty of toilet paper on hand for the siege.

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Jeoffrey Arlington, MA Jan. 28

@Michael Blazin You think that... why? It's not at all clear. But it is clear that the law could be written so that any transaction could be taxed. So unless the billionaires want to hide their money under their mattresses.....

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Joe Sneed Bedminister PA Jan. 29

A progressive wealth tax is an"idea whose time has come". See Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-First Century . Harvard University Press. Use the revenue generated for infrastructure repair.

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Jim Gordon So Orange,nj Jan. 29

@carl bumba You'll need to visit those other countries to see how wrong you are and how right Socrates is.

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John Homan Yeppoon - Australia Jan. 29

@Rajiv The discussion is not about 'attacking' income, but taxing wealth.

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mrpoizun hot springs Jan. 28

@Blue Moon As far as Social Security and Medicare, all we have to do to fix that is tax the millionaires' income the same as we do the peon- every dime that goes in their overseas accounts should be taxed, same as the rest of us.

5 Recommend
Zdebman Central US Jan. 29

There are numerous holes in this proposal, none of which have anything to do with "greed". 1. What Krugman, Saez and Zucman fail to mention is that Denmark repealed its wealth tax in 1996 and Sweden repealed its wealth tax more than a decade ago. Not hard to understand why -- it is ultimately a self-defeating tax policy that just drives wealth out of your economy. Krugman doesn't mention that Saez and Zucman's basic premise is that every country has to implement a wealth tax for it to work, which is never going to happen. 2. Warren's proposal is blatantly unconstitutional as a direct tax, so she would need to garner the political support not just to pass the tax but amend the constitution similar to what was done for the income tax. Highly unlikely. The bottom line is that the only way to actually pay for all of the middle-class goodies that Democrats want to be provided by the Federal government (free college, Medicare for all, free daycare, paid leave) is to tax the middle-class like what they do in Sweden and Denmark through VAT and much lower income tax thresholds. Of course, once everyone figures that out, those proposals won't poll nearly as well, which is why AOC is now claiming that it will be magically paid for through the hocus-pocus of Modern Monetary Theory.

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PV Wisconsin Jan. 29

For Warren's tax proposal that "wouldn't lead to large-scale evasion if the tax applied to all assets and was adequately enforced ..." the IRS needs more staff and a bigger budget. Past Republican congresses have purposely gutted the agency's audit and enforcement capabilities at the direction of the very interests Warren's proposal targets.

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Charlesbalpha Atlanta Jan. 29

"Would such a plan be feasible? Wouldn't the rich just find ways around it?" The most likely way around it would be to bribe Congress not to vote for it. Isn't that why they

[Aug 19, 2020] Here's a short video explaining how the Democratic Party nomination process works

See the original for video https://twitter.com/i/status/1295905252386861056
Aug 19, 2020 | twitter.com

Brianna Westbrook @BWestbrookAZ8

Brianna Westbrook @BWestbrookAZ8 Yes, @AOC seconded the nomination for Bernie Sanders for President.

Here's a short video explaining how the Democratic Party nomination process works. #DemConvention 10:07 PM · Aug 18, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone 492 Retweets and comments

[Aug 03, 2020] How The Billionaires Control American Elections by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... Greenwald went on, after that, to discuss other key appointees by Nancy Pelosi who are almost as important as Adam Smith is, in shaping the Government's military budget. They're all corrupt. ..."
"... Numerous polls (for examples, this and this ) show that American voters, except for the minority of them that are Republican, want "bipartisan" government; but the reality in America is that this country actually already does have that: the U.S. Government is actually bipartisanly corrupt, and bipartisan evil. In fact, it's almost unanimous, it is so bipartisan, in reality. ..."
"... That's the way America's Government actually functions, especially in the congressional votes that the 'news'-media don't publicize. However, since it lies so much, and its media (controlled also by its billionaires) do likewise, and since they cover-up instead of expose the deepest rot, the public don't even know this. They don't know the reality. They don't know how corrupt and evil their Government actually is. They just vote and pay taxes. That's the extent to which they actually 'participate' in 'their' Government. They tragically don't know the reality. It's hidden from them. It is censored-out, by the editors, producers, and other management, of the billionaires' 'news'-media. These are the truths that can't pass through those executives' filters. These are the truths that get filtered-out, instead of reported. No democracy can function this way -- and, of course, none does. ..."
"... The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society , and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings . ..."
"... But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it's fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections , on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It's preparations are concealed, not published. It's mistakes are buried, not headlined. It's dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War in short with a wartime discipline, no democracy would ever hope or wish to match. ..."
Aug 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

How The Billionaires Control American Elections


by Tyler Durden Sun, 08/02/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The great investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald gave an hour-long lecture on how America's billionaires control the U.S. Government, and here is an edited summary of its opening twenty minutes, with key quotations and assertions from its opening -- and then its broader context will be discussed briefly:

"How Congress Maintains Endless War – System Update with Glenn Greenwald" - The Intercept, 9 July 2020

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ejqYrzEX14E

2:45 : There is "this huge cleavage between how members of Congress present themselves, their imagery and rhetoric and branding, what they present to the voters, on the one hand, and the reality of what they do in the bowels of Congress and the underbelly of Congressional proceedings, on the other. Most of the constituents back in their home districts have no idea what it is that the people they've voted for have been doing, and this gap between belief and reality is enormous."

Four crucial military-budget amendments were debated in the House just now, as follows:

  1. to block Trump from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

  2. to block Trump from withdrawing 10,000 troops from Germany

  3. to limit U.S. assistance to the Sauds' bombing of Yemen

  4. to require Trump to explain why he wants to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty

On all four issues, the pro-imperialist position prevailed in nearly unanimous votes - overwhelming in both Parties. Dick Cheney's daughter, Republican Liz Cheney, dominated the debates, though the House of Representatives is now led by Democrats, not Republicans.

Greenwald (citing other investigators) documents that the U.S. news-media are in the business of deceiving the voters to believe that there are fundamental differences between the Parties. "The extent to which they clash is wildly exaggerated" by the press (in order to pump up the percentages of Americans who vote, so as to maintain, both domestically and internationally, the lie that America is a democracy -- actually represents the interests of the voters).

16:00 : The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee -- which writes the nearly $750B annual Pentagon budget -- is the veteran (23 years) House Democrat Adam Smith of Boeing's Washington State.

"The majority of his district are people of color." He's "clearly a pro-war hawk" a consistent neoconservative, voted to invade Iraq and all the rest.

"This is whom Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have chosen to head the House Armed Services Committee -- someone with this record."

He is "the single most influential member of Congress when it comes to shaping military spending."

He was primaried by a progressive Democrat, and the "defense industry opened up their coffers" and enabled Adam Smith to defeat the challenger.

That's the opening.

Greenwald went on, after that, to discuss other key appointees by Nancy Pelosi who are almost as important as Adam Smith is, in shaping the Government's military budget. They're all corrupt. And then he went, at further length, to describe the methods of deceiving the voters, such as how these very same Democrats who are actually agents of the billionaires who own the 'defense' contractors and the 'news' media etc., campaign for Democrats' votes by emphasizing how evil the Republican Party is on the issues that Democratic Party voters care far more about than they do about America's destructions of Iraq and Syria and Libya and Honduras and Ukraine, and imposing crushing economic blockades (sanctions) against the residents in Iran, Venezuela and many other lands. Democratic Party voters care lots about the injustices and the sufferings of American Blacks and other minorities, and of poor American women, etc., but are satisfied to vote for Senators and Representatives who actually represent 'defense' contractors and other profoundly corrupt corporations, instead of represent their own voters. This is how the most corrupt people in politics become re-elected, time and again -- by deceived voters. And -- as those nearly unanimous committee votes display -- almost every member of the U.S. Congress is profoundly corrupt.

Furthermore: Adam Smith's opponent in the 2018 Democratic Party primary was Sarah Smith (no relation) and she tried to argue against Adam Smith's neoconservative voting-record, but the press-coverage she received in her congressional district ignored that, in order to keep those voters in the dark about the key reality. Whereas Sarah Smith received some coverage from Greenwald and other reporters at The Intercept who mentioned that "Sarah Smith mounted her challenge largely in opposition to what she cast as his hawkish foreign policy approach," and that she "routinely brought up his hawkish foreign policy views and campaign donations from defense contractors as central issues in the campaign," only very few of the voters in that district followed such national news-media, far less knew that Adam Smith was in the pocket of 'defense' billionaires. And, so, the Pentagon's big weapons-making firms defeated a progressive who would, if elected, have helped to re-orient federal spending away from selling bombs to be used by the Sauds to destroy Yemen, and instead toward providing better education and employment-prospects to Black, brown and other people, and to the poor, and everybody, in that congressional district, and all others. Moreover, since Adam Smith had a fairly good voting-record on the types of issues that Blacks and other minorities consider more important and more relevant than such things as his having voted for Bush to invade Iraq, Sarah Smith really had no other practical option than to criticize him regarding his hawkish voting-record, which that district's voters barely even cared about. The billionaires actually had Sarah Smith trapped (just like, on a national level, they had Bernie Sanders trapped).

Of course, Greenwald's audience is clearly Democratic Party voters, in order to inform them of how deceitful their Party is. However, the Republican Party operates in exactly the same way, though using different deceptions, because Republican Party voters have very different priorities than Democratic Party voters do, and so they ignore other types of deceptions and atrocities.

Numerous polls (for examples, this and this ) show that American voters, except for the minority of them that are Republican, want "bipartisan" government; but the reality in America is that this country actually already does have that: the U.S. Government is actually bipartisanly corrupt, and bipartisan evil. In fact, it's almost unanimous, it is so bipartisan, in reality.

That's the way America's Government actually functions, especially in the congressional votes that the 'news'-media don't publicize. However, since it lies so much, and its media (controlled also by its billionaires) do likewise, and since they cover-up instead of expose the deepest rot, the public don't even know this. They don't know the reality. They don't know how corrupt and evil their Government actually is. They just vote and pay taxes. That's the extent to which they actually 'participate' in 'their' Government. They tragically don't know the reality. It's hidden from them. It is censored-out, by the editors, producers, and other management, of the billionaires' 'news'-media. These are the truths that can't pass through those executives' filters. These are the truths that get filtered-out, instead of reported. No democracy can function this way -- and, of course, none does.

Patmos , 8 hours ago

Eisenhower originally called it the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

Was probably still when Congress maybe had a few slivers of integrity though.

As McCain's wife said, they all knew about Epstein.

Alice-the-dog , 2 hours ago

And now we suffer the Medical Industrial Complex on top of it.

Question_Mark , 1 hour ago

Klaus Schwab, UN/World Economic Forum - power plant "cyberattack" (advance video to 6:42 to skip intro):
please watch video at least from minute 6:42 at least for a few minutes to get context, consider its contents, and comment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOvz1Flfrfw


source for UN/WEF partnership:
https://www.weforum.org/press/2019/06/world-economic-forum-and-un-sign-strategic-partnership-framework/

EngageTheRage , 9 hours ago

How jewish billionaires control America.

NewDarwin , 9 hours ago

Vot3 for trump but don't waste too much energy on the elections. All Trump can do is buy us time.

Their plan has been in the works for over a century.

1) financial collapse with central banking.

2) social collapse with cultural marxism

3) government collapse with corrupt pedophile politicians.

EndOfDayExit , 7 hours ago

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

Humans are just not wired for eternal vigilance. Sheeple want to graze and don't want to think.

JGResearch , 8 hours ago

Money is just the tool, it goes much deeper:

The Truth, when you finally chase it down, is almost always far
worse than your darkest visions and fears.'

– Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear
'The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes' *

- Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

This information helps understand the shift to the bias we are witnessing at The PBS Newshour and the MSM. PBS has always taken their marching orders from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Some of the mebers of the CFR:

Joe Biden (47th Vice President of the United States )

Judy Woodruff, and Jim Lehrer (journalist, former anchor for PBS ) is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. John McCain (United States Republican Senator from Arizona , 2008 Republican Party nominee for the Presidency), William F. Buckley, Jr (commentator, publisher, founder of the National Review ), Jeffery E Epstein (financier)

https://www.cfr.org/membership/roster

The Council on Foreign Relations has historical control both the Democratic establishment and the Republican establishment until President Trump came along.

Until then they did not care who won the presidency because they control both parties at the top.

FYI: Hardly one person in 1000 ever heard of the Council on Foreign Relations ( CFR ). Until Trump both Republicans and Democrats control by the Eastern Establishment.There operational front was the Council on Foreign Relations. Historically they did not care who one the election since they controlled both parties from the top.

The CFR has only 3000 members yet they control over three-quarters of the nation's wealth. The CFR runs the State Department and the CIA. The CFR has placed 100 CFR members in every Presidential Administration and cabinet since Woodrow Wilson. They work together to misinform the President to act in the best interest of the CFR not the best interest of the American People.

At least five Presidents (Eisenhower, Ford, Carter, Bush, and Clinton) have been members of the CFR. The CFR has packed every Supreme court with CFR insiders.

Three CFR members (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Sandra Day O'Connor) sit on the supreme court. The CFR's British Counterpart is the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The members of these groups profit by creating tension and hate. Their targets include British and American citizens.

The CFR/RIIA method of operation is simple -- they control public opinion. They keep the identity of their group secret. They learn the likes and dislikes of influential people. They surround and manipulate them into acting in the best interest of the CFR/RIIA.

KuriousKat , 8 hours ago

there are 550 of them in the US..just boggles the mind they have us at each others throat instead of theirs.

jmNZ , 3 hours ago

This is why America's only hope is to vote for Ron Paul.

x_Maurizio , 2 hours ago

Let me understand how a system, which is already proven being disfunctional, should suddenly produce a positive result. That's craziness: to repeate the same action, with the conviction it will give a different result.

If you would say: "The only hope is NOT TO TAKE PART TO THE FARCE" (so not to vote) I'd understand.
But vot for that, instead of this.... what didn't you understand?

Voice-of-Reason , 6 hours ago

The very fact that we have billionaires who amass so much wealth that they can own our Republic is the problem.

Eastern Whale , 8 hours ago

all the names mentioned in this article is rotten to the core

MartinG , 5 hours ago

Tell me again how democracy is the greatest form of government. What other profession lets clueless idiots decide who runs the business.

Xena fobe , 4 hours ago

It isn't the fault of democracy. It's more the fault of voters.

quikwit , 3 hours ago

I'd pick the "clueless idiots" over an iron-fisted evil genius every time.

_triplesix_ , 8 hours ago

Am I the only one who noticed that Eric Zuesse capitalized the word "black" every time he used it?

F**k you, Eric, you Marxist trash.

BTCtroll , 7 hours ago

Confirmed. Blacks are apparently a proper noun despite being referred to as simply a color. In reality, no one cares. Ask anyone, they don't care expert black lies matter.

freedommusic , 4 hours ago

The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society , and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings .

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

Our way of life is under attack.

But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it's fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections , on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It's preparations are concealed, not published. It's mistakes are buried, not headlined. It's dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War in short with a wartime discipline, no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

...I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to re-examine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self restraint, which that danger imposes upon us all.

It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation and obligation which I share, and that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people, to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need and understand them as well, the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program, and the choices that we face.

I am not asking your newspapers to support an administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people, for I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens, whenever they are fully informed.

... that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment. The only business in America specifically protected by the constitution, not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises, and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes even anger, public opinion.

-- JFK

[Jul 27, 2020] Why it is so difficult to understand what's going on in the world

Jul 27, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

It's difficult to understand what's going on in the world because powerful people actively manipulate public understanding of what's going on in the world.

Powerful people actively manipulate public understanding of what's going on in the world because if the public understood what's going on in the world, they would rise up and use their strength of numbers to overthrow the powerful.

The public would rise up and use their strength of numbers to overthrow the powerful if they understood what's going on in their world because then they would understand that the powerful have been exploiting, oppressing, robbing, cheating and deceiving them while destroying the ecosystem, stockpiling weapons of Armageddon and waging endless wars, for no other reason than so that they can maintain and expand their power.

The public do not rise up and use their strength of numbers to overthrow the powerful because they have been successfully manipulated into not wanting to.

[Jun 23, 2020] Identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ( soft neoliberals ) to counter the defection of trade union members from the party

Highly recommended!
divide and conquer 1. To gain or maintain power by generating tension among others, especially those less powerful, so that they cannot unite in opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. ..."
"... If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pm

John,

I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.

You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.

See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.

When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.

Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.

Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.

Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.

They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.

If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.

Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.

So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.

The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)

That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.

[Jun 16, 2020] The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to enrich themselves. Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state. IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians

Notable quotes:
"... The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites. ..."
"... The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash. ..."
"... The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state. ..."
"... IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A User , Jun 16 2020 3:36 utc | 87

I'm always amused, nah that is a little harsh - dumbfounded is more reasonable, when Americans express dismay that 'their' constitution is not being adhered to by the elites.

The minutiae of American political history hasn't greatly concerned me after a superficial study at high school, when I realized that the political structure is corrupt and was designed to facilitate corruption.

The seeming caring & sharing soundbites pushed out by the 'framers' scum such as Thomas Jefferson was purely for show, an attempt to gather the cannon fodder to one side. This was simple as the colonial media had been harping on about 'taxation without representation' for decades.

It wasn't just taxes, in fact for the American based elites that was likely the least of it. The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites.

A well placed courtier would put a bagman into the regional center of a particular colony (each colony becoming a 'state' post revolution), so that if someone wanted to, I dunno, say export huge quantities of cotton, the courtier would charge that 'colonial' for getting the initial warrant, then take a hefty % of the return on the product - all collected by the on-site bagman then divvied up.

The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash.

The system was ponderous inaccurate & very expensive. Something had to be done, but selling revolutionary change to the masses on the basis of the need to enrich the already wealthy was not likely to be a winner. Consequently the high faulting blather.

The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state.

IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing.

[Jun 16, 2020] Isn't that how it was always done throughout history? The rich control the less-rich who control the less-rich - using his matryoshka example

Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Jun 16 2020 1:11 utc | 73

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2020 17:36 utc | 24

This happened prior to Crooke writing his current article

Just read that piece. I was fascinated to see him referencing an article by "Walrus" over at SST (which was a particularly BS article in my view.) However, he referenced the concept of Walrus' article about a "billionaire network" controlling everything by corrupting people over 40.

My reaction to that is: Isn't that how it was always done throughout history? The rich control the less-rich who control the less-rich - using his matryoshka example.

His main thesis is that younger ideologist are setting up a more serious divide in US society than the old "Liberal vs Conservative" or "North vs South" division, and that this is putting pressure on the "billionaires network."

I'm not sure how to regard that concept yet. On the one hand, I know that the old "young vs old" dynamic is always at work - and generally irrelevant since it is the old that controls the money and the military power. OTOH, there is a new phenomenon in the last decades, starting with the availability of networks, and then growing with the availability of affordable personal computers, and now exploding with the presence of the Internet. That phenomenon is hacking. And it is the youth that control that technology.

I referenced the "cyberpunk" sci-fi genre a few threads back. If one is familiar with the hacker community and the infosec profession, ne if struck by the massive disparity between the capabilities of the attackers and that of the defenders of networks. No matter what the defenders do, there is no stopping an adversary which has motivation, resources and time. The defender has to always be right, the attacker only has to be right once.

This translates to the current situation socially - but only to a limited degree. Hackers are a particular breed intellectually and emotionally. Their attitudes and abilities do not translate to the rest of people their age. Their political and social attitudes *may*, to some degree, depending on the hacker.

But most hackers have a decidedly anti-authoritarian, if not libertarian, or dare I say anarchist, attitude. They can join with others, but that tends to be at arm's length. So I don't see the majority of them empowering a "youth collectivism" or whatever one wants to call the general social and political attitude of the young today.

I *do* see them being willing to take on political and social power. That was the entire reference point of the cyberpunk genre: technically proficient iconoclasts marginalized as criminals taking on (and frequently losing) TPTB depicted as corporations and the state.

I see the rise of hacking as a direct threat to the "billionaires network" (if such a thing actually exists as a coordinated entity.) The only question is whether the hackers have a coherent view of their potential. I suspect they don't, much like the "Woke" (see below). But they could - and if they did, they'd be very dangerous since there is no real way to stop them, and their numbers are growing worldwide as more Third World societies develop middle classes that can afford to own computers while still not providing an adequate economy for their people (places like India, Malaysia and Indonesia.)

"One aspect he apparently overlooks is the very poor understanding of history and contemporary events exhibited on all sides--the "woke" are asleep as they know nothing of Anti-Federalism or of the Class-based rationale related to the genesis of Police, although they seem to be aware of the social control goals of that Genesis in both North and South as we examined last week."

Agreed. That's my problem with the "Woke" - they're even more ignorant than their parents were, even if they're more socially conscious. They believe things that aren't correct just as much as their parents did - they just believe different incorrect things.

"The Class War is also sidelined despite the reality of it being the most important factor in the equation--The .1% being the genuine looters..."

Agreed.

"IMO, there's no discernable ideological direction aside from some basic demands related to policing and the racism connected to it because those in the streets lack the tools to articulate a complete vision--something that's very difficult to do when you don't know where you've actually been and the happenings over the past 75 years that have shaped the current landscape"

Indeed. One has to burrow rather deeply into first principles to formulate a coherent philosophy - and I don't see anyone doing that. I had nine years in a Federal prison to re-orient myself and I benefited from having a previous forty years of exposure to concepts outside the mainstream "left vs right" dichotomy. I doubt many of these people on the streets have a clue as to what should be done either on their personal level or a social level.

[Jun 11, 2020] The nearly complete corruption of the U.S. republican form of government has largely come about due to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in January 2010 that basically permitted unlimited donor-spending on political campaigns based on the principle that providing money, normally through a political action committee (PAC), is a form of free speech

Notable quotes:
"... No one has benefited from the new rules more than the state of Israel, whose hundreds of support organizations and principal billionaire funders euphemized as the "Israel Lobby" have entrenched pro-Israel donors as the principal financial resources of both major political parties. ..."
Jun 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jun 11 2020 10:10 utc | 100

The nearly complete corruption of the U.S. republican form of government has largely come about due to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in January 2010 that basically permitted unlimited donor-spending on political campaigns based on the principle that providing money, normally through a political action committee (PAC), is a form of free speech. The decision paved the way for agenda-driven plutocrats and corporations to largely seize control of the formulation process for certain policies being promoted by the two national parties.

No one has benefited from the new rules more than the state of Israel, whose hundreds of support organizations and principal billionaire funders euphemized as the "Israel Lobby" have entrenched pro-Israel donors as the principal financial resources of both major political parties.

https://ahtribune.com/us/israelgate/4206-ilhan-omar-surrenders.html

[Jun 10, 2020] The ruling class only needs one tactic: divide and rule. and blacks against whites is a perfect for them outcome of the Floygate

Notable quotes:
"... the media deserve no pity, they made their allegiances clear (for the millionth time) with Assange. ..."
Jun 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rae , Jun 10 2020 20:48 utc | 28

The ruling class only needs one tactic: divide and rule.

But how do I try to explain that to a black 16 year old math student who has recently started looking at me with murder in his eyes? Everything i can think of just sounds like a cliche.

Also... the media deserve no pity, they made their allegiances clear (for the millionth time) with Assange.

[Jun 09, 2020] Without proper Debate system there can be no democracy

But how it can be any, when big money controls everything ?
Jun 09, 2020 | www.unz.com

Robjil , says: June 8, 2020 at 12:03 pm GMT

The western world's biggest problem is the lack and the fear of Athenian Debate.

The west touts the word "Democracy" like crazy. It came from the ancient Greeks.

Yet, the west forgets the biggest part of Athenian Democracy. It is Athenian Debate.

Without Athenian Debate in the west, there are no Democracies in the west.

anonymous coward , says: June 8, 2020 at 1:03 pm GMT
@Robjil

The western world's biggest problem is the lack and the fear of Athenian Debate.

Pretty sure there's quite a few ones bigger.

[Jun 08, 2020] Why do the empires or at least very successful countries collapse? The answer is actually very simple. Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality.

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cyrano , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 2:53 am GMT

Why (Oh, why) do the empires – or at least very successful countries collapse? The answer is actually very simple. Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality.

The elites in every country, even the worst s ** tholes on the planet earth are always going to be OK, better than the ordinary citizens – that's the whole point of being an elite – to avoid the suffering of the common people.

And because there is no mechanism to increase the suffering of the elites in tandem with the suffering of the ordinary population – when the times are tough – the elites fail to respond to the difficulties that ordinary citizens face.

The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing. The country can be in the doldrums and the elites will still be OK.

That disconnect from reality is what prevents them to undertake measures that will alleviate the plight of the majority of the population.

To make the things even worse, the elites of the enlightened west (that's how you call countries that are struck by lightning) seems to have found a way to progressively increase the benefits for themselves proportionately to the decrease of good fortunes coming the way of the common citizens, thus further removing any incentive to act on behalf of the majority of the population and further increasing the chasm that separates the haves from the have nots.

animalogic , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 8:01 am GMT
@Cyrano Really good comment Cyrano.
1.
"Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality."
2.
Elites have "found a way to progressively increase the benefits for themselves proportionately to the decrease of good fortunes coming the way of the common citizens, thus further removing any incentive to act on behalf of the majority of the population and further increasing the chasm that separates the haves from the have nots."
In fact, the wealthier Elites become, the greater the chasm between them & the 99.9% becomes, the more desperate Elites come to feel about their situation. Call it subconscious guilt or conscious fear & insecurity but the richer & more powerful they feel, the more they demand -- more .
The idea that they could at least fore-stall problems by a few reforms that would cost them little (ie, a "people's QE") is unthinkable. "If we give 'em an inch, they'll demand a mile"
Such acts of sensible benevolence are felt to be demeaning & dangerous.
And further, they've spent 40 years restructuring society & economy to serve their interests, any reform now, however trivial, could undermine that structure. Reform itself is an act of self contradiction to a class that has never missed a chance to take-take-take for 40 years.
US Elites are not a tree that can bend in the wind. They are completely rigid. Only events of god-almighty significance will break them.
The current shenanigans will not do that. But, given rates of unemployment, & contraction of GDP, given the distinct possibility of vast future immiseration, current events may be the first breathe of a god almighty wind set to blow the whole shithouse down.
Unfortunately, current events are politically vacuous & offer no sign of real political conscious.
Lack of political direction can only lead to anarchy -- & anarchy is just as likely to strengthen the Elite hand as anything else.
St-Germain , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 11:18 am GMT

Irrespective of whether either faction will succeed in instrumentalizing the riots, what we are seeing today is a systemic collapse of the US society.

Amen. The collapse is systemic , it is social , and it has been gathering momentum for decades. Thank you, Saker, for pointing that out. It's about time someone above the battle invested serious thought in what's really going on in the hearts, minds and streets. Your analysis is head and shoulders above the rabble-rousing we get from parochial home-grown U.S. pundits, who deal only in labelling their personal heroes or villains du jour (Blacks, Cops, White Supremacists, Jews, Climate Change, Empire, Bat viruses, Trump, and so forth).

Those who agree with Saker's brilliant analysis and seek a deeper understanding of mechanism at work may want to consult Joseph A. Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge 1988). He invokes archaeological case studies to prove that what we are seeing is actually a function of the law of diminishing returns (which is way broader than economics). Complexity advances to a point at which the rulers' latest fixes for arising problems do more harm than good since all these separate "solutions" invariably have an unforeseen systemic effect.

At that point a system's traditional cheer-leading investment to engender social esprit and voluntary compliance for a common good is no longer credible and the ruling elite is then forced to resort to raw repression of dissent, which is much more costly than just benign propaganda. All key institutions collapse not in isolation but systemically, and chunks of a fragmenting society must spall off in order to save themselves from ruin. The inevitable systemic collapse runs its course.

Current History , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 11:53 am GMT
@Cyrano Excellent post Cyrano:

"And because there is no mechanism to increase the suffering of the elites in tandem with the suffering of the ordinary population – when the times are tough – the elites fail to respond to the difficulties that ordinary citizens face."

As you said: That's what makes them an elite.

"The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing."

And when America finally does collapse, and their "fantasy world" ends, they'll fly off in their private jet to one of their homes in New Zealand, Australia, or Switzerland.

Simpleguest , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 12:55 pm GMT
@Cyrano

The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing. The country can be in the doldrums and the elites will still be OK.
That disconnect from reality is what prevents them to undertake measures that will alleviate the plight of the majority of the population.

I beg to differ a bit. This is true only as far elites are of capitalist and/or aristocratic kind. You probably draw your conclusions from the French and Russian revolutions.

However, I would argue that political elites in the former communist countries did try to reform the system for the benefit of the citizens and, after seeing their efforts fail, had the integrity to step down peacefully. The only possible exception being China where reforms were fruitfull.

Unironically, one could argue that communist elites, having no personal wealth and stakes, remained honest and true to their essential creed of serving the greater common good. When the deep crisis of socialism in 1980s seemed to require that they step down and contries abandon socialist order, they indeed steped down in the interest of the common good as it was perceived at the time.

Now we see that we may have to reconsider the whole "fall of communism" thing again, but, this theme is, off course, tangential to this article's topic.

[Jun 03, 2020] The first rule of political hypocrisy: Justify your actions by the need to protect the weak and vulnerable

Highly recommended!
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.

Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.

[Jun 03, 2020] The difference between old and new schools of jounalism: old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1." Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.

Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."

Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

[Jun 03, 2020] 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.

[Jun 02, 2020] As elections come and go, it is simply about one group of elites replacing the other. The intertwined interests between the two groups are much greater than those between the victorious one and the electorate who vote for them

Notable quotes:
"... The media would sensationalize any act of violence involving white on black and brown. They ignored all the violence of black and brown on white. This uneven media reporting was based on their desire to reinforce the mantra of "white people are evil racists, black and brown people are victims and good." ..."
"... Because it would paint themselves as supporters of "social justice" they created a false version of reality where everything bad in society was because of white people being racist. Never mind the actual causes of societal discontent being the exploitation by the elite. Because the media is the elite they don't want you to hate them. So they created a false victimizer they could blame for all the problems of society. ..."
Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 1 2020 17:58 utc | 26

This one better pierces the veil:

"Partisan politics has created severe divisions in society. Such divisions restrict and disturb people's thinking. People's support for a particular party is only a matter of stance, which provides a shelter to politicians who violate people's interests.

"As elections come and go, it is simply about one group of elites replacing the other. The intertwined interests between the two groups are much greater than those between the victorious one and the electorate who vote for them.

"To cover such deception, the key agenda in the US is either a partisan fight or a conflict with foreign countries. The severe racial discrimination and wealth disparities are marginalized topics."

I wonder if the writer would like to see his conclusion proven wrong:

"Judging from the superficial comments and statements from US politicians on the protests, the outsiders can easily draw the conclusion that solving problems is not on the minds of the country, and elites are just fearlessly waiting for this wave of demonstrations to die out."

In order to solve problems, one must know their components and roots, and that demands honesty in making the assessment. Looking back at the assessments of Cornel West and the producers of the Four Horsemen documentary, the main culprit is the broken political system/failed social experiment, which are essentially one in the same as the flawed system produced the failure. Most of us have determined that changing the system via the system will never work because the system has empowered a Class that has no intentions on allowing its power to be diminished, and that Class is currently using the system to further impoverish and enslave the citizenry into Debt Peonage while increasing its own power. The #1 problem is removing the Financial Parasite Class from power. Yes, at the moment that seems as difficult as destroying the Death Star's reactor before it blows up Yavin 4, but the stakes involved are every bit as high as those portrayed in Lucas's Star Wars , as the Evil of the Empire and that of the Parasite Class are the same Evil.


H.Schmatz , Jun 1 2020 18:09 utc | 27

What political demand could one possibly make by now, and of whom would you make it? Reform is impossible, and there's no legitimate authority left (if there ever was in the first place).

Posted by: Russ | Jun 1 2020 17:49 utc | 23

Indeed, apart from the shock of witnessing one of them murderd in plain daylight as if he were a vermin, I think that the people, especially young, reacted that anarchic way because they really see no future. They see how their country functions at steering wheel blows especially through the pandemic, preview they will e in the need soon, even that they will be murdered without contemeplation,and go out there to grab whatever they could...

We forget that they are under Trump regime and Trump has supported always their foes, witnessing such assassination in plain daylight, without any officila doing nothing, not even charging the obvious culprits was felt by tese people as if the hunting season on nigers and lefties" had been declared. No other way yo ucan explain the sudden union of such ammount of black and white young people. Thye felt all targets of the ops or of Trump´s white supreamcist militias after four years of being dgreaded as subhumans. In fact, were not for the riots to turn so violent, I fear carnages of all these peoples would have started.

The people, brainwashed or not, at least when they are young, still conserve some survival instincts and some common sense too.

vk , Jun 1 2020 18:27 utc | 31
@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2020 17:58 utc | 26

Yes, the republican model of organization is naturally unstable and doomed to collapse. Everybody knows what happened to the Roman Republic: tendency to polarization, civil war and collapse.

However, the reverse is also true: when the economy is flying high, every political system works. Everybody is happy when there's wealth for everybody.

The present problem, therefore, is inherent to the capitalist system, not with the republican system per se.

Kali , Jun 1 2020 18:52 utc | 35
A Story: How The Chickens Came Home To Roost

The media and politicians have repeated a mantra for years n order to gain power by exploiting social and racial faultlines. They didn't want to deal with the actual cause of societal discontent which is their own support of an exploitative economic system which disempowers and pushed down everyone but the 1%. So they invented a false cause of discontent in order to appear as saviors who are bringing a message of Hope and Change

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

After enough time has gone by, we have a generation of young people of all colors who believe the above mantra with all their heart because of hearing that mantra every day in the media, in schools, in movies, from leaders. The media knowing that, would then look for ways to exploit their hatred of "white racism against black and brown people."

The media would sensationalize any act of violence involving white on black and brown. They ignored all the violence of black and brown on white. This uneven media reporting was based on their desire to reinforce the mantra of "white people are evil racists, black and brown people are victims and good."

Because it would paint themselves as supporters of "social justice" they created a false version of reality where everything bad in society was because of white people being racist. Never mind the actual causes of societal discontent being the exploitation by the elite. Because the media is the elite they don't want you to hate them. So they created a false victimizer they could blame for all the problems of society.

Because violence from black and brown on white was never reported by the media except in local news, people only heard from the national narrative of white violence of black and brown because people don't pay attention to local news. They grew up believing the police only abused black and brown people, they grew up believing that random street violence was only from white people against black and brown. None of which is true.

This was bound to end up with a generation of people who believed the false narrative where America is a nation where black and brown people are always the victims, and white people are always the victimizers. And as you can see in the riots, the rioters are almost all under 30. A generation has grown up being brainwashed by the mantra:

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

That is why so many people are perfectly fine with the violence and looting based on a few recent incidents of white on black violence. During the same time period there was plenty of black on black violence, plenty of brown on brown violence, and plenty of black and brown on white violence. But the national media never highlights any violence but white on black and brown. That is what has led to the new normal where any violence involving white on black or brown will be blown up WAY out of proportion to the reality of violence in America. Which is an equal opportunity game. A generation of people has grown up to believe that white racism is the cause of all the problems.

Meanwhile the elites sit in their yachts and laugh. The rabble are busy fighting over race when the real issue is ignored. The media has done their job admirably. Their job is to deflect rage from the elite to racism. From wealthy exploitation of the commons, to racism. As long as the underclasses are busy blaming racism then the politicians, business leaders, and media are satisfied because they are the actual ones to blame. They are the enemy. They blame racism for all the problems as a way to hide that truth of their own culpability for the problems in society. THEIR OWN GREED AND CONTEMPT FOR THE UNDERCLASS.

[Apr 19, 2020] Plutocratic Primary Challenger

Apr 19, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

shinola , April 16, 2020 at 3:34 pm

From The Intercept article "Wall Street Titans Finance Democratic Primary Challenger To Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez"

"Freedom and democracy are best secured when banking secrecy and tax havens exist," Caruso-Cabrera wrote.

"Plutocratic Primary Challenger" would be more apropos.

edmondo , April 16, 2020 at 7:23 pm

MCC is married to a VC multi-millionaire. To have hubby's business friends throw a couple hundred grand at her is unsurprising. It's kind of like when your kid has to sell chocolate bars so the marching band to go to the Thanksgiving Day parade. I doubt she'll get a thousand votes. It's a lark and great fun to talk about over cocktails with the other Masters of the Universe.

But then again Claire Booth Luce was a Congressperson but she had the good taste to run in Connecticut not the Bronx.

[Apr 17, 2020] "Neofeudalism by design" is what I call the Money Power which the Central Bank and the Princely Class of banksters

Notable quotes:
"... the Money Power, which is the collective term for the Central Bank and the "Princely Class" within the Outlaw US Empire. And their critique about Sanders, Biden and "Progressives" I agree with 100%. ..."
Apr 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 15 2020 23:23 utc | 76

teatree @71--

I see you're busy spreading BigLies. Please, jump out of your tree onto your head. Thanks.

"Neofeudalism by design" is today's Keiser Report Mantra --Max and Stacy present an excellent argument that tries to inform people about what I call the Money Power, which is the collective term for the Central Bank and the "Princely Class" within the Outlaw US Empire. And their critique about Sanders, Biden and "Progressives" I agree with 100%.

Become enlightened and watch at the link.

[Mar 29, 2020] Its somewhat bemusing that we discuss American politics ad nauseam, when it's been amply demonstrated that voters in the USA cannot make changes to government policy through their electoral process.

Notable quotes:
"... Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence . ..."
"... The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." [Emphasis mine] ..."
Mar 29, 2020 | www.unz.com

PTG Mann , says: Show Comment March 28, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT

"The historical unity of the ruling classes is realized in the State." – Antonio Gramsci

Its somewhat bemusing that we discuss American politics ad nauseam, when it's been amply demonstrated that voters in the USA cannot make changes to government policy through their electoral process.

In fact, I would contend that American democracy has been non-existant since the JFK assassination (57 years after the event with no charges having been laid) which was essentially a coup d'état

Don't believe me? Read it and weep

A 2014 study from Princeton University spells bad news for American democracy – namely, that it no longer exists:

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens – Martin Gilens & Benjamin I. Page

"Each of 4 theoretical traditions in the study of American politics -- which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and 2 types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism -- offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set which includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence .

The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." [Emphasis mine]

Ref: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-

Cyrano , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 4:48 am GMT
@PTG Mann This is my attempt to shed some light on the "democracy" reality show. In grade 11 I had a subject called Marxism. Yes, I did study Marxism for 1 year only – in high school. One of the benefits of living in a "communist" country, I guess.

My Marxism professor, when he talked about capitalism, always used USA as an example. Not because he was impressed with them, but because he believed that it was a common knowledge that US was running the most austere form of capitalism possible. It's still like that today, they are just using multiculturalism as a smoke screen to cover up the fact that their capitalism is the most severe that they could get away with. And the stupid Europeans copy them, believing that multiculturalism is what makes a country truly liberal. Sure.

Another interesting thing that I remember from my high school Marxism classes is that they taught us that US has 2 types of elites. 1.Regular elites 2. Political elites. The regular elites are the real elites, the economic ones, the real movers and shakers. The political elites are just domestic help, a hired nobodies who do the rich men's bidding. The lines between these 2 are almost never crossed. As many perks as there are to becoming political elite, the benefits that you can milk from this new-found bonanza can never amount to the point of making you qualified to join the real – economic elites. And it goes vice versa as well. Economic elites usually don't have the interest (unless you are senile old guy like Bloomberg) to waste time on personally participating in politics – it just doesn't pay well enough by their standards. Of course, there are always exceptions – Donald Trump. That's why the real elites hate him so much. Because he wants to sit on 2 chairs, to belong to both the real elites and the political ones as well. The idea behind the political elites is to pay them so you can influence them and tell them what to do. How do you influence someone who doesn't really qualify as a hired help, who is one of you? It makes it more difficult to boss around. I am not saying that Trump is unbossable, the problem is that the real elites can't stomach the fact that Trump wants to boss THEM. Unforgivable.

The "democracy" has always been a pipe-dream, designed to prevent the rich f ** ks getting at each other throats, more than anything else. That's why voting and elections are just a mirage, political elites are not elected by voters, they are elected by the real (economic) elites. That's why they throw millions of dollars on campaigns and lobbies and so on. So they can have the final say about how things should be done, and not leave it to the political "elites" initiatives.

Trump proved that the move from the economic elites into political elites is feasible, even though it can be very unpopular with the economic elites, but the move from political elites into real elites is almost impossible – despite occasional valiant efforts – like Joe Biden and his son. The political elites simply lack any real cashable skills that are required in order to make tons of money and qualify for the prestigious club of real (economic) elites.

Sure the political elites can make a lot of money, but only from the perspective of the poor. The money that the political elites make compared to the economic ones – is pocket change. This is actually one of the positives of the American system, people who are interested in making really big money, don't usually go into politics, because there are much more and better ways to make more money. This is actually a feature of most of the developing countries – where there is almost no distinction between real elites and political elites and the only way to make money is to go into politics, and use corruption as a driving force for becoming rich.

Sure the political elites can accomplish relative financial successes as well, and sometimes this can get to their heads, making them delusional, like when Hillary – white trash herself– called her own people – deplorables. The "democracy" pipe dream serves another purpose – to create the illusion that the real elites (the rich) and the poor are in the same predicament together – suffering under the unscrupulous political elites. Yeah, right.

The other thing that people talk a lot about is communist propaganda. Sure there was some of it. Having experienced living in both systems – capitalism and "communism" – I can say that there is a big difference between capitalist and communist propaganda. Communist propaganda was more of the wishful thinking type, trying to cover up reality because they wished things could be better. Capitalist propaganda is much more sinister. The sole purpose of existence of capitalist propaganda is not because they want things to be different and better, but because they want things to stay the same as long as possible. The purpose of the capitalist propaganda is to impede progress. Communists at least felt bad that their system wasn't good enough to satisfy all the needs of the people. Capitalists have no such qualms. The message that they convey through their "democracy" is that this is as good as it's going to get, so you better get used to it. No regrets, no attempts to make things better.

It's funny that they bothered to teach us about different kinds of American elites way back in high school, like that was going to have any practical application in our lives. It's also unusual that I remember it, because I wasn't a particularly good student in any subject, including Marxism. Maybe the reason why I remember it, is because after all these years it still rings true.

Hans Vogel , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 8:41 am GMT
Most discussions about and references to the US two-party system presidential elections remain oblivious to the fact that for all practical purposes the US has only one political party.

The US has the exact same political system that Mexico had for decades under the PRI: the party elite decided on who was going to be the next president and then organized elections. The US is essentially a none-party state (just read or reread Michael Parenti's Democracy for the Few ).

The fact that the American voter can choose between a psychopath like Mrs. Clinton and a guy like Trump, or between Trump and a senile moron like Biden (as may be the case this year), merely serves to prove that the real political decisions are not made by the president and that he is just a figurehead.

How can it be that a country with 330 million people cannot select even moderately intelligent, decent, capable candidates for the highest office?

It is a good sign that most Americans understand this and don't bother to vote. Democracy is a fake anyway, because if our votes would really count, we wouldn't have the right to vote.

[Mar 16, 2020] Half Of Young American Democrats Believe Billionaires Do More Harm Than Good

Notable quotes:
"... Wealth concentration is extreme to say the least... ..."
"... "The billionaire class is 'up there' because they are standing on our backs pinning us down." ..."
Mar 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Half Of Young American Democrats Believe Billionaires Do More Harm Than Good by Tyler Durden Sun, 03/15/2020 - 21:25 With income inequality the political hot potato du-jour and wealth concentration at its most extreme since the roaring twenties, is it any wonder that even Americans' view of what used to be called 'success' is now tainted with the ugly taste of partisan 'not-fair'-ism.

Income inequality is roaring...

Wealth concentration is extreme to say the least...

But still, according to Pew Research's latest survey , when asked about the impact of billionaires on the country, nearly four-in-ten adults under age 30 (39%) say the fact that some have fortunes of a billion dollars or more is a bad thing...

...with 50% of young Democrats.

"The recent reigning conventional wisdom over the last several decades of what I call the 'Age of Capital' is that [billionaires] are 'up there' because they are smarter than us," said Anand Giridharadas, author of "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World."

But the Pew data, he says, suggest that young Americans are concluding that billionaires have amassed their wealth "through their rigging of the tax code, through legal political bribery, through their tax avoidance in shelters like the Cayman Islands, and through lobbying for public policy that benefits them privately. "

"Bernie Sanders taught a lot of people [about wealth inequality], including people who did not vote for him," Giridharadas said.

"The billionaire class is 'up there' because they are standing on our backs pinning us down."

The good news - for the rest of America's "capitalists" - is that a majority (58%) say the impact of billionaires on America is neither bad nor good.

Finally, one quick question - where were all these under-30s when Bernie needed them the most in the Primaries? Was it all just virtue-signaling pro-socialist bullshit after all?

[Mar 12, 2020] How 'Bernie Bros' Were Invented, Then Smeared as Sexist, Racist and unAmerican as Borscht by Jonathan Cook

Looks like DNC run a pretty sophisticated smear campaign against Sanders ...
Notable quotes:
"... It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities ..."
"... The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The Democratic presidential nomination race is a fascinating case study in how power works – not least, because the Democratic party leaders are visibly contriving to impose one candidate, Joe Biden, as the party's nominee, even as it becomes clear that he is no longer mentally equipped to run a local table tennis club let alone the world's most powerful nation.

Biden's campaign is a reminder that power is indivisible. Donald Trump or Joe Biden for president – it doesn't matter to the power-establishment. An egomaniacal man-child (Trump), representing the billionaires, or an elder suffering rapid neurological degeneration (Biden), representing the billionaires, are equally useful to power. A woman will do too, or a person of colour. The establishment is no longer worried about who stands on stage – so long as that person is not a Bernie Sanders in the US, or a Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities. What concerns it far more is that we might overcome those divisions and unify against it, withdrawing our consent from an establishment committed to endless asset-stripping of our societies and the planet.

Neither Biden nor Trump will obstruct the establishment, because they are at its very heart. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power.

Although a pretty face or a way with words are desirable, incapacity and incompetence are no barrier to qualifying, as the two white men groomed by their respective parties demonstrate. Both have proved they will favour the establishment, both will pursue near-enough the same policies , both are committed to the status quo, both have demonstrated their indifference to the future of life on Earth. What separates the candidates is not real substance, but presentation styles – the creation of the appearance of difference, of choice.

Policing the debate

The subtle dynamics of how the Democratic nomination race is being rigged are interesting. Especially revealing are the ways the Democratic leadership protects establishment power by policing the terms of debate: what can be said, and what can be thought; who gets to speak and whose voices are misrepresented or demonised. Manipulation of language is key.

As I pointed out in my previous post , the establishment's power derives from its invisibility. Scrutiny is kryptonite to power.

The only way we can interrogate power is through language, and the only way we can communicate our conclusions to others is through words – as I am doing right now. And therefore our strength – our ability to awaken ourselves from the trance of power – must be subverted by the establishment, transformed into our Achilles' heel, a weakness.

The treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters by the Democratic establishment – and those who eagerly repeat its talking points – neatly illustrates how this can be done in manifold ways.

Remember this all started back in 2016, when Sanders committed the unforgivable sin of challenging the Democratic leadership's right simply to anoint Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential candidate. In those days, the fault line was obvious and neat: Bernie was a man, Clinton a woman. She would be the first woman president. The only party members who might wish to deny her that historic moment, and back Sanders instead, had to be misogynist men. They were supposedly venting their anti-women grudge against Clinton, who in turn was presented to women as a symbol of their oppression by men.

And so was born a meme: the "Bernie Bros". It rapidly became shorthand for suggesting – contrary to all evidence – that Sanders' candidacy appealed chiefly to angry, entitled white men. In fact, as Sanders' 2020 run has amply demonstrated, support for him has been more diverse than for the many other Democratic candidates who sought the nomination.

So important what @ewarren is saying to @maddow about the dangerous, threatening, ugly faction among the Bernie supporters. Sanders either cannot or will not control them. pic.twitter.com/LYDXlLJ7bi

-- Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 6, 2020

How contrived the 2016 identity-fuelled contest was should have been clear, had anyone been allowed to point that fact out. This wasn't really about the Democratic leadership respecting Clinton's identity as a woman. It was about them paying lip service to her identity as a woman, while actually promoting her because she was a reliable warmonger and Wall Street functionary . She was useful to power.

If the debate had really been driven by identity politics, Sanders had a winning card too: he is Jewish. That meant he could be the United States' first Jewish president. In a fair identity fight, it would have been a draw between the two. The decision about who should represent the Democratic party would then have had to be decided based on policies, not identity. But party leaders did not want Clinton's actual policies, or her political history, being put under the microscope for very obvious reasons.

Weaponisation of identity

The weaponisation of identity politics is even more transparent in 2020. Sanders is still Jewish, but his main opponent, Joe Biden, really is simply a privileged white man. Were the Clinton format to be followed again by Democratic officials, Sanders would enjoy an identity politics trump card. And yet Sanders is still being presented as just another white male candidate , no different from Biden.

(We could take this argument even further and note that the other candidate who no one, least of all the Democratic leadership, ever mentions as still in the race is Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of colour. The Democratic party has worked hard to make her as invisible as possible in the primaries because, of all the candidates, she is the most vocal and articulate opponent of foreign wars. That has deprived her of the chance to raise funds and win delegates.)

. @DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020

Sanders' Jewish identity isn't celebrated because he isn't useful to the power-establishment. What's far more important to them – and should be to us too – are his policies, which might limit their power to wage war, exploit workers and trash the planet.

But it is not just that Democratic Party leaders are ignoring Sanders' Jewish identity. They are also again actively using identity politics against him, and in many different ways.

The 'black' establishment?

Bernie Sanders' supporters have been complaining for some time – based on mounting evidence – that the Democratic leadership is far from neutral between Sanders and Biden. Because it has a vested interest in the outcome, and because it is the part of the power-establishment, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is exercising its influence in favour of Biden. And because power prefers darkness, the DNC is doing its best to exercise that power behind the scenes, out of sight – at least, unseen by those who still rely on the "mainstream" corporate media, which is also part of the power-establishment. As should be clear to anyone watching, the nomination proceedings are being controlled to give Biden every advantage and to obstruct Sanders.

But the Democratic leadership is not only dismissing out of hand these very justified complaints from Bernie Sanders' supporters but also turning these complaints against them, as further evidence of their – and his – illegitimacy. A new way of doing this emerged in the immediate wake of Biden winning South Carolina on the back of strong support from older black voters – Biden's first state win and a launchpad for his Super Tuesday bid a few days later.

It was given perfect expression from Symone Sanders, who despite her surname is actually a senior adviser to Biden's campaign. She is also black. This is what she wrote: "People who keep referring to Black voters as 'the establishment' are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing."

People who keep referring to Black voters as "the establishment" are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing.

-- Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) March 3, 2020

Her reference to generic "people" was understood precisely by both sides of the debate as code for those "Bernie Bros". Now, it seems, Bernie Sanders' supporters are not simply misogynists, they are potential recruits to the Ku Klux Klan.

The tweet went viral, even though in the fiercely contested back-and-forth below her tweet no one could produce a single example of anyone actually saying anything like the sentiment ascribed by Symone Sanders to "Bernie Bros". But then, tackling bigotry was not her real goal. This wasn't meant to be a reflection on a real-world talking-point by Bernie supporters. It was high-level gaslighting by a senior Democratic party official of the party's own voters.

Survival of the fittest smear

What Symone Sanders was really trying to do was conceal power – the fact that the DNC is seeking to impose its chosen candidate on party members. As occurred during the confected women-men, Clinton vs "Bernie Bros" confrontation, Symone Sanders was field-testing a similar narrative management tool as part of the establishment's efforts to hone it for improved effect. The establishment has learnt – through a kind of survival of the fittest smear – that divide-and-rule identity politics is the perfect way to shield its influence as it favours a status-quo candidate (Biden or Clinton) over a candidate seen as a threat to its power (Sanders).

In her tweet, Symone Sanders showed exactly how the power elite seeks to obscure its toxic role in our societies. She neatly conflated "the establishment" – of which she is a very small, but well-paid component – with ordinary "black voters". Her message is this: should you try to criticise the establishment (which has inordinate power to damage lives and destroy the planet) we will demonise you, making it seem that you are really attacking black people (who in the vast majority of cases – though Symone Sanders is a notable exception – wield no power at all).

Symone Sanders has recruited her own blackness and South Carolina's "black voters" as a ring of steel to protect the establishment. Cynically, she has turned poor black people, as well as the tens of thousands of people (presumably black and white) who liked her tweet, into human shields for the establishment.

It sounds a lot uglier put like that. But it has rapidly become a Biden talking-point, as we can see here:

NEW: @JoeBiden responds to @berniesanders saying the "establishment" is trying to defeat him.

"The establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African Americans they are the establishment!" @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/43Q2Nci5sS

-- Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) March 4, 2020

The DNC's wider strategy is to confer on Biden exclusive rights to speak for black voters (despite his inglorious record on civil rights issues) and, further, to strip Sanders and his senior black advisers of any right to do so. When Sanders protests about this, or about racist behaviour from the Biden camp, Biden's supporters come out in force and often abusively, though of course no one is upbraiding them for their ugly, violent language. Here is the famous former tennis player Martina Navratilova showing that maybe we should be talking about "Biden Bros":

Sanders is starting to really piss me off. Just shut this kind of crap down and debate the issues. This is not it.

-- Martina Navratilova (@Martina) March 6, 2020

Being unkind to billionaires

This kind of special pleading by the establishment for the establishment – using those sections of it, such as Symone Sanders, that can tap into the identity politics zeitgeist – is far more common than you might imagine. The approach is being constantly refined, often using social media as the ultimate focus group. Symone Sanders' successful conflation of the establishment with "black voters" follows earlier, clumsier efforts by the establishment to protect its interests against Sanders that proved far less effective.

Billionaires should not exist. https://t.co/hgR6CeFvLa

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 24, 2019

Remember how last autumn the billionaire-owned corporate media tried to tell us that it was unkind to criticise billionaires – that they had feelings too and that speaking harshly about them was "dehumanising". Again it was aimed at Sanders, who had just commented that in a properly ordered world billionaires simply wouldn't exist. It was an obvious point: allowing a handful of people to control almost all the planet's wealth was not only depriving the rest of us of that wealth (and harming the planet) but it gave those few billionaires way too much power. They could buy all the media, our channels of communication, and most of the politicians to ringfence their financial interests, gradually eroding even the most minimal democratic protections.

That campaign died a quick death because few of us are actually brainwashed enough to accept the idea that a handful of billionaires share an identity that needs protecting – from us! Most of us are still connected enough to the real world to understand that billionaires are more than capable of looking out for their own interests, without our helping them by imposing on ourselves a vow of silence.

But one cannot fault the power-establishment for being constantly inventive in the search for new ways to stifle our criticisms of the way it unilaterally exercises its power. The Democratic nomination race is testing such ingenuity to the limits. Here's a new rule against "hateful conduct" on Twitter, where Biden's neurological deficit is being subjected to much critical scrutiny through the sharing of dozens of videos of embarrassing Biden "senior moments".

Twitter expanding its hateful conduct rules "to include language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability or disease." https://t.co/KmWGaNAG9Z

-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 5, 2020

Yes, disability and age are identities too. And so, on the pretext of protecting and respecting those identities, social media can now be scrubbed of anything and anyone trying to highlight the mental deficiencies of an old man who might soon be given the nuclear codes and would be responsible for waging wars in the name of Americans. Twitter is full of comments denouncing as "ableist" anyone who tries to highlight how the Democratic leadership is foisting a cognitively challenged Biden on to the party.

Maybe the Dem insiders are all wrong, but it's true that they are saying it. Some are saying it out loud, including Castro at the debate and Booker here: https://t.co/0lbi7RFRqG

-- Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 6, 2020

Russian 'agents' and 'assets'

None of this is to overlook the fact that another variation of identity politics has been weaponised against Sanders: that of failing to be an "American" patriot. Again illustrating how closely the Democratic and Republican leaderships' interests align, the question of who is a patriot – and who is really working for the "Russians" – has been at the heart of both parties' campaigns, though for different reasons.

Trump has been subjected to endless, evidence-free claims that he is a secret "Russian agent" in a concerted effort to control his original isolationist foreign policy impulses that might have stripped the establishment – and its military-industrial wing – of the right to wage wars of aggression, and revive the Cold War, wherever it believes a profit can be made under cover of "humanitarian intervention". Trump partly inoculated himself against these criticisms, at least among supporters, with his "Make America Great Again" slogan, and partly by learning – painfully for such an egotist – that his presidential role was to rubber-stamp decisions made elsewhere about waging wars and projecting US power.

I'm just amazed by this tweet, which has been tweeted plenty. Did @_nalexander and all the people liking this not know that Mueller laid out in the indictments of a number of Russians and in his report their help on social media to Sanders and Trump. Help Sanders has acknowledged https://t.co/vuc0lmvvKP

-- Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) December 8, 2019

Bernie Sanders has faced similar smear efforts by the establishment, including by the DNC's last failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – in his case, painting him as a "Russian asset". ("Asset" is a way to suggest collusion with the Kremlin based on even more flimsy evidence than is needed to accuse someone of being an agent.) In fact, in a world where identity politics wasn't simply a tool to be weaponised by the establishment, there would be real trepidation about engaging in this kind of invective against a Jewish socialist.

One of the far-right's favourite antisemitic tropes – promoted ever since the publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion more than 100 years ago – is that Jewish "Bolsheviks" are involved in an international conspiracy to subvert the countries they live in. We have reached the point now that the corporate media are happy to recycle evidence-free claims, cited by the Washington Post, from anonymous "US officials" and US intelligence agencies reinventing a US version of the Protocols against Sanders. And these smears have elicited not a word of criticism from the Democratic leadership nor from the usual antisemitism watchdogs that are so ready to let rip over the slightest signs of what they claim to be antisemitism on the left.

But the urgency of dealing with Sanders may be the reason normal conventions have been discarded. Sanders isn't a loud-mouth egotist like Trump. A vote for Trump is a vote for the establishment, if for one of its number who pretends to be against the establishment. Trump has been largely tamed in time for a second term. By contrast, Sanders, like Corbyn in the UK, is more dangerous because he may resist the efforts to domesticate him, and because if he is allowed any significant measure of political success – such as becoming a candidate for president – it may inspire others to follow in his footsteps. The system might start to throw up more anomalies, more AOCs and more Ilhan Omars.

So Sanders is now being cast, like Trump, as a puppet of the Kremlin, not a true American. And because he made the serious mistake of indulging the "Russiagate" smears when they were used against Trump, Sanders now has little defence against their redeployment against him. And given that, by the impoverished standards of US political culture, he is considered an extreme leftist, it has been easy to conflate his democratic socialism with Communism, and then conflate his supposed Communism with acting on behalf of the Kremlin (which, of course, ignores the fact that Russia long ago abandoned Communism).

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Let me tell this to Putin -- the American people, whether Republicans, Democrats, independents are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections." pic.twitter.com/ejcP7YVFlt

-- The Hill (@thehill) February 21, 2020

Antisemitism smear at the ready

There is a final use of weaponised identity politics that the Democratic establishment would dearly love to use against Sanders, if they need to and can get away with it. It is the most toxic brand – and therefore the most effective – of the identity-based smears, and it has been extensively field-tested in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn to great success. The DNC would like to denounce Sanders as an antisemite.

In fact, only one thing has held them back till now: the fact that Sanders is Jewish. That may not prove an insuperable obstacle, but it does make it much harder to make the accusation look credible. The other identity-based smears had been a second-best, a make-do until a way could be found to unleash the antisemitism smear.

The establishment has been testing the waters with implied accusations of antisemitism against Sanders for a while, but their chances were given a fillip recently when Sanders refused to participate in the annual jamboree of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent lobby group whose primary mission is to ringfence Israel from criticism in the US. Both the Republican and Democratic establishments turn out in force to the AIPAC conference, and in the past the event has attracted keynote speeches from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Sanders has refused to attend for decades and maintained that stance this month, even though he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the last primaries debate, Sanders justified his decision by rightly calling Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "racist" and by describing AIPAC as providing a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights".

Trump's Vice-President, Mike Pence, responded that Sanders supported "Israel's enemies" and, if elected, would be the "most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation" – all coded suggestions that Sanders is antisemitic.

But that's Mike Pence. More useful criticism came from billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is himself Jewish and was until last week posing as a Democrat to try to win the party's nomination. Bloomberg accused Sanders of using dehumanising language against a bunch of inclusive identities that, he improbably suggested, AIPAC represents. He claimed :

"This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity and political party. Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the US-Israel relationship."

Where might this head? At the AIPAC conference last week we were given a foretaste. Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK and a friend to Conservative government leader Boris Johnson, was warmly greeted by delegates, including leading members of the Democratic establishment. He boasted that he and other Jewish leaders in the UK had managed to damage Jeremy Corbyn's electoral chances by suggesting that he was an antisemite over his support, like Sanders, for Palestinian rights.

His own treatment of Corbyn, he argued, offered a model for US Jewish organisations to replicate against any leadership contender who might pose similar trouble for Israel, leaving it for his audience to pick up the not-so-subtle hint about who needed to be subjected to character assassination.

WATCH: "Today I issue a call to the Jews of America, please take a leaf out of our book and please speak with one voice."

The Chief Rabbi speaking to the 18,000 delegates gathered at the @AIPAC General Session at their Policy Conference in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/BOkan9RA2O

-- Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) March 3, 2020

Establishment playbook

For anyone who isn't wilfully blind, the last few months have exposed the establishment playbook: it will use identity politics to divide those who might otherwise find a united voice and a common cause.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's identity, especially if it is under threat, maligned or marginalised. But having an attachment to an identity is no excuse for allowing it to be coopted by billionaires, by the powerful, by nuclear-armed states oppressing other people, by political parties or by the corporate media, so that they can weaponise it to prevent the weak, the poor, the marginalised from being represented.

It is time for us to wake up to the tricks, the deceptions, the manipulations of the strong that exploit our weaknesses – and make us yet weaker still. It's time to stop being a patsy for the establishment. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

[Mar 04, 2020] Trump Slams 'SPOILER' Elizabeth Warren For Sinking Sanders

A pretty sharp political thinking from the President
Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Democrat establishment came together and crushed Bernie Sanders, AGAIN! Even the fact that Elizabeth Warren stayed in the race was devastating to Bernie and allowed Sleepy Joe to unthinkably win Massachusetts. It was a perfect storm, with many good states remaining for Joe!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

20 minutes later, Trump tweeted that it was " So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race ," as she has "Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly."

"So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn't!"

So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race. She has Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly. So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn't!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

Three hours later, Trump tweeted: " Wow! If Elizabeth Warren wasn't in the race, Bernie Sanders would have EASILY won Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas , not to mention various other states. Our modern day Pocahontas won't go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER! "

Wow! If Elizabeth Warren wasn't in the race, Bernie Sanders would have EASILY won Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas, not to mention various other states. Our modern day Pocahontas won't go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

[Mar 01, 2020] Countering Nationalist Oligarchy by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
The article is mostly junk. But it contains some important insights into the rise of Trympism (aka "national neoliberalism") -- nationalist oligarchy. Including the following " the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist."
The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change. The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change.
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism: A Warning ..."
"... Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America ..."
"... the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist. ..."
"... The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy ..."
"... Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them. ..."
"... Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. ..."
"... Classical Greek Oligarchy ..."
"... Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." ..."
"... We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. ..."
"... The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship. ..."
"... The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars ..."
"... The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic ..."
Dec 31, 2019 | democracyjournal.org
from Winter 2019, No. 51 – 31 MIN READ

Tagged Authoritarianism Democracy Foreign Policy Government nationalism oligarchy

Ever since the 2016 election, foreign policy commentators and practitioners have been engaged in a series of soul-searching exercises to understand the great transformations taking place in the world -- and to articulate a framework appropriate to the challenges of our time. Some have looked backwards, arguing that the liberal international order is collapsing, while others question whether it ever existed. Another group seems to hope the current messiness is simply a blip and that foreign policy will return to normalcy after it passes. Perhaps the most prominent group has identified today's great threat as the rise of authoritarianism, autocracy, and illiberal democracy. They fear that constitutional democracy is receding as norms are broken and institutions are under siege.

Unfortunately, this approach misunderstands the nature of the current crisis. The challenge we face today is not one of authoritarianism, as so many seem inclined to believe, but of nationalist oligarchy. This form of government feeds populism to the people, delivers special privileges to the rich and well-connected, and rigs politics to sustain its regime.

... ... ..

Authoritarianism or What?

Across the political spectrum, commentators and scholars have identified -- and warned of -- the global rise of autocracies and authoritarian governments. They cite Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, and Turkey, among others. Distinguished commentators are increasingly worried. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently published a book called Fascism: A Warning . Cass Sunstein gathered a variety of scholars for a collection titled, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America .

The authoritarian lens is familiar from the heroic narrative of democracy defeating autocracies in the twentieth century. But as a framework for understanding today's central geopolitical challenges, it is far too narrow. This is mainly because those who are worried about the rise of authoritarianism and the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics. Their emphasis is almost exclusively political and constitutional -- free speech, voting rights, equal treatment for minorities, independent courts, and the like. But politics and economics cannot be dissociated from each other, and neither are autonomous from social and cultural factors. Statesmen and philosophers used to call this "political economy." Political economy looks at economic and political relationships in concert, and it is attentive to how power is exercised. If authoritarianism is the future, there must be a story of its political economy -- how it uses politics and economics to gain and hold power. Yet the rise-of-authoritarianism theorists have less to say about these dynamics.

To be sure, many commentators have discussed populist movements throughout Europe and America, and there has been no shortage of debate on the extent to which a generation of widening economic inequality has been a contributing factor in their rise. But whatever the causes of popular discontent, the policy preferences of the people, and the bloviating rhetoric of leaders, the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist.

The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy , Jeffrey Winters calls it "wealth defense." Elites engage in "property defense," protecting what they already have, and "income defense," preserving and extending their ability to hoard more. Importantly, oligarchy as a governing strategy accounts for both politics and economics. Oligarchs use economic power to gain and hold political power and, in turn, use politics to expand their economic power.

Those who worry about the rise of authoritarianism and fear the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics.

The trouble for oligarchs is that their regime involves rule by a small number of wealthy elites. In even a nominally democratic society, and most countries around the world today are at least that, it should be possible for the much larger majority to overthrow the oligarchy with either the ballot or the bullet. So how can oligarchy persist? This is where both nationalism and authoritarianism come into play. Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them.

The divide-and-conquer strategy is an old one, and it works through a combination of coercion and co-optation. Nationalism -- whether statist, ethnic, religious, or racial -- serves both functions. It aligns a portion of ordinary people with the ruling oligarchy, mobilizing them to support the regime and sacrifice for it. At the same time, it divides society, ensuring that the nationalism-inspired will not join forces with everyone else to overthrow the oligarchs. We thus see fearmongering about minorities and immigrants, and claims that the country belongs only to its "true" people, whom the leaders represent. Activating these emotional, cultural, and political identities makes it harder for citizens in the country to unite across these divides and challenge the regime.

Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. Tactics like these are not new. They have existed, as Matthew Simonton shows in his book Classical Greek Oligarchy , since at least the time of Pericles and Plato. The consequence, then as now, is that nationalist oligarchies can continue to deliver economic policies to benefit the wealthy and well-connected.

It is worth noting that even the generation that waged war against fascism in Europe understood that the challenge to democracy in their time was not just political, but economic and social as well. They believed that the rise of Nazism was tied to the concentration of economic power in Germany, and that cartels and monopolies not only cooperated with and served the Nazi state, but helped its rise and later sustained it. As New York Congressman Emanuel Celler, one of the authors of the Anti-Merger Act of 1950, said, quoting a report filed by Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, "Germany under the Nazi set-up built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power, and forced virtually the whole world into war." After World War II, Marshall Plan experts not only rebuilt Europe but also exported aggressive American antitrust and competition laws to the continent because they believed political democracy was impossible without economic democracy.

Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. Electoral losers in places like North Carolina seek to entrench their power rather than accept defeat. The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship.

Addressing our domestic economic and social crises is critical to defending democracy, and a grand strategy for America's future must incorporate both domestic and foreign policy. But while many have recognized that reviving America's middle class and re-stitching our social fabric are essential to saving democracy, less attention has been paid to how American foreign policy should be reformed in order to defend democracy from the threat of nationalist oligarchy.

The Varieties of Nationalist Oligarchy

Just as there are many variations on liberal democracy -- the Swedish model, the French model, the American model -- there are many varieties of nationalist oligarchy. The story is different in every country, but the elements of nationalist oligarchy are trending all over the world.

... ... ...

... the European Union funds Hungary's oligarchy, as Orbán draws on EU money to fund about 60 percent of the state projects that support "the new Fidesz-linked business elite." Nor do Orbán and his allies do much to hide the country's crony capitalist model. András Lánczi, president of a Fidesz-affiliated think tank, has boldly stated that "if something is done in the national interest, then it is not corruption." "The new capitalist ruling class," one Hungarian banker comments, "make their money from the government."

The commentator Jan-Werner Müller captures Orbán's Hungary this way: "Power is secured through wide-ranging control of the judiciary and the media; behind much talk of protecting hard-pressed families from multinational corporations, there is crony capitalism, in which one has to be on the right side politically to get ahead economically."

Crony capitalism, coupled with resurgent nationalism and central government control, is also an issue in China. While some commentators have emphasized "state capitalism" -- when government has a significant ownership stake in companies -- this phenomenon is not to be confused with crony capitalism. Some countries with state capitalism, like Norway, are widely seen as extremely non-corrupt and, indeed, are often held up as models of democracy. State capitalism itself is thus not necessarily a problem. Crony capitalism, in contrast, is an "instrumental union between capitalists and politicians designed to allow the former to acquire wealth, legally or otherwise, and the latter to seek and retain power." This is the key difference between state capitalism and oligarchy.

... ... ...

Ganesh Sitaraman is a professor of law and Chancellor's faculty fellow at Vanderbilt Law School, and the author of The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic .

[Feb 26, 2020] Ranked votingas an alternative of "first after the post"

Feb 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

blues , Feb 26 2020 19:08 utc | 41

I have spent 16 years (since 2004) trying to figure out how deal with the spoiler effect -- or put much more relevantly, 'elite fronted party lock-in'. Understand that you may have a government comprised of 100 parties, but there will nonetheless be no democracy at all if they are all 'elite fronted' and ultimately controlled, no matter what policies they superficially promote. This is the nature of the lock-in effect.

Right now, thousands of intellectually sophisticated fools are trying to promote totally lock-in prone election systems such as ranked choice voting (RCV/IRV). These system will leave the voters just as party locked-in as they are with the choose-one system they have now. This is largely due to their requirement for extreme tabulationary opacity, and also extremely high information traffic.

Presently, the best cure for this is 'simple positional voting', which I promote as 'ranked simple voting' (which sophisticated fools often confuse with the quite similar, yet far more unobviously complicated 'Borda method'). It uses precisely the same ballot design as RCV, so voters can simply check-off a box to indicate by which method they prefer their ballot to be tabulated.

The ranked ballots reflect the pattern: =/ 10 > 9 > 8 > ... 1 > 0 /=. There are ten ranked 'places', and voters can assign one candidate to each place, and each candidate assigned to a 'place' will be granted a corresponding number of 'points' (and they can also leave places blank if they prefer). Putting it very simplistically, the candidate with the largest total of points wins. And it turns out that it is quite easy to fairly combine the results of this ranked simple voting (RSV) with those of ranked choice voting. Eventually all the voters will abandon RCV and all its unobvious complexity.

This is what people need to support!

As for poor Circe and dear Bernie, the poor chap has no chance. The best way to support Bernie is to buy one of those billion dollar lottery tickets at the corner market, and contribute the proceeds to the Bernie campaign. I am totally serious. This morning I received my third expensive, super-glossy mailing from the Michael Bloomberg campaign (Money raised: $200.4 million -- from himself!). Very sorry to bear such grim tidings! But you could still direct your support to ranked simple voting. If we had that, somebody even better than Bernie would run, and win. Think about it.

Ranked Simple Voting Is The Answer


blues , Feb 26 2020 21:33 utc | 52

To blues @41 (2020/02/26 19:08 UTC):

Technically, what you're proposing appears to be a form of positional voting -- with the ballots marked from the top score down rather than from the lowest-numbered (highest-preference) rank up, and with the option of not filling in all possible scores.

If it were possible for someone with two top favorites in your example field of ten to give both of them a 10, or do the like at the bottom of the ranking range (or anywhere in the middle), then you'd be closer to score voting (a/k/a range voting).

In the US non-political world, you're pretty much talking about a sports poll. But some places have adopted positional voting for their government elections, too.

(Of course, no voting system -- ordinal or cardinal -- can meet all desirable criteria. It's up to each voting population to decide what it cares most about.)

Posted by: jalp | F

@ jalp | Feb 26 2020 20:11 utc | 47

=/ Technically, what you're proposing appears to be a form of positional voting... /= -- above

Yeah but I already stated that didn't I? And where does this "Technically" come from? That is so often just an opening phrase for intellectually sophisticated fools. Forget the CIA owned and operated 'Wikipedia'. Of course I know all about that 'score/range' voting. And also about all the alchemy of election methods 'criteria', and the irrelevant 'Condorcet' criterion, etc. It all means nothing in the real world.

There is one and only one criterion that makes any real difference: Does the system provide escape from elite fronted party lock-in? That, truly, is all that matters. All the rest of it is just intellectual masturbation of the most sordid kind.

Just allow ranked simple voting, and the psychopathy of elite fronted party lock-in will fade away.

/div>

eb 26 2020 20:11 utc , 47

eb 26 2020 20:11 utc | 47

[Feb 19, 2020] During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d' tat) changed sides and betrayed the working class

Highly recommended!
This was an outright declaration of "class war" against working-class voters by a "university-credentialed overclass" -- "managerial elite" which changed sides and allied with financial oligrchy. See "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind
Notable quotes:
"... By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. The "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI. ..."
Feb 19, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 19, 2020 12:31 pm

Does not matter.

It looks like Bloomberg is finished. He just committed political suicide with his comments about farmers and metal workers.

BTW Bloomberg's plan is highly hypocritical -- like is Bloomberg himself.

During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d'état) changed sides and betrayed the working class.

So those neoliberal scoundrels reversed the class compromise embodied in the New Deal.

The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the neoliberal managerial class and financial oligarchy who got to power via the "Quiet Coup" was the global labor arbitrage in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations.

So all those "improving education" plans are, to a large extent, the smoke screen over the fact that the US workers now need to compete against highly qualified and lower cost immigrants and outsourced workforce.

The fact is that it is very difficult to find for US graduates in STEM disciplines a decent job, and this is by design.

Also, after the "Reagan neoliberal revolution" ( actually a coup d'état ), profits were maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of the immigrant workforce (the collapse of the USSR helped greatly ). They push down wages and compete for jobs with their domestic counterparts, including the recent graduates. So the situation since 1991 was never too bright for STEM graduates.

By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. The "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI.

See also recently published "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind.

One of his quotes:

The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.

[Feb 07, 2020] It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian2 , Feb 6 2020 20:02 utc | 65

It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

I honestly can't see Sanders getting the nomination with all the corruption openly being displayed. I would be pleasantly surprised if Sanders did manage to get it, but he still have to deal with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE (EC). The Electors have the final say. Yes, one can point out that some States have laws forcing Electors to vote what the populace wants, but that is being challenged in court. The debate on whether such laws are unconstitutional or not, remains to be seen. It's too late now to deal with the EC for this election, but people need to be more active in politics at the State level as that's where Electors are (s)elected.

IF Sanders is genuine then he should prepare to run as an independent just to get the EC attention.

ben , Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 79

RR @ 14;
Everything in the U$A today, is driven by the unofficial Party of $, and it's reach transcends both Dems & repubs. It's cadre is the majority of the D.C. "rule makers", so we get what they want, not what "we the people" want or need.

They own the banks, MSM media, and even our voting systems.

IMO, to assume one party is to blame for conditions in the U$A is a bit naive.

Question is, can anything the masses do, change the system? Or is rank and file America just along for the ride?

I'm assuming us peons will get what the party of $ wants this November also.

P.S. If any blame is given, it needs to go to the American public, because " you get the kind of Gov. you deserve" through your inactions...

It's a lot like living, death is certain, but until that occurs, I'll move forward trying to mitigate current paradigms.

[Jan 30, 2020] There is no shortage of people with Visions. I am keeping an eye on this bunch:

Notable quotes:
"... It was no accident that Davos, the promoter of globalization, is so strongly behind the Climate Change agenda. Davos WEF has a board of appointed trustees. Among them is the early backer of Greta Thunberg, climate multi-millionaire, Al Gore, chairman of the Climate Reality Project. WEF Trustees also include former IMF head, now European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde whose first words as ECB chief were that central banks had to make climate change a priority. Another Davos trustee is outgoing Bank of England head Mark Carney, who was just named Boris Johnson's climate change advisor and who warns that pension funds that ignore climate change risk bankruptcy (sic). ..."
"... Of note: Mark Carney upon leaving his position of Governor Bank of England will serve as global warming adviser to Boris Johnson. Who knew Carney was a scientist? ..."
Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 30 2020 15:21 utc | 24

There is no shortage of people with Visions.

'Greta, bonnie Prince Charles and the pirate billionaires and trillionaires'- In another post I queried how did Greta go to Davos? Silly me; Greta was invited the keynote speaker. "Stop Climate change" was this year's theme: the Vision - 'stop the natural cycle of the universe' -
Now she intends to Trademark 'How Dare You' and set up a Foundation Indeed, Greta found her sugar daddies. Adults who encourage truancy.

my grandpa was a wise bloke and admonished "when politicians and do gooders are in the same room, keep an eye on your money."

William F. Engdahl names the pirates in the "Stop Climate" (cycles) Money Trail.
Follow the "Real Money" Behind the "New Green Agenda"

[.] Davos trustees

It was no accident that Davos, the promoter of globalization, is so strongly behind the Climate Change agenda. Davos WEF has a board of appointed trustees. Among them is the early backer of Greta Thunberg, climate multi-millionaire, Al Gore, chairman of the Climate Reality Project. WEF Trustees also include former IMF head, now European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde whose first words as ECB chief were that central banks had to make climate change a priority. Another Davos trustee is outgoing Bank of England head Mark Carney, who was just named Boris Johnson's climate change advisor and who warns that pension funds that ignore climate change risk bankruptcy (sic).

The board also includes the influential founder of Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein. It includes Feike Sybesma of the agribusiness giant, Unilever, who is also Chair of the High Level Leadership Forum on Competitiveness and Carbon Pricing of the World Bank Group. And perhaps the most interesting in terms of pushing the new green agenda is Larry Fink, founder and CEO of the investment group BlackRock.[.]

TCFD and SASB Look Closely

As part of his claim to virtue on the new green investing, Fink states that BlackRock was a founding member of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). He claims, "For evaluating and reporting climate-related risks, as well as the related governance issues that are essential to managing them, the TCFD provides a valuable framework."[.]

TCFD was created in 2015 by the Bank for International Settlements, chaired by fellow Davos board member and Bank of England head Mark Carney. In 2016 the TCFD along with the City of London Corporation and the UK Government created the Green Finance Initiative, aiming to channel trillions of dollars to "green" investments. The central bankers of the FSB nominated 31 people to form the TCFD. Chaired by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, it includes in addition to BlackRock, JP MorganChase; Barclays Bank; HSBC; Swiss Re, the world's second largest reinsurance; China's ICBC bank; Tata Steel, ENI oil, Dow Chemical, mining giant BHP and David Blood of Al Gore's Generation Investment LLC. Note the crucial role of the central banks here.[.]

Of note: Mark Carney upon leaving his position of Governor Bank of England will serve as global warming adviser to Boris Johnson. Who knew Carney was a scientist?

Pre-alert:

Tax on Excessive garbage output is coming to your town. You will be restricted to xxxKGs/LBS annually. Your garbage will be weighed and at December 31st any excess above the permissible will attract additional tax.
Anyone see the unintended consequences?

[Jan 21, 2020] Money Talks, Bullshit Walks on Cable News by Paul Street

Notable quotes:
"... they promote the nauseating center-right candidacies of the bewildered racist and corporatist Joe Biden, the sinister neoliberal corporate-militarist Pete Butiggieg and even the marginal Wall Street "moderates" Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris? ..."
"... "Follow the money" is the longstanding mantra in campaign finance research and criminal prosecution. ..."
"... At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate affluent folks – the people who hire pricey investment advisors, go to Caribbean resorts and buy Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes and count for an ever-rising share of U.S. consumer purchases. It is those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers. ..."
Oct 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Is it any wonder that the nation's "liberal" cable news stations CNN and MSNBC can barely contain their disdain for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and even (to a lesser degree) for that of Elizabeth Warren while they promote the nauseating center-right candidacies of the bewildered racist and corporatist Joe Biden, the sinister neoliberal corporate-militarist Pete Butiggieg and even the marginal Wall Street "moderates" Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris?

Next time you click on these stations, keep a pen and paper handy to write down the names of the corporations that pay for their broadcast content with big money commercial purchases.

I did that at various times of day on three separate occasions last week. Here are the companies I found buying ads at CNN and MSDNC:

American Advisors Group (AAG), the top lender the American reverse mortgage industry (with Tom Selleck telling seniors to trust him that reverse mortgages are not a rip off)

United Health Care, for-profit "managed health care company" with 300,000 employers and an annual revenue of $226 billion, ranked sixth on the 2019 Fortune 500.

Menards, the nation's third largest home improvement chain, with revenue over $10 billion in 2017.

CHANITX, a drug to get off cigarettes ("slow Turkey") sold by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, 65th on the Fortune 500.

Tom Steyer (billionaire for president)

Lincoln Financial, 187 th on the Fortune 500, an American holding company that controls multiple insurance and investment management businesses.

Liberty Mutual, an insurance company with more than 50,000 employees in more than 900 locations and ranked 68 th on the Fortune 500 two years ago.

Allstate Insurance: 79 th on the Fortune 500, with more than 45,000 employees.

INFINITI Suburban Utility Vehicle (new price ranging from 37K to 60K), produced by Nissan, the sixth largest auto-making corporation in the world.

RCN (annual revenue of $636 million) WiFi for business

Jaguar Elite luxury autos.

Porsche luxury autos, selling new models priced at $115,000, $145,000, and $163,00, and $294,000.

Mercedes Benz luxury auto, including an SRL-Class model that starts at $498,000

Capital Group, one of the world's oldest and biggest investment management firms, with $1.87 trillion in assets under its control.

Otezla, a plaque psoriasis drug, developed by the New Jersey drug company Celgene and owned by Amgene, a leading California-based biotechnology firm with total assets of $78 billion.

Trelegy, a CPD drug produced by the British company GSK, the world's seventh leading pharmaceutical corporation, with the fourth largest capitalization of any company on the London Stock Exchange.

HunterDouglass – elite windows made by a Dutch multinational corporation with more than 23,000 employees and locations in more than 70 countries.

Humira – drug for Crohn's disease and other ailments, manufactured by Abbvie, with 28,000 global employees and total assets of $59 billion.

Primateme Mist – for breathing, produced by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.

Glucerna – drug for diabetes, produced by Abbot Laboratories, an American medical company with more than 100,00 employees and total assets of $67 billion.

Prevagen – a controversial drug for brain health produced by Quincy Bioscience

DISCOVER Credit Card, the third largest credit card brand in the U.S., with total assets of $92 billion.

Fidelity Investments, an American multinational financial services corporation with more than 50,000 employees and an operating income of $5.3 billion.

Cadillac XT-6 high-end SUV, starting at $53K, made by General Motors (no. 10 on the Fortune 500 for total revenue), which makes automobiles in 37 countries, employees 173,000 persons, and has total assets $227 billion.

Comfort Inn, owned by Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, franchising 7,005 properties in 41 countries and territories.

Audible/Amazon – books on tape from the world's biggest mega-corporation Amazon, ranked fifth on the Fortune 500, with 647,000 employees and total assets of $163 billion.

Ring Home Security, owned by Amazon

Coventry Health Insurance, no. 168 on the Fortune 500

SANDALS Resorts International, with 16 elite resort properties in the Caribbean.

Cigna Medicare Advantage, owned by the national health insurer Cigna, no. 229 on the Fortune 500

SoFi Finance, an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

Ameriprise Finance, an investment services firm, no. 240 on F500.

It's not for nothing that bit Fortune 500 firms are represented in my anecdotal sponsor list above. Last summer, SQAD MediaCosts reported that a 30-second commercial during CNN's prime-time lineup (Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon), cost between $7,000 and $12,000. The price has certainly gone up significantly now that Trumpeachment is bringing in new eyeballs.

The three most prominent and recurrent advertising streams appear (anecdotally) to come from Big Pharma (the leading drug companies), insurance (health insurance above all), and finance (investment services/wealth management). These giant concentrated corporate and industry sectors are naturally opposed to the financial regulation and anti-trust policy that Senator Warren says she wants to advance. Amazon can hardly be expected to back the big-tech break-up that Warren advocates.

Big corporate lenders certainly have no interest in making college tuition free, a Sanders promise that would slash a major profit source for finance capital.

The big health insurance firms are naturally opposed both to the Single Payer national health insurance plan that Sanders puts at the top of his platform and to the milder version of Medicare for All that Warren says she backs. Warren and especially Sanders pledge to remove the parasitic, highly expensive profit motive from health insurance and to make publicly funded quality and affordable health care a human right in the U.S. The corporate insurance mafia is existentially opposed to such human decency.

Both of the "progressive Democratic candidates" (a description that fits Sanders far better than it does Warren) loudly promise to slash drug costs, something Pfizer, Abbvie, Amgene, Amphastar, and Abbot Labs can hardly be expected to relish.

None of the big companies buying advertising time on CNN and MSNBC have any interest in the progressive taxation and restored union organizing and collective bargaining rights that Sanders advocates.

The big financial services firms paying for media content on "liberal" cable news stations primarily serve affluent clients, many if not most of whom are likely to oppose increased taxes on the well off.

The resort, tourism, luxury car, and business travel firms that buy commercials on these networks are hardly about to back policies leading to the real or potential reduction of discretionary income enjoyed by upper middle class and rich people.

So, gosh, who do these corporate and financial interests favor in the 2020 presidential election? Neoliberal Corporatists like Joe Biden, Pete Butiggieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, of course. Dutifully obedient to the preferences and commands of the nation's unelected dictatorship of money, these insipid corporate Democrats loyally claim that Sanders and Warren want to viciously "tax the middle class" to pay for supposedly unaffordable excesses like Medicare for All and the existentially necessary Green New Deal.

In reality, Single Payer and giant green jobs programs and more that We the People need and want are eminently affordable if the United States follows Sanders' counsel by adequately and progressively taxing its absurdly wealthy over-class (the top tenth of the upper 1% than owns more than 90% of U.S. wealth) and its giant, surplus-saturated corporations and financial institutions. At the same time, as Warren keeps trying to explain, the cost savings for ordinary Americans will be enormous with the profits system taken out of health insurance.

Sanders reminds voters that there's no way to calculate the cost savings of keeping livable ecology alive for future generations. The climate catastrophe is a grave existential threat to the whole species.

These are basic arguments of elementary social, environmental, and democratic decency that the investors and managers behind and atop big corporations buying commercials on CNN and MSNBC don't want heard. As a result, CNN and MSDNC "debate" moderators and talking heads persist in purveying the, well, fake news, that Sanders doesn't know how to pay Single Payer, free public college, and a Green New Deal.

It's not for nothing that CNN and MSNBC have promoted the hapless Biden over and above Sanders and Warren – this notwithstanding the former Vice President's ever more obvious and embarrassing inadequacy as a candidate.

It's not for nothing that MSNBC and CNN have habitually warned against the supposed "socialist" menace posed by the highly popular Sanders (a New Deal progressive at leftmost) while refusing to properly describe Trump's White House and his dedicated base as pro-fascists. MSDNC has even get a weekly segment to the silver-spooned multi-millionaire advertising executive Donny Deutsch after he said the following on the network last winter:

"I find Donald Trump reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this company, country, as far as the strength and well-being of the country, than Donald Trump. I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being I will be so distraught to the point that that could even come out of my mouth, if we have a socialist [Democratic presidential candidate or president] because that will take our country so down, and we are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but that's not who we are. And if you love who we are and all the great things that still have to have binders put on the side. Please step away from the socialism."

It's not for nothing that the liberal cable networks go out of their way to deny Sanders remotely appropriate broadcast time. Or that they habitually and absurdly frame Single Payer health insurance not as the great civilizing social and human rights victory it would be (the long-overdue cost-slashing de-commodification of health care coverage combined with the provision of health care for all regardless of social status and class) but rather as a dangerous and authoritarian assault on Americans' existing (and unmentionably inadequate and over-expensive) health insurance.

Dare we mention that the lords of capital who pay for cable news salaries and content are heavily invested in the fossil fuels and in the relentless economic growth that are pushing the planet rapidly towards environmental tipping points that gravely endanger prospects for a decent and organized human existence in coming decades?

It's not for nothing that the progressive measures advanced by Sanders and supported by most Americans are regularly treated as "unrealistic," "irresponsible," "too radical," "too idealistic," "impractical," and "too expensive."

It's for nothing that Sanders is commonly left out of the liberal cable networks' campaign coverage and "horse race" discussions even as he enjoys the highest approval rating among all the candidates in the running.

With their preferred centrist candidate Joe Biden having performed in a predictably poor and buffoonish fashion (Biden was a terrible, gaffe-prone politician well before his brains started coming out of his ears) falling back into something like a three-way tie with the liberal Warren and the populist progressive Sanders, the liberal cable talking heads and debate moderators have naturally tried to boost "moderate" neoliberal-corporatist "second" and "third tier" Democratic presidential candidates like Butiggieg, Klobuchar and the surprisingly weak Kamala Harris. It's not for nothing that these and other marginal corporate candidates (e.g. Beto O'Rourke) get outsized attention on "liberal" cable stations regardless of their tiny support bases. Even if they can't win, these small-time contenders take constant neoliberal jabs at Sanders and even at the more clearly corporate-co-optable Warren (who proudly describes herself as "capitalist in my bones").

Thanks to Harris's curiously weak showing, Biden's dotard-like absurdity, and the likely non-viability of Butiggieg (the U.S. is not yet primed for two men and a baby in the White House), the not-so liberal cable channels are now joining the New Yok Times and Washington Post in gently floating the possibility of a dark-horse neoliberal Democratic Party newcomer (Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Sherrod Brown, and maybe even Hillary Clinton herself) to fill Joke Biden's Goldman-and Citigroup-approved shoes in the coming primary and Caucus battles with "radical socialist" Bernie and (not-so) "left" Warren.

So what if running an establishment Obama-Clinton-Citigroup-Council on Foreign Relations Democrat in 2020 will de-mobilize much of the nation's progressive electoral base, helping the malignant white nationalist monster Donald Trump get a second term?

As the old working-class slogan says, "money talks and bullshit walks."

"Follow the money" is the longstanding mantra in campaign finance research and criminal prosecution. It should also apply to our understanding of the dominant media's political news content. U.S. media managers are employed by giant corporations (MSNBC is a division of Comcast NBC Universal, no. 71 on the Fortune 500 and CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting, no, 68 on the Fortune 500) that are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the wealthy capitalist interests that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Noam Chomsky has noted, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:

"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."

At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate affluent folks – the people who hire pricey investment advisors, go to Caribbean resorts and buy Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes and count for an ever-rising share of U.S. consumer purchases. It is those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.

Money talks, bullshit talks on "liberal" cable news, as in the legal and party and elections systems and indeed across all of society.

Watch the wannabe fascist strongman Trump walk to a second term with no small help from a "liberal" corporate media whose primary goal is serving corporate sponsors and its own bottom line, not serving social justice, environmental sanity, and democracy – or even helping Democrats win elections.

[Jan 21, 2020] Bernie Sanders Walks Straight Into the Russiagate Trap

Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

Daniel Lazare January 20, 2020 © Photo: Wikimedia The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.

But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who's behind it? Who's the real target?

Here's a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.

The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden's son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed "security experts" to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn't quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that "it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for."

So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted "experts" to the effect that "the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment." Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.

But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.

"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the vice president," the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. "Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections."

If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as "the favorite of the Russians." Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.

"Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine ."

If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:

"The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia's plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump ."

And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.

Let's get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange's statement six months later that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party" remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there's no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller's 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.

All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.

It won't work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he'll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump's speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he'll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.

After inveighing against billionaire's wars, he'll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can't because the rules are stacked against him. He'd know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he's too much of a socialist. Rather, it's that he's not enough.

[Jan 04, 2020] I believe is most depressing is how dumb people are

Jan 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

oldhippie , Jan 4 2020 18:11 utc | 13

Sitting in coffee shop in Chicago listening to Americans. The general sentiment is they had it coming and Iran should be nuked.
Glass parking lot is the desired end.

This sentiment is bottom to top in America. Measured response? No way can Iran 'measure' a response.

More generally the sentiment is that a little war in Iran, a few nukes, is not even a big thing. Football scores more important.

Isabella , Jan 4 2020 18:22 utc | 16

"Sitting in coffee shop in Chicago listening to Americans. The general sentiment is they had it coming and Iran should be nuked.
Glass parking lot is the desired end."

That's pretty much the picture i get from reading responses in UK MSM, not only from English, but many giving American addresses. They are all pretty much thoroughly brainwashed, believing as gospel the lies they've told, and still think that they are the "White hatted, good guys, who do good things for the places they bomb and invade".

it seems they will be supportive of an attack on Iran, and if their maniac "leaders", the basement crazies who got out of the basement, realise this, it increases substantially the chances of a "hot" war. In that case, should it escalate out of control, your Chicago coffee deadheads will get the Glass parking lot they want. It just wont be in the ME. Or Russia. They can have their very own, in their own back yard.

Zanon , Jan 4 2020 21:09 utc | 76
Information_Agent

Yes I also noticed this, what I believe is most depressing is how dumb people are. Trump/White house tell alot of lies which then become the truth for alot of his supporters and he also manage to get MSM where he wants, because MSM do not seems to care either, they are on-board when it comes to war.
And yes additional to that, a clear psychological operation going on to get the propaganda out.
I try to counter it on social media, I hope everyone here also do the same.

Pft , Jan 4 2020 21:48 utc | 79
Patroklos @77

Its about conditioning people that its the new normal. Anything goes, "do as thou wilt". So long as it serves the interests of our masters. With no fear that MSM or alt media can or will provide sustained or effective criticism, and the corruption of religious or secular morals among the population thanks to hollywoods cultural marxism/propaganda and corruption of christianity , they can get support among the people for just about anything. People can be made to believe anything. The past 100 years has proven that beyond all doubt. With all doubt now removed they can show their true colors and this will be accepted as the new normal.

Dick , Jan 4 2020 22:13 utc | 83
The problem with the US is most everyone in the US military, US citizenry, and US government believe their own Exceptionalism propaganda and act accordingly. Attacking the PMU units of the Iraqi army was certainly an unwise decision, but killing Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is an act of complete moronic insanity!
Robert Snefjella , Jan 5 2020 0:22 utc | 121
The United States launched a war of aggression, the supreme crime, upon Iraq in 2003, based on blatant lies, and are still there. Prior to that, they helped foment the war between Iraq and Iran, then attacked Iraq in 1991, and on top of the overt warfare there was the economic sanctions warfare. The death and maiming and poisoning of millions of Iraqis has been the American contribution to Iraq, over the last several decades. What for? How has this helped the United States? Or Europe? The main advocates for this supreme criminality has been the Israel lobby, Israel, and the supporters of Israel.

The American Apache helicopters are still buzzing around over Baghdad, dealing out terror and intimidation and death. The murder by the United States of yet more Iraqi soldiers and officials recently has been largely absent from the propaganda narratives. But could those be 'the final straw'?

As far as Trump's 52 target threat, this comes after the apparent please don't escalate and we'll make a deal - good cop-bad cop routine.

The 52 number was used to remind mind-controlled Americans that the evil Iranians outrageously took 52 Americans hostage. American's don't just take people hostage; they give them orange suits and torture them, unless they kill them. Apart from murdering and maiming by the millions, they even stage fictional killings, like Osama bin laden, to entertain the zombies, and stick out their chests, hand out medals and the like.

[Jan 01, 2020] Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.

Jan 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tim E. , Dec 29 2019 4:45 utc | 59

"I don't think there's any actual material reason that there should be any material wants anywhere on this planet, instead "only" political and managerial ones but that's because I believe (and I'm not an expert) one can add additional levels of safeguards -- both physical and administrative -- to existing or new nuclear power-plants and "burn" most of the byproducts into essentially new fuel thus buying humanity at least several thousands of years of time instead of for example chopping up large volumes of air and everything in it be it insects or birds.

We should already be in a post-scarcity world, no -isms required, only kindness and applied knowledge. So to me that will be our death sentence if that is the final outcome; too little kindness (towards all life), too little application and sharing of knowledge.

I don't know if that is inspiring or depressing or both :)"

I always find those thoughts scary - since you and I are both NOT Farmers - and depend upon those little people to supply us with the foodstuffs we need to survive.

It's GREAT to be a rocket scientist - but before a rocket scientist can exist - ya need Farmers.

Jay Hanson and Richard Duncan said it best:

http://www.dieoff.com/

Here is a synopsis of the behavioral loop described above:

Step 1. Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.

Step 2. Energy is always limited, and overshoot eventually leads to decreasing power available to some members of the group, with lower-ranking members suffering first.

Step 3. Diminishing power availability creates divisive subgroups within the original group. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals, who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain power.

Step 4. Violent social strife eventually occurs among subgroups who demand a greater share of the remaining power.

Step 5. The weakest subgroups (high or low rank) are either forced to disperse to a new territory, are killed, enslaved, or imprisoned.

Step 6. Go back to step 1.

The above loop was repeated countless thousands of times during the millions of years that we were evolving[9]. This behavior is inherent in the architecture of our minds -- is entrained in our biological material -- and will be repeated until we go extinct. Carrying capacity will decline[10] with each future iteration of the overshoot loop, and this will cause human numbers to decline until they reach levels not seen since the Pleistocene.

Current models used to predict the end of the biosphere suggest that sometime between 0.5 billion to 1.5 billion years from now, land life as we know it will end on Earth due to the combination of CO2 starvation and increasing heat. It is this decisive end that biologists and planetary geologists have targeted for attention. However, all of their graphs reveal an equally disturbing finding: that global productivity will plummet from our time onward, and indeed, it already has been doing so for the last 300 million years.[11]

It's impossible to know the details of how our rush to extinction will play itself out, but we do know that it is going to be hell for those who are unlucky to be alive at the time.

And:

The Olduvai theory is defined by the ratio of world energy production and population. It states that the life expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years: 1930-2030. After more than a century of strong growth -- energy production per capita peaked in 1979. The Olduvai theory explains the 1979 peak and the subsequent decline. Moreover, it says that energy production per capita will fall to its 1930 value by 2030, thus giving Industrial Civilization a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years. This analysis predicts that the collapse will be strongly correlated with an 'epidemic' of permanent blackouts of high-voltage electric power networks -- worldwide.

http://dieoff.com/page234.pdf


Will Humans reach the Stars? I believe NOT - and that extinction is but a heart beat away. We are not a Peaceful species - amongst many others - but the Universe lives in Harmony.

See: https://etheric.com/om-the-cosmic-vibration/

and:

https://etheric.com/continuous-creation-cosmology/

[Dec 24, 2019] It is trie that Hierarchy class society but the problem (for the lower classes) is that by inequality rises to unacceptable level and becomes evident to all, mechanisms of 'law' and power (plus bread and circuses) have been set in place to prevent or repress the necessary changes from happening from below

Dec 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Dec 24 2019 14:13 utc | 97

Hierarchy ≠ class society.

There is nothing wrong with hierarchy in and of itself. After all, is seniority to mean nothing? Is demonstrated competence meaningless? Should an individual's efforts to build skill sets be treated as equivalent to the couch potato's efforts to build up an epic Body Mass Index (BMI)? Should notions of winners and losers be banned from athletic competitions and sporting events, along with any associated prizes? Everybody gets a trophy whether they run the race or not?

As I understand it there were plenty of routes through life in the Soviet Union in which people could distinguish themselves, perhaps more than in the West. There were plenty of ways to rise in society's hierarchy. None of those routes resulted in fabulous and opulent wealth, but if some did then the society would necessarily be able to afford fewer such routes.

The only problems with hierarchy in society is if the process of rising in it is corrupt (being born into wealth, for instance) or if the span between the bottom and the top of that hierarchy is larger than what the population considers fair.

juliania , Dec 24 2019 18:35 utc | 108

William Gruff @ 97

"...The only problems with hierarchy in society is if the process of rising in it is corrupt (being born into wealth, for instance) or if the span between the bottom and the top of that hierarchy is larger than what the population considers fair."

That is true, the only problem being (for the lower classes) that by the time the gap becomes evident to all, mechanisms of 'law' and power (plus bread and circuses) have been set in place to prevent or repress the necessary changes from happening from below. This is evident to the US populace as the few who saw it coming and protested could not rouse enough support when it could have mattered. We looked and still look for helpers among the children of the hierarchs because those are the only ones who can work within the current system. So far, such are few, if they exist at all. But we saw with FDR it only takes one or two. (I don't know if you saw my previous post that finance was not the governmental powerhouse it has become in FDR's time. First they came for the legislators!!)

I still have hope that the system in the US will of its own weight become unweildly. There are already signs of that happening in the increasing inability of US powermongers to have their way on the world stage, and in their search for ephemeral 'boltholes'. And while they are still able to inflict harm on others and do so with reckless abandon, I do not believe they are ready to risk their own skins or those of their near and dear - or the fortunes they have staked everything to gain. My hope is that even that damaging ability will peter out as climate change necessities force a refocus on what actually threatens said skins and fortunes.

[Dec 22, 2019] At what point up the socio-economic ladder do these sorts of concerns become manifest?

Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Robert Valiant , December 21, 2019 at 10:49 am

Despite the handwringing otherwise, there are quite a few well-off people outside the coast who like decorating in gold and even being so tacky as to have cars that match.

At what point up the socio-economic ladder do these sorts of concerns become manifest? And how does one know? I'm an upper lower-class "coastal," and I'm mostly concerned with eating properly and keeping my dilapidated 50s rambler from leaking. Years ago, when my children were at home, and our family was solidly upper middle-class (at least that's what I thought), I still didn't consider what other people thought of my cars, nor did I think much about decorating colors.

Honestly, I think I find simple survival more interesting.

Wukchumni , December 21, 2019 at 10:56 am

All of my life, those with immense, some might claim obscene amounts of wealth have been celebrated in these United States, but you can sense a backlash is coming to them & showy displays that come with the territory.

ambrit , December 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm

To expand on your viticulture themed comments elsewhere; these people fit the description of "Teriorists." They have a penchant for "Le Grand Crude."

Carolinian , December 21, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Well there was that period–late 60s, early 70s–when people like Leonard Bernstein dressed in jeans and conspicuous wealth was very un-hip. Tom Wolfe wrote an article about it,

Then came Reagan–and Nancy.

Wukchumni , December 21, 2019 at 4:19 pm

I really think the turning point came around 1975 when the first pro athletes got million a year contracts, and you can just imagine the jealousy of Ivy League types on Wall*Street as the pros started making moon money.

By the time we got around to Reagan, high finance figured out how to hit the long ball via Milken, etc.

I mentioned a week or 2 ago in regards to a pitcher who inked a nearly 1/3rd of a Billion $ contract, contrast that with the $125k 1 year deal that Sandy Koufax signed in 1966.

Anon , December 21, 2019 at 10:10 pm

Well, the actual details are a bit different.

Koufax and Don Drysdale (1965 World Series heroes) asked, together, for a $1 million, 3 year deal. That equated to a yearly salary of $166,000 for each of them for 3 years. (The highest paid player in MLB at the time was Willie Mays at $105,000.) The Dodgers, with by far the highest game attendance in baseball, offered Koufax $120k and Drysdale $105k. I believe that was the salary that they accepted.

Much has changed since then. TV has made MLB a 7-8 $Billion a year enterprise. The LA Dodgers as a team are now worth billion$. Marvin Miller wrenched union power for the players. And remember, players have a very short earning window; Koufax retired at the age of 30 due to an elbow worn out from throwing curve balls. (Sandy was a condo neighbor of mine when I lived in Sun Valley, ID. A very special man.)

And pitching is everything in the big leagues.

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 9:42 pm

That sounds right.

I graduated from college in 1979. Women wore (depending on the season), T-shirts, sweatshirts, and jeans. Only the women from the the colleges that were seen as matrimonial in orientation (one was called "Pine Mattress") wore makeup.

2 years after that, I was part of the group that did campus recruiting. Just walking around, you could see a significant % of women wearing makeup, skirts, and hose, just to go to class. Gah.

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:15 pm

I think you are missing the point of my comment, that of all the things to get upset about re Trump, it's his taste? Really? IMHO this is another manifestation of the fact that a significant amount of the upset about him is his being so flagrantly nouveau riche and not caring.

And you managed to miss the status signaling from the bourgeois on up? Women who color their hair feel unkept if their roots grow in. Cars are huge status symbols, up and down the line. Try driving an early 2000s car, even if in fine shape, and watch the reactions if someone you've first met walks you to it. People look at the quality of leather in shoes, tailoring and fabric as other status markers. Being thin is another status marker, as are teeth ..

If you are really rich, the signals include flying on private jets, what charities you support, what art you collect, if you own a vineyard (or have your name on a hospital wing or building at a school .)

Bugs Bunny , December 21, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Exactly what Epstein understood and exploited. Codes of status.

Frankly the Clintons didn't fit in either but they were somehow more acceptable than Trump.

Nixon hated those people and who knows, maybe it contributed to his downfall.

I won't venture to speculate on what the wealthy thought of the Obamas. Perhaps Elizabeth Windsor could answer that.

Craig H. , December 21, 2019 at 10:08 pm

I read that Nixon acquired his hatred step by step and it was only really baked in after about the 20000th time he got snubbed. For a long time he wanted to be one of them and he could hardly believe it that it wasn't ever going to happen.

Check this out which completely blew my mind:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nixon-predicted-trump-success/

flora , December 21, 2019 at 7:26 pm

That was my take as well.
Snobbery is snobbery, and I thought Yves was pointing that out in a forceful manner, not criticizing R.V.'s comment.
In any event, I find R.V.'s comments a welcome point of view adding depth to the larger economic picture and its effects.

Massinissa , December 21, 2019 at 7:32 pm

"because the bourgeois flavor of this corner of the Internet just doesn't suit my proletariat tastes"

I think you completely misunderstood her point. She wasn't defending Trump's tastes in any way, but pointing out that ALL the wealthy share similar tastes and singling Trump out as some kind of singular aberration leaves out that this is standard of our ruling class.

None of us here support this kind status consumerism, and many of us likely share your 'proletarian tastes', its just that around here notions that Trump is some unique monster different from the rest of his class hold little water.

Wukchumni , December 21, 2019 at 7:38 pm

I can't relate to a world where what you wear, what you drive and what you drink and the conveyance which moves you around, really means anything.

That said, it's all part of the pecking order on high, and I get it. If Trump was seen in a 2007 Toyota Matrix with 136k miles, his world would come undone.

ambrit , December 22, 2019 at 12:19 am

Added to what the others have said; don't cut off your nose to spite your face. It takes a thick skin to comment anywhere on the internet.
Also, so what if this blog commenteriat skews a bit bourgeois? Do you want to lock yourself in an echo chamber? What good would that do for your understanding of the 'reality' on the ground? I and others admit to frequenting conservative blogs. It doesn't mean we fully agree with the reigning philosophies on those blogs, but we do tend to learn much of a substantive nature that is not displayed on the "standard" MSM 'news' sources.
The entire lesson of the internet is that "Knowledge Is Power." Control the 'knowledge' or it's accessibility, and you "rule" the society. Thus, a wide range of sources of information is required. Locking yourself away in the anarchist sphere of the internet is going to stunt your knowledge set, and limit your range of options for action. To effectively fight one's enemies, one must understand them. So, to discommode the bourgeois, you first must get to know them.
Finally, class has always been "..an unbridgeable chasm in western society." Else why all the revolts and movements on the part of the working classes?
Anyway, don't leave in a huff. You are better than that.

Darthbobber , December 21, 2019 at 4:44 pm

This particular line of attack on Trump is exactly the line that used to be taken by the old rich and New England rich against the new rich. (And the ethnic rich)

[Dec 13, 2019] Are voted destined to be duped?

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

,

Kratoklastes , says: December 12, 2019 at 3:42 am GMT

started by an unemployed Englishman named Eliot Higgins

Good on him – being able to create a thing that rises to such prominence in such a short space of time speaks volumes about this Higgins guy's entrepreneurial ability. And if he wasn't mobbed-up to begin with, he sure as fuck is now – which is a double- mitzvah (for him).

If he did so starting from being unemployed, then anybody who turned down a job application from the guy must be kicking themselves. (' Unemployed ' is obviously used pejoratively in the blockquote; 'Englishman' is purely-descriptive).

.

Also, the entire article accepts Bernays' conclusion, but disagrees as to which objectives should be pursued.

Bernays' conclusions are hardly controversial: most people are gullible imbeciles . It's not clear to me how much more empirical evidence we need before that becomes just a thing that everyone with an IQ above 115 accepts.

So the question then becomes " OK, now what? ".

As usual, the right answer is " Depends " – and not just for those with bladder control problems.

If you want to do things that are just , exploiting gullible imbeciles would appear to violate the playing conditions. It would be hors jeu ; not done; just not cricket .

As the Laconian famously said . " IF ."

For those for whom the 'if' condition returns 'false', it does very little to bleat about how awful they are. You're not going to cause a little switch in their brain to flick on (or off?), whereupon they realise the error of their ways and make a conscious decision to leave the gullible imbeciles unexploited.

It's even unlikely to affect their victims (remember, they're imbeciles) – because otherwise some infra-marginal imbeciles would have to process their way through quite a bit of cognitive dissonance, and they're not wired for introspection (or processing).

So the sole real purpose (apart from κάθαρσις catharsis ) is prophylaxis (προ + φύλαξις – guarding ). Both good enough aims obviously the writer is the one who gets the cathartic benefit, but who is going to be on heightened alert as a result of this Cassandra -ish jeremiad -ing?

Non-imbeciles don't need it; imbeciles won't benefit.

Here's the thing: the gullible imbeciles are going to be exploited by someone .

.

This is something that people of my persuasion struggle with. It boils down to the following:

Let's assume that a reprehensible thing exists already, and is unlikely to be overthrown by my opposition to it. Should I just participate and line my pockets?

The resources used are going to be used whether I participate or not, so it may as well be me who gets them. After all, I will put them to moral uses – and while inside, I can do things that are contrary to the interests of the reprehensible thing.

There is no satisfactory counter-argument to that line of reasoning, and yet I reject it.

Then again: I was dropped on my head as an infant, so YMMV.

HAIL KEK

[Dec 06, 2019] The top .01 percent of all income earners in the United States accounted for 29 percent of all political committee fundraising.

Dec 06, 2019 | www.nbcnews.com

It has long required the support of the wealthy -- and a certain level of personal wealth -- to run for president of the United States. In 2016, billions of dollars were raised by Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns. But the rich control much of this cash flow . In 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top .01 percent of all income earners in the United States accounted for 29 percent of all political committee fundraising.

There are many reasons why this is a dangerous thing. But a big one is accountability.

[Nov 30, 2019] We can all agree that humans have had a devastating impact on every corner the environment, every ecosystem. However, it is a leap of manufactured faith (manipulation) to claim that humans are responsible for climate change

Nov 30, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

How about the hysteria that led to the Spanish War? "Remember the Maine," The ship was supposedly sunk in Havana Harbor by Spanish perfidy. In fact the Maine blew up because a coal bunker fire burned through a bulkhead and set off something or other. That was the US Navy's investigative finding after the war. Don't tell me about Hearst. Hearst was just selling newspapers. The American people went into a hysteric rage against Spain and that was the cause of war. Hearst just wanted to find "Rosebud." Figure it out.

And now we have the approaching end of the world through man made climate change. It would be funny if there were not so many who believe it.

Science? Hah! For every study you can produce in support of this fantasy I will find you one to rebut it. All you ecofreaks! Don't send me material about this. I will not help you support the hysteric fantasy. Send money to the Democratic Party. They believe this crap. pl.


Bandit , 29 November 2019 at 10:29 PM

Now this is a post I can get behind. For me it has been the hysteria and the ease with which people are manipulated through propaganda that has astonished me, because that is what the climate change agenda is all about. We can all agree that humans have had a devastating impact on every corner the environment, every ecosystem. However, it is a leap of manufactured faith (manipulation) to claim that humans are responsible for climate change.

To support this bogus hypothesis, scientists strangle and manipulate data in an effort to justify draconian laws and policies that can only line the pockets of the very rich at the expense of the rest of the tax paying population. Carbon tax is the real aim here, a totally bullshit pretext to suck more trillions of dollars from the economies of the world. Self-selecting "experts" join the chorus because of fear of censorship and loss of status while the brave ones are called, as always, climate change denialists, and thus denigrated.

Mr Zarate , 29 November 2019 at 10:41 PM
The hysteria that erupts when anyone questions climate change says pretty much all you need to know about it.
ambrit , 29 November 2019 at 10:41 PM
Oh man! Even most of the lefties I associate with believe it. They are supposed to, through the tenets of their secular 'religion,' use solid evidence as their guides. The evidence is not persuasive. The Earth has gone through fluctuations in climate for ever. The dinosaurs made do in a much hotter earth, if the geologic evidence be true. It took a cosmic strike to do them in.
Humans are the top predators here because they can adapt to change much quicker than any other animal. Modern human civilization may not be recognizable to any of us in two hundred years. That would be true with or without "climate change." We will carry on, one way or another.
Similarly to what Bandit wrote above, I see various 'elites' angling to make book on whatever does happen. The Science Fiction writer William Gibson has proposed in his book "The Peripheral," a near future based on a massive world population die back that he calls "The Jackpot."
Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Peripheral
All in all, we live in 'Interesting Times.'
Thank you for your indulgence.

[Nov 28, 2019] What is 'Iron Law of Oligarchy'

Notable quotes:
"... The relative structural fluidity in a small-scale democracy succumbs to "social viscosity" in a large-scale organization. According to the "iron law," democracy and large-scale organization are incompatible ..."
Nov 28, 2019 | www.preservearticles.com

The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German syndicalist sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties.

The "iron law of oligarchy" states that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic or autocratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations.

The relative structural fluidity in a small-scale democracy succumbs to "social viscosity" in a large-scale organization. According to the "iron law," democracy and large-scale organization are incompatible.

[Nov 28, 2019] Civil Service is a self-perpetuating oligarchy

Notable quotes:
"... Iron Law of Oligarchy refers to the inherent tendency of all complex organizations to develop a ruling clique of leaders with interests in the organization itself rather than in its official aims. ..."
"... It became difficult for the mass membership to provide any effective counterweight to this professional, entrenched, leadership, the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Aristotle used the term oligarchy as a synonym for rule by the rich. Oligarchy is not always a rule by wealthy people, for which the term is plutocracy . Oligarchy means "the rule of the few" and monarchy means "the rule of the one" ..."
"... Oligarchy can also be compared with aristocracy . In an aristocracy, a small group of wealthy or socially prominent citizens control the government. Members of this high social class claim to be, or are considered by others to be, superior to the other people because of family ties, social rank, wealth, or religious affiliation. ..."
Nov 28, 2019 | www.sociologyindex.com

IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY

Civil Service is a self-perpetuating oligarchy, the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Many writers believe that any political system eventually evolves into iron law of oligarchy. James Madison, the fourth President of the United States said: "Never fear. The iron law of oligarchy always obtains." In iron law of oligarchy, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an 'acceptable' and 'respectable' political position. Iron Law of Oligarchy was first defined by German sociologists like Robert Michels (1876-1936).

According to writers, Zulma Riley, Keith Riley, and Robert Michels, modern Democracy should be considered as elected Oligarchy . They called this theory the iron law of oligarchy. Michels discovered that in the Iron Law of Oligarchy, even in the most egalatarian movements, elites will call most of the shots.

Iron Law of Oligarchy refers to the inherent tendency of all complex organizations to develop a ruling clique of leaders with interests in the organization itself rather than in its official aims.

It became difficult for the mass membership to provide any effective counterweight to this professional, entrenched, leadership, the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Aristotle used the term oligarchy as a synonym for rule by the rich. Oligarchy is not always a rule by wealthy people, for which the term is plutocracy . Oligarchy means "the rule of the few" and monarchy means "the rule of the one".

Such power-sharing from one person to a larger group of persons happened when English nobles got together in 1215 to force King John of England to sign the Magna Carta, a recognition of failure of oligarchy. Magna Carta guaranteed greater rights to greater numbers of people, thus setting the stage for English constitutional monarchy .

Oligarchy can also be compared with aristocracy . In an aristocracy, a small group of wealthy or socially prominent citizens control the government. Members of this high social class claim to be, or are considered by others to be, superior to the other people because of family ties, social rank, wealth, or religious affiliation.

Breaking the iron law of oligarchy: union revitalization in the American labor movement. Voss, Kim and Sherman, Rachel - The American Journal of Sociology [AJS], 106(2), 303 - 49.

ABSTRACT: This article addresses the question of how social movement organizations are able to break out of bureaucratic conservatism. The article concludes by drawing out the theoretical implications of the finding that bureaucratic conservatism can sometimes be overcome in mature social movements .

[Nov 14, 2019] Fake news content seems very close to what a lynch party seeking to get up the never to hang an innocent slave for a criminal act "done by one of their kind" would do.

Oct 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

I am sorry but I c/n remember if was the guy at the far end of the bar down near to the bathroom in the boots, bathing suit, and top hat, or the guy at the seat nearest to the front door, in the grey flannel suit with polished boots, but it was one of them who gave the bar, a few evenings back, much of what it needs to be coherent. It was hierarchy of elements that propagandist use to install and support false narratives in their written and spoken words. It was system of analysis, given to us here at the bar, to establish the gosh awful truth hidden within an intentionally wrong narrative.

That evening I had too much bar juice, so this all I can recall, 8 elements could be applied to the propaganda to diagnose and debunk and discover the false in wrongful, misleading propaganda.. see the following.

1. EN always the propagandist must establish the general narrative God turned the blue sky, red.
2. WR the propagandist must make great wrongs into powerful strong rights.. The devil made him do it.
3. PE profession propagandists cherry pick the facts; include in the narrative only those facts that support the proposition.
The devil was seen talking to God on more than one occasion.
4. IS ignore damning or off point stuff that challenge or defeat the narrative or transform it into a positive
The fact that God had killed the devil two years before is ignored.
5. BV blame the victim.. don't give the victim a chance to speak.. The victim (God) did it..
6. MU make stuff up to support the narrative. A person on Jupitor saw God practising every evening He watched as God turned blue seas red and red seas blue
7. AC Attack all challengers allow no one to intercede in the attack. The Pope said God could not show him that he could turn Blue seas to red, or vice a versa
8. RL Repeat, and repeat and repeat the lie.. until it becomes embedded in the mind of the innocent. We are all tired of hearing this story..

After sobering up and thinking about this list, I realized its content seems very close to what a lynch party seeking to get up the never to hang an innocent slave for a criminal act "done by one of their kind" would do. The party would pretty much go through the 8 things, attempting to convince itself that the slave was guilty, until finally one of the members of the lynching party would swat the horse and the party would watch the victim swing..

We must develop a technology suitable to encoding these things, and to find other such things to add to this debunk the propaganda list of 8 items; so that no one can pass off on us wrongful narrative?

Its ok to be innocently wrong, in fact, we all learn when we discover a wrong, but intentional wrong should be against the rules of the bar.

We should adopt these 8 things and use them in our analysis..

[Nov 07, 2019] Rigged Again Dems, Russia, The Delegitimization Of America s Democratic Process by Elizabeth Vos

Highly recommended!
Images removed.
Notable quotes:
"... The Clinton camp was hardly absent from social media during the 2016 race. The barely-legal activities of Clintonite David Brock were previously reported by this author to have included $2 million in funding for the creation of an online " troll army " under the name Shareblue. The LA Times described the project as meant to "to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical." In other words, the effort attempted to create a false sense of consensus in support for the Clinton campaign. ..."
"... In terms of interference in the actual election process, the New York City Board of Elections was shown to have purged over one hundred thousand Democratic voters in Brooklyn from the rolls before the 2016 primary, a move that the Department of Justice found broke federal law . Despite this, no prosecution for the breach was ever attempted. ..."
"... In 2017, the Observer reported that the DNC's defense counsel argued against claims that the party defrauded Sanders' supporters by favoring Clinton, reasoning that Sanders' supporters knew the process was rigged. Again: instead of arguing that the primary was neutral and unbiased in accordance with its charter, the DNC's lawyers argued that it was the party's right to select candidates. ..."
"... The DNC defense counsel's argument throughout the course of the DNC fraud lawsuit doubled down repeatedly in defense of the party's right to favor one candidate over another, at one point actually claiming that such favoritism was protected by the First Amendment . ..."
"... The DNC's shameless defense of its own rigging disemboweled the most fundamental organs of the U.S. body politic. This no indication that the DNC will not resort to the same tactics in the 2020 primary race, ..."
"... f Debbie Wasserman Schultz's role as disgraced chairwoman of the DNC and her forced 2016 resignation wasn't enough, serious interference was also alleged in the wake of two contests between Wasserman Schultz and professor Tim Canova in Florida's 23rd congressional district. Canova and Wasserman Schultz first faced off in a 2016 Democratic primary race, followed by a 2018 general congressional election in which Canova ran as an independent. ..."
"... Debacles followed both contests, including improper vote counts, illegal ballot destruction , improper transportation of ballots, and generally shameless displays of cronyism. After the controversial results of the initial primary race against Wasserman Schultz, Canova sought to have ballots checked for irregularities, as the Sun-Sentinel reported at the time: ..."
"... Ultimately, Canova was granted a summary judgment against Snipes, finding that she had committed what amounted to multiple felonies. Nonetheless, Snipes was not prosecuted and remained elections supervisor through to the 2018 midterms. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton's recent comments to the effect that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is being "groomed" by Russia, and that the former Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein is a "Russian asset", were soon echoed by DNC-friendly pundits. These sentiments externalize what Gabbard called the "rot" in the Democratic party outward onto domestic critics and a nation across the planet. ..."
"... Newsweek provided a particularly glaring example of this phenomenon in a recent op-ed penned by columnist Naveed Jamali, a former FBI double agent whose book capitalizes on Russiagate. In an op-ed titled: " Hillary Clinton Is Right. Tulsi Gabbard Is A Perfect Russian Asset – And Would Be A Perfect Republican Agent," ..."
Nov 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Elizabeth Vos via ConsortiumNews.com,

Establishment Democrats and those who amplify them continue to project blame for the public's doubt in the U.S. election process onto outside influence, despite the clear history of the party's subversion of election integrity. The total inability of the Democratic Party establishment's willingness to address even one of these critical failures does not give reason to hope that the nomination process in 2020 will be any less pre-ordained.

The Democratic Party's bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential nomination, followed by the DNC defense counsel doubling down on its right to rig the race during the fraud lawsuit brought against the DNC , as well as the irregularities in the races between former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova, indicate a fatal breakdown of the U.S. democratic process spearheaded by the Democratic Party establishment. Influences transcending the DNC add to concerns regarding the integrity of the democratic process that have nothing to do with Russia, but which will also likely impact outcomes in 2020.

The content of the DNC and Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks demonstrated that the DNC acted in favor of Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the 2016 Democratic primary. The emails also revealed corporate media reporters acting as surrogates of the DNC and its pro-Clinton agenda, going so far as to promote Donald Trump during the GOP primary process as a preferred " pied-piper candidate ." One cannot assume that similar evidence will be presented to the public in 2020, making it more important than ever to take stock of the unique lessons handed down to us by the 2016 race.

Social Media Meddling

Election meddling via social media did take place in 2016, though in a different guise and for a different cause from that which are best remembered. Twitter would eventually admit to actively suppressing hashtags referencing the DNC and Podesta emails in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Additional reports indicated that tech giant Google also showed measurable "pro-Hillary Clinton bias" in search results during 2016, resulting in the alleged swaying of between 2 and 10 millions voters in favor of Clinton.

On the Republican side, a recent episode of CNLive! featured discussion of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which undecided voters were micro-targeted with tailored advertising narrowed with the combined use of big data and artificial intelligence known collectively as "dark strategy." CNLive! Executive Producer Cathy Vogan noted that SCL, Cambridge Analytica's parent company, provides data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organizations "worldwide," specializing in behavior modification. Though Cambridge Analytica shut down in 2018, related companies remain.

The Clinton camp was hardly absent from social media during the 2016 race. The barely-legal activities of Clintonite David Brock were previously reported by this author to have included $2 million in funding for the creation of an online " troll army " under the name Shareblue. The LA Times described the project as meant to "to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical." In other words, the effort attempted to create a false sense of consensus in support for the Clinton campaign.

In terms of interference in the actual election process, the New York City Board of Elections was shown to have purged over one hundred thousand Democratic voters in Brooklyn from the rolls before the 2016 primary, a move that the Department of Justice found broke federal law . Despite this, no prosecution for the breach was ever attempted.

Though the purge was not explicitly found to have benefitted Clinton, the admission falls in line with allegations across the country that the Democratic primary was interfered with to the benefit of the former secretary of state. These claims were further bolstered by reports indicating that voting results from the 2016 Democratic primary showed evidence of fraud.

DNC Fraud Lawsuit

The proceedings of the DNC fraud lawsuit provide the most damning evidence of the failure of the U.S. election process, especially within the Democratic Party. DNC defense lawyers argued in open court for the party's right to appoint candidates at its own discretion, while simultaneously denying any "fiduciary duty" to represent the voters who donated to the Democratic Party under the impression that the DNC would act impartially towards the candidates involved.

In 2017, the Observer reported that the DNC's defense counsel argued against claims that the party defrauded Sanders' supporters by favoring Clinton, reasoning that Sanders' supporters knew the process was rigged. Again: instead of arguing that the primary was neutral and unbiased in accordance with its charter, the DNC's lawyers argued that it was the party's right to select candidates.

The Observer noted the sentiments of Jared Beck, the attorney representing the plaintiffs of the lawsuit:

"People paid money in reliance on the understanding that the primary elections for the Democratic nominee -- nominating process in 2016 were fair and impartial, and that's not just a bedrock assumption that we would assume just by virtue of the fact that we live in a democracy, and we assume that our elections are run in a fair and impartial manner. But that's what the Democratic National Committee's own charter says. It says it in black and white."

The DNC defense counsel's argument throughout the course of the DNC fraud lawsuit doubled down repeatedly in defense of the party's right to favor one candidate over another, at one point actually claiming that such favoritism was protected by the First Amendment . The DNC's lawyers wrote:

"To recognize any of the causes of action that Plaintiffs allege would run directly contrary to long-standing Supreme Court precedent recognizing the central and critical First Amendment rights enjoyed by political parties, especially when it comes to selecting the party's nominee for public office ." [Emphasis added]

The DNC's shameless defense of its own rigging disemboweled the most fundamental organs of the U.S. body politic. This no indication that the DNC will not resort to the same tactics in the 2020 primary race,

Tim Canova's Allegations

If Debbie Wasserman Schultz's role as disgraced chairwoman of the DNC and her forced 2016 resignation wasn't enough, serious interference was also alleged in the wake of two contests between Wasserman Schultz and professor Tim Canova in Florida's 23rd congressional district. Canova and Wasserman Schultz first faced off in a 2016 Democratic primary race, followed by a 2018 general congressional election in which Canova ran as an independent.

Debacles followed both contests, including improper vote counts, illegal ballot destruction , improper transportation of ballots, and generally shameless displays of cronyism. After the controversial results of the initial primary race against Wasserman Schultz, Canova sought to have ballots checked for irregularities, as the Sun-Sentinel reported at the time:

"[Canova] sought to look at the paper ballots in March 2017 and took Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to court three months later when her office hadn't fulfilled his request. Snipes approved the destruction of the ballots in September, signing a certification that said no court cases involving the ballots were pending."

Ultimately, Canova was granted a summary judgment against Snipes, finding that she had committed what amounted to multiple felonies. Nonetheless, Snipes was not prosecuted and remained elections supervisor through to the 2018 midterms.

Republicans appear no more motivated to protect voting integrity than the Democrats, with The Nation reporting that the GOP-controlled Senate blocked a bill this week that would have "mandated paper-ballot backups in case of election machine malfunctions."

Study of Corporate Power

A 2014 study published by Princeton University found that corporate power had usurped the voting rights of the public: "Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

In reviewing this sordid history, we see that the Democratic Party establishment has done everything in its power to disrespect voters and outright overrule them in the democratic primary process, defending their right to do so in the DNC fraud lawsuit. We've noted that interests transcending the DNC also represent escalating threats to election integrity as demonstrated in 2016.

Despite this, establishment Democrats and those who echo their views in the legacy press continue to deflect from their own wrongdoing and real threats to the election process by suggesting that mere discussion of it represents a campaign by Russia to attempt to malign the perception of the legitimacy of the U.S. democratic process.

Hillary Clinton's recent comments to the effect that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is being "groomed" by Russia, and that the former Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein is a "Russian asset", were soon echoed by DNC-friendly pundits. These sentiments externalize what Gabbard called the "rot" in the Democratic party outward onto domestic critics and a nation across the planet.

Newsweek provided a particularly glaring example of this phenomenon in a recent op-ed penned by columnist Naveed Jamali, a former FBI double agent whose book capitalizes on Russiagate. In an op-ed titled: " Hillary Clinton Is Right. Tulsi Gabbard Is A Perfect Russian Asset – And Would Be A Perfect Republican Agent," Jamali argued :

"Moscow will use its skillful propaganda machine to prop up Gabbard and use her as a tool to delegitimize the democratic process. " [Emphasis added]

Jamali surmises that Russia intends to "attack"